By: Jesse Donathan
It was amateur hour at Showtimes vacant WBO junior middleweight weigh in Friday as the lack of overall commitment and security from the event’s organizers and staff was on full display for the world to see. “The junior middleweight title fight between Ivana Habazin and Claressa Shields on Saturday has been called off after James Ali Bashir, the veteran trainer for Habazin, was struck by an unidentified person and knocked unconscious at a weigh-in Friday,” writes ESPN.com’s Steve Kim and The Associated Press in their October 4, 2019 ESPN.com article titled, “Claressa Shields-Ivana Habazin title fight called off after trainer James Ali Bashir attacked during weigh-in.”
According to ESPN, “Video from Friday’s weigh-in showed Bashir earlier involved in a verbal confrontation with an unidentified person during the weigh-in. It is unknown if the person involved is the same person who later attacked Bashir.”
In the aftermath of the violence Friday, Shields would go on to tell FightHype.com that Habazin’s trainer was, “Being real rude and disrespectful, but that, but that still don’t make it right, whatever happened. You know what I mean,” said Shields. “That still don’t make it right. But even during that whole altercation, if y’all see me when I had looked at him, I had told him, I said, ‘It’s not the place to do that,’ I had told him to calm down. Even my uncle, and my boyfriend, pulled him aside and said, ‘Yeah man, just calm down, it ain’t that big,’ and he consistently kept yelling at my sister, ‘Bitch, I’ll show you that you’re a man,’ thats what he kept yelling at my sister, I’m just keeping it real.”
“And my sister, as y’all can see in the video, she’s a stud, but she’s gay,” the women’s 2012 and 2016 Olympic Gold medalist said in FightHype.com’s October 4, 2019 YouTube video titled, “CLARESSA SHIELDS REACTS TO HABAZIN TRAINER GETTING SUCKER-PUNCHED; REVEALS DETAILS LEADING UP TO IT.”
“And he was just like, doing this to her face (Shields mimics the hand gestures), he was like, ‘Bitch, I’ll show you that you a man,’ and he kept saying it over and over and over again. And when I walked off, he was still saying it to her. I whispered to her, ‘Go sit down,’ like stop arguing with him, you know, stop arguing with him,” explained Shields.
“Ain’t nobody from my team hit an old man,” Shields responded to one of the comments during the live chat broadcast. “Ain’t nobody hit an old man, big man, little man, big girl, little girl, its all assault. So, don’t come on here trying to do that, it’s not about that. It’s about, yeah, it’s an assault, period. It don’t matter about if it’s an old man or not. So, its assault, period. But like I said, I didn’t tell nobody in my, uh, “who was with me” to do anything. Like I said, I was worried about me and making sure I can make weight for this spectacular world title fight against Ivana, that’s all I was doing.”
“And like I said, y’all see from that video, when he was laying there, you ain’t see me, so at the end of the day it didn’t have anything to do with me, and like I said, if a girl on my team can hit like that, she needs to be the one boxing and not me. Because if she can hit, uh, a grown man and knock him out and have him on the floor, that’s crazy, look, I’m not doing that and I train all throughout the year.”
“Flint Police Chief Timothy Johnson said a male suspect has been arrested in connection with the assault on Ali. Ali allegedly was arguing with a female at the weigh-in and calling her inappropriate names before the punch,” writes ABC12.com. According to the report, Ali suffered multiple facial fractures from the assault though he is expected to make a full recovery. Whether or not the bout will be rescheduled remains to be seen, though the remainder Saturday nights card is expected to continue as scheduled.