This weekend sees the biggest Female boxing match in the sports history, recognised by Ring magazine who will present to the winner the first ever female divisional championship belt.
Claressa ‘T-REX’ Shields 8(2)-0-0 comes into this fight as the favourite despite the 2 time Olympic gold medallist giving up 3 inches in height to Christina Hammer 24(11)-0-0. Hammer for the first time sees herself as the underdog despite being undefeated and winning her first world title in 2010, this is an unusual position for her and something she may find hard to adjust to. Normally she is the one with home advantage everyone cheering her on with the exception of her bout with Tori Nelson. She now finds her herself against a World class opponent with a roaring crowd behind her, this could be unsettling for her. Hammer does recognise this when she said “I know that it’s a risk to come from Germany to the U.S. to fight Shields. But I have done everything to bring it to her and break her down round-by-round. I want to show the people who the real champion is. A real champion fights everyone, all over the world.”
Shields with her come forward style can blow opponents away, but coming up against Hammer’s huge frame, Shields will need to adjust and learn to punch high, something she is unused to in her professional career, regarding this Shields said “I’m glad Hammer is here and we’re really going to fight. She’s tough, but I’ve beat girls way stronger, faster and taller than her over and over again. I can’t wait to do it again on Saturday.” Hammer could hide behind her long jab, a strong jab can be a very useful weapon in a boxer’s arsenal, just ask Tyson fury, but Shields does recognise this in the video below, this is going to be hard for Shields having to try and get in close to Hammer without being stung by that jab.
I think this will be a great fight something for everyone to watch and enjoy, with Shields coming forward giving us excitement, hammer on the back foot giving something to the purists, and females fighting for world titles, fighting for women’s boxing, an advertisement for women’s sports all over the world looking for equal recognition as men’s sports, they will inspire young girls to be what they want to be, not what society expects them to be. Both women agree its time women’s boxing is taken as seriously as men’s. Shields said “Women’s boxing is becoming bigger and with ‘All-Access’ you can see that I train hard, spar against men and go hard for three minutes for 12 rounds. We’ve been around for a long time and we haven’t gotten there just yet. We’re getting more and we’re getting to the point where one day it can all be equal.” Hammer agreed saying “I want to show that I’m the undisputed champion. I’m the long-time champion and I’m going to let the people see that women’s boxing is exciting just like the men. This is a great match to show that.
Having said all of that, I do feel Shields will be the winner via unanimous, I just feel Shields still has the hunger and wants to win this more. Hammer has been a brilliant champion for nine years but i don’t think she has fought someone with Shields ability. Hammer has a huge frame and I would be expecting Shields to land a lot of body shots, slowing Hammer down and knocking the wind out of her sails. This card is promoted by Salita Promotions, and showing on USA showtime.
On the under card Russia’s Elena Gradinar 9(2)-0-0 takes on Argentina’s Brenda Karen Carabajal 15(9)-4-1 for the interim IBF World female Featherweight title. This will be the first time either of these fighters has fought in the US, with Carabajal having never fought outside of Argentina. Carabajal has fought for a world title on two occasions losing them both and fighting for an interim title once losing that also, so I do not believe she has it in her locker to be able to step up to World class level.
Gradiner on the other hand is untested at world level and this bout will be her litmus test, finding out what level she belongs at. For me this is a hard fight to call but if I was pushed to make a call I would say Gradiner will win by unanimous decision.
Other Female world title fights this weekend include Segolene Lefebvre 11(1)-0-0 and Laura Soledad Griffa 18(1)-2-0 for the IBO and WBF world Female Super Bantamweight titles in the Salle Gayant, Douai, Nord, France on Friday April 4th, 2019. France national Lefebvre is making waves in the Super bantamweight division and I expect her to take the win against her Argentinian opponent.
On Saturday April 13, 2019 in the Montreal Casino, Montreal, Quebec, Canada, Marie Eve Dicaire 14(0)-0-0 defends her IBF World Female Super welterweight title against Sweden’s Mikaela Lauren 31(13)-5(2)-0. This fight was arranged at short notice on the back of Dicaire’s previous fight being cancelled by the Quebec athletic commission after it was revealed during a medical examination that her opponent Linda Tejada was completely blind in one eye. I believe Dicaire will be beat her aging opponent Lauren by unanimous decision.
Also on Saturday, Mexico plays host to the WBO World Female flyweight title fight between Arely Mucino 27(10)-3(1)-2 and Venezuela’s Yairineth Altuve 10(10)-2-0. I believe Mucino will win this bout as Altuve’s record seems inflated, with a lot of her opponents having been involved in less than 4 fights on their records. The only two times she has fought someone with more ring experience she was beat.