Claressa Shields wins decision over Hanna Gabriels; Hammer next?

Claressa Shields wins decision over Hanna Gabriels; Hammer next?
Posted at 12:56 AM, Jun 23, 2018
and last updated 2018-06-23 00:56:03-04

DETROIT (AP) -- Claressa Shields recovered from a first-round knockdown to unanimously outpoint Hanna Gabriels on Friday night.

Gabriels appeared to catch Shields with a right uppercut around the midway point of the first round, sending the two-time Olympic champion to the canvas, but with a partisan crowd at Masonic Temple cheering her on, Shields (6-0) recovered quickly and remained undefeated.

An impressive stretch at the end of the sixth round seemed to indicate the fight had turned in Shields' favor. The judges apparently thought so, scoring the 10-round fight 97-92, 98-91 and 97-92 for the 23-year-old from nearby Flint.

Shields was already a champion at the super middleweight level, and Gabriels (18-2-1) is a champ at 154 pounds. They met in this bout as middleweights, and Shields took the vacant IBF and WBA titles with her win.

Now the talk immediately turns to a possible fight between Shields and Christina Hammer, the unbeaten German who defended her WBC and WBO middleweight titles by outpointing Tori Nelson on Thursday night immediately before the Shields-Gabriels fight. Hammer was still on hand and actually made her way into the ring after Shields' victory, leading to a good deal of commotion.

After the 10-round fight between Hammer and Nelson, Shields and Gabriels produced a bout worthy of a main event, with both boxers willing to slug it out in enough wild exchanges to keep the crowd fired up.

Before Hammer and Nelson fought, Umar Salamov (21-1) stopped Brian Howard (13-2) in the ninth round for the IBF North American light heavyweight title.

Earlier on the undercard: Aslambek Idigov (13-0) outpointed James Ballard (10-2) in a 10-round light heavyweight fight; Leon Lawson (7-0) outpointed Javier Frazier (8-3-1) in a six-round super welterweight fight; Bakhtiyar Eyubov (14-0) stopped Nicholas Givhan (21-2-1) in the seventh round for the USBA Great Lakes region welterweight championship; Ja'Rico O'Quinn (9-0-1) stopped Yaqub Kareem (14-10-1) in the fourth round of a bantamweight fight; Joseph Bonas (4-0) stopped Michael Klekotta (1-3) in the first round of a welterweight fight; and Apti Davtaev (15-0-1) stopped Cory Phelps (16-11-1) in the second round of a heavyweight fight.