By: Sean Crose
Boxing received another black eye last week when Ivana Habazin trainer James Ali Bashir was punched from behind immediately at the weigh in for Habazin’s scheduled title bout with rising star Claressa Shields. There had been words between the Bashir and someone who may have been from Shield’s camp shortly beforehand, so tensions were running high. Still, the blow sent Bashir to the hospital and shockwaves throughout the boxing world. Saturday’s Habazin-Shields match was canceled, and the action – by a still unidentified assailant – was widely and rightly condemned. Ali Bashir himself was sent to the hospital while photos of the man being wheeled out of the Dort Federal Event Center in Flint, Michigan told a disturbing tale.
The news went from bad to worse on Tuesday. “Yesterday,” Habazib tweeted, “my coach James Ali Bashir was called by Detroit hospital’s personel and told that he needs to go to the nearest hospital ASAP because he has bleeding in his brain! I feel very bad because of all this thing what happend. My prayers are with him!” Bashir’s sister, also took to Twitter on Tuesday. “My brother, legendary #boxing trainer James Ali Bashir has been rushed back to the hospital due to bleeding in his brain.. Prayers are needed immediately for him!!! This is a nightmare. 🙁 #boxing community he needs all prayers&healing! @AliBashirTeach”
Although no word has yet been given of Bashir’s condition, there’s no denying that a return to the hospital is a frightening development. Although some suspect a person form Shield’s camp was behind Friday’s assault, Shields herself denied the allegation. “I had a chance to talk to coach Bashir Ali today,” Shields tweeted on Monday, “he know I had nothing to do with what happened and I let him know I’m sorry about everything. He said the same and he let it be known he wasn’t upset with me. I’m glad we had a chance to talk and pray he has a speedy recovery.”
Ali Bashir is well known throughout the fight game, not only through his own work as a trainer, but also through his association with the late legendary trainer Emanuel Steward. One of the more notable fighters Ali Bashir has worked with has been former heavyweight kingpin Wladimir Klitschko. Ali Bashir was unconscious for more than fifteen minutes after being struck by the still unknown assailant on Friday. Blows to the back of the head are extremely dangerous and, needless to say, are illegal in the sport of boxing.