By Mark Elezaj
The much anticipated fight between undisputed middleweight world champion Claressa Shields and former champion Ivana Habazin has been rescheduled for Jan. 10 on Showtime, live from Ocean Casino Resort in Atlantic City New Jersey.
The two will meet for the vacant WBC and WBO 154-pound titles.
Shields (9-0, 2 KO) is looking to make history by becoming the fastest fighter in boxing, male or female, to become a three-division world champion. Habazin (20-3, 7 KO) comes in as a huge underdog.
The two were set to meet in August, but Shields pulled out due to an injury. They were then set to meet in October, but the fight was canceled due to an attack on James Ali Bashir, Habazin’s trainer, at the weigh-in event.
Shields is a two-time U.S. Olympic gold medalist who unified two belts at super middleweight and unified all four at middleweight, where she currently reigns as the undisputed champion. She is moving down to 154 pounds, so that she can win a world title in a third division.
“My goal is to become three-division champ faster than any man or woman in history,” Shields said. “This is a very significant fight for both of us. We have both trained really hard twice and great opportunities await the winner, so hopefully three times is the charm.”
Habazin is a former welterweight world titlist from Croatia, has won five fights in a row, and will be fighting in the United States for the first time.
She said she is dedicating this fight to Bashir, though it is not known if he will be in her corner come fight night.
“I’ve been thinking about this since October and I have more of an incentive now given what happened,” Habazin said. “I feel like I’m fighting for James Ali Bashir, as well as for my own pride and respect. I’m also fighting for my country. I want to make Croatia proud that I am their daughter, and I feel that I now have their full support.
“Claressa is just a brief stop on my journey. I have bigger dreams and bigger shoes to fill in my life. I’m on my way to fulfilling my personal legend — being crowned the undisputed women’s junior middleweight champion. This is just another step on that journey. Given my faith, I feel that while what happened in October was incredibly unfortunate, this was God’s plan. And I have faith that my hand will be raised in victory in January.”
Shields vs. Habazin is promoted by Salita Promotions in association with T-REX BOXING PROMOTIONS. Ergashev vs. Hunter is promoted in association with Greg Cohen Promotions.
“January 10 is going to be an important date in boxing history as Claressa continues her unprecedented journey toward greatness,” said Dmitriy Salita, President of Salita Promotions.
“A win over Ivana Habazin would make Claressa, in just her tenth fight, the fastest boxer ever to acquire world title belts in three weight categories. But a very determined, skilled and experienced boxer stands in her way, and Ivana is pursuing her own world championship dream. History will be claimed in the ring on January 10 at the Ocean Casino Resort in Atlantic City and live on SHOWTIME.”
“With five world titles in just nine professional fights, Claressa Shields has been making women’s boxing history at a record pace,” said manager Mark Taffet. “Now, in her 10th fight on January 10, she seeks to win a world title in a third weight division faster than any man or woman in history, and in remarkable fashion by going down in weight each time. Claressa continues to render the impossible possible. It’s truly Herstory.”
“Ocean is proud to host Shields vs. Habazin inside Ovation Hall this January,” said Michael Donovan, Chief Marketing Officer and Senior Vice President, Ocean Casino Resort Atlantic City. “We are excited to bring world class boxing to Atlantic City and look forward to more shows in 2020.”
~ The Fighting Voice ~