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Ringside in Atlantic City: Shields Wins Lopsidedly Over Outclassed Habazin

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  • Ringside in Atlantic City: Shields Wins Lopsidedly Over Outclassed Habazin

    Click image for larger version  Name:	shields.PNG Views:	1 Size:	458.8 KB ID:	15914

    By Special Correspondent Dave Weinberg

    ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. - Claressa Shields wore a crown into the ring Friday night.

    She then fought like boxing royalty.

    The Flint, Michigan native became the fastest three-division world champion in boxing history with a 10-round, unanimous decision over Croatia's Ivana Habazin at Ocean Casino Resort.

    Shields (10-0, 2 KOs) earned the vacant WBC and WBO junior-middleweight titles after winning belts at super-middleweight and middleweight previously. By gaining her third championship in her 10th fight, she beat the previous record held by Vasily Lomachenko (featherweight, super-featherweight, super-lightweight) and Kosei Tanaka (minimum, junior-flyweight, flyweight). They both won their third titles in their 12th bouts.

    "This feels great, that I did it in 10 fights," Shields said. "Now, I'm number one, the fastest boxer in history to become a three-division world champion. I'm the GWOAT (Greatest Woman Of All Time)."

    Shields dominated the fight from the opening bell. She established command at the outset, connecting with power punches and body shots while grunting as each hook and uppercut found its mark.

    Shields started to work the body in the sixth and forced Habazin to drop to one knee with a left hook to her midsection just before the round ended as the fans at Ocean's Ovation Hall roared.

    To her credit, Habazin gamely fought back, but simply didn't have the speed or power to turn the tide in the fight. According to CompuBox, Shields owned a 141-49 advantage in total punches landed, including a 120-34 edge in power shots.

    Judges Debra Barnes (100-90), Lynne Carter (99-89) and Robin Taylor (100-89) all had Shields winning decisively.

    "Yeah, I was trying to punish her," Shields said. "I wanted victory. She couldn't do nothing with me."

    Shields-Habazin was postponed twice. It was originally moved from Aug. 17, 2019 to Oct. 5 after Shields suffered a knee injury in training, but was postponed again due one of the ugliest incidents in recent boxing history.

    Habazin's trainer, James Ali Bashir, was attacked during the weigh-in in Flint. Artis Mack, Shields' brother, was arrested and pleaded not guilty to one count of assault with intent to do great bodily harm less than murder.

    Bashir is still recovering from his injuries. Assistant trainer Steve Upsher Chambers was in Habazin's corner.

    As a result of the incident, both Salita Promotions and the New Jersey Athletic Control Board took precautions for Thursday's weigh-in at Ocean.

    The public was not permitted to attend. There were approximately a half dozen police officers in attendance and only one representative from each camp was permitted to accompany the fighters.

    "These weigh-ins have gotten out of control," Control Board Commissioner Larry Hazzard said. "I've been involved with them for over 40 years and they've turned into spectacles. I've seen some where you had over 200 people at the weigh-in and that's just ridiculous. What happened in Flint was a real black eye for the sport. It's time to bring some civility back to boxing."

    The best fight of the card saw IBF super-middleweight champion Elin Cederroos (8-0) of Sweden add the WBA belt with a 10-round, unanimous decision over Alicia Napoleon-Espinosa (12-2), of Lindenhurst, N.Y. Cederroos prevailed in an action-packed, bloody fight that had fans on their feet throughout. Napoleon-Espinosa's face was a mask of blood due to a cut above her right eye in the ninth. Cederroos had a bloody nose during the 10th.

    Judges Mark Consentino, Lawrence Layton and John McKaie all gave Cederroos a 95-94 advantage.

    "I'm so happy," Cederroos said. "I showed I can box and take a war. It feels so wonderful."

    Philadelphia welterweight prospect Jaron Ennis (25-0, 23 KOs) notched his 15th straight knockout/TKO with a fourth-round TKO over Bakhtiyar Eyubov (15-2-1). Referee Earl Brown, acting on Hazzard's advice, wisely stopped the fight at 34 seconds of the fourth to save Eyubov from further punishment.

    In other bouts, heavyweight Apti Davtaev (19-0-1, 18 KOs), a native of Russia now living and training in Detroit, stopped game Keith Barr (20-13-1), of Glenville, WV. in the third round of a scheduled six-rounder. Davtaev, 6-feet-5 and 255 pounds, dropped Barr with a crisp straight right. Barr beat the count, but referee Ricky Gonzalez halted the bout at 38 seconds of the round.

    Detroit twins Joseph and Jacob Bonas remained unbeaten with victories in welterweight bouts. Joseph Bonas (7-0, 6 KOs) opened the show with a second-round TKO against overmatched Glenn Mitchell (3-5), of Steubenville, Ohio. Jacob Bonas (5-0-1, 2 KOs) followed with a four-round, unanimous decision over Christian Rivera (1-1-1), of Highwood, Ill.

    - - -

    A former sports columnist for Press of Atlantic City, DAVE WEINBERG has been covering boxing in A.C. and elsewhere since 1982. He's a member of the Atlantic City and New Jersey Boxing Halls of Fame and a multiple award winner for the Boxing Writers Association of America.

    Check out more boxing news on video at The Boxing Channel

  • #2
    Obviously nobody wants to mention the flagrant foul.

    Sparkle Lee was like “la la la la” I don’t see nothin!!

    And the ref in the Ennis fight, was he an Ennis?

    Overall though, I think T-Rex made some new fans.


    • #3
      I thought Hazzard acted appropriately in having the Ennis-Eyubov fight stopped. The odds of Eyubov coming back to win were highly unlikely. But the odds of Eyubov taking further serious punishment was 100%. It wasn't worth it for Eyubov to continue even with a fraction of hope still left. He was not hurt and can come back to fight again. I hope more commissions take notice of this hands on approach by Hazard.

      And Ennis looks like the real goods. Granted Eyubov was the perfect opponent for Ennis to shine but he looked even better than I thought he would. Certainly he is one of the top young fighters in boxing with one of the highest ceilings.

      Add Elin Cederroos to the list of top fighters in women's boxing. She has excellent skills and timing inside the ring. And a very good counterpuncher. She also knows how to use her height. I think she could pose a real threat to Shields.


      • #4
        Laila Ali would have beaten Claressa Shields? Is that what Muhammad’s daughter is saying on her Dad’s birthday? Maybe. Back in 2016 when she came to the Boston Garden for an award, I asked Ali about the then still amateur female boxer: “I love Claressa. I think she’s amazing. Knowing her personally, I hope she takes her career wherever her heart desires.” Apparently it took her all the way to GWOAT status in 10 fights. Is the love now lost? Will Ali come back like Dad and defend her GWOAT title? Would it help girl boxing if they just talked some trash online like Fury and Wilder? “I masturbate more now than ever before and more than you *****!!” Ali also talked up the need for promotion if the girls are ever gonna go anywhere in boxing.