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Women’s Boxing Scene Bubbling To Simmer; Showtime Offers Shields vs Gabriels June 22

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The women’s scene in the boxing realm has been heating up. It’s been marinating, and now the temp is rising, perceptibly.

HBO, which had taken a stance and stuck with it, that women’s boxing wasn’t for them, is following in the footsteps of Showtime’s leader team, which has been in the last year been giving more and more energy and space to women.

Sho is hitching their wagon to Claressa Shields, the Michigan based boxer who took gold at two Olympics.

So far, her skills are far and away ahead of the rest of the pack. And at the same time, she’s firming up her public persona, and it is a pretty complex package. Shields came from those prototypical sub humble beginnings, but, being female, there’s a different element to that hardship which makes her a role model to others who’ve been burdened similarly.

She isn’t shy about her skills, and isn’t afraid to shout it out loud and proud. That defiant pride..

..can rub some the wrong way and so, it looks like, a good portion of those who are attuned to her presence in the fistic realm might well be looking to see her get beat. Right, the Floyd Mayweather avenue…

I’m not saying I’ve talked to her and deciphered this is her plan of attack in promoting herself. It is more than possible that her proud boasts are simply organic efforts, just Claressa being Claressa, and that she isn’t working on honing a persona.

Back to the in-ring matters…Tomorrow (May 5), HBO will show a full female fight for the first time. They’ve hitched the wagon—for how far and for how long, I can’t get a sense of—to one Cecilia Braekhus..

.. who advertises herself as the best and brightest in the realm. And others owning a credible basis of knowledge in that arena agree, the 32-0 Braekhus (age 36) is the best. Her back story, she came from a nation that banned boxing, and only lifted the ban a few years ago, she was adopted at age 2, merits a second look, as she counts down to a clash with 13-6-1 Kali Reis.

And on June 22, on the Sho platform, Shields (5-0 with 2 KOs; age 23) gets her stiffest test as a pro, on paper, when she meets Costa Rican Hanna Gabriels (age 35; 18-1-1 record), in Detroit. Dmitriy Salita, her promoter, has carved out a solid niche for himself by touting Shields, and her adviser Mark Taffet, ex HBO, has the resume to convince you Shields will get to whatever finish line she’s aiming for.

“It’s our time to shine,” reads the tag line for this main event (tix info here) and to me, it’s spot on with the times we are living.

I thought it would be more so that, when I thought this nation would elect the first female to run the colonies, but that didn’t happen. Still, with the #MeToo movement continuing to march forward, and with young females helping lead the charge to activate meaningful change to our nation’s lax gun laws and epidemic of mass shootings, the push to make women’s boxing as prominent as it is in the MMA area aligns with society’s perception of the fairer sex.

Bravo to Sho, and later to the party HBO, especially if this is more than a one off, for branching out beyond the rigid norms of this sport which prides itself on not changing with the times, and allowing women the chance to be embraced.

Editor/publisher Michael Woods became addicted to boxing in 1990, when Buster Douglas shocked the world with his demolition of the fearsome Mike Tyson. The Brooklyn-based journalist Woods has covered the sport since then, for ESPN The Magazine, ESPN.com, ESPN New York, RING, and he was editor of TheSweetScience.com from 2007-2015. Woods is also an accomplished blow by blow and color man, having done work for Top Rank, DiBella Entertainment, EPIX, and numerous other organizations.

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