DSH Boxing Notebook: Claressa Shields wins title, Mayweather-McGregor undercard set

August 10, 2017

This week's version of the DSH Boxing Notebook discusses the latest news in the sweet science, and highlights the recent accomplishment by exciting young female boxing sensation, Claressa Shields . . .

Mayweather-McGregor undercard announced

Two world championship fights, including a title defense by America’s youngest world champion, are part of the trio of undercard matchups on the Floyd Mayweather versus Conor McGregor Showtime PPV undercard on Saturday, August 26, from T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

In the co-featured bout, undefeated rising star Gervonta Davis (18-0, 17 KOs) will make the second defense of his IBF Junior Lightweight World Championship against undefeated challenger Francisco Fonseca (19-0-1, 13 KOs), as the 22-year-old looks to continue his reign as the youngest current champion from the U.S.

"I'm really excited to fight as the co-main event on the biggest card in combat sports history,” said Davis. “I plan to put on a great show for everyone in attendance in Las Vegas and for those who purchase the PPV. I want to thank my team for this incredible opportunity. I'm ready for Floyd Mayweather to pass his torch to me."

WBA Light Heavyweight Titlist Nathan Cleverly (30-3, 16 KOs) will defend his title against former 168-pound world champion Badou Jack (21-1-2, 12 KOs), who is stepping up in weight and into this world title bout.

"This is a fight I have wanted ever since Badou Jack moved to light heavyweight and I'm delighted to fight in Vegas on an event like this,” said Cleverly. “I've trained long and hard for this fight and I'm ready to be let off the leash. This is the biggest fight of my career so far and I'm going to do a number on Badou Jack on August 26."

Jack is coming off a recent draw to James DeGale.

“I’m thankful for this opportunity and I’m excited about getting another shot at a world title,” said Jack. “To be a part of this event and fighting on this card is historic. Nothing beats it. I’m excited to get back in the ring. I’m getting ready to take that belt, and win a title in my second weight class. The biggest difference between past training camps and preparing for this fight is the fact that I was training to get the weight down, now I’m training to build muscle and perfect my boxing strategy.”

The pay-per-view telecast will open with undefeated rising cruiserweight contender Andrew Tabiti (14-0, 12 KOs) taking on two-time world champion Steve “U.S.S.” Cunningham (29-8-1, 13 KOs) in a 10-round bout for the USBA cruiserweight title.

"This is one of the biggest cards of the decade and its mind blowing to be a part of it,” said Cunningham. “I have to top it off with a victory. Taking on a good, undefeated young prospect is a challenge in itself, but a victory will prove age is just a number. Hard work is a part of my everyday life."

Shields wins first title

In a dominant performance, hometown favorite Claressa Shields captured the WBC and IBF Super Middleweight World Championships via technical knockout in just her fourth professional fight Friday night in Detroit.

“I’m happy and blessed. I got the TKO. I knocked out the world champion who was 16-0,” Shields told Showtime analyst Steve Farhood in the ring after the fight. “I had trained for a hard fight and was prepared to go all 10. It was not going to be a war.”

The 22-year-old Shields (4-0, 2 KOs) of Flint, Michigan, annihilated the previously undefeated Nikki Adler (16-1, 9 KOs) of Germany, dominating the fight from start to finish as referee Michael Griffin waved the fight off at 1:34 of Round 5.

Moments after the historic victory, Farhood said on the telecast: “I don’t remember a fighter winning a world title with a more dominating performance, male or female. Adler was outclassed.”

After accepting her new belts from Adler, Shields met face-to-face with a possible future opponent in five-time world champion Christina Hammer, who is undefeated at 21-0 and currently holds the WBC and WBO Middleweight titles.

“It was a good fight, but you are not as good as me,” said Hammer, who joined Shields in the ring after the stoppage. “I’ll beat you and Adler, both. Anytime. Anywhere.”

Shields looked eager to face her potential new foe.

“I think I showed Christina she better keep her hands up,” Shields said. “She saw that I’m fast and I’m stronger than I look. I know she’ll be prepared if we fight next year.”

Adler, who didn’t land any punches in the first, second and fifth rounds, landed just seven percent of her punches (6 of 84) on the night compared to 40 percent for Shields (136 of 340).

“Now that I have faced Claressa Shields, I can tell you Christina Hammer cannot beat her,” Adler said. “She will lose.”

Adler then commented on her lackluster performance.

“I felt tired and weak in the ring,” Adler said. “Claressa was definitely the better fighter tonight. I will be back. Of course, I’m very disappointed about losing a fight, but it’s part of boxing. I was never hurt during the fight, but I had no strength and felt fatigued. I don’t know why. I couldn't do the things I wanted to.”

In the ShoBox co-feature, Jesse Hernandez (9-1, 7 KOs) of Fort Worth, Texas, overpowered the previously undefeated world-ranked Vladimir Tikhonov (15-1, 9 KOs) of Russia with a fifth-round TKO victory (2:25). Tikhonov became the 167th fighter to lose his undefeated record on the ShoBox series in the eight-round super bantamweight bout.

The 26-year-old Hernandez, the youngest of 15 children, connected on 45 percent of his power punches (121 to 271) against Tikhonov’s 35 percent (85 to 245).

“I could feel my body shots were affecting him,” Hernandez said. “He had no power. Never hurt me. I knew he was never going to be able to withstand my power. He was wearing down. I heard him grunting whenever I threw a body shot.”

The 27-year-old southpaw Tikhonov, who spent the past four weeks training at the famed Kronk Gym in Detroit, opened the competitive fight on the outside, with Hernandez more of the aggressor during the first two rounds.

Hernandez landed a big right hand that staggered Tikhonov halfway through the ropes as round three ended. Hernandez dominated the fourth round with some excellent body work, landing shots to Tikhonov’s stomach.

Hernandez began bleeding on the side of his head in the fifth round. But that did not seem to faze him as he continued to batter Tikhonov with body shots and connecting with jabs from both sides with the fight waved off by referee Ansel Stewart at 2:25 of the fifth round.

“His strength was the key,” Tikhonov said. “It was a physical fight and he was the stronger more pressured fighter.”

Talkin' Smack

"Obviously anything can happen in boxing. Anything can happen at any point, at any time, more so when both fighters can punch, when they both have punching power. You know, you can have a fighter that might not be a big puncher, but if he connects that perfect punch at the right spot, he can knock down anybody."

"I had the opportunity to personally meet Senator McCain in Washington, D.C. in February 2015 and am saddened to hear of his present health issues.  My thoughts and prayers go out to Senator McCain for a speedy and full recovery.  As with God, anything is possible."

"People ask me about Orlando Salido.  My answer is that I fight for Top Rank and will take on who they schedule for me.  But I would like to welcome Salido to Lomachenko University in the ring some day."

OSCAR DE LA HOYA, on Canelo-Golovkin & Mayweather-McGregor
"We're concentrating on our fight. We're concentrating on our event, our fight. Obviously we have the real fight. We have a serious fight. This is a serious fight, a serious event. Two of the best fighters fighting each other. And I think that the fans have recognized that. And they've recognized that, and so have the sponsors and a lot of the media people. They've recognized that this is the real fight. This is the fight that they want to be at. This is the fight that they want to see. A clear indication is we sold out in ten days. And I feel like that the fans are recognizing that this is the fight that is the real fight."

"I like living and training in Oxnard. It reminds me of the small town I grew up in Ukraine."

Main Events signs Frank Galarza

Main Events continues to add to their roster with the signing of Brooklyn super welterweight Frank Galarza (17-2-2, 11 KOs). Galarza, 31, made his professional debut in 2010 as a highly-prized prospect. He built up a fan base in the New York area with his all-action style, while remaining undefeated for six years. He suffered two losses following some inactivity and promotional issues. Now, with a new promoter and a new manager, Galarza is ready to resume his climb to the top of the hot 154 pound division.

After nearly a year-long break, Galarza can't wait to re-enter the ring and is excited to be fighting under the Main Events' banner.

"I am just one of those fighters who will never turn down anyone," said Galarza. "I will fight anyone. I wanted to work with Main Events because I have seen what they have done in the past. I like the way they move their fighters. I have seen what they have done with Curtis Stevens and, for me, I just felt that it was a perfect fit. After speaking with Kathy [Duva] and Jolene [Mizzone], I just knew it was right."

Frank carries the same passion that he feels for his boxing career into his personal life. He believes it is imperative that he give back to his community. In addition to his rigorous schedule training, his day job as a personal trainer, and parenting his first child, seven-month old daughter, Joy, he is also heavily involved in a youth program he founded in 2014 called Youth Fighting Forward that currently operates in Brooklyn and Danbury, CT.

Shawn Porter named Boxer of the Year by the Nevada Hall of Fame

Former world champions Shawn Porter and Layla McCarter were chosen as Nevada Men’s and Women’s Pro Boxers of the Year, respectively, and will be honored by the Nevada Boxing Hall of Fame at a gala induction ceremony on Saturday, August 12 at Caesars Palace.

Michelle Corrales-Lewis, the Hall’s CEO, also announced five other awards, including the male and female Amateur Boxer of the Year for the state of Nevada.

“With our amazing inductees, these award winners guarantee us a star-studded roster of deserving recipients,” Corrales-Lewis said. “We are proud to be able to recognize these athletes for their exemplary accomplishments.”

Porter rebounded from a loss to Keith Thurman in an amazing battle with a gritty, hard-fought victory over Andre Berto that has kept him in the title picture.

Porter wore Berto down with his physicality and constant pressure and stopped the ex-champion in the ninth round. The win improved Porter’s record to 27-2-1 with 17 KOs and kept him in the middle of the title chase.

McCarter scored two victories, winning a decision over Melissa Hernandez and stopping Szilvia Szabados in the seventh round to run her current winning streak to 16.

Other fighters to be honored are Yarisel Ramirez, as the Nevada Female Amateur Fighter of the Year; Emiliano Fernando Vargas as the Nevada Male Amateur Fighter of the Year; Kevin Newman as the Nevada Male Prospect of the Year; and Latondria Jones, the Nevada Female Prospect of the Year.

They will be recognized at the gala induction dinner on Aug. 12. Inductees are Thomas Hearns; brothers Leon and Michael Spinks; Michael Carbajal; Erik Morales; Salvador Sanchez; Lucia Rijker; Ken Norton, Richie Sandoval; Davey Pearl; Debbie Munch; Mel Greg; Rafael Garcia and Dr. Elias Ghanem.

Fidel Maldonado to face Ismael Barroso on October 13

After capturing the WBC FECARBOX Super Lightweight title less than two months ago, Fidel Maldonado, Jr.  (24-3-1, 19 KOs) will put his belt on the line against former Interim World Lightweight Champion Ismael Barroso (19-1-2, 18 KOs) in the 10-round main event of the October 13 edition of Golden Boy Boxing on ESPN at Fantasy Springs Resort Casino in Indio, California.

Maldonado, Jr., a 26-year-old native of Albuquerque, New Mexico, is coming off three impressive victories. His most recent victory was against Cano in a back-and-forth fight in which Maldonado, Jr. dug deep to overcome a fourth-round knockdown before eventually winning by split decision. The new WBC FECARBOX champion is a young, but seasoned professional with tough fights against Amir Imam and Michael Perez on his resume.

Barroso, a heavy-handed 34-year-old southpaw out of El Tigre, Venezuela, is a former interim world lightweight champion who has scored knockouts in 18 of his 19 victories, including a fifth-round technical knockout over longtime contender Kevin Mitchell. Barroso is coming off the lone defeat of his career to former WBA World Lightweight Champion Anthony Crolla, and is hungry to get back on the winning track.

In the co-main event, Pablo Cesar "El Demoledor" Cano (30-6-1, 21 KOs) of Mexico will take on Marcelino "Nino" Lopez (32-2-1, 17 KOs) of Buenos Aires, Argentina in a 10-round super lightweight bout.

Bronze medalist Nico Hernandez to have third pro fight on September 23

Nico Hernandez, a Wichita-native and 2016 Olympic bronze medalist, will have his third professional fight on Saturday, September 23, at Hartman Arena in Park City, Kansas.

"I'm very fortunate that my promoter, John Andersen (KO Night Boxing), has worked hard to make my third pro fight at home," Hernandez said. "I'm very excited to be able to show boxing at its best.

Hernandez (2-0, 2 KOs) will face the stiffest test of his young pro career, Mexican flyweight Francisco Lapizco (8-5, 2 KOs), in the six-round main event.

"My opponent has never been stopped," said Hernandez. "Obviously, he has more professional experience than me, and I understand he likes putting pressure on his opponent. I want to be the first to stop this guy. I also want the boxing world to know I'm coming for belts. Champions should get ready for Nico Hernandez."

In his professional debut on March 25th, Hernandez knocked out Patrick Gutierrez in the fourth round, and this past June 17th at Hartman Arena, the 21-year-old U.S. Olympian stopped previously undefeated Jose Rodriguez in the third round of the main event.

Lapizco, 22, has already defeated an unbeaten opponent, Cesar Sustaita (3-0), three years ago at Ontario, California. His last fight was this past January at home in Sinaloa, Mexico, in which Lapizco won a six-round unanimous decision over Jairo Miranda.

By Staff of TheDailySportsHerald.com and news services

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