Double Olympic Champion Claressa Shields is the bookmakers' favourite for Saturday's historic unification clash with Christina Hammer, live on BoxNation.

Our man Steve Lillis canvassed the British boxing trade for their view on who will become the undisputed women's World Middleweight Champion:

TUNDE AJAYI (Leading Trainer)

Tunde Ajayi

I met Claressa when Anthony Yarde boxed in Dallas and they became friends, but I was impressed by her when we spoke. I watched a couple fights and her documentary. Wow, what a background story Claressa has.

She has home advantage, but it will have been back in the amateurs that she may have met someone as technically gifted as Hammer.

I want to see women’s boxing evolve and it needs personalities like Claressa for that to happen. It is a hard fight this weekend, but I am rooting for her.

CHANTELLE CAMERON (IBO World and WBC silver lightweight champion)

Chantelle Cameron

I think Hammer is going to try outbox Claressa with fast feet, movement and use reach. I think Shields will be coming forward with fast hands.

She will be throwing lots of combinations and out power Hammer with her strength. I think early on it'll be cagey but then Claressa will find her feet and she'll win on points.

STACEY COPELAND (Commonwealth super-welterweight champion)

Stacey Copeland

The Hammer vs Shields fight is a huge match-up for women's boxing. Both fighters bring unbeaten records and differing styles which will hopefully make for a great spectacle for fans.

Hammer has the reach advantage and is more experienced in the pro ranks, she also has a good KO rate and we saw when Shields faced Hanna Gabriels that she was vulnerable to getting caught as she was dropped early on. However, Shields is very skilled at making it her type of fight, drawing her opponent in, getting up close and letting her hands go, often with great accuracy and speed.

I care less about the result and more about the impact on the women's game. If it's a good fight, the real winner will be women's boxing.

JANE COUCH (First BBBC licensed female boxer and former IBF super-lightweight champion)

Jane Couch

You would have to go for Shields just because it’s in the USA. Hammer will have to knock her out to get a draw. It’s hard on the road and against any of the American stars and you start four rounds down. That’s not to say it can’t be done if she has travelled well and got the weight right.

Shields' boxing skills wouldn’t touch girls like Lucia Riker, Sumya Anani or Ann Wolfe, and Hammer is the better boxer. I’m not sure Hammer can take a shot from Shields. Anne Sophie Mathis hurt her in a no contest earlier in her career.

SUNNY EDWARDS (WBO European super-flyweight)

Sunny Edwards

A great fight between two of the very best and I think Shields is the number one pound-for-pound in women’s boxing.

Shields once came over and trained at the GB set-up in Sheffield for two weeks and I was there at the time. I was so impressed watching her train.

Hammer is technically sound and has a better KO record, but I think she might find it hard to overcome Shields aggression.

RICHARD FARNAN (Major female boxing matchmaker and trainer)

Richard Farnan

This is a genuine super fight for female professional boxing. At first it could be a chess match as they are both well aware of each others skills. As the fight warms up it’ll become more aggressive with some real vicious exchanges. Overall I think Shields will prevail either via a points victory or a late TKO.

DOMINIC INGLE (Leading trainer)

Dominic Ingle

I fancy Shields strongly to either force a late stoppage or a very wide points decision. Shields is stronger, aggressive and throws a lot of shots that overpower opponents. I have watched a lot of Shieds and she is very good. She has to be my pick, but there are plenty who fancy Hammer to win.

RON LEWIS (Boxing Writer)

Ron Lewis

On the face of it, this could be a tough fight to call, as both have barely lost a round in their professional careers. However, it is not difficult to be swayed by the amateur pedigree of Shields. To a large extent, the strength in depth in women’s boxing is still better in high-level amateur boxing than in the pros and it is hard to argue against two Olympic gold medals.

That said, Hammer has a big height advantage, a good jab and uses her size well, preferring to stay on the back foot and catch her opponents coming in. To win, Shields will have to close the gap quickly, but if she gets inside, I see Shields battling her way to a competitive but clear points decision.

ENZO MACCARINELLI (Former WBO world cruiserweight champion)

Enzo Maccarinelli

It is a cracking fight. I wouldn’t usually stay up to watch a women’s fight, but this is something special and I cannot miss this one on BoxNation. Both use their jab well, but I feel Hammer is better in that department.

People have mentioned Hammer’s chin as a potential weakness, but Claressa isn’t a one punch knockout artist. I watched the press conference and Claressa was saying Hammer had gone quiet and realised what she was up against, but I thought she was super cool. I have sneaky feeling Hammer will pull it off.

LISA WHITESIDE (Amateur world silver and bronze medallist, Commonwealth and EU Championships gold medallist)

Lisa Whiteside

It’s the biggest fight so far women’s boxing and it’s gonna be a close fight. They are both putting everything on the line and you will see a cracking display of women’s boxing.

Hammer throws a lot of punches and her record suggests she is the biggest puncher, but Shields physical strength comes into play. It is so hard to call and I can’t split them.


VERDICT: Shields 7, Hammer 1, Undecided 2