By Alex LaGrone, Staff Writer
Claressa Shields is attempting to become the first fighter, male or female, to win three world titles in three different divisions. If successful, this feat will be the fastest ascension and accomplishment in boxing history. Shields will fight professionally for the first time in Flint. The fight will be Saturday, August 17 at the Dort Federal Event Center.
The undisputed middleweight world champion faces former world champion, Ivana Habazin, for the vacant WBO junior middleweight and WBC women’s super-welterweight titles.
“It’s hard to even put into words how excited I am to be returning home as the undisputed champion and fighting in front of all my fans in Flint,” said Shields in a press release. “Having the opportunity to become world champion, in a third weight division, faster than any man or woman in boxing history, will make August 17 a night I will cherish forever. It’s another big step forward in lifting women’s boxing on the road to equality.”
Habazin, 29, is the No. 1 fighter at 154 pounds. The Zagreb, Croatia native is 20-3 in her professional career and will be making her U.S. debut. “It’s a dream come true, and this is a huge chance for me to prove that I am one of boxing’s elite fighters,” said Habazin in a prepared statement.
“I will not let this opportunity pass. I’m coming for a victory. I’m actually a big fan of Claressa. She made history for women’s boxing and will be a great opponent for me. She’s very confident in herself, she’s aggressive, she can move; she has speed and good defense. But I have all of this too, and I can punch.”
The junior middleweight limit is 154 lbs., meaning Shields will have to cut six pounds from her weight. Shields, now 24 years old, has a 9-0 with two knockouts and is the first American boxer to win consecutive gold medals in 2012 and 2016.
The fight will be televised live on Showtime. Tickets are $35-$150 and go on sale at 3 p.m. on June 20 at Ticketmaster.com and at the Dort Federal Event Center. The undercard fights have not been announced yet at this time.
Raptors Outlast the Warriors
The 2018-19 NBA season ended the way many thought it would – a championship celebration on the floor of Oracle Arena. Unfortunately, for the Golden State Warriors, it was the Toronto Raptors celebrating this time.
The Raptors took advantage of the injury-plagued Warriors and beat the Warriors 114-110, in game six, to capture Toronto’s first championship in franchise history. The Raptors were led by hot shooting guard, Kyle Lowry, who finished with 26 points and Pascal Siakam, who also had 26 points. Undrafted guard, Fred VanVleet, scored 22 points, twelve in the fourth quarter. Finals MVP, Kawhi Leonard, had 22 points with 6 rebounds.
The Warriors were looking to have a three-peat, but they were plagued with devasting injuries during the playoffs. Kevin Durant injured his calf, only to return and rupture his Achilles tendon. Klay Thompson injured his hamstring and subsequently tore his left ACL. DeMarcus Cousins tore his quad in his second career playoff game.
Andre Iguodala suffered a calf injury in the Western Conference finals and had to defend Kawhi Leonard. Kevon Looney was ruled out of the playoffs after getting bulldozed by Leonard and injuring his shoulder.
Despite it all, the Warriors fought with what they had. Veteran player, Andre Iguodala, scored 22 points, Steph Curry had 21 points and Draymond Green, who sometimes makes ill-advised passes, still posted a triple double 11 points, 19 rebounds, and 13 assists. Klay Thompson was on his way to a monster game before his injury, scoring 30 points in three quarters.
Not to make excuses, but it probably would’ve been a different outcome if the Warriors were at full strength. It can be said that this series was chock full of “what-ifs.” What if Durant played or if Thompson didn’t get hurt and played in the fourth quarter? After all, the Warriors were making their fifth straight Finals appearance and will go down as one of the most dominating teams in sports history.
Of course, we give the Raptors their due for dethroning the Warriors. However, some fans would insert an asterisk in front of the word champions due to the unfortunate circumstances the Warriors faced throughout the playoffs and the finals.
Have as story idea for Alex? Email Alex LaGrone at theflintCouriernews@gmail.com.