Claressa Shields made boxing history by defeating Ivana Habazin to claim a title in her third division in only 10 fights. No one has done it faster.
Undisputed women’s boxing middleweight champion Claressa Shields dropped down to super welterweight on Saturday, Jan. 10, and successfully made history by becoming the fastest boxer to win titles in three different weight divisions. Her opponent, Ivana Habazin, never stood a chance.
Shields won the vacant WBC and WBO titles after battering Habazin around the ring for 10 rounds. Habazin seemed in the fight during round 1 but quickly faded. Surprisingly, Habazin tried to out-muscle the stronger Shields around the ring by pushing her back. Habazin’s succeeded but smothered her punches in the process.
Habazin didn’t absorb much punishment in the first round but didn’t win it either. After all 10 rounds were over, it was impossible to see a round Habazin won.
In round 2, Shields focused her attack on Habazin’s body, which she targeted throughout the fight. It was a smart move that paid off immediately. Habazin’s punch output dropped, and her defensive skills eroded.
Habazin unwisely ducked her head to avoid Shields’ blows to but left the sides of her body wide open. Shields made her pay with hooks to the body all night. She tried her best to knock out Habazin and nearly did at one point.
In round 6, Shields hurt Habazin with a right hand to the body. Shields continued her attack with a left hook and another right hand that she buried into Habazin’s kidneys. Habazin dropped to her knee, and Shields hit her with an illegal body blow but wasn’t reprimanded for her transgression.
Habazin showed heart and beat the count but never came close to being in the fight. She continued to trap Shields on the ropes throughout the fight but couldn’t hit Shields with any clean punches because she had no room to work. Habazin crowded Shields to avoid punishment, which is why her offense was anemic.
It was no surprise when Shields’ hand was raised in victory at the end of 10 rounds via unanimous decision. She set a new boxing world record by being the fastest person to win titles in three different weight classes. She accomplished the feat in 10 fights. The former record-holder was Vasiliy Lomachenko, who conquered his third division in his 12th bout.
Shields could have made history in October of 2019 when she was initially slated to fight Habazin, but the fight was canceled after Habazin’s trainer was assaulted and seriously injured. Shields’ brother was charged for the attack. The case is pending.
Habazin’s trainer, James Ali Bashir, escorted her to the ring but didn’t work her corner as he’s still recovering from his injuries, which included facial fractures and a brain bleed that required surgery.
In the ring after her victory, Shield’s told Showtime’s Jim Gray, “I am the greatest of all time because she [Habazin] couldn’t do nothing with me. Zero.”
Shields rightly received praise for her tremendous accomplishment, but it’s disappointing that Bashir’s name and assault were only referenced once throughout the main event. His October attack was a shockingly disgusting low point for the sport of boxing at it hasn’t received enough examination.
Shields owns two divisions and can make any number of moves going forward. It will be interesting to see her next step.