Undisputed middleweight champion Claressa Shields will face the only fighter to knock her down in a pro fight, Hanna Gabriels. Earlier today, a press conference was held to formally announce their fight which will be streamed live on DAZN. Here are the quotes from the presser.
“This is a dream come true for me. Born and raised in Flint, you know I’ve come to many games here to watch the Pistons play. Me and my grandmother watched the Pistons play on TV when they won the championship and now to actually be here fighting in front of all these fans…This was unheard of in women’s boxing when I turned pro.
“I’m fighting here in Detroit in front of all my family and all my friends. Hanna Gabriels is in a real heap of trouble come June 3. Y’all want to be there because this is the fight that will solidify what I’ve been saying, that there’s no girl in this world who can get in the ring with me and take me. I’m a problem.
“I took on the biggest challenges when I turned pro and Hanna Gabriels was one of my biggest challenges. Back then, I had two belts and I was 5-0. Hanna Gabriels was 18-1 and the one girl that beat her, she came back and beat her. So, we knew Hannah Gabriels was a dog.
One day after kicking off her historic June 3 fight in Detroit @Claressashields is speaking at the @WhiteHouse to bring focus to the plight of #Flint water crisis and resulting higher cancer rates. Bravo champ👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻💪🏿💪🏿!! @SalitaProm @PFLMMA pic.twitter.com/D0w6HPunPa
— Mark Taffet (@MarkTaffetMedia) April 19, 2023
“The knockdown pissed me off because it was a flash knockdown. After the fight I was very upset and very frustrated and I said ‘I want to fight her some more.’ I wanted to do the rematch immediately.
“I beat her unanimously after being knocked down and this time I don’t want a unanimous decision. I want the knockout. She’s able to get knocked out, it’s happened to her before. I’m able to get knocked down. It happened to me before, but I got back up and won.
“I have traveled the world and fought girls who were way bigger than Hanna Gabriels and come out on top, so I don’t know why anyone would say I’ve been ducking her. That’s a lie. I haven’t ducked anyone.
“I’m from Flint, Michigan. I want all the smoke. Whoever got the smoke, let’s go. Let’s fight.”
“I’m so honored to be here. It’s a privilege to be here in Detroit and hopefully we bring a war again that people will enjoy.
“We were here in 2018. I remember that fight was a great fight. I think it was a close fight and I wasn’t mad about Claressa winning. I was mad about the cards, because I think I didn’t deserve those cards. Even for your fights afterwards, I don’t think the other girls gave you as much of a fight and they did better on the cards, so I am here to redeem myself.
“Two years ago, you fought for the undisputed at 154 and I was still the champion there and you avoided me for whatever reason. I am here to take what’s yours at 160.
“I am very honored. I am very proud of Claressa. She’s done so much, she’s the face of women’s boxing and she is actually the greatest. She has accomplished so much. It’s not only about the ring, but she has handled pressure. She has backed up her words.
“She said she’ll beat my ass again and I thought it was a strong word because I didn’t feel like I’d been beaten. But we have the opportunity to do it again.
“For me, this fight is about heritage. My father used to box and just recently we were speaking about that, and he was telling me some stories about my grandfather, who was a street fighter and my Great Grandfather, who participated in the construction of the rails of the train in Costa Rica when there was slavery in Costa Rica. So it is about heritage today. I am so honored to carry so much and to bring it to this fight and to bring Costa Rica with me.”
DMITRIY SALITA, President of Salita Promotions
“The legacy of big-time boxing in Detroit will continue on June 3, when Claressa Shields makes a defense of her undisputed middleweight belts against current light heavyweight world champion Hanna Gabriels of Costa Rica.
“Claressa versus Hanna Gabriels first happened in 2018. Hanna was a top-10 pound-for-pound fighter and a world champion. When we started working with Claressa, she told me ‘Dmitriy, please make the biggest and the best fights.’ Many told us that it was too big of a step, but Claressa believed in herself.
“Claressa Shields is known as ‘The GWOAT.’ As a young girl growing up in Flint, Michigan, one of the most challenging places in the United States, every day of her life she made the choice to stay away from bad influences. She made a choice to go to the gym and became an Olympic gold medalist and only accomplished more and more from there. Claressa is incredible inside the ring and incredible outside the ring.”