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Claressa Shields: Don’t believe the Savannah Marshall hype, I’m going to knock her ass out

There’s fighting talk from Shields, as she dismisses the only fighter to ever get the better of her inside the ring.

Mark Brown/Getty Images and Tess Derry/PA Images via Getty Images

Savannah Marshall’s personality and fighting style is the antithesis to that of Claressa Shields. The quiet, reserved and polite WBO middleweight champion is building a reputation of being one of the biggest punchers in the women’s code, moving to 10-0 (8KO) this past weekend against late-replacement Maria Lindberg.

On the other side of the coin is the self-appointed “GWOAT” of women’s boxing. Shields is brash, fun, opinionated, and loud outside of the ring, with her in-ring style more technically grounded, cute, and finely-tuned than Marshall’s. The American swarms her opposition and drowns them in accuracy, opposed to the one-punch force — seldom seen in women’s boxing — that Marshall is beginning to display.

It makes for a fascinating contest. Styles make fights — blah, blah — and if these two world champions are given the opportunity to dance again following their 2012 amateur meeting, then it’s nigh-on-impossible to find a better match-up across the divisions.

Marshall’s promoter Eddie Hearn agrees. “Marshall vs Shields is a super-fight that can headline in the USA or England, and I will do everything to try and make it,” he told Sky Sports and DAZN this weekend, as the hype-train begins its exit from the station.

Marshall has admitted that she finds press conferences and media work more nerve-racking than fighting itself, but continued to sow the seeds of this ongoing rivalry following her impressive third-round victory.

“I punch too hard for Claressa Shields,” she said post-fight. “She doesn’t want to know. She’s not interested.”

This level of exposure is — unlike Shields — new to her. Just a year ago, Marshall was applying for jobs at the local supermarket following the postponement of her vacant world title shot against Hannah Rankin. When restrictions eased, the Hartlepool fighter got her chance, and she’s reluctant to look back.

Shields exudes confidence and has reacted to Marshall’s win over the weekend with predictable flair.

“I want to tell the UK fans Savannah Marshall has not got shit on me,” Shields told over the weekend. “She doesn’t have anything on me. Nothing. Don’t believe the hype. She told everybody in the UK I retired from boxing to run away from her. No. I’m just so great, I can do MMA at the same damn time.

“She’s going to get her ass-kicking this year for sure. I’m going to knock Savannah Marshall ass out. Sleep. Cold. She knows that. I’m a nine-time world champion, she just won a belt that became vacant because I haven’t fought in a year.

“She could have fought me for all the belts to prove what she’s saying but instead, she waited for my belt to become vacant and then fought for the vacant title when she could have fought me, so no, she’s not ranked.”

“She’s not ranked until she’s fought a Hannah Gabriel, or beat a Christina Hammer, beat somebody who is a world champion and not just brag about going ten rounds with Hannah Rankin, big whoop, congrats. You look at her resume, Hannah Rankin was her toughest test but everyone else gets two weeks notice – she’s not fought anyone [else] who has a winning record.”

It’s close to nine years since Marshall handed Shields her only ever defeat at the 2012 AIBA World Championship prelims, but it appears we are edging closer than ever to an absorbing rematch.

Lewis Watson is a sports writer from London, UK, and a member of the BWAA. Follow or contact him on Twitter @lewroyscribbles

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