Claressa Shields looked confused, almost in disbelief. Hanna Gabriels landed a right uppercut to Shields’ chin and knocked the 23-year-old Flint native to the mat.
Shields sat on her bottom, looking around the Masonic Temple. She was down early in her middleweight title fight Friday night. But not out.
The two-time Olympic gold medalist rebounded in the ensuing rounds, landing several shots to Gabriels’ face. By Round 5, Gabriels started showing fatigue and sluggishness, and by the sixth round, Shields was taunting her opponent to step up and box her more aggressively.
Shields (6-0, 2 KOs) downed Gabriels (18-2-1, 11 KOs) by unanimous decision in 10 rounds to claim the vacant World Boxing Association and International Boxing Federation 160-pound titles. The win makes Shields a world champion in two weight classes, as she claimed two 168-pound belts in 2017.
Clarresa Shields and Christina Hammer are expected to fight each other and sometime in near future for the undisputed Middleweight title.