Sunday, April 02, 2023  |


Claressa Shields vs. Ivana Habazin canceled after trainer James Bashir is assaulted at weigh-in

James Ali Bashir was assaulted at the Shields-Habazin weigh-in.
Fighters Network

In one of the most shocking boxing stories of 2019, the Claressa Shields vs. Ivana Habazin WBO/WBC junior middleweight title fight was canceled at the weigh-in after the head trainer of Habazin was attacked and left unable to work the corner.

The incident took place Friday at the Dort Federal Event Center in Shields’ hometown of Flint, Michigan. A still unidentified assailant punched James Ali Bashir, leaving him bloodied on the floor. Bashir, whose age was not immediately known, appeared to be unconscious in video that circulated online, and a photo that also circulated showed Bashir with blood coming from his mouth and a misshapen left side of his face as he was taken away on a stretcher. Bashir revealed on social media that he had suffered broken bones in his face and would have to undergo surgery.

Veteran trainer James Ali Bashir working with Aleksandr Usyk.

Bashir, a native of New Jersey, has been involved in boxing for 50 years, according to his Facebook bio, and worked as an assistant to the late Emanuel Steward for 17 years. He had spent time at various gyms and learned from many experienced trainers, such as Jimmy Glenn and Tommy Parks, before spending time at Muhammad Ali’s camp at Deer Lake, Pennsylvania, according to his bio on the New Jersey Boxing Hall of Fame page.

The fight was to be Shields’ attempt at winning world titles in a third weight class after reigning at 160 and 168 pounds previously. The 24-year-old Shields (9-0, 2 knockouts) was originally supposed to face Habazin on August 17 before postponing due to a knee injury.

Habazin (20-3, 7 KOs) of Croatia had previously held the IBF title at welterweight and was riding a five fight winning streak.

The Showtime Boxing: Special Edition card will go on as planned at 9 p.m. on Saturday, with heavyweight Jermaine Franklin (19-0, 13 KOs) of Saginaw facing Pavel Sour (11-1, 6 KOs) in a ten-rounder as the main event. Franklin weighed in at 231.4 while Sour was 238 pounds.

Also scheduled for the broadcast is the return to national television of Jaron Ennis (23-0, 21 KOs), who weighed in at 146.2 pounds, against Demian Fernandez (12-1, 5 KOs), who weighed 146.6 pounds, in a ten-round welterweight bout.