Shields vs. Gabriels Breaks Records & Barriers

By Caryn A. Tate on June 27, 2018
Shields vs. Gabriels Breaks Records & Barriers
Claressa Shields unified the IBF and WBA world titles. (Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

There has been a long-standing myth in United States boxing that female fighters don’t have an audience. Shields and Gabriels shattered that notion…

Last Friday, Claressa “T-Rex” Shields (6-0, 2 KOs) fought her toughest bout yet versus Hanna “La Amazona” Gabriels (18-2-1, 11 KOs) on Showtime’s ShoBox platform. Shields was dropped in the first round for the first time in her professional career, and Gabriels’ athletic, mobile style gave the two-time Olympic gold medalist some problems. But Shields overcame the challenges, pulling ahead to win the majority of rounds and score a unanimous decision in Detroit. By winning the middleweight contest that unified the IBF and WBA world titles, Shields became a two-weight world champion, having already secured titles at super middleweight in only her fourth fight.

The match was an excellent one with action, back-and-forth flow, and superb ring skills. Just as impressive are the numbers, which have been released for the Showtime telecast.

Shields vs. Gabriels peaked at 410,000 viewers and averaged 376,000 during the live airing on Friday. To put the numbers into perspective, the event reached more viewers than the heavily hyped Anthony Joshua vs. Joseph Parker heavyweight world title unification bout aired on Showtime in March (which reached a peak audience of 379,000). Shields-Gabriels was also the most-watched ShoBox event in four years according to ESPN.

There has been a long-standing myth in United States boxing that female fighters don’t have an audience. The numbers earned by Shields and Gabriels have shattered that notion.

Check out more of Caryn’s work at http://www.CarynATate.com and follow her on Twitter@carynatate

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