Claressa Shields fight canceled after Ivana Habazin's trainer gets sucker-punched
Shields suggested Habazin should continue with the fight while trainer has facial reconstruction surgery
Two-time Olympic gold medalist Claressa Shields was slated to enjoy one of the biggest weekends of her young and wildly successful boxing career as she returned to her native Flint, Michigan, aiming to claim a title in a third different weight class when she battles Ivana Habazin on Saturday for the vacant WBO junior middleweight title. Well, the weekend went horribly awry earlier Friday when a member of Shields' entourage sucker-punched scheduled opponent Ivana Habazin's trainer ahead of the weigh-ins for their fight.
Now, Shields' attempt to win a title in a third different weight class is officially canceled as Habazin's trainer, Bashir Ali, is on his way to Detroit to undergo facial surgery.
Showtime officials confirmed the main event bout is off to CBS Sports. Still, the rest of the scheduled card will go ahead without Shields vs. Habazin for the vacant WBO junior middleweight title. Jaron Ennis vs. Demian Fernandez and Jermaine Franklin vs. Pavel Sour will now headline the event.
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Prior to the official weigh-ins taking place on Friday, an altercation broke out between a person associated with Shields and Ali. The two were eventually separated from one another, but according to NBC 25 in Flint, the person from Shields' team later sucker-punched Ali. Police confirmed to the news outlet that one suspect has been taken into custody and Ali had been taken to a local hospital to receive treatment for injuries suffered in the attack.
Shields went live on social media to discuss the situation and placed the onus on Habazin to go ahead with the fight, suggesting she could fly another coach in from Croatia.
"Her name is Ivana 'No Excuses.' Hopefully we don't have none. I'm quite sure she has another coach who she can fly in. Nothing happened to her. Something happened to her coach, sadly," Shields said. "It's so crazy how the rules work, but she don't even need to make weight now."
Shields also claimed the punch was not thrown by an actual member of her team.
"Her coach was being real disrespectful, but that still don't make it alright, whatever happened," Shields said. "I didn't tell nobody who was with me to do anything. It wasn't nobody from my team."
No matter who is to blame, the fight is now officially canceled, and someone around Shields has cost her an opportunity at history.
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