Claressa Shields vs. Christina Hammer middleweight unification fight set for April on Showtime

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The second time is expected to be the charm when unbeaten middleweight champions Claressa Shields and Christina Hammer square off on April 13 to crown an undisputed queen at 160 pounds. 

The bout, which will air live on Showtime (9 p.m. ET) from Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, New Jersey, is considered by many to be the most significant event in women's boxing history. Originally scheduled for last November, the fight was postponed when Hammer pulled out due to a now-resolved medical issue. 

"I always seek the biggest challenges and set the highest goals. I will be ready like never before and will defeat Christina Hammer on April 13," said Shields. "Nothing will stop me from becoming undisputed champion and continuing my journey to carry women's boxing to never-before-seen heights. I want to be the greatest of all time and change the game forever for all women in sports, and April 13 is an important step on that road to history."

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In the span since the fight was first announced last September, Shields (8-0, 2 KOs) has stayed busy with a pair of decision wins in consecutive months over Hannah Rankin and Femke Hermans to defend her IBF, WBA and WBC titles. Hammer (24-0, 11 KOs), the WBO champion (and WBC champion in recess), last competed in June 2018, a unanimous decision victory over Tori Nelson. 

The 28-year-old Hammer, a native of Kazakhstan who fights out of Germany, has dominated the women's middleweight division for eight years. She appeared on the same card as the 23-year-old Shields, a two-time Olympic gold medalist from Flint, Michigan, in June as the pair of pound-for-pound top-10 fighters continued to build towards a fight that first began brewing in August 2017 when Hammer approached Shields after her win over Nikki Adler and traded words. 

The fight is the first four-belt unification bout in women's middleweight history, and the winner will join current undisputed women's welterweight champion Cecilia Braekhus, along with current and former men's champions Terrence Crawford, Jermain Taylor, Bernard Hopkins, Oleksandr Usyk as the only fighters to hold all four recognized titles in the same division. 

"I have waited a long time for this moment," said Hammer. "I am bigger, stronger and more experienced than Claressa Shields. I am undefeated and have been a champion for over eight years. I can't wait to show the world that I am the best and undisputed middleweight champion of the world."

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Brian Campbell covers MMA, boxing and WWE. The Connecticut native joined CBS Sports in 2017 and has covered combat sports since 2010. He has written and hosted various podcasts and digital shows for ESPN... Full Bio

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