Unified women's middleweight world titleholder Claressa Shields is not going to waste any time getting back into the ring for her next defense.
Shields, the two-time U.S. Olympic gold medalist, cruised to a shutout decision over Hannah Rankin to retain her two 160-pound belts as well as add a vacant world title to her collection on the undercard of heavyweight contender Jarrell "Big Baby" Miller's fourth-round knockout of Bogdan Dinu on Saturday night in Mulvane, Kansas.
On Monday, Shields' next fight was announced. She will defend her titles against super middleweight titlist Femke Hermans, who will move down in weight for the opportunity to fight the face of women's boxing in the United States, on Dec. 8 at the StubHub Center in Carson, California.
The fight has been added to the final HBO boxing broadcast and will open what is now a "Boxing After Dark" tripleheader (10:20 p.m. ET/PT). HBO announced in late September that it would exit the boxing business at the end of the year after televising most of the biggest fights in the sport for the past 45 years.
Shields-Femke will open the card that is headlined by undisputed women's welterweight world champion Cecilia Braekhus (34-0, 9 KOs), 37, of Norway, defending her title for the 24th time when she meets Aleksandra Magdziak Lopes (18-4-3, 1 KO), 38, a Poland native fighting out of Marshfield, Massachusetts.
Shields (7-0, 2 KOs), 23, of Flint, Michigan, would like to eventually move down to junior middleweight and have Braekhus move up one division to fight her in what would be perhaps the biggest fight that could be made in women's boxing.
"I'm so excited to be fighting live on HBO and to share the stage with Cecilia Braekhus on Dec. 8," said Shields, who held unified belts at super middleweight before vacating to drop down to middleweight. "It's a great step forward for women's boxing to have the two best female fighters in the world on the same card on worldwide television."
Hermans (9-1, 3 KOs), 28, of Belgium, won a vacant super middleweight with a unanimous decision over Nikki Adler in May. In Adler's previous fight she was knocked out in the fifth round by Shields in their unified super middleweight title bout in August 2017.
"Having spent a quarter century at HBO, it will be very meaningful and memorable for me to see Claressa Shields in that ring on Dec. 8," said Mark Taffet, who manages Shields but spent 25 years at HBO Sports running the pay-per-view department.
The second of the three bouts on Dec. 8 will be the previously announced 10-round junior bantamweight fight between four-division world champion and former pound-for-pound king Roman "Chocolatito" Gonzalez (47-2, 39 KOs), 31, of Nicaragua, against former junior flyweight titlist Pedro Guevara (32-3-1, 19 KOs), 29, of Mexico.
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