Claressa Shields, Fightful's Female Boxer of the Year for 2017 started her 2018 on the right foot: dominating in her first world title defense.
Shields defended her unified WBC and IBF Female super middleweight titles by handily winning a 10-round decision against former world champion Tori Nelson (100-90, 100-90, 100-90) on January 12. The fight was the main event of Showtime's first boxing telecast of the new year, a ShoBox: The New Generation show that featured three fights in its broadcast. The 22-year-old champion took control of the fight from the start, landing power punches to Nelson throughout the entire fight.
“I think she wasn’t a walkover, but I did say I was better skilled and that I was stronger. She definitely did what I thought she was gonna do, be aggressive, try to pin me against the ropes. She did her game plan, but I just did more,” Shields said in a post-fight interview.
Shields had a career year in 2017 after turning pro in ate 2016. Shields won all three of her fights last year, including the unified world titles. With the win over Nelson, Shields improved her pro record to 5-0 after being the first American boxer to win two Olympic gold medals.
The next time Shields will fight will likely be in April with the possibility of setting up a fight with unified middleweight champion Christina Hammer. The plan is for Shields to eventually move down in weight so that she can challenge for Hammer's WBO and WBC titles.