The women’s boxing scene is on a steady light simmer now in the US with plans being made to try and turn that into a rigorous simmer and work that to a boil.
Maybe the most prominent player to be getting that push is Michigan’s Claressa Shields, promoted by Dmitriy Salita and advised by ex HBO executive Mark Taffet. It is looking like she is on a collision course with Kazakhstan born and German-based hitter Christina Hammer. Thus, I wanted to get to know more about this Hammer, who will fight on the undercard of a set of scraps topped by Shields, who will defend her 168 title in Detroit vs. Tori Nelson.
I asked Hammer, through an interpreter, about getting into boxing…Why did she get started?
“My family and I are sports lovers, often we watch televised boxing fights,” the 27 year old pugilist told me. “I was inspired by my uncles who are boxing trainers, and at the age of 13 years old I was so interested in the sport of boxing that I started training with my uncles at the gym. Boxing is a very hard and intense sport and I love everything about it, the feeling of stepping into the ring to fighing against another boxer!”
And what about her upbringing? “I came to Germany as a baby, I was only 1 years old at the time. My parents left Kazakhstan as they saw a better future for the whole family in Germany, better education and quality of life. I had a good childhood growing up in Germany. My parents raised me to never give up, and instilled in me this motto: ‘If you want something fight for it.’ My parents support me at every fight, and that's imprtant to me in my life.”
She gives a shoutout to her 82 year old coach Dimitri Kirnos, who has been training her for eight years and her friends know she loves fashion, shoes and modeling.
And her life in Germany….can she share on that?
“I like Germany, there are many opportunities, women's boxing is becoming a trending sport. I'm trying to push it forward in my own way because I feel I'm a different type of female boxer.”
And, what one pro fight did she learn most from…and why?
“Some fights are speacial like the Hammer vs Sophie Ann Mathis fight (in 2014), however every fight is a learning experience for me. For example in the Mathis fight, I learned that fighting at light middleweight wasn't ideal for me. I cut a lot of weight and did not feel like myself. Fighting at middleweight I feel a lot stronger. The unification fight against Kali Reis (November 2016) was a very good experience, Kali is a tough, strong and an aggressive fighter.” And
Her thoughts on fighting in the US next month?
“I'm sooo glad to be fighting in the USA, It’s a dream of mine to be successful in the US and I can't wait to show the US public who Christina Hammer is!”
Thoughts on your foe?
“I will be fighting against Lisa Garland and my prediction is, I will be giving my best performance and showcasing my good boxing skills. A knockout would be great, however I don't want to say I will knock her out. We will see in the ring if it's possible to do, of course if possible I will take advantage of the opportunity!”
And are there fights she will want in the near future?
“My fight against Claressa Shields is the most important to me, which I feel can be the biggest female fight ever. In March/April after my U.S debut, I would like to fight Maricela Cornejo or Alicia Napoleon.”
Salita, no surprise, is high on Hammer. “Christina has all the tools to become a star in the US,” the Brooklyn based dealmaker said. “Her skills, personality and appeal outside the ring make Christina a unique and special fighter in the talent-filled middleweight division. I believe 2018 is going to be a historic year for women's boxing all over the world. Shields versus Hammer would be the biggest fight in woman’s boxing of all time!”