‘The Silent Assassin’ once again let her fists do the best talking. WBO middleweight champion Savannah Marshall dismantled five-time world title challenger Maria Lindberg in just three rounds at the Copper Box Arena in Hackney, London, on Saturday evening, pressing her claims for a pro clash with old amateur foe Claressa Shields.
“I punch too hard for Claressa Shields,” said Marshall afterwards. “She’d much rather roll around in the octagon. She’d much rather call out Katie Taylor who is four weights below. If she gets some guts, [we’ll have] a big fight at the end of the year.
“To be honest, I really didn’t think it would pan out like that [against Lindberg]. Maria is one tough woman. She keeps herself in shape all year round. She’d never been stopped in 27 fights. I thought I was in for a bit of a tough night’s work.
“Once I started finding my range with the jab then the backhand just found its way home and I don’t think she could handle the power. She just said there she’s never been dropped in 23 years! I’m quite proud of that.
“On Sunday, I didn’t even think I was going to fight [after original opponent Femke Hermans’ withdrawal] and then they brought Maria in. It kind of rocked the boat a bit. A quick change of tactics and we got the job done. She’s been in with some good girls, Christina Hammer, she’s boxed for numerous world titles. She wanted mine, but she’s not getting it. I’m truly grateful to Maria for stepping up. Big thanks to her.
“I’ve heard whispers we’re going back to Newcastle in July, hopefully with crowds. I’d love to box for the IBF title which is vacant. I feel good at this weight, I’m a big middleweight. Me against Shields is the only fight at the bigger weights. It has to happen really. There’s nowhere else for her to go. She needs me just as much as I need her.”
Lindberg was a late sub for Belgian challenger Femke Hermans, who withdrew at late notice after two of her team tested positive for Covid-19, but she was simply blown away by the Hartlepool woman’s superior artillery.
After a feeling out opening round, Marshall (10-0, 8 KOs) unleashed a huge right hand in the second that dropped the Swede for a count of eight. Never previously stopped, veteran Lindberg looked shellshocked, but survived after the bell came to her rescue.
In the following session, Lindberg (19-7-2, 10 KOs & 1 NC) was dumped by another thumping right hand and duly counted out. Marshall, the only person to ever beat three-weight champion Shields back in their amateur days, looks to be the sole threat to the outspoken American in the pros. She has seriously heavy hands and seems more seasoned and relaxed under the tutelage of the astute Peter Fury.
Main image and all photos: Dave Thompson/Matchroom Boxing.