It took two fight postponements over six months, but Claressa “T Rex” Shields made boxing history Friday night by capturing the Women’s Junior Middleweight World Championship with a unanimous decision win over Ivana Habazin in Atlantic City.
Shields, 10-0, 2 KOs, dominated from the opening bell on her way to a 10th straight victory in her professional career. And, she becomes the fastest fighter, female or male, to ever capture World titles in three different weight divisions.
— SHOWTIME Boxing (@ShowtimeBoxing) January 11, 2020
She did so five fights faster than Vasiliy Lomachenko did it late last year.
As we wrote about in the build-up, the fight was twice delayed first by Shields a severe ankle injury last summer which prevented her from being able to train for over a month.
Then, on the day before the rescheduled October fight in Shields’ hometown of Flint Michigan, a bizarre incident took place at the weigh- in.
That’s when Shields brother, Artis Mack, is alleged to have sucker-punched Habazin’s trainer, James Bashir Ali in the face, knocking him unconscious. Bashir Ali with rushed to the hospital and the fight was called off, again.
Once rescheduled for Atlantic City, there was great build-up from the previous soap opera drama, but not much drama in the fight, itself. Shields dominated from the opening bell, scoring with hard right hands, punches to the body and quick combinations.
She basically did whatever she wanted, out-landing Habazin 141 – 49 in overall punches according to Compu Box stats.
Shields knocked the Croatian former World Champ, Habazin down for the first time in her career with a body shot in the sixth round. And, Habazin was in serious trouble of being stopped, but survived the round. However, It only delayed the lopsided 10 round win for Shields.
Shields told Showtime in the ring after the fight that she wanted the Knockout for the historic victory,
“It wasn’t what I wanted, but I’m happy with the improvement. I dropped her with a body shot, of all shots. I have so many champions here. It feels great. I did it in ten fights. Now I’m number one, the fastest boxer in history to become a three-division world champ, going backwards in weight,”
Shields is clearly the iconic star for female boxing in the United States, as the former Olympian will now look to possibly move back down in weight (from the 154 lb. limit Friday) to fight better competition.