Boxing News At Five

Boxing News at Five: Wilder vs. Fury II purse bid deadline passes with agreement close, Shields and Hammer meet on April 13

Tyson Fury vs Deontay Wilder
Tyson Fury has come through two contests with Deontay Wilder Esther Lin/Showtime
Deontay Wilder vs. Tyson Fury II is nearly here, while Claressa Shields vs. Christina Hammer is finally official

IT’S getting closer and closer and now seems close enough to touch.

Deontay Wilder vs. Tyson Fury, the WBC heavyweight title fight and rematch, was due to go to purse bids today (February 13) – following an earlier extension – but that, we’re informed, won’t be necessary as the two camps are “very close” to reaching an agreement.

With just hours to go before the WBC’s deadline passes, Wilder’s co-manager Shelly Finkel has stated an agreement has been delayed.

“Things have gotten delayed a little. But as far as I know, there are no issues,” he told ESPN. “I would hope the fight is completed late this week or early next week.”

Because of the imminent deal, and perhaps the fight’s imminent announcement, WBC President Mauricio Sulaiman has decided not to push through with the intended purse bid. An encouraging sign, then, for all but rival promoter Eddie Hearn, who many suspected was itching to make an offer for the fight on behalf of DAZN.

“I have been in direct communication with both parties and they have indicated that they are in goodwill negotiations,” Sulaiman said. “They are very close to reaching an agreement.

“I will monitor this matter personally and if needed will intervene within the next week.”

In other news, the WBC have ordered a wholly unnecessary interim title fight between Dillian Whyte and Dominic Breazeale, again proving good tends to follow bad and vice versa.

Tyson Fury

Undefeated middleweight world champions Claressa Shields and Christina Hammer will meet at the Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, New Jersey on Saturday, April 13 to crown the women’s undisputed 160-pound world champion.

According to a press release, it is “arguably the most significant women’s boxing event in history” and there’s certainly a solid basis to that claim. The fight, after all, features two of the consensus top-10 pound-for-pound fighters in the world – both of whom are undefeated – competing to crown only the second undisputed champion in female boxing history.

Twenty-three-year-old Shields, 8-0 (2), is a two-division champion with WBA, WBC and IBF middleweight titles to her name. Hammer, meanwhile, five years Shields senior at 28, is the WBO champion, as well as the WBC ‘champion in recess’ (I know, I know), and has been a dominant force in the middleweight division for more than eight years. She is 24-0 (11) as a pro.

“I always seek the biggest challenges and set the highest goals. I will be ready like never before and will defeat Christina Hammer on April 13,” said Shields. “Nothing will stop me from becoming undisputed champion and continuing my journey to carry women’s boxing to never-before-seen heights. I want to be the greatest of all time and change the game forever for all women in sports, and April 13 is an important step on that road to history.”

The Shields vs. Hammer fight, originally scheduled for November 2018, was postponed due to a now-resolved medical issue suffered by the German.

“I have waited a long time for this moment,” said Hammer. “I am bigger, stronger and more experienced than Claressa Shields. I am undefeated and have been a champion for over eight years. I can’t wait to show the world that I am the best and undisputed middleweight champion of the world.”

The winner of Shields vs. Hammer will join Terence Crawford, Jermain Taylor, Bernard Hopkins, Oleksandr Usyk and women’s welterweight Cecilia Braekhus as the only fighters to have unified all four major world titles in any weight class. Plenty at stake, then, with or without the daftness of two WBC titles (and therefore two WBC champions).

Claressa Shields

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