Claressa Shields became the undisputed middleweight champion of the world, defeating her bitter rival Savannah Marshall by unanimous decision at London’s O2 Arena.
All three judges ruled in favor of the American, with scores of 96-94, 97-93, 97-93, as Shields’ relentless pace overcame Marshall’s longer reach and more powerful punches.
By beating Marshall, Shields avenged the only defeat she suffered in her professional and amateur career and confirmed the title she wears around her neck: GWOAT, Greatest Woman of All Time.
It was a historic night for women’s boxing, marking the first all-female card in the UK, as well as the first time two female boxers had debuted in a major British arena.
“I want to thank Savannah Marshall and her whole team and the fans in the UK for being here because it’s a special moment for women’s boxing,” Shields told Sky Sports.
“Here we are in front of 20,000 fans at The O2 Arena. The moment is unbelievable. It was a special night for women’s boxing and I think it was the fight of the year.
“I know that I did the most work today and that I am winning with those combinations. I did what I do in training and I did the work.
“I’ve been working for a long time and no one has given me credit.”
Marshall and Shields entered the fight with a record of 12-0, the former as the WBO champion and the latter as the joint WBC, WBA and IBF 160lbs champions.
And the quality of both fighters was evident from the outset, with a flurry of punches answered in good fashion in each of the ten two-minute rounds.
Shields also revealed that he couldn’t see out of his right eye after the sixth round, so hard were the blows from Marshall.
“Claressa is a great fighter – not as fast as I thought! She has definitely earned the title of the greatest woman of all time,” Marshall said later, according to Sky Sports.
“I want to say thank you to everyone who bought a ticket, I really appreciate it.
“It is surprising that two women ran out of O2. It’s unbelievable and I thank everyone from the bottom of my heart.”
Before Shields and Marshall entered the ring, Alycia Baumgardner became the joint featherweight champion with a narrow victory over Mikaela Mayer.