SAN DIEGO, Calif., January 13, 2018 – Two-time Olympic gold medalist Claressa Shields of Flint, Michigan pitched boxing’s equivalent of a shutout in a 10-round unanimous decision over Tori Nelson of Ashburn, Virginia. Scores were 100-90 on all three judges’ scorecards. Shields retained her WBC and IBF world super middleweight belts with ease.
Nelson (17-1-3, 2 KOs), 41 years old, was visibly smaller in the ring compared to Shields (5-0, 2 KOs), 22 years old, and slower. Nevertheless, Nelson brought an undefeated record and a history as a champion at welterweight and super welterweight. She also brought the sort of determination born of experience. Nelson wasn’t about to make it easy for Shields.
Shields put in solid work and she showed improving skills as a professional. Her body work against Nelson was notable, and Shields will be smart to continue developing her body attack as she faces more skilled opposition. Here, Shields was the cleaner fighter by far, landing crisp jabs and hooks nearly at will. In comparison, Nelson had a lot of trouble finding the target, even when she backed Shields into a corner.
Nelson is ring tested and her toughness allowed her to finish every round, never really in any serious danger. It made for an enjoyable show and allowed fans who haven’t watched many women’s bouts see the female athletes deploy the same skills as the men.
Shields landed three times more total punches than Nelson, 221 to 82. This was the story of the fight.
Watching Claressa Shields fight ringside for the second time was 27-year-old undefeated German WBC/WBO middleweight champion Christina Hammer. One of boxing’s biggest female stars worldwide, a fight between Hammer and Shields is something to get excited about. Shields says she’s more than willing to drop weight to fight Hammer and doesn’t think it will be difficult. “As far as Hammer fighting me, I think she’s scared of me… She’s more worried about me than I am of her. I’m going to kick Hammer’s ass.
“I think it will definately be a different style fighter… With Hammer, they think she’s better skilled than me. I can’t wait to fight her and show her that she isn’t.” Expect a few tune-up fights at the lower weight before the fight between Claressa Shields and Christina Hammer is made.
Super bantamweights Jesse Hernandez (11-1, 7 KOs) and Ernesto Garza III 9-3, 5 KOs) put on an entertaining scrap in the co-feature. Garza, 29, of Saginaw, Michigan, was the stronger fighter in the early rounds, pressuring Hernandez and scoring a knockdown late in the second round as Hernandez dropped to his knees near the bell. Perhaps it was the wake-up call Hernandez needed. Hernandez, 27, of Fort Worth, Texas, began to hit his stride as Garza slowed down, winning the middle rounds with effective and accurate punches. Garza didn’t allow Hernandez to take over though, keeping the action coming. But Garza lacked the power to stop or even rattle Hernandez. As it went to the judges’ scorecards after 10 rounds, it was a close call. Hernandez prevailed by split decision.
The opening bout on the ShoBox card from the Turning Stone Resort in Verona, New York pitted two undefeated junior welterweights in a scheduled eight-round bout.
Shohjahon Ergashev (11-0, 11 KOs) maintained his perfect record and 100 percent stoppage rate with a third round technical knockout of Sonny Fredrickson (18-1, 12 KOs). The 26-year-old Ergashev, a native of Uzbekistan now fighting out of Brooklyn, New York, came out aggressive and stayed aggressive against the 23-year-old Toledo, Ohio native Frederickson. Ergashev punished Frederickon with left hooks in the third round he was increasingly unable to answer. As referee Benjy Esteves kept a close eye on the bout, it was the ringside physician who called for the fight to come to an end at 1:58 of the round.
Gayle Lynn Falkenthal is an award-winning boxing journalist covering the Sweet Science for Communities and for boxing fans worldwide. Read more Ringside Seat in Communities Digital News.
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