Claressa Shields moved one step closer to becoming the undisputed women's middleweight champion with another under her belt.
Shields defeated Hannah Rankin by unanimous decision (100-90, 100-90, 100-90) to retain her WBA and IBF world titles as well as pick up the vacant WBC middleweight title. The fight took place on a Matchroom Boxing USA card in Kansas that was headlined by Jarrell Miller's fourth-round knockout victory over Bogdan Dinu. It was Shields' seventh pro win as she continues her impressive start to her pro career after becoming the first American boxer to win two Olympic gold medals.
The fight was mostly one-sided as Shields used her jab right hook to control the action. Rankin was able to take everything Shields threw at her, but unable to push Shields around. Shields was the more aggressive and accurate puncher in the fight, landing 136 of her 457 punches (30 percent) while Rankin managed to land just 75 of her 385 punches (19 punches).
Shields was supposed to fight Christina Hammer in the main event of a Showtime-televised card in Atlantic City. Hammer, the WBO champion, previously held the WBC title, but after some health problems that caused the fight to be postponed, she was named "Champion in Recess" by the WBC, meaning the WBC title was put on the line in the fight between Shields and Rankin.
After the fight, Shields stated she still wants to fight Rankin with the hope that the two can meet in a fight to crown boxing's next undisputed champion in 2019. The only other woman who is called undisputed champion is longtime welterweight titleholder Cecilia Braekhus.