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Claressa Shields To Rematch With Hanna Gabriels On June 3rd

Claressa Shields To Rematch With Hanna Gabriels On June 3rd featured image
DETROIT, MI - JUNE 22: Claressa Shields (L) battles Hanna Gabriels of Costa Rica (R) in the sixth round during their IBF and WBA world middleweight championship fight at the Masonic Temple Theater on June 22, 2018 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

The undisputed champion of the women’s Middleweight division, Claressa Shields, will be involved in a rematch on June 3rd, but not against the opponent that was expected. After scoring a unanimous decision victory over former women’s WBO Middleweight champion Savannah Marshall, a rematch between the two had been welcomed by both fighters and apparently in the works since Savannah Marshall announced that she had activated her rematch clause to face Claressa Shields.

This is now clearly not the case with the recent announcement of Claressa Shields (13-0, 2 KO’s) facing a former opponent in Hanna Gabriels (21-2-1, 12 KO’s) instead. Hanna Gabriels, a currently world champion at both Heavyweight and Light-Heavyweight, has been a champion at different weight classes and counts only two losses on her record ― with her most recent loss coming against Shields in 2018.

Claressa Shields To Rematch With Hanna Gabriels On June 3rd image 1
DETROIT, MI – JUNE 21: Claressa Shields (L) and Hanna Gabriels pose together after their weigh-in prior to their IBF and WBA Middleweight World Championship at the Masonic Temple Theater on June 21, 2018 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

Amazingly, Hanna Gabriels has been a champion for most of her career ― a career that started in 2009. Though she had been fairly active throughout the past decade, she has recently gone through an inactive period following her match as a Light-Heavyweight where she subsequently won the WBA Light-Heavyweight and WBC Heavyweight ― with no true explicable reason as to why the latter was available at 175 lbs ― world titles in April of 2021.

Gabriels has since then not fought, and she will be moving two weight classes down compared to her last match when she faces Claressa Shields at Middleweight for all her titles. The news is a rather shocking turn of events given there had been plenty of interest in a rematch between Claressa Shields and Savannah Marshall (12-1, 10 KO’s) since their October 2022 fight.

Claressa Shields will be looking to continue the same performance she had against Hanna Gabriels last time in 2018 when she won by unanimous decision. Despite Shields’ decisive victory, the match was well-noted as one of the most competitive fights of the year and the careers of both fighters, but Claressa Shields has only grown since then and Hanna Gabriels ― now 40 years of age ― will be met with several disadvantages going against the prime-aged 28-year old Shields.

Claressa Shields’ match with the Costa Rican champion is perhaps not welcome news to fans who would prefer her to face Savannah Marshall instead, and the bout is further scrutinized by the wide age disparity between the two. Shields ― who can safely be regarded as the best female boxer in existence, if not all time ― does deserve some leeway due to consistently fighting top opponents since her pro debut.

While at 35 Gabriels may have still been arguably at her peak, but at 40 it is unlikely she is physically in her prime and able truly stand a chance against a fighter in Shields; who is undoubtedly in her prime and coming off an incredible victory against former British world champion Savannah Marshall; the only fighter to ever beat Claressa Shields in the amateurs.

The match between the two is scheduled for June 3rd and is set to be held at the Little Caesars Arena in Detroit, Michigan of the United States of America. Their previous 2018 fight also occurred in Detroit, but in another venue; the Masonic Temple.