Claressa Shields world title bout off after opponent’s trainer needs ‘facial surgery’ following backstage ‘attack’ (VIDEO)
Two-time Olympic champion Claressa Shields will be made to wait to add another world title to her collection as her fight with Ivana Habazin was called off after the Croat’s coach was ‘sucker punched’ at Friday’s weigh-in.
Habazin says that her trainer, 71-year-old James Ali Bashir, will require “facial reconstruction surgery” following the incident after he was punched in the neck from behind by a member of Shields’ entourage, she claims.
The WBC called off the bout in the wake of the alleged attack which was slated to be for the organization’s vacant light-middleweight world title.
The Clarissa Shields vs. Ivana Hazabin bout has BEEN CANCELLED after Hazabin’ trainer Bashir Ali was carried away on a stretcher after being sucker punched. It has been rumored to be someone in the corner of Shields who hit the trainer.#shieldshazabin #boxing pic.twitter.com/OXeTx6xYJ9
— yourBOXINGfix (@yourBOXINGfix) October 4, 2019
Addressing the incident in a Facebook post, Habazin laid the blame squarely on Shields and her team and the promoters of the fight.
“Clarissa and her team are classless,” she wrote. “Bashir was taken to a local hospital and has now been moved to Henry Ford Hospital because delicate facial reconstruction surgery must be performed.
“I want to say that security was nowhere to be found,” Hazabin continued. “Club shows are run better than this organisation.
“During the pre weigh-in my coach wanted to look at Claressa’s weight and her sister and Bashir exchanged words. Her family and friends should have never been allowed on the stage.“
— BOXING Miguel Nahuat (@mnahuat909) October 4, 2019
She added that Bashir was attacked from behind, which made him fall forward while unconscious and hit his head on the ground after which the assailant quickly escaped and ran from the building. Bashir is a veteran boxing trainer and has worked with the likes of Wladimir Klitschko in the past.
Shields expressed regret in a video shortly after the incident but questioned why Habazin didn’t want the fight to go ahead as planned.
“Claressa showed concern for my coach and she said she is sorry,” Habazin said. “But, then she called me out saying that I can’t be looking for excuses and that I can take another coach. Seriously?“
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Meanwhile, the WBC have vigorously condemned the attack saying that it “condemns any act of violence in any event related to our sport” and that they will investigate if any disciplinary action is required.
“The WBC is certain that the corresponding authorities will apply the full extent to the law to this regrettable incident. The WBC will monitor the investigation and resolution of the case, and will then determine if an actionable WBC violation of any WBC rule, regulation or code of ethics took place.“