Extra Security Measures In Place For Shields-Habazin
In hopes to get the fight in the ring and not at the weigh-in, New Jersey State Boxing Commission head Larry Hazzard and promoter Dmitry Salita are have set extreme security precautions for Claressa Shields and Ivana Habazin’s weigh-in.
The weigh-in set for Thursday in Atlantic City, will be the first time both fighters are in the same room since Shield’s brother, Artis Mack, allegedly assaulted Habazin’s trainer James Ali Bashir at the initial weigh-in for their fight last October in Shields’ hometown of Flint, Michigan.
The fight was canceled due to Habazin refusing to fight Shields while her trainer was hospitalized and needed emergency surgery.
A rematch was scheduled between the two on the condition that the fight not take place in Shield’s hometown of Flint, due to the aforementioned issues. On top of that, once the fight was moved to Atlantic City, Hazzard ordered at least five Atlantic City police officers to be inside the Ocean Resort Casino, the site of the weigh-in, and there will be one Atlantic City police officer with both camps from when they arrive to when they leave Atlantic City.
“We all are aware of the situation that took place with James Ali Bashir out in Flint,” Hazzard told BoxingScene.com. “It didn’t look good for the sport of boxing. It was very ugly, and boxing took a big blow. We all are affected by it, even though it happened there. It’s not that we feel that we are inadequate to handle the situation, but look, you have to pull out all stops in a situation like this. We certainly don’t want that to happen in New Jersey.
“So, we feel it would be best to have police as security because sometimes when people just see the police they think twice. We’re not trying to make a big deal out of it, but it’s an extra precaution. That’s why I gave them a mandate that we need at least five Atlantic City police officers at the weigh-in. They were very cooperative. They’ve even gone above and beyond with some of their own security measures, which is good.”
Another attempt to avoid the chaos from the October incident is that only one member of each camp can take the stage with Shields and Habazin for when they weigh-in, which is now closed to the public.
“I’m glad they did that,” Hazzard said of not making the weigh-in to the public. “I was going to recommend that, and they beat me to it. That was a good move by Dmitriy Salita for this particular weigh-in. I don’t feel that you necessarily need to do that for every weigh-in. But just as a precaution for this particular one, because you never know what’s still lingering out there from what happened before.”
“Between the efforts that they’ve made and the efforts that we’ve made, I think everything will be just fine. They’ve done a tremendous job of making sure that this thing goes off without any retaliation. It’s not that we expected that to happen, but it’s always good to be proactive, rather than to have to react.”