Shields Releases Statement on Canceled Fight
About 24 hours removed from the cancelation of the WBC/WBO female junior middleweight title fight between Claressa Shields and Ivana Habazin, Shields has released a statement regarding the cancelation on her social media.
Habazin’s trainer, James Bashir Ali, was attacked from behind prior to weigh-ins and had to be hospitalized, needing emergency surgery for facial injuries suffered.
In a video statement that same day, Shields expressed expectations that the fight would not be called off, decreeing Habazin should live up to her “No excuses” nickname despite reports of her being distraught.
Showtime ultimately ended up canceling the fight, and Habazin released her own statement, criticizing Shields and her team for a lack of professionalism and claiming the attacker came from her camp.
As of 8 p.m. ET on October 5, police reportedly have a suspect in custody, but no information on who it is has been made available.
Shields has now released a statement expressing disappointment in the cancelation but wishing Habazin, her trainer and her team the best.
You can read the statement prior to its removal here:
Hey everybody what’s up, the last 24 hours I’ve had time to reflect on what happened and I want you guys to hear it personally from me.
My heart is with Coach Ali, a coach who has given his heart to this sport and to so many fighters over a long career. My heart is with Ivana Habazin, whose courage, discipline and heart were evident in the way she trained for this day and traveled a long distance to realize my dream of fighting in my hometown of Flint. My heart is with Boxing fans, especially fans of women’s boxing. My heart is with all the female boxers who have struggled for equality in this sport – and the world . And with those who have fought with all of their heart to elevate women’s boxing and open doors for the young women behind us.
My heart is with my city of Flint, a city desperately in need of some good news— desperately in need of a moment of relief from the every day chaos and trauma of living with poverty and violence. My heart is with the team at Showtime and the hundreds of people who invested in my dream and stood behind me when I desired to give back to my hometown.
What happened yesterday is inexcusable. And unbearable. It should not have happened. And, as much as i want to wake up from this nightmare, this is what we all are facing today. This is the reality for my town of Flint, and in cities across the country- and around the world.. We are all living with trauma. We live in and among mental illness and addiction. We live with a desperate hope for something better. We struggle, we fail, we get back up and try again. We can take responsibility for ourselves and ask others and the Lord to forgive us. We can set our dream in motion and still, one person, one split second, can unravel it all.
I am still sorting through what happened yesterday and reflecting on my role in what lead up to this attack. I did not see what happened and am relying, like so many of you, on what I have heard. Despite the videos that are out, the actions that took place against Coach Ali was not right. I do not stand for that and do not in any way justify what happened no matter what he said! I stand with Coach Ali and Ivana Habazin and I also understand their stand on our fight. This one person’s actions should not be a reflection of the people of Flint, Michigan who work so hard to better themselves each and every day.
I am praying to the Lord for guidance, as always. I ask for your prayers and support to help make something positive come from this tragedy.
I ask you to join me in praying for Coach Ali, For Ivana Habazin and their families. I ask you to join me in prayers for the city of Flint, and for people around the world who are hurting and who do not know what to do with that pain.