Savannah Marshall is quickly becoming a must-watch fighter not just in female boxing, but in the fight game as a whole. Marshall added to her growing reputation as she easily dismantled Lolita Muzeya in just two rounds to retain her WBO middleweight title at the Newcastle Arena on Saturday.
Roared on by the crowd, the Hartlepool fighter was at her dominant best and it appears she may well be the next star to hail from the North East. A clash with former amateur rival Claressa Shields, who was shown watching her potential opponent with serious interest, seems a certainty and both will be back in action on December 11 in Birmingham, ahead of a planned clash in 2022.
Muzeya came flying out of the blocks and went right after Marshall, who weathered the early storm and began sinking in her own shots on the Zambian challenger. A couple of heavy right uppercuts rocked Muzeya down to her boots and she was already tired going back to her corner at the end of the first.
Marshall looked sharp and was timing Muzeya well, landing some punishing body shots to add to the challenger’s worries. Muzeya was swinging away but she was wide open. The Zambian was exhausted and her hands had slipped down to her waist early.
The champion unloaded a barrage of blows on her labouring opponent. Muzeya stumbled back onto the ropes and was there for the taking. Marshall was never letting her off the hook. Just as the second round was coming to a close, referee Michael Alexander rightly stepped in and saved Muzeya from more punishment. With the win, Marshall remains undefeated at 11-0, 9 KOs, whilst Muzeya suffers her first blemish and falls to 16-1, 8 KOs.
Chris Eubank Jr was denied a fight a couple of weeks ago due to the late withdrawal of his opponent on medical grounds and he was provided with a quick opportunity to take out his frustrations. He certainly did that as he took apart the outgunned Wanik Awdijan, who finally succumbed after taking a battery of body shots.
Awdijan had plenty to say in the week building up to the fight, but the gulf in class was clear to see from the opening seconds. Eubank, who recently endured the painful passing of his brother Sebastian whose name he proudly wore on his shorts, had a straightforward night, as Awdijan had no response to him and slowly wilted away.
It wasn’t the spectacular stoppage that Eubank wanted, as Awdijan called time after the fifth round, citing a broken rib. But Eubank isn’t in any mood to hang around and is now focusing his attention on a big fight in December. Talk of a domestic clash with Liam Williams seems to be gaining serious traction. That one could be unmissable and would almost certainly be a thriller. Eubank is now 31-2, 23 KOs, whilst Awdijan slips to 28-2, 11 KOs.
Heavyweight Hughie Fury put in a good performance to pick up a win over Christian Hammer, who retired through injury after the fifth round. Hammer, who was also deducted a point in the fifth, kept coming forward, but it played straight into Fury’s hands, as the former world title challenger put his shots together well.
It appeared to be a bicep injury that forced Hammer to withdraw and, although Fury didn’t pick up a legitimate stoppage, it was an encouraging performance from the 27-year-old. Fury’s record improves to 26-3, 15 KOs, whilst another loss sees Hammer’s log fall to 26-8, 16 KOs.
On the undercard, heavyweight Steve Robinson obliterated Reece Barlow inside a round, whilst Bradley Rea got the better of Jez Smith 77-75 on points in a classic rumble. Rea put Smith down in the first and remains undefeated with the exciting win. Cruiserweight Michael Webster is also still unbeaten after he forced the retirement of Gennadi Stserbin after two rounds.
154-pounder Georgia O’Connor kicked off life in the pro ranks with a debut win over Ester Konecna, 60-55 on points, whilst it was a bad night for welter April Hunter who fell to her first defeat, 56-59 on the referee’s scorecard, to Kirstie Bavington.
Main image: Savannah Marshall. Photo BOXXER/Lawrence Lustig.