FLINT (WJRT) (11/15/2019) - The much anticipated fight between Flint native Claressa Shields and Ivana Habazin will take place in January out of state.
The bout was canceled on Oct. 4 after Habazin's trainer, James Ali Bashir, received serious facial injuries from a punch minutes before the weigh-in. Investigators Shields' brother threw the punch.
The rescheduled fight will take place on Jan. 10 from the Ocean Casino Resort in Atlantic City, N.J. Showtime will air the fight live beginning with the undercard at 9 p.m.
Shields and Habazin are battling for the vacant 154-pound WBC and WBO world titles. Shields is hoping to become the fastest fighter in history to win world championships in three divisions.
The Jan. 10 date is the third time 24-year-old Shields and 30-year-old Habazin have been scheduled to fight. Shields withdrew in August with a knee injury and Habazin withdrew in October due to Bashir Ali's injuries.
Shields became the first American to win consecutive Olympic gold medals before she turned pro in 2016.
“This is a very significant fight for both of us," Shields said. "We have both trained really hard twice and great opportunities await the winner, so hopefully three times is the charm.”
Habazin, a native of Zagreb, Croatia, is dedicating the fight Bashir Ali and will continue training overseas at home before the fight.
“I've been thinking about this since October and I have more of an incentive now given what happened,” she said. “I feel like I'm fighting for James Ali Bashir, as well as for my own pride and respect. I’m also fighting for my country. I want to make Croatia proud that I am their daughter, and I feel that I now have their full support."
Habazin called the fight with Shields "just a brief stop on my journey" to accomplish lofty goals for her career, like being crowned the undisputed women's junior middleweight champion.
"This is just another step on that journey," she said. "Given my faith, I feel that while what happened in October was incredibly unfortunate, this was God’s plan. And I have faith that my hand will be raised in victory in January.”