by Tamas Pradarics
While this coming weekend the attention of the boxing world is solely on pound-for-pound top 5 Vasyl Lomachenko’s super featherweight title defense against tough Colombian challenger Miguel Marriaga, there is another world title bout there that flies under the radar.
Two-time Olympic gold medalist Claressa Shields is planning to reach another milestone in her young boxing career in facing WBC super middleweight champion Nikki Adler Friday evening at the MGM Grand Detroit in Detroit, Michigan. Claressa is trying to win his first world title in her fourth pro bout that would be a record in women’s boxing history.
The undefeated Adler (16-0, 9 KOs) won the vacant WBC title back in 2013 and defended it twice in the coming years. She is not known for ring-activity as she has only had three fights since 2015.
Shields (3-0, 1 KO), on the other hand, has only had three fights in his entire professional career. She had a highly successful amateur run before turned pro last November in a preliminary bout leading up to light heavyweight champion Sergey Kovalev’s first fight against Andre Ward.
While it is tough to pick the winner here between a seasoned professional and a great amateur with limited pro experience, the pugilists had a common opponent who can share some in-depth info with us.
Szilvia Szabados (16-11, 7 KO’s) has fought Nikki back in 2015 in a world title bout in Ludwigsburg, Germany and lost to a ten round decision. On this last March, the Hungarian fighter travelled to Detroit to face Claressa at the very same arena as the undefeated fighting girls are scheduled to trade punches tonight. Shields bested Szabados by a referee’s stoppage in the fourth heat.
”My fight against Adler was more difficult for me because I got cut by an accidental headbutt as early as in the second round. The blood bothered my vision. I fought eight more rounds with literally one eye,” said Szabados to BoxingScene.com.
While Szilvia is proud of the ring-performance she displayed in the bout against Adler, she is not happy about the referee’s decision on the Shields encounter.
”I did not agree with the stoppage against Claressa. Yes, I took some punches, but I felt okay, I was not hurt, not even dizzy. Had the referee let it go, I could have finished the round. It would have been better because it hurts much more to lose by stoppage.”
The 26-year-old athlete thinks there is not too much difference in terms of all-around skills between her former opponents, who are scheduled to meet in the main event of a Showtime televised card on Friday.
”I think they are both well-skilled boxers. They know how to fight from a distance as well as at close range, they know how to hold and break. They are full-time fighters surrounded by great teams for a reason. I would say they are equally powerful, so I personally believe what can win the fight for either pugilist is condition. I can not really see a knockout there, I believe the fight will go the distance,” discussed Szilvia, who thinks the American fighter can profit from being the A-side in the match-up.
”I think the fact that the bout is going to take place in Shields’s backyard gives a clear advantage for the former two-time Olympic gold medalist. Adler has to accommodate to a list of things. In Detroit, there is a very hostile crowd rooting heavily for the hometown fighter. Nikki also had to travel and bear with the jet lag.”
Szabados is watching the fight closely and is not shy to declare who she would like to get the win, even if she thinks the other has a bigger chance to get her hands raised in victory.
”I am rooting for Nikki’s win. I hope she can put up with the different conditions and accomplish her goals. It is always difficult to be a road warrior and be successful despite your opponent has the advantage in so many areas. All in all, I am very excited about this fight. It is hard to pick but I say Shields is going to take it by decision.”
You can reach Tamas Pradarics at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @TomiPradarics.