Tori “Sho Nuff” Nelson challenges IBF/WBC Super Middleweight champion Claressa Shields in the two-time Olympic gold medalist’s first title defense January 12 on the first ShoBox: The New Generation of 2018.
Tori Nelson (17-0-3, 2 KOs) respects the ability of unified Super Middleweight champion Claressa Shields (4-0, 2 KOs), but in an interview for an upcoming episode of the Pay Me No Mind podcast, the 41-year old veteran asserted that Shields has taken the path of least resistance.
Nelson opened the interview discussing last month’s second round stoppage victory over Latashia Burton in a bout held in her hometown Ashburn, Virginia. She stalked Burton through the first round, eventually pinning Burton in a corner early in round two where she unleashed a punishing body attack that left Burton violently heaving on her stool before the start of round three. The bout was stopped, giving Nelson her first win by stoppage since earning a second round technical knockout against Mia St. John in May of 2014.
By making quick work of Burton, Nelson demonstrated that she can punch with good power. Shields recently scoffed at Nelson’s power during an interview while in Flint, Michigan to support Anthony Dirrell’s homecoming bout versus Denis Douglin.
Nelson expressed more respect for Shields’ boxing skills, crediting the 22-year old champion for her ability and noting her quickness. However, Nelson adamantly stated (at the 6:45-mark) that Shields’ route to her two world titles was through a “red carpet” while she paid her dues against real fighters such as Alicia Napoleon (8-1, 5 KOs). Almost a year ago, Nelson defeated Napoleon by unanimous decision to claim the vacant Universal Boxing Federation Super Middleweight title.
In addition to questioning Shields’ power at one point in the interview, Nelson addressed the world champion Shields is on a collision course to face in arguably the most attractive fight in women’s boxing – WBC and WBO Middleweight champion Christina Hammer (22-0, 10 KOs). Nelson claims (at the 13:50-mark) her team has sent numerous contracts to Hammer without any response. She believes Hammer fighting on the same night in January is great, but added that Hammer will be out excuses once they are both victorious.
Nelson should present Shields with a far greater challenge than former champion Nikki Adler did back in August at the MGM Grand Detroit. A location about 70 miles from Shields hometown of Flint. Nelson being nearly twice the age of Shields cannot be overlooked, but with the fight being held in Verona, New York Shields will not enjoy the hometown crowds that helped create highly electrified settings for her last two ShoBox appearances. But, will a neutral site be enough for Nelson to successfully yank the red carpet from underneath the champion’s quick feet?
Photos by Bryant C. Poole, Sr/ProfilesByBryant.net