Claressa Shields and Savannah Marshall finally settled a long-standing grudge in the ring last October, when Shields went to the United Kingdom to beat Marshall by decision and fully unify the middleweight division.
But while the fighters showed some respect for one another after — and it’s professional respect that was surely always really there, beneath the trash talk — it doesn’t mean the story between them is finished. A Shields vs Marshall rematch would still be the biggest middleweight fight in women’s boxing by a lot, and Marshall tells Sky Sports that it is there, it’s just whether or not she takes another fight first.
“The rematch is there for me. It’s just whether or not there will be one fight in between, that’s what I’m waiting on, to see what the plan is next for me,” she said. “I’d love to go straight into it, definitely, but I’ll take anything. There’s always the business side of boxing, and it needs building up.”
She’s also quite confident that she can beat Shields (13-0, 2 KO) in a second attempt.
“Honestly, I can out-box Claressa, I really can. The tactics (in the first fight) were totally going against my strengths.”
Asked why she fought the way she did, Marshall (12-1, 10 KO) shrugged and half-pointed the finger at her corner.
“I think that’s one for Peter Fury. But it’s a team effort, isn’t it?” she said. “I can’t point the blame, but he hasn’t been my favorite person over the past couple of months.”
To spice things up and get the ball rolling a bit more, Marshall also took a crack at Shields’ ability to draw crowds and money in the United States. Shields wants the rematch in the U.S., while Marshall insists — and, frankly, with plenty of evidence to back it up — that the fight is still worth way more in the U.K.
“I’d quite happily go to America, but the reality is, she doesn’t sell in America. And it’s sad, it’s really sad, but it’s true. For what she’s achieved, she should be the face of female sport in America, but she’s not, because her attitude is disgraceful,” Marshall said.
“It’s sad, it’s really sad. I’m quite shocked that (promoter) Dmitry Salita or (manager) Mark Taffet hasn’t pulled her aside and said, ‘Look, Claressa, let’s just be humble, let’s just be nice,’ but she can’t help herself.
“At the minute in the U.K., (women’s boxing is) massive, it’s bigger than what it is in America. Look, we sold out the O2 Arena, I’ve got no doubt that we could sell out St. James’ Park.”
Marshall was also sporting a new, blonder color hair in the interview, which is notable only because Shields made sure to get in a comment in reply.
“Blah, blah, blah. (You were) outclassed! And I say this proudly, I hate this color hair on you,” Shields commented.