Lady Hammer - Meet the boxer & underwear model hoping to unify the world middleweight belts (PHOTOS)
Kazakh-born German fighter Hammer, nicknamed 'Lady Hammer', is currently unbeaten in 28 fights, and has forged a career as one of the most feared fighters in women's boxing, picking up the WBC and WBO world middleweight titles on the during her decade-long pro career.
The former champion last contested a world title fight since June 2016, defending her belts in Detroit against American Tori Nelson over 10 rounds. However, that was the last time Hammer stepped in the ring.
Since then, young, hungry American Shields has stepped down from super middleweight - where she held two of the four major world belts - to snap up the vacant IBF and WBA championships to make herself a two-weight titleholder, before going on to add Hammer's former WBC strap for good measure.
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The two had been originally slated to meet in a mega fight in November, until health problems stemming from a gut inflammation forced Hammer out. Now the two will face off at one of boxing's meccas: the Boardwalk Hall, Atlantic City, New Jersey, where Hammer will be presented the chance to win back her titles against against perhaps the biggest emerging star in women's boxing.
Although the 24-year-old Shields has just eight fights to her name, the woman they call T-Rex has considerable pedigree, and has already made her name as the first American woman to win back-to-back Olympic titles as an amateur, before turning over in 2016.
In just her fourth fight, Shields stopped the experienced, unbeaten German Nikki Adler to win her first two world titles in the 168 lbs division, and defended the belts twice before moving down to 160 lbs.
Hammer faces, by popular opinion, the toughest test of her career in tenacious pressure fighter Shields, who replaced her as number one at the weight during her absence.
The German was full of praise for her opponent, who will be the naturally bigger woman on the night, but nevertheless revealed she planned to exploit some chinks in the Texan's armor come fight night.
“I think she’s a very aggressive fighter. Going forward she’s very open — not that good defense, like you think so. I want to use my reach, my footwork, and my boxing skills," she told Fight Hub TV.
“We are both undefeated champions and that’s biggest fight ever, and the fans — the boxing fans — they must see it.
“I’m always fighting, I stay hungry. I’m very hungry of success, push myself always forward to stay like a champion, act like a champion, live like a champion.”
Hammer won her first world title when Shields was still a junior amateur boxer, but the fight is still being touted by many as the biggest fight in women's boxing history, as the number one and two in the sport's glamour division battle it out.
Hammer has spent almost her entire career in her home nation, with sporadic stops in Eastern Europe and a solitary title defense, her last, in America, and will be looking to make a splash by the Boardwalk come April 13.
And the Dortmund-based hotshot is certainly a good ambassador for glamour. Hammer also has a talent outside of the ring - modeling underwear, and regularly shows off her world-class body for the Russia-based Anita Underwear company, posting chic snaps to her 95,000 Instagram followers.
Who will emerge from the ring wearing the most glamorous prize in the middleweight division - all four major belts wrapped around their waist and the title of unified champion? We'll find out on April 13.