By: Sean Crose
In a display off-putting even for the rough and often seedy world of professional boxing, trainer James Ali Bashir was assaulted several weeks ago at the weigh in for the Ivana Habazin-Claressa Shields middleweight title unification fight. After being taken to the hospital that day, Ali Bashir had to return to the hospital several days later after medical professionals became alarmed with the seriousness of his injury. The individual behind the attack was unknown for some time. On Wednesday, however, Artis J Mack was named by Michigan prosecutor Prosecutor David Leyton as the individual responsible.
Mack, who is Shield’s 28 year old brother, pleased not guilty to the charge of “assault with intent to do great bodily harm less than murder” in Genesee District Court on Thursday. According to Michigan based publication M Live, a police officer caught sight of Mack leaving the Dort Federal Event Center after the incident on October 4th. The officer then reportedly tailed Mack and subsequently arrested him. M Live also reports that “Mack is currently being lodged in the Genesee County Jail on a probation hold stemming from an unrelated second-degree arson charge he pleaded guilty to in 2017.” Should he be convicted of the Ali Bashir charge, Mack can face up to a decade behind bars.
Frank Manley, who is Mack’s attorney, claims that video evidence of the weigh in event of October 4th will shed new light on the scenario. “I’ve seen some of it,” M Live quotes Manley as saying, “and some of the language that I heard … if in fact that was directed at someone, you might very well expect some type of action in return.” Although he didn’t condone the assault, Manley claimed he believes “there’s a lot more to it than maybe has been reported so far.”
For her own part, WBC, WBA, and IBF Female middleweight champion Shields has condemned the attack, stating on social media that “the actions that took place against Coach Ali was not right,” adding that “I do not stand for that and do not in any way justify what happened no matter what he said!” Shields was not in the area of the attack when it took place. Though there was clear friction between Shield’s and Habazin’s camps beforehand, it appears the assault was the act of a single individual acting alone. Needless to say, Shields’ fight with Habazin, which had been scheduled for the following day, and was to be aired live on Showtime, was subsequently called off.