Updated: Jan 13, 2020
American boxing sensation Claressa Shields (9-0) will look to become the fastest fighter, male or female, in boxing history to be crowned a three weight world champion in the early hours of Sunday morning as she drops down to Junior Middleweight in her clash for the vacant WBC and WBO world titles against Ivana Habazin (20-3).
Originally scheduled to take place last October, but amid a melee during the weigh in Habazins trainer, James Bashir Ali was sucker punched by a member of Shields entourage sucker punched the elderly trainer as tempers flared. That man was named as Artis Mack and he was charged with GBH for the attack. Shields condemned the disgusting incident and reiterated that she could not control anyone other than herself.
That incident and all the trash talk from the pair since then, mainly Shields, has fueled the fire and made this one a real grudge match. As previously mentioned, Shields is looking to become the fastest fighter in boxing history to become a three-weight world champion.
Vasily Lomachenko currently holds that record with 12 fights, but if Shields can out-do him and complete the incredible feat in a mere ten fights then it would send out a real message that women's boxing is well and truly on the rise.
Shields endured a frustrating 2019 which saw her fight with Habazin cancelled and a knee injury kept her on the sideline, but she was last seen in April where she outpointed previously unbeaten Christina Hammer (24-1) to unify the Middleweight division.
In Habazin’s few forays into the top of the division, she has been beaten by the great Cecilia Braekhus (36-0) for the undisputed Welterweight crown and was stopped by Mikaela Lauren for the WBC Junior Middleweight title. But she has rebounded nicely from that loss to Lauren to string together five straight wins to set up this huge night. She was last seen in December in a ticking over contest where she got revenge on Eva Bajic (14-14) who had previously outpointed the Croatian back in 2013.
No matter who’s corner you’re supporting in the early hours of Friday morning, one thing is certain, this is a true grudge match, both women, whilst not renowned for their fight ending power, will be looking to stop the other. This fight has it all, rivalry, world titles, two different personalities and a chance for one to make history for women, in a sport so often dominated by the males.