In what was billed as one of the most important and historical matches in the history of women’s boxing, Christina Hammer found herself in an unfamiliar position; on the losing end of the bout.
The 28-year-old Hammer entered the ring with a perfect 24-0 record and rarely losing a round in those previous 24 matches. When she faced 24-year-old Claressa Shields, who was also undefeated with a perfect record of 8-0, she struggled to win one or two rounds through the course of the 10 round fight.
Shields would go on to win the fight via unanimous decision and be declared the undisputed middleweight champion. She now holds the WBA, WBC, IBF, WBO and The Ring titles.
Hammer came out strong in the first round and landed some shots while Shields seemed flat footed and slow to react. Things changed in the second round when Shields increased her tempo and landed some solid punches. There were a few times Hammer would either clinch her opponent or get tangled up after throwing a punch at Shields, seemingly to slow down the match.
Shields was able to dictate the pace with her defence and inside game. Hammer is used to being able to use her reach and punish her opponent from the outside. Shields brought the attack inside and was able to land some solid punches from in close. Hammer would often go into the clinch to limit the damage she was taking.
There was some signs that Hammer was rebounding with a solid sixth round that saw her connect and seem to get the better of her opponent. Shields adjusted for the remainder of the fight and clearly won the last four rounds.
In the end, both women threw about the same number of punches but Shields clearly connected at a much higher rate. Shields landed 112 of 387 punches attempted while Hammer landed half as many with 49 of 366.
Shields was better defensively, seemed more composed than her opponent and looked for better opportunities. Hammer for her part noted she didn’t fight particularly well and gave respect to Shields for her performance;
“I didn’t fight very good or fast. That’s boxing, anything can happen. I wanted this fight. She won, respect to her. She’s a tough, strong woman and that’s all I can say.”
Christina Hammer and her team will need to go back, watch the fight and come up with a plan to overcome Shield’s defense and inside game. A rematch at some point in the future is pretty much guaranteed as these two boxers are clearly the best in the women’s middleweight division.