Flint’s Claressa Shields added the WBA middleweight title to her professional boxing portfolio that already includes WBA and IBF belts, defeating Scotland’s Hannah Rankin in a 10-round decision Saturday at the Kansas Star Casino in Mulvane, Kansas.
The two-time Olympic gold medalist was awarded the fight in a 100-90 unanimous score by three judges.
“Absolutely (Rankin) was tough and her skill set was tough,” said Shields, speaking to streaming service DAZN, which carried the fight.
Rankin (5-3, 1 KO) took the place of WBO middleweight title holder Christina Hammer, who dropped out due to a medical emergency. Rankin is one of the German fighter’s sparring partners.
A highly anticipated Shields-Hammer bout is expected to take place in 2019, according to Showtime officials.
“I’m further apart than most (women). I respect (Rankin) for accepting the challenge,” Shields said. “Christina Hammer is going to take it worse than that.”
“I knew she was going to be tough. Saw her against Alicia Napoleon. At this level everyone is tough, this is world championship boxing. No one is going to lay down.”
Shields (7-0, 2 Kos) remains undefeated as a professional. In June at the Masonic Temple, she defeated Hanna Gabriels by unanimous decision to win the WBA and IBA belts.
She also experienced her first knockdown in the fight against Gabriels. Shields said she felt different compared to her bout five months ago.
“I had all my energy and exploded when I needed to,” she said. “We did work on that in camp, we worked on placing my shots. I had some good body shots and head shots. We have been working on that for 11 weeks in camp. I’m happy with my performance.
“I need to watch my performance and give myself a grade. I give myself a B+ for now.”