Third time's the charm for a junior middleweight title bout between Claressa Shields and Ivana Habazin.
Showtime announced that Shields, the undisputed middleweight champion, will face Habazin for the vacant WBO and WBC junior middleweight titles on January 10, 2020. The fight will headline a Showtime-televised card from the Ocean Casino Resort In Atlantic City, New Jersey.
The fight was originally planned for August with only the WBO title on the line but it was postponed due to Shields injuring her right knee in June. The fight was then rescheduled for October 5 in Flint, Michigan, but at the weigh-ins that took place a day before, there was an altercation that led to James Ali Bashir, Habazin's trainer, to being hospitalized and the fight altogether being scrapped. The card continued with Showtime only airing two fights instead of a planned tripleheader.
Also announced by Showtime is a WBA junior welterweight title eliminator between Shohjahon Ergashev and Keith Hunter. The winner of the bout becomes the mandatory challenger to the WBA "Regular" title currently being held by Mario Barrios.
Shields, a two-time Olympic gold medalist, became boxing's second-ever female undisputed WBA, WBO, WBC and IBF champion when she defeated Christina Hammer this past April in New Jersey. Shields, who also won titles at 168 pounds, will now look to become a three-division world champion with a win over Habazin. This will be Shields' 10th pro bout and her seventh world title fight.
Habazin, a 29-year-old from Croatia, is looking to become a multi-weight world champion as well. Habazin once held the IBF welterweight title in 2014 but lost the belt in her first title defense later that year when she lost a 10-round decision to Cecilia Braekhus to crown the first-ever undisputed women's champion.
Since then, Habazin would go on to challenge for the WBC junior middleweight title and even held the IBO middleweight title last year. This will be Habazin's first fight in the United States after spending the majority of her career fighting in Croatia. Habazin has won her last five fights after a loss to Mikaela Lauren back in 2016.