WBC super-middleweight world champion Nikki Adler and hometown favorite, two-time Olympic Gold Medalist Claressa Shields officially made weight on Thursday, one day before they headline a doubleheader tomorrow/Friday, Aug. 4 on ShoBox: The New Generation live on SHOWTIME® (10:30 p.m. ET/PT, delayed on the West Coast) from MGM Grand Detroit.
Shields (3-0, 1 KO) tipped the scales at 165 ¼ pounds with the champion Adler (16-0, 9 KOs) of Germany coming in at 166 pounds even. In the ShoBox co-feature, world-ranked super bantamweight Vladimir Tikhonov (15-0, 9 KOs) of Russia will face Jesse Hernandez (8-1, 6 KOs) of Fort Worth, Texas, in an eight-round bout. Both fighters weighed in at 123 ¼ pounds.
Shields’ good friend and newly crowned UFC Featherweight World Champion Cris “Cyborg” Justino was on hand Thursday and will walk Shields into the ring on Friday. Also in attendance at the weigh-in was a potential future Shields’ opponent, five-time world champion Christina Hammer, who is undefeated at 21-0 and currently holds the WBC and WBO Middleweight titles.
Justino and Hammer met with the media in a forum moderated by Shields’ co-manager Mark Taffet before the weigh-in.
“I never thought it would happen, that the sports of MMA and boxing would come together like it has with the upcoming Mayweather-McGregor fight,” said Justino, the former Strikeforce and Invicta FC champion. “I think it’s great and incredible and could possibly open the door for other fights between the sports.”
“I’m looking forward to watching Claressa win the fight tomorrow night,” said Hammer. “I want to see her keep winning so we can fight one day. I only want to fight the best and she seems to be one of the best.”
Nikki Adler: 166 Pounds
Claressa Shields: 165¼ Pounds
Vladimir Tikhonov: 123¼ Pounds
Jesse Angel Hernandez: 123¼ Pounds
“This fight is very big in Germany, and I know there will be a lot of eye on me. It will be 4:30 in the morning, but there will be live streaming and viewing parties.
“I’m going to be defensive in the early going and know that Claressa is going to come forward. I want to get the fight into the later rounds. It’s 10 rounds of boxing and there will be lots of action.
“I know I will be tough to knock out and have no plans of going down. Claressa has gotten all the hype so far and she wants to put on a show for her fans. I’m going to do everything I can to send those fans home upset after I beat her and carry those belts out of the ring.
“This is my second fight with my trainer Rene [Friese]. I wanted to train with the best and I need a trainer who had worked with the top fighters.
“My trainer has really been stressing strategies. We have a lot of them. The game plan is simple: Win the fight.
“Fighting for the first time in the United States is going to be amazing. I’ve only fought in Russia and Germany, so to be here in a main event on SHOWTIME is really special.”
“I feel like I’m a lot healthier and hydrated than I did fighting at 160. I’m not sluggish. I used a chef who prepared my meals for the first time and I feel great.
“I’ve known about Nikki Adler and Christina Hammer for a long time. I like both of the girls, but when it comes to getting in the ring it’s all about business.
“Technically I see that [Nikki] is very poised and calm. She’s patient, but not too patient.
“Even though she may be the bigger fighter, I know I’m the aggressor. I think I can get her out in six rounds.
“Of course everyone wants to get the big knockout, but I haven’t found the right punch that gets the girls knocked out. I’m young so I know it will come.
“I’m glad Cyborg is here to support me. She hits hard and we’ve sparred. She’s strong and she is fast. She’s picked up a lot from me, and I’ve learned from her. She’s the most feared MMA fighter, and I’m most feared in boxing. So it’s great for both women’s sports.”
“This is my first time ever in America. I’m pretty impressed with it. There’s so much to do and see, but I can’t let distractions get in the way.
“I’ve been here for about a month training at Kronk Gym. Russian fighters are known for being very disciplined, and we know the opportunity that is in front of us. There is no room for slip ups and to get lazy. This is my big shot and I’m going to take advantage of it.
“The sparring has been the biggest thing. I’ve been sparring with pros and amateurs. It’s so much more powerful here and the variety is something I would never get at home.
“I can box and I can brawl. Whatever I have to do to get the win.”
“I had a layoff of about five years and worked construction jobs because I had to pay the bills, but now I’m back and focused on boxing. “In the past I’ve been known to be too aggressive, so I’m going to try and slow things down and be a more tactical boxer.
“I have six brothers who were professional boxers and I’ve learned from them. My nickname is ‘The One’ because now I’m the only left fighting.
“I’m the youngest of 15 children, all with the same parents. We are a very close family.
“I’m a natural right-hander and I’m ready to fight a lefty like Tikhonov. I’ve fought some southpaws and I’ve been sparring with lefties.
“He’s undefeated for a reason. I don’t think he’s been in there with someone as tough as I am; as aggressive as I am.”
RENE FRIESE, Adler’s trainer
“We came all the way over here to bring home the belts back to Germany.
“We have our plan and our strategy in place. We are ready for this fight.”
JASON CRUTCHFIELD, Shields’ trainer
“There hasn’t been much smack talking for this fight. I told her you need to let your fists do your talking. Your mouth can’t help you in the ring.
“We are ready for 10 rounds. I’m not going to say it’s hard; it’s doable. It’s her first time doing it. We’ve trained for it and she’s been 10 rounds in training three or four times.”