Claressa Shields vs. Ivana Habazin Cancelled After Attack on Trainer
By David A. Avila
A sneak attack against Ivana Habazin’s trainer by an unknown assailant as Claressa Shields was about to weigh-in sent trainer James Ali Bashir to the hospital and scuttled the super welterweight championship fight.
Today was supposed to be 24-year-old Shields attempt at becoming the youngest to win three division world titles. Instead, her opponent Habazin of Croatia spent hours at a nearby hospital looking after her fallen trainer.
Attempts were made to salvage the fight by Shields and her team but all failed to convince Habazin to step in the boxing ring.
“Claressa showed concern for my coach and she said I am sorry. But, then she called me out saying that I can’t be looking for excuses and that I can take another coach. Seriously?” posted Habazin on her Facebook account. “I have this message for her: You can run your filthy mouth all you want. When my trainer recovers, it will just be you and me in the ring. I want to see how tough you are when the entourage you hang out with aren’t there to help you. You are going to find out just how scared I am of a classless fighter like you. Our day will come Claressa.”
The assault started during the weigh-ins as Shields walked toward the scale Habazin’s trainer Bashir walked over to take a look and a woman in Shields camp exchanged words with him. Both angrily shouted at one another and were moved away from each other and the scale.
While away from the scale Bashir was hit by an assailant allegedly from behind and rendered unconscious. He was ambulanced to a nearby emergency hospital suffering from broken facial bones and teeth.
Shields and Habazin were scheduled to vie for the WBO and WBC super welterweight world titles today at Dort Federal Event Center in Flint, Michigan. It was the main event of a Showtime telecast set for tonight.
The Flint native Shields has already conquered the super middleweight and middleweight division world titles including unifying both divisions. She was on a quest to conquer the super welterweight division as well when the senseless attack took place on Friday afternoon.
Late on Friday night it was announced that the Shields-Habazin fight was cancelled and no new date was set.
Shields, who was co-promoting the event under T-Rex Promotions along with Salita Promotions, did not make an official statement regarding the incident and cancellation of the fight.