Unified Super Middleweight and Middleweight champion Claressa Shields continues to dominate in her Friday night cards on Showtime. Last Friday night her 10-round battle with Costa Rica’s Hanna Gabriels, a unified Super Welterweight champion, notched the Flint native’s largest audience in her four appearances with the premium cable network per Keith Idec of BoxingScene.com.
The IBF and WBA Middleweight championship battle, which included a Shields visit to the canvas in round one, peaked at an audience of 410,000 viewers. Shields regrouped to sweep the next 9 rounds, as her spirited performance electrified her fans at Detroit’s Masonic Temple. Gabriels abruptly silenced the crowd with a short sequence of punches that scored the first knock down of Shields’ career, but failed to counter Shields’ adjustments throughout the balance of the fight. Per the cards, judges Michael Ancona (98-91), Jeremy Hayes (97-92) and Pasquale Procopio (97-92) all scored the fight for Shields.
ESPN‘s Dan Rafael also reported that Friday’s main event of the Showtime Boxing: Special Edition’s average audience of 376,000 viewers easily surpassed the 292,000 achieved by Shields’ Super Middleweight title defense against Tori Nelson back in January.
|Claressa Shields vs||Date||Average Audience |
|Hanna Gabriels||June 2018||376, 000 ||*Peak Audience of 410,000|
|Tori Nelson||January 2018||320,000|
|Nikki Adler||August 2017||Unavailable|
|Szilvia Szabados||March 2017||241,000|
For comparative purposes BoxingScene.com referenced the average audience of 346,000 for Showtime’s Anthony Joshua-Joseph Parker fight in March. A Heavyweight unification bout that peaked at 379,000 while airing live from the U.K.
However, if we take a deeper look at audience numbers for an increasingly popular U.S. fighter, Jermell Charlo’s recent title defense against Austin Trout reached an average viewership of 532,000 during the Santa Cruz-Mares 2 broadcast. That equates to a difference of 156,000 in contrast to Shields-Gabriels.
The expected late-2018 Middleweight unification bout between Claressa Shields and Christina Hammer may not make up that total difference, but the trending data suggests that Shields and her female counterparts could be right: It’s their turn to shine.
All photos by Stephanie Trapp/Showtime