Underneath the glittery, gold armor she wore into the ring, it looked like Claressa Shields. Once the fight began, she fought like Claressa Shields. It actually was Claressa Shields. Just a deflated version of the two-time Olympic gold medalist.
It seems 154 pounds fit the two-division champ just fine. Well, make it three-division titlist, after Shields thoroughly dominated Ivana Habazin Friday night to win the vacant WBO and WBC junior middleweight titles at the Ovation Hall in the Ocean Casino Resort in Atlantic City.
Shields (10-0, 2 knockouts) has now collected titles at 154, 160 and 168, making history as the fastest boxer—male of female—to win titles in three weight classes. It took “T-Rex” 10 fights to reach that lauded distinction, beating the record of Vasiliy Lomachenko and Kosei Tanaka, who each won three titles in 12 fights.
Shields also became the second female fighter to win those three belts in descending weight order (168, 160, 154), with Naoko Fujioka being the other.
“We spent so many months in camp for this fight,” Shields said. “It wasn’t what I wanted, but I’m happy with the improvement. This feels great – I did it in 10 fights. Now I’m number one, the fastest boxer in history to become a three-division world champion.
“I was (trying to punish her). I wanted victory. Hopefully on her next try she can become a champion against somebody else. I just want to become a better fighter. That’s all. I want to grow women’s boxing. I want to share a card with Deontay Wilder and Errol Spence.
“Andre Ward said, ‘Sis, take her to the body.’ I was throwing all body shots in the first minute and then boom, she went down.
“I’d love to face Elin Cederroos. I’d love to fight her. None of these girls are ready for me. I’m the GWOAT.”
Shields pecked away at Habazin (20-4, 7 KOs) in the first round with the jab, and showed an athleticism she didn’t have as a middleweight or super middleweight. It was evident early that Habazin couldn’t match her handspeed.
In the second, Shields opened up a little more. Working behind the jab, she plowed a few rights off of Habazin, who shoved Shields against the ropes at the end of the second.
The third began sloppy, with both fighters clinching and getting tangled. But by the end of the third, Shields found a rhythm and began connecting.
Shields landed big rights in the fourth and through the initial four rounds, “T-Rex” appeared firmly in control.
An overhand right rocked Habazin in the fifth, and she stumbled forward and looked like she was in some trouble. But Shields didn’t press the action.
Still, after five, it was easy to see Shields pitching a shutout.
In the sixth, Shields began landing body shots. A right to the body, followed by a left forced Habazin to take a knee.
By then, it seemed a matter of time before Shields would stop Habazin.
Shields tried mightily to do that in the seventh, pounding Habazin with a barrage of shots.
The final two rounds cemented what Shields had done the first eight.
Judges Debra Barnes (100-90), Lynne Carter (99-89) and Robin Taylor (100-89) all saw the same thing as everyone else.
EDITED FROM: ringtv.com