Shields fights through first real adversity of her career to become unified middleweight champion
In the main event on Showtime live from the Masonic Temple in Detroit, Michigan Claressa Shields took on Hanna Gabriels in a women’s championship bout. The ladies met for the vacant IBF and WBA Middleweight Titles.
The bout started fast with both ladies letting their hands go as Gabriels showed a willingness to trade with Shields. Shields left herself open and was dropped by an uppercut that was followed by left hook, in an action packed first round.
Shields came out firing in the second round as both ladies let their power punches go. It almost seemed as if Shields just needed to compose herself, as she appeared to be trying to hard and not setting anything up. She was getting the best of the exchanges but Gabriels showed a willingness to stay in the pocket in a very close third round.
Gabriels began the fourth round using her movement but her punch output dropped drastically. Shields kept coming forward letting her hands go, throwing everything with bad intentions.
By the midway point, it was Shields landing the more precise and harder punches. Gabriels had her moments but they just weren’t enough. The Flint native began to take control of the bout and backing Gabriels up while landing some very good power shots at times.
Gabriels constantly went straight back which was leaving her open to Shields lead right. Going into the eighth round it was somewhat surprising that Gabriels had not been dropped as she had took some hellacious shots from Shields.
As they went into the championship rounds Gabriels showed tremendous heart, as she still looked like she wanted to win but the snap seemed to be gone from her punches. Shields let her hands go all night long at times undisciplined but effective as she constantly fought her way off the ropes.
Gabriels fought her heart out, clearly Shields’ toughest fight to date. Ultimately it was Shields improving to 6-0 with 2 KO’s defeating Hanna Gabriels (18-2,11 KO’s) by unanimous decision (98-91, 97-92 2X). With the victory Claressa Shields became unified middleweight champion. Will Shields face the other unified champion of the division in Christina Hammer next?
By: Wilson Urena