Two-time Olympic gold medalist, Claressa Shields had a stellar 2017 in which she improved her record to 4-0 (2KO’s) and closed out the year by becoming the WBC & IBF Super middleweight women’s champion. Shields, 22, has become the face of woman’s boxing and hopes to continue her success when she headlines Showtime’s first boxing card of 2018 against undefeated challenger, Tori Nelson.
In part 1 of my “On The Ropes” boxing radio interview with Claressa Shields, I discuss with her the upcoming fight against Tori Nelson and get her views on heading another Showtime event. Shields also talks about undefeated middleweight champion Christina Hammer fighting on her undercard and if she sees a match against Hammer happening soon. Additionally, Claressa talks about her path in the sport and how she is different from other fighters. Here is what Claressa Shields had to say.
Jenna J: You have a very big fight on January 12th, you will be taking on Tori Nelson. How do you feel about the fight?
Claressa Shields: I feel great. I’ve been training, running, I didn’t do anything different to get ready for her. I’m just ready to get in the ring and fight again and win. With the fire that woman’s boxing has, two undefeated fighters going against each other is just good for the fire right now.
Jenna J: Tori Nelson is undefeated and has a win over the well regarded Mia St. John, a knockout win. What do you think Nelson brings to the table?
Claressa Shields: I think that she just brings aggression, but other than that, I don’t think she brings anything else. I think that she’s just a pressure fighter.
Jenna J: There’s nothing that you’ve seen of her that you think could bother you at all?
Claressa Shields: No, she’s nothing that I haven’t seen before. I’ve actually run into a lot better.
Jenna J: You haven’t been taking any easy steps in your career. What do you think of the path you’ve taken in your career thus far?
Claressa Shields: I think I’m trying to take a different path than what the men take. The men pad their records up and they fight all these guys just to build their record up and fight for the big dollars. For me, it’s all about history, I’m the fastest woman to win a WBC and IBF world title, it just took me four fights. With that, I don’t have to take the same steps that the men take, where they pick and choose who they fight and then when they get the big fights, they just get in there for a paycheck.
I’m getting in there to win against everybody and I’m calling out the top girls to let them know that I’m the top girl. I’m not going to duck anybody or put anybody on a waiting list. Anybody who qualifies to get in the ring with me, I’ll be fighting against.
Jenna J: On the undercard of your fight, a very well regarded fighter, a middleweight champion, Christina Hammer will be fighting. When you see that, it suggests that you guys are angling to face each other next. What do you think of her being on the undercard?
Claressa Shields: Another great step for woman’s boxing. I’m glad that she came over here to the USA. I am angling for a fight with her. I wanted to fight her first, I don’t know why the story is being built the other way around. I wanted to fight Hammer, but she decided that she wanted to wait a whole year to fight me, that’s why I went to 168. I wasn’t going to wait on her to give me a shot at fighting for the WBC belt.
Jenna J: If you and Christina Hammer face each other, what titles are going to be on the line? Are you going to be fighting for the middleweight championship or are you both putting up your championships on the line?
Claressa Shields: I have no idea. I think it would be fair if we both put out titles on the line. It really depends on what my promoter and managers come up with, and also her team.
Jenna J: If you both weigh in under 160lbs and then you weight in again over 160lbs, you can actually face each other for both the middleweight and super middleweight championships. Do you like the idea of doing something like that?
Claressa Shields: Yeah of course, if she puts both of her belts up and I put both of my belts up, then the winner takes all. That’s the kind of person that I’ve always been. I don’t like to beat her and then she still gets to say that she’s the WBC champion at 160lbs because we didn’t fight for her belt.
Jenna J: You are the top star in woman’s boxing right now, you’ve been headlining Showtime cards on television. What do you think of the step woman’s boxing has been taking with you?
Claressa Shields: I think we’ve taken some great steps. It’s crazy that I’m the first woman to fight on a main event on Showtime on premium cable when we have had some many greats come before me. Laila Ali, Christy Martin and Lucia Rijker never had these opportunities, so I think that me fighting on Showtime and getting the recognition that I get is great for woman’s boxing. Even the money that I get paid, we’re jumping over some of those hurdles that the women haven’t been able to get over in years.