Claressa Shields vs. Ivana Habazin
Flint & Detroit Press
Photos: Stephanie Trapp - SHOWTIME
champion Claressa Shields and former world champion Ivana
Habazin squared-off and exchanged words at a pair of press
conferences in Flint and Detroit on Wednesday, as they
previewed their battle for the WBO Junior Middleweight World
Championship taking place Saturday, October 5 live on
SHOWTIME from Dort Federal Event Center in Flint, Mich.
In the main event of SHOWTIME BOXING: SPECIAL EDITION (9
p.m. ET/ 6 p.m. PT), Shields will aim to make history as the
fastest fighter in boxing, male or female, to become a
three-division world champion, in her first professional
fight in her hometown of Flint.
Wednesday’s press conference in Flint featured Mayor Karen
Weaver offering words of encouragement for the city’s
Here is what the press conference participants had to say
Wednesday from the Dort Federal Event Center in Flint and
the Hotel St. Regis in Detroit:
“I’m so happy to be here. This moment is a long time coming.
I’ve been a pro for nine fights and all I’ve wanted to do is
come back home and fight. I haven’t fought here since the
amateurs when I was 18.
“To be here now as a pro with two Olympic gold medals, all
my belts and my whole team here, it just feels really good.
Our city has gone through rough times with the water crisis,
but I wanted to show that we’re still fighting people.
“A lot of us here are fighting daily. I’m happy that I can
be in the ring doing what I’m doing, but outside of the ring
I get to inspire kids. Having a summer camp here this summer
really changed me. My knee injury gave me more time to spend
with the kids, and that time with them made me stronger.
“I understand that Habazin is here and wants to win, but
don’t come here like this is going to be a walk in the park.
Christina Hammer thought this was a joke, so I hope Habazin
is taking this as seriously as possible.
“I love this challenge, but you will not beat me in front of
my family and friends. I’m going to destroy her. Don’t miss
this, because this is going to be a knockout.
“I’m so excited about this fight. My last fight was supposed
to be the toughest fight of my life, and it was probably the
easiest pro fight I’ve had so far, and it was against an
accomplished long-reigning champion.
“You can’t talk about women’s boxing without thinking of me.
This fight is here in Flint, Michigan because of what I’ve
done and what I’ve accomplished. I appreciate Ivana for
wanting this challenge, but she’s acting crazy talking about
knocking me out.
“She’s going to be in defense mode I think. I’ve seen how
she fights. If she thinks she’s going to stand there blow
for blow with me, she’s crazy. She has good movement and
hand speed, but she has a lot of flaws.
“Being at 154-pounds, I’m going to be stronger and I’m going
to be faster. I’ve never had a problem making weight and it
won’t be a problem at 154.
“I’m looking forward to seeing everyone in Flint for the
fight and really embracing the city. Buy tickets because you
do not want to miss this fight. I hope she can fight like
she can talk so it can be a great one for the fans.”
“This is a really big opportunity for me. I was a world
champion and I’m looking forward to winning a title in
“Claressa Shields is a spectacular fighter and I have
respect for her, but I’m going to bring the fight to her. I
didn’t come here just to fight; I came here for victory.
“She is taking on a big challenge. If she says she’s going
to make the weight, then I believe her. But I know that it’s
going to be tough for her because it’s not her natural
division. I hope she makes the weight and that we’ll have a
good fight. Fighting at 154-pounds is an advantage for me.
“When I decided to fight at middleweight, I started fighting
there because I wanted to fight her. She’s the best fighter
out there, and I know that I can beat her. When they told me
that she wanted to go down in weight, I knew it was the
“It doesn’t matter to me if the fight is in Flint, London,
New York or anywhere. The ring is my home and what happens
in there is the most important thing. I’m always the
underdog and I like to be in that position. I won my title
in my opponent’s hometown and I’m going to do it again.
“I’m at the point in my career where it could be my last
chance to do something big and change my life. This isn’t
just a fight for a title, it’s a fight for my life. When you
only have one chance and you’re really hungry, anything is
“It’s going to be tough in her hometown to beat her on
points, so I’m coming here to knock her out.
“I’m happy to see that she is healthy because she needs to
be ready for what I’m going to bring on October 5.”
JOHN DAVID JACKSON, Shields’ Trainer
“It’s great to be here for this event. This should a good
fight between two hungry fighters leaving it all in the
“Habazin has a great trainer in Bashir Ali, so I know that
she’s going to be ready for us. Claressa will be ready too,
so I just have to make sure everything is set with our game
“Claressa is the biggest star in women’s boxing and we have
to be ready for any and all opponents. This is another step
towards her becoming the greatest women’s boxer of all time.
My job is to make sure she gets there.
“I’m looking forward to a great fight and I can’t wait to
see everyone in this arena on fight night. After fight night
she’ll be a world champion again, and when the dust settles,
she’ll be the best of all time.”
BASHIR ALI, Habazin’s Trainer
“This is a fight with two world champions going after
another world title. People take things for granted, and we
know that Claressa has accomplished a lot, but there are
going to be two strong fighters in the ring.
“You can look back and see so many big upsets throughout the
history of the sport and it should teach you not to take
anything for granted. These are two fighters who are going
to give everything they’ve got.
“I’m not just preparing Habazin for a fight, but I’m
preparing her for the mindset behind the fight. In this
case, my counterpart John David Jackson is a threat. We know
we have to work to win this fight.
“I’m not going to rest easy until we win this belt. I tell
Habazin every day that we have to put our best foot forward
and give it everything we have.”
FLINT MAYOR KAREN WEAVER
“We are so glad that you are here for this great event. I
want to thank Claressa for what she is doing. She’s been
saying she wants to have a fight at home, and home wants you
to have a fight here.
“This is a big deal for Flint. We’re so excited to have
Claressa bring this fight to the city of Flint, because it
shows people a different side of Flint. It shows people our
toughness and our strength and grit.
“It’s so important to us that Claressa comes home and is
involved with the community. Every opportunity that she has,
she’s gives back to the community and it means a lot to us.
“I just want Claressa to know how happy we are, how proud
you continue to make us, and we know it’s not going to stop.
We can’t wait for the fight October 5.”
DMITRIY SALITA, President of Salita Promotions
“Claressa Shields will look to make history again when she
fights for a junior middleweight title. We had offers from
around the country to host this fight, but Claressa was very
focused on bringing a big fight back home to Flint. This is
going to be a great night for the city.
“Claressa Shields has accomplished a lot in her life in
boxing and as a humanitarian and role model, but she will be
achieving a first on October 5, because it will be her first
time fighting as a pro in her hometown of Flint. She has a
special relationship with Flint and I know that Flint is
going to support her as she looks to make more history in
her already remarkable career
“Claressa is going to have a tall task against Ivana
Habazin, who not only has won a title, but enters this fight
on a five bout winning streak and has been focused on this
challenge for a long time.
“I want to thank SHOWTIME for their commitment to Claressa’s
career and to women’s boxing as a whole. They’re an
important partner on this journey that we’re all on with
Claressa, and it’s exciting to have a platform like SHOWTIME
for her to display her talents on.
“This has all the makings of a tremendous fight and a night
that will be remembered for a long time, so you’re going to
want to make sure you buy a ticket, or if you can’t be there
watch it live on SHOWTIME.”
MARK TAFFET, CEO of Taffet Media & Shields’ Manager
“We couldn’t be more pleased to be here in Flint. We know
that this is going to be a great event and we’re proud to
have this fight with Claressa Shields here and we look
forward to all the fans in Flint, Michigan coming out.
“I’ve worked with many of the biggest and greatest fighters
of all time, but I’ve never been more proud of a fighter and
more proud to work with a fighter, than I am with Claressa
Shields. She isn’t just once in a generation, she’s truly
once in a lifetime.
“Before Claressa is done, she won’t just set records, but
she will make her mark outside of the ring, like the
greatest athletes in history. I believe that she is going to
change the game forever.
“Ivana is an accomplished world champion herself, and one of
the top fighters in women’s boxing. She’s very proud of her
accomplishments in boxing and we couldn’t be more pleased to
have a woman of her character as part of this historic