HBO Boxing Preview: Shields vs. Hermans, Estrada vs. Mendez, Braekhus vs.

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HBO Boxing Preview: Shields vs. Hermans, Estrada vs. Mendez, Braekhus vs.

By: Hans Themistode

This Saturday night from the StubHub Center in California, HBO will be presenting a triple header for the final card on their boxing platform.

Current unified Women’s Middleweight world champion Claressa Shields (7-0, 2 KOs) will be looking to defend her titles against Femke Hermans (9-1, 3 KOs).


Photo Credit: HBO Boxing Twitter Account/Hogan Photos

For those unfamiliar with Femke she is not only a skilled and tough fighter but she is also the current WBO Super Middleweight champion. Femke dropped down in weight in order to make this fight happen. Femke won the WBO title earlier this year when she dethroned Nikki Adler for the vacant crown. Since then she has gone on to defend her title twice this year. Realizing that the Shields fight was a possibility Femke decided to drop down in weight in order to make the bout a reality.

For Shields taking on yet another champion is something she has grown accustomed to. The two time Olympic gold medalist has built her short career on taking the most difficult challenges.

In just her second pro fight she captured the NABF Super Middleweight title. In her fourth bout she snagged a legit world title by defeating Nikki Adler for both the IBF and WBC Super Middleweight titles. Earlier this year she entered the record books by becoming a two weight world champion when she dropped down in weight and captured both the IBF and WBA Middleweight titles.

Shields is attempting to defend her titles while also fighting on short rest. Just three weeks ago Claressa defended her IBF and WBA titles while capturing the vacant WBC title. Yes just three short weeks later and she’s back in the ring once again. Don’t expect Shields to be fatigued going into this bout as she has grown accustomed to a busy schedule. Both of these women are sure to bring their A games to this matchup.

Claressa will be sharing the spotlight this Saturday night with two other bouts of note.

Juan Francisco Estrada (37-3, 25 KOs) will be looking to get back in the mix for a title shot when he takes on Victor Mendez (28-3-2, 20 KOs). Estrada won’t just be looking to secure a victory but he will try to do so in dominant fashion.


Photo Credit: HBO Boxing Twitter Account/Hogan Photos

Earlier this calendar year Estrada engaged in a fight of the year caliber contest against current WBC champion Srisaket Sor Rungvisai.

Although the bout was close Estrada ultimately lost by majority decision. He is itching to get his chance at redemption but will first have to knock off the tough and durable Victor Mendez. For the aforementioned Mendez this is his opportunity to vault up the rankings and secure his own shot at a world title. Since losing to Arthur Villanueva in November of 2016, Mendez has reeled off four straight victories with his last two coming via knockout.

Mendez will be the bigger man come Fight night as he has a three inch height advantage. Checking in at 5’7 compared to 5’4 for Estrada. He has also given contenders a tough time. Just ask former WBC champion Luis Nery as he matched up with Mendez in 2014 and only managed to win by a close split decision.

In short, Mendez is no push over. If Estrada is hoping to land a title shot in the near future he will have to leave an impression in this fight. However as we have seen with Mendez time and time again that will not be an easy task.

Headlining the card is the consensus pound-for-pound best female fighter in the world Cecilia Braekhus (34-0, 9 KOs) and Undisputed Welterweight champion. She will be looking to defend her titles against Aleksandra Magdziak-Lopes (18-4-3, 1 KO).


Photo Credit: HBO Boxing Twitter Account/Hogan Photos

Magdziak-Lopes is not new to challenging for a world title as this will be her third effort. Her first two attempts came in losing efforts to Mikaela Lauren and Ewa Piatkowska. Magdziak-Lopes however is hoping that the third time truly the charm.

Winning her first world title won’t be easy as she’s facing her stiffest competition in Braekhus.

Let’s be honest here. The deck is stacked mightily against Aleksandra. She has never faced someone with the skill nor pedigree of Braekhus. However with that being said Aleksandra can take solace in her present form. She has not lost a fight in over two years while defeating the likes of Patty Ramirez and Lisa Noel Garland.

Aleksandra also has nothing to lose at this point. If she loses then she was supposed to. There can be no shame in losing to who many regard as being the best fighter on the planet. If she wins however then her life can be changed forever. She has nothing to lose but plenty to gain. It will take Herculean effort to dethrone Braekhus but Magdziak-Lopes seems up to the task.

HBO has been the home for almost five decades for the world of boxing. “Prince” Naseem Hamed, Bernard Hopkins, Marvin Hagler, Roberto Duran and Oscar De La Hoya to name a few have all graced this platform. As HBO bows out of the sport it is fitting that they are doing so with the Queen of boxing leading the charge.





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