Showtime has announced they will be airing a four-woman tournament to decide the undisputed middleweight champion beginning with a two-fight telecast on June 22.
The Masonic Temple in Detroit will see unified WBO and WBC champion titlist Christina Hammer (22-0 10 KO’s) of Dortmund, Germany, facing off against former world champion Tori Nelson of Ashburn, Virginia, in the opening bout of the evening.
In the main event, two-time Olympic Gold Medalist and unified 168-pound champion Claressa Shields will try to become a two-division champion when she faces unified 154-pound champion Hanna Gabriels for the vacant IBF and WBA middleweight world championships.
With all four middleweight titles on the line, the winners of the two bouts are expected to meet later in the fall to determine a unified middleweight champion.
Hailing from Flint, Michigan, Shields will have the hometown advantage over Costa Rica’s Gabriels and will likely be the favorite in the tournament, having already won a decision over Nelson in January. Hammer said she will finish Nelson to show she could do what Shields couldn’t, while Nelson stated her desire to get revenge against Shields in the next round of the tournament.
Gabriels will look to spoil those plans and Shields’ homecoming by winning her sixth bout in a row, a streak that goes back to 2013.