By: Hans Themistode
For the third and hopefully last time, Claressa Shields and Ivana Habazin are officially set to share the ring with one another on January 10th, 2020 at the Ocean Casino Resort in Atlantic City, New Jersey.
The two were originally supposed to settle their feud on August 17th, at the Dort Federal Event Center in Flint, Michigan. However, during Shields training camp, she dislocated her right knee and was forced to withdraw from the contest. The bout was quickly rescheduled for October 5th, in the same exact arena.
Unfortunately for everyone involved, that contest was once again postponed, but this time for other reasons.
A day before the contest was set to take place, the trainer of Habazin, 68 year old James Ali Bashir, was attacked by the brother of Shields, Artis Mack. Bashir was immediately rushed to the hospital due to serious facial injuries.
Upon his release, he would then suffer from a brain bleed due to the attacks and be forced to once again return to the hospital for further treatment. Mack was eventually arrested and is now looking at serious charges because of his actions.
With the non stop merry go round of drama between everyone involved, it is great to see that these two fighters will finally get the chance to settle their differences inside the ring. The drama that has ensued has pushed Habazin to a whole new level of motivation.
“I’ve been thinking about this since October and I have more of an incentive now given what happened,” said Habazin. “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.”
The motivation will certainly be at an all-time high for Habazin, but Shields won’t be lacking in that department either.
“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.”
The making of this contest has been an arduous one. The previous issues that they have had towards one another is extraneous at this point. Claressa Shields and Ivana Habazin will look to start off the 2020 boxing calendar with a bang.