Claressa Shields isn’t as interested in knocking out Christina Hammer as she is in making her rival quit.
Shields expressed that desire during a recent press conference in Manhattan, where they promoted their middleweight title unification fight scheduled for April 13 in Atlantic City, New Jersey.
The two-time Olympic gold medalist would take particular pride in the biggest fight of her career ending that way because the Flint, Michigan, native has developed an intense dislike for Hammer.
“We’ll see,” Shields said when Showtime’s Brian Custer asked her about potentially knocking out Hammer. “I feel like I can go in there and press her out and make her quit. That’s my main thing – if I can make her quit, that’d be better than knocking her out. Just to kill her ego and show her that, you know, not only am I a good fighter, but I made you quit now.
“Now not even did you not get knocked out, but I made you quit. I’m gonna prepare for a 10-round fight. I wish we could go 12, but, you know, I’m gonna prepare for a 10-round fight. And hopefully she brings her best self, I bring my best self and, at the end, there will be a winner.”
The 23-year-old Shields has won only two of her eight professional bouts by knockout. Each of her last four fights have gone the distance.
The IBF/WBA/WBC champ last won by knockout when she stopped Nikki Adler (16-2, 9 KOs) in the fifth round of their August 2017 battle in Detroit.
Germany’s Hammer isn’t considered a big puncher, either. The Kazakhstan native has scored knockouts in just 42 percent of her professional fights (24-0, 10 KOs, 1 NC).
Hammer, the WBO champ and the WBC’s champion in recess, was less emphatic than Shields about how she wants to win when Custer asked her about producing a knockout Tuesday.
“Everything can happen in boxing,” Hammer said, “but you have to prepare for 10 rounds – rough rounds. And yeah, everything can happen. But I think KO is the best [possible outcome]. You never know, but I want to win.”
Showtime will televise the Shields-Hammer match as the main event of a special edition of “ShoBox: The New Generation” from Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City.