Claressa Shields is skeptical of Hanna Gabriels’ excuse for failing performance-enhancing drug tests while training for their rematch.
Lou DiBella, Gabriels’ promoter, informed BoxingScene.com last week that Gabriels tested positive for clostebol because the banned substance is a component in one of the medications she applied by hand to her dog’s surgically repaired stomach. Gabriels tested positive for clostebol, which is a synthetic anabolic-androgenic steroid, in tests administered by the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association on May 2 and May 9.
Maricela Cornejo replaced Gabriels as Shields’ opponent Saturday night because Gabriels had the abovementioned banned substance in her system.
Shields and Gabriels didn’t have VADA testing in place prior to their fight in June 2018. That lack of oversight has made Shields wonder over the past week whether the Costa Rican contender used any performance-enhancers while training for a bout in which she dropped Shields during the first round.
“Honestly, if she said her dog had a C-section and she was rubbing her dog with cream, and that’s how it got in her system, where is the picture of the dog?,” Shields asked during an interview with BoxingScene.com. “Where is the picture of the puppies that her dog had that caused the C-section? I need some proof. You know what I’m saying? And there’s so many different things.
“You know, like OK, first she got tested on May 2nd and had a certain amount [of clostebol] in her system. But then by May 9th, when she got tested again, it was four times the amount [in her system]. So, what did she start doing? Start rubbing her dog four times more than the amount she did before May 2nd? It doesn’t make sense to me.”
Shields stopped short of calling Gabriels “a cheater.” The three-division champion wants to give Gabriels the benefit of the doubt, yet she also has a tough time believing Gabriels’ story.
“I don’t wanna say that, ‘Oh, she’s a cheater,’ ” Shields said. “But during our first fight, we weren’t doing VADA testing and then just how confident she was leading up to his fight, I don’t know if I can feel like it wasn’t intentional. To me, it does [feel intentional] because, you know, she wanted an advantage and she’s 40.
“I just hope that it wasn’t [intentional]. And I did have a lotta respect for her. But after this, I don’t really have that much respect for her. And, you know, I already didn’t like people on her team. And now I look at them like they’re even worse. It all left a bad taste in my mouth.”
The 28-year-old Shields (13-0, 2 KOs), a two-time Olympic gold medalist from Flint, Michigan, has no intention of rescheduling her rematch against Gabriels. Shields beat Gabriels (21-2-1, 12 KOs) by comfortable margins on all three scorecards almost five years ago (98-91, 97-92, 97-92) and will seek more significant challenges after she defends her IBF, WBA, WBC and WBO middleweight titles against Cornejo.
“Hanna Gabriels will never get inside the ring with me again,” Shields said. “And I’ve already spoken to my team about it. I just feel like she was trying to get an advantage over me. And she may have had an advantage over me in our first fight. She already blew this opportunity and I’m not worried about it. I’ve got bigger fish to fry.”
Los Angeles’ Cornejo (16-5, 6 KOs) is the number one contender for Shields’ IBF, WBC and WBO 160-pound championships. Cornejo is 0-3 in world title fights, though, and Shields is listed by multiple sportsbooks as at least a 45-1 favorite to win a 10-round main event DAZN will stream live worldwide (9 p.m. EDT; 6 p.m. PDT).
“I’m not even gonna keep speaking about Hanna Gabriels,” Shields said. “It’s really her loss. She was coming to the GWOAT’s backyard to get her ass kicked again. So, for her to even be rubbing a dog or whatever, I don’t even know what she’s talking about. It just doesn’t make sense.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.