Claressa Shields once again came up short of a promised knockout, but once again dominated, too, winning world titles in a third weight class, making her the fastest pro boxer in history to do so.
Shields has achieved the feat in her 10th pro fight, improving to 10-0 (2 KO) with the one-sided decision win, beating the record previously held by Vasiliy Lomachenko and Kosei Tanaka, who won world titles in three weight classes within 12 professional fights.
Scores were 99-89, 100-90, and 100-89. BLH had it 100-89 on two separate cards.
The fight was never in any doubt, really. Habazin (20-4, 7 KO) came out fast in both of the opening two rounds, attempting perhaps to prove that she was not intimidated by Shields, but by the end of the third Habazin had the look of a fight who knew she was in over her head.
Shields’ best work in the fight came to the body, and she actually scored the first knockdown of her pro career in round six, when Habazin took a knee due to accumulated shots to the breadbasket. Shields didn’t put it away from there, but she continued to dominated. It was the mismatch pretty much everyone expected, with Habazin sorely out of her depth against the self-styled “GWOAT.”
“It wasn’t what I wanted, but I’m happy with the improvement,” Shields said. “I dropped her with a body shot. This feels great. I did it in 10 fights. Now I’m number one, the fastest boxer in history to win world titles in three divisions, going backwards in weight.”
Shields and Habazin had plenty of beef coming into this fight, stemming from two cancellations in 2019 and going right up through yesterday’s weigh-in. Shields wasn’t nasty after it was over, but she wasn’t suddenly Habazin’s new best friend, either.
“I think Ivana can take a piece of humble pie and go back to Croatia,” Shields said. “I am the greatest woman of all time and she couldn’t do nothing with me.”
The 24-year-old Shields says she’s hoping to raise her profile even more, and to continue being a flag bearer for the expansion of women’s boxing.
“I would love to share a card with Deontay Wilder or Errol Spence,” she said. “I want to be on a level with those guys.”
Asked about what’s next, Shields wasn’t sure. There simply aren’t many interesting options from 154 to 168, but she’s keeping the door open.
“I’d love to fight Elin Cederroos,” she said, naming the fighter who had upset Alicia Napoleon-Espinosa — thought by many to be Shields’ next opponent — earlier in the night. “None of them are ready for me. I’m the once in a century kind of athlete. None of these girls are ready for me. I’m the GWOAT.”
Shields said earlier this week she feels she can get down to 147 to fight undisputed welterweight champion Cecilia Braekhus, but Braekhus may be looking more in Katie Taylor’s direction for a big fight this year. We’ll have to see, but Braekhus is by far the most interesting potential option for Shields out there right now.