By Keith Idec
Now that the Claressa Shields-Christina Hammer fight has been rescheduled, promoter Dmitriy Salita cannot wait to witness what it does for women’s boxing.
Showtime announced last Tuesday that Shields and Hammer will meet April 13 in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Their 10-round, 160-pound title unification fight will headline a special edition of “ShoBox: The New Generation” from Boardwalk Hall.
“I think that it’ll take women’s boxing to the next level,” Salita, Shields’ promoter, told BoxingScene.com. “It’s gonna elevate women’s boxing not only in the United States, but throughout the whole world. It’ll make it more mainstream. It’s kind of a mix between ‘Showtime Championship Boxing’ and ‘ShoBox,’ and I think it’s gonna get a tremendous amount of publicity leading up to this event.”
Shields was supposed to meet Hammer on November 17 at Boardwalk Hall. It was postponed soon after it was officially announced late in September because Hammer was diagnosed with an undisclosed stomach ailment that prevented her from training.
The WBC later declared Germany’s Hammer its middleweight champion in recess. Shields (7-0, 2 KOs) won the WBC’s interim middleweight title when she defeated Scotland’s Hannah Rankin (5-3, 1 KO) by unanimous decision in their 10-rounder November 17 at Kansas Star Arena in Mulvane, Kansas.
The 23-year-old Shields (8-0, 2 KOs), a two-time Olympic gold medalist from Flint, Michigan, also owns the IBF and WBA middleweight titles. The 28-year-old Hammer (24-0, 11 KOs, 1 NC) holds the WBO title as well.
“When Claressa first fought on Showtime, about three years ago, she was the main event, in only her second professional fight,” Salita said. “Shortly thereafter, other networks’ respect for women’s boxing was raised. So, I feel that Claressa has been raising women’s boxing to the next level with every one of her fights. In such a significant event as this one, when two of the best women in the world want to fight each other, that is going to raise the sport to the next level.”
In her most recent action, Shields beat Belgium’s Femke Hermans (9-2, 3 KOs) by unanimous decision in another 10-rounder December 8 at StubHub Center in Carson, California. HBO aired Shields-Hermans as part of its final boxing broadcast.
Germany’s Hammer tried to shed some ring rust Saturday night in Friedrichshain, Germany. The Kazakhstan native stopped Georgia’s Elene Sikmashvili (8-8, 4 KOs) in the second round of a scheduled eight-rounder.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.