The four fighters participating in “Battle of the Best”, the ShoBox: The New Generation headlined by WBC Super Middleweight World Champion Nikki Adler and two-time Olympic Gold Medalist Claressa Shields, participated in a final press conference on Wednesday in advance of Friday’s doubleheader telecast from MGM Grand Detroit.
Shields (3-0, 1 KO) will challenge Adler (16-0, 9 KOs) of Germany in just her fourth pro fight since winning Gold at the 2016 Olympics on Friday, August 4, at MGM Grand in Detroit, Mich. live on SHOWTIME (10:30 p.m. ET/PT).
In the ShoBox co-feature, world-ranked super bantamweight Vladimir Tikhonov (15-0, 9 KOs) of Russia will face Texas slugger Jesse Angel Hernandez (8-1, 6 KOs) in an eight-round bout.
Here’s what the fighters had to say on Wednesday:
“I’m preparing for this fight like any other fight. I haven’t watched any tape of her; I never do. I leave that to my coaches and they fill me in and prepare the game plan.
“This is my first time fighting in the United States so I’m very excited. Detroit it a beautiful city and everyone has been very nice to me.
“Thank you to Claressa’s team for having me. SHOWTIME has done so much for us since we arrived and made us feel at home. I was very happy when I got the phone call for this fight, and I didn’t hesitate a second.
“I came over here to win and bring back the title and the belts back to Germany. I love that this is a great opportunity for women’s boxing, and to bring back the greatness of women’s boxing.”
“This is a dream come true for me. When I was 11 years old they didn’t even have women’s boxing in the Olympics. I’m a dream chaser. That’s what I do.
“I’ve been thinking about Nikki Adler since I was 17. I looked up who was No. 1 in the rankings, because I really don’t care who is No. 2, and her name was there, and that’s when I knew we would meet someday in the ring.
“I know she can go 10 rounds; I think she can go 12. But that’s why I’ve prepared myself the best I could in the gym for this fight.
“This is just the first WBC for me. I want to go down to 160 and unify those titles, then go down to 154 and unify those belts. I know it’s just my fourth fight and it’s come fast, but I’m on the fast track to become a world champ.
“She knows she can’t beat me. You ask her how she will beat me and she says she has will. Anyone who has seen me fight knows I have more heart than anyone. You can’t just say you’re going to beat me by will.”
“I watched video of him, his loss. He’s not a bad fighter.
“Training in Detroit I learned a lot by sparring with fighters who have entirely different styles than I’m used to. In Russia, we don’t have fighters like these.
“Coming here to fight, I feel great. I love America and Detroit!
“A victory would open doors for me. Preparing for this pushed me to improve everything about my fighting style and physical fitness.”
“He’s undefeated. That says a lot. He’s undefeated for a reason. He’s a hell of a fighter. He has a good KO percentage. He sets up punches very well and he’s very calm, but let’s see how he does with an aggressive fighter who comes forward, non-stop.
“My camp was rough; the way it’s supposed to be. I was sparring with southpaws around my area, but every fighter does things a little different so there’s no way to be fully prepared for his style.
“A victory on SHOWTIME would mean the world to me. This is what I’ve been doing for almost 20 years. I’m the youngest of 15 in a boxing family. I started fighting when I was born, getting beat up by my older siblings. I’ve been getting ready for this my entire life.”
Gordon Hall, SVP of Production, SHOWTIME Sports & ShoBox: The New Generation Executive Producer
“ShoBox: The New Generation is a series about up-and-coming fighters matched tough; about tomorrow’s champions today. But occasionally we get those special fighters that show greatness earlier than others. Claressa Shields is one of those fighters.
“After just three professional fights she now faces her biggest challenge in Nikki Adler, making her third world title defense. She hasn’t come all the way over here from Germany with those belts to lose.”
Dmitriy Salita, Founder of Salita Promotions
“Claressa’s consistent success at a world class level winning two Olympic Gold Medals and numerous other international amateur tournaments is second to none. This is a significant step up but Claressa’s skills, confidence and dedication to training I believe will deliver a sensational performance. Her goals of winning numerous world titles in different weight classes shows that she is on her way to pound for pound greatness which starts on August 4th.
Claressa Shields: Nothing can help Nikki Adler against me
Two-time Olympic Gold Medalist Claressa “T-Rex” Shields (3-0, 1 KO) says she’s in the shape of her life to take on reigning WBC Super Middleweight World Champion Nikki Adler (16-0, 9 KOs) of Germany next Friday, August 4, at the MGM Grand Detroit.
Shields will challenge for her first world title in the 10-round main event of Salita Promotions’ “BATTLE OF THE BEST” event, which will be televised live on ShoBox: The New Generation (10:30 p.m. ET/PT).
Shields says she’s not rattled by Adler’s recent remarks, that the United States should be ready for their golden girl to taker her first loss. In fact, she’s never rattled. She also gives her thoughts on her recent Twitter war with another top female fighter.
Give me your thoughts on Nikki Adler’s remarks about the US being ready for her to beat you.
Nikki has to pump herself up, so she will say a lot the week of the fight. The US is ready alright… ready for its 2x Olympic gold medal winner to win her first pro world title!
Does it intimidate you or make you train harder when an opponent talks this way?
I’ve never been intimidated by anyone. I have had worse things said to me, I was gonna punish Nikki whether she talked trash or not.
Talk to me about the pressure surrounding this fight. You’re going for your first world title so early with the entire world watching.
I always have the entire world watching. Some people want me to win and some want the opposite! But I know what I can do, I’m just going to do it and dominate like always. No pressure!
Tell me about winning all these awards and coming even further to the forefront of national celebrity.
Winning awards is great; being recognized and respected is great also. I’ve done something that no other person in America has done, I’m the GWOAT!
Do you do anything different in training for a world title fight?
Yes, you focus more, recover more, spar more rounds, and drink plenty of water! I’ve never been more ready!
Do you believe Nikki Adler has never watched you fight?
No, I don’t believe she hasn’t ever watched me fight. That’s all mind games! She wants me to believe that. But in all honesty, nothing on the internet can help her in a fight against me!
Do you dislike her now?
(Laughs) Dislike is for emotional females! I love her! I’m gonna kick her ass! And give her a big thank you after.
Tell me about your Twitter feud with (fellow top female boxer) Layla McCarter. What’s going on there?
Layla McCarter talks too much. For no reason. I didn’t have a problem with her at first, but she just upset because I say I’m P4P! And it’s the truth. She is just in denial! One minute she supports me and the next she is coming at me. In her interview after she beat Szabados, a girl I TKO’d in the fourth round previous, she says she can come to 160 and beat me. Then whenever I get props, or recognition, there she is again just saying slick stuff. I had to let her have it.
What will your philosophy be as world champion if you win?
I don’t do ‘ifs.’ WHEN I become world champion, my philosophy will be to be so great that even your enemies will start to love me. God has been my rock for many years. He says ‘be humble to him,’ which I am! But I don’t have to be humble to man when I speak about my God-given ability.
To open the telecast, undefeated world-ranked super bantamweight Vladimir Tikhonov (16-0, 9 KOs) of Russia will face Texas slugger Jesse Angel Hernandez (8-1, 6 KOs) over eight tough rounds between southpaws.
Tickets for the event promoted by Salita Promotions are on sale now and are priced at $350, $250, $125 and $60. They are available at www.ticketmaster.com.