By Jim Dower: IBF/WBC World Female super middleweight champion Claressa ‘T-Rex’ Shields (5-0, 2 KOs) successfully defended her titles on Friday night in defeating 41-year-old previously unbeaten challenger Tori Nelson (17-1-3, 2 KOs) by a one-sided 10 round unanimous decision at the Turning Stone Resort & Casino in Verona, New York.
The judges’ scores were 100-90, 100-90 and 100-90.
About the only thing positive you can say about the fight is Nelson did an admirable job of taking the much younger, faster, bigger and stronger 22-year-old Shields’ best shots the entire fight.
In round 2, Shields was looking a little wild while trying to load up on her shots to try and KO Nelson. Shields landed some big punches in round 2, but she was tiring herself out by throwing amateurish looping power shots. Shields didn’t fight like a fighter with the kind amateur experience that she came into the fight with. She looked more like a fighter just now learning the trade. Nelson landed some good 1-2 combinations in the round, but only because of how sloppy Shields were.
Nelson walked into a big right hand from Shields in round 3. Shields fought a lot better in this round in connecting with body and head shots. Shields seemed to be thinking more in this round rather than fighting on adrenalin while trying to score a knockout. It was a one-sided round.
In round 4, Shields was connecting with her jab and following it up with right hands. Nelson blocked a lot of Shields’ jabs and fired back with her own shots. Shields got the better of the action, but Nelson showed that she wasn’t going to give up.
Shields put her punches together better in round 5 in landing combinations. Nelson was letting Shields know after she would connect with something that she wasn’t bothered by her punches. Shields was doing all the landing. Nelson showed her toughness by taking the punishment.
In rounds 6 through 10, Shields was hitting Nelson whenever she wanted. However, Shields’ punches had no effect on Nelson. She took the blows well. Nelson, 41, took some major shots, but she kept her composure and continued to come forward behind her steady jab and left-right combinations. Shields was trying hard to score a knockout in the last 4 rounds, but she was too wild with her punches and there was no power on her shots. At times, Shields looked like a rank amateur, and I’m not talking about amateur boxing. She looked like she had just lacked up her gloves for the first time. That’s one of the reasons why Nelson was able to go the distance.
The difference in talent was apparent from the outset, as the 2-time U.S Olympian Shields was he far more skilled fighter of the two. Nelson was out of her element. Shields was hitting her with shots to the head and body, and not getting hit back with much of anything. Given the difference in amateur experience between the two fighters, Shields should have been able to wipe the deck with Nelson. The fact that she couldn’t suggests that it really doesn’t help women fighters all that much for them to invest a lot of time in fighting in the amateurs. If someone like Nelson was able to hang with a female fighter like Shields, it indicates that female fighters can get up to speed quickly in boxing without needing many years to learn the trade the way men do.