Claressa Shields v Ivana Habazin: Trainer James Ali Bashir needs 'facial surgery' after attack

James Ali Bashir with Ivana Habazin
James Ali Bashir had been getting Ivana Habazin ready for Saturday's world title fight

Croat boxer Ivana Habazin says her trainer James Ali Bashir needs "facial reconstruction surgery" after an alleged attack at the weigh-in for her fight with American Claressa Shields.

The WBC called off the bout for its vacant women's light-middleweight world title after the incident.

In a Facebook post, Habazin says "Bashir was punched in the back of his neck by someone in Shields' entourage".

"Clarissa and her team are classless," she added.

Shields, 24, was aiming to become a three-division champion by winning the fight.

But Bashir was taken to hospital with head injuries following Friday's weigh-in.

He was seen arguing with an unidentified person after the two fighters had been on the scales at the pre-fight event in Flint, Michigan - Shields' home town.

"Bashir was taken to a local hospital and has now been moved to Henry Ford Hospital because delicate facial reconstruction surgery must be performed," said Habazin, 29.

"I want to say that security was nowhere to be found. Club shows are run better than this organisation.

"During the pre weigh-in my coach wanted to look at Claressa's weight and her sister and Bashir exchanged words. Her family and friends should have never been allowed on the stage."

Habazin said Bashir had "hit the floor face first and was bleeding and unconscious" after the alleged assault and that the "attacker quickly ran out of the building".

Bashir is well known in the boxing world, having previously worked with the likes of former world heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko.

Shields later posted a video on social media in which she expressed concern for Bashir. But she went on to question why Habazin no longer wanted to fight.

"Claressa showed concern for my coach and she said she is sorry," Habazin responded.

"But, then she called me out saying that I can't be looking for excuses and that I can take another coach. Seriously?"

WBC 'strongly condemns any act of violence'

Two-time Olympic champion Shields is unbeaten since turning professional and was set to fight in her hometown as a professional for the first time.

She has already won titles at middleweight and super-middleweight in just nine fights and had she won on Saturday, would have become the fastest fighter to win titles in three divisions.

"The WBC strongly condemns any act of violence in any event related to our sport, and specially the horrible attack which took place in an official activity surrounding this event," the body said.

"The WBC is certain that the corresponding authorities will apply the full extent to the law to this regrettable incident."

It is not yet clear if the fight will be rescheduled but the WBC said it may take action if its rules have been broken.

"The WBC will monitor the investigation and resolution of the case, and will then determine if an actionable WBC violation of any WBC rule, regulation or code of ethics took place," it said.

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