VERONA, N.Y. (AP) – Two-time Olympic boxing champion Claressa Shields scored a unanimous 10-round decision over Tori Nelson on Friday night at Turning Stone Casino to retain her women’s WBC and IBF super middleweight world titles.
Each of the three judges scored the fight 100-90 for Shields (5-0, 2 KOs), of Flint, Michigan, who was nearly 20 years younger than her opponent. The 41-year-old Nelson (17-1-3, 1 KO), who won a middleweight world title in 2011 but had only fought twice since June 2015, lost for the first time in her career.
Nelson, of Ashburn, Virginia, took the fight to Shields at the outset, but as the bout wore on the young champion proved to be the more skilled boxer, able to avoid Nelson’s big hooks and using her jab to keep her foe at bay.
Nelson did land a sharp body shot in the seventh round as she put Shields on the ropes and landed several more punches, but the 22-year-old Shields, who likes to boast she’s the greatest of all-time, managed to dodge most of the hard punches and landed a right hand that stunned Nelson and sent her backward.
In the final round, Nelson was swinging wildly looking for a knockout while Shields methodically landed punches to the head, missing a couple of big ones. The fight ended with a strong left hand from the champion.
Shields pummeled Nikki Adler last August to win the two super middleweight titles. That lopsided fight, Adler’s first loss in 17 bouts, was stopped in the fifth round. Shields’ combinations left Adler defenseless in a matchup of previously unbeaten boxers.
WBO and WBC middleweight champion Christina Hammer (21-0, 9 KOs) watched that bout near the ring, scouting potential opponents. Shields said after her victory Friday night, which was televised live on Showtime, that she could easily go down in weight to face Hammer, who is from Kazakhstan and was there again to watch.
“I think she’s pretty scared, to be honest. She’s more worried about me than I am her,” Shields said after her win. “I can’t wait to fight her and show her that she isn’t (better than me).”
Shields is the first woman to headline a fight card on premium cable, also doing so in March and again in August on Showtime. She’s also the only American, male or female, to win a boxing gold medal since Andre Ward captured one at Athens in 2004. The only other U.S. boxer to win two Olympic gold medals is Oliver Kirk, who took the bantamweight and featherweight titles at the 1904 Olympics in St. Louis.
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