Claressa Shields and Savannah Marshall came face to face today as their Undisputed Female Middleweight Title fight was officially announced in London.
The two protagonists lead an historic all-female card on September at the O2 Arena with the Super Featherweight Unification battle between Mikaela Mayer and Alycia Baumgardner filling the chief support lot. Other bouts will be announced in due course.
Speaking at the top table today he said:
“A huge investment by Boxxer and Sky into women’s boxing.”
“I think we’re going to see a different audience, a bigger audience and an audience that boxing hasn’t seen before.”
Before long the microphones were handed to the two headline acts who have shown already this year that there is genuine dislike for the other.
Shields was first up and the self-proclaimed G.W.O.A.T was asked by Sky Boxing’s Adam Smith if the loss she suffered to Marshall at the London 2012 Olympics still burns inside her.
“She got lucky in 2012 but she won’t get lucky in 2022.”
The Unified champion and Ring Magazine title holder ramped up her tone and explained why her rival got lucky.
“I was 17, also London was hosting the Olympics and they also favoured her.”
“I never scored eight points in any of my fights leading up and then all of a sudden, I score eight! Just scored 30 points the day before [like] I did every other fight and then all of a sudden against her I score eight points versus her 14.”
“I was 17. She couldn’t shake me, she didn’t drop me, she didn’t get an eight count but all of a sudden, she’s a knockout puncher.”
Each time Marshall’s name was brought up the aggression and disdain appeared to grow and grow for Shields. She did shoot down any claim that she hates the WBO champion but made no secret of the fact she certainly dislikes her.
“I don’t hate nobody. I really do have a huge dislike for her. My Grandmother told me not to use the word hate so I don’t use it. I don’t like her and she’s one of my biggest haters.”
“They saying she’s a big knockout puncher, she’s the only blemish on my record as an amateur and she has the recipe to beat me. So, my job is to show everybody in the world that she doesn’t and that I reign supreme. If she was the one that was really supreme, she would be champion in three different weight classes and not me.”
Marshall cut a calmer and more composed figure while sat next to her trainer Peter Fury. The occasional glance and smile at Shields were a clear indication that she wasn’t affected by the trash talk and was enjoying the big stage. The unbeaten Newcastle fighter believes this is her time to take over the women’s middleweight division.
“This fight has been a long, long time coming but we’re here now and September 10 I will be the new Undisputed Middleweight Champion of the world.”
Marshall denied that she disliked Shields or hated her. Instead, she chose to pay her American foe compliments.
“I’m a fan of Claressa Shields what she’s done for the sport is amazing.”
Shields wasn’t buying it which certainly showed in her reaction.
Marshall added another nicety before laying out some truths of her own.
“She’s a pioneer for the sport but the reality is she doesn’t beat me. She didn’t before and she won’t again. And that’s what it is. And it kills her. It burns inside.”
Shields bit at the comment and it wasn’t long before her booming voice covered the venue. The two began talking over one another and then predictions started hurtling at one another with the Brit first up.
“I’m not just gonna beat you, I’m gonna outbox you. I’m gonna hurt you and I’m gonna outbox you.”
Final messages were soon exchanged at Adam Smith’s request before a staredown where neither woman flinched.
“On September 10 you’re going to see a very exciting fight, especially early on.”
“With Savannah Marshall being a knockout puncher and me being a knockout puncher I see myself coming out on top. I can knock Savannah Marshall out in rounds 8, 9 or 10.”
Marshall reiterated her opinion that victory will come down to brains rather than power.
“I win this fight through heart and my boxing brain. My boxing brain wins me this fight.”
“On September 10 I will become Undisputed Middleweight Champion of the World and that’ll be the end of all this rubbish.”