Claressa Shields vs. Savannah Marshall: A ten-year rivalry will culminate in a historic fight




CNN

Head-to-head for the promotional photo shoot, and the battle between Britain’s Savannah Marshall and US’s Claressa Shields has already begun.

“I have a lot of confidence,” Shields teased as Marshall flashed the cameras, “I came here, come to America.”

“But no power,” replied Marshall.

Two women with a bitter 10-year rivalry will face off for the undisputed middleweight championship in a historic night for women’s boxing in London on Saturday, marking the first UK women’s card, as well as two firsts. women will be the protagonists in the O2 Arena.

Katie Taylor and Amanda Serrano became the first women at Madison Square Gardens in May, marking the latest milestone in the sport’s historic year.

Women’s boxing was banned in the UK as recently as 1998, and the rivalry between Marshall and Shields spans almost half the time the sport has been legal.

It began at the 2012 AIBA world championships when Marshall emerged victorious on points, 14-8, inflicting the only defeat Shields has ever suffered in his professional or amateur career.

Marshall won that world championship a few days later, and a then 17-year-old Shields won the Olympics a few months later.

As two opposites in both fighting styles and personalities – Shields is flashy and fights with finesse while Marshall is shy and relies on power – they have always clashed.

“It’s a love-hate relationship,” Shields told CNN’s Amanda Davies.

“I’m happy that I finally got the chance to show that you won the battle in 2012, but you won’t win the war. It’s a war, you know what I’m saying. He will lose this Saturday, and then all that conversation of the last 10 years will disappear, it will disappear, because it’s the only thing he has to live on.”

Since that 2012 fight, Shields has built a reputation as one of the best women’s fighters of all time, going undefeated, winning two Olympic gold medals and becoming the only boxer in history to hold four major world titles simultaneously in two weight divisions.

Shields celebrates victory with her belts after fighting Erna Kozin for the WBO, WBA, IBO and WBF Women's Middleweight Titles.

“I’m not [using that fight as motivation]”, Shields added. “I’m not a person who cares about something that happened 10 years ago.

“I don’t care, but what I do know is that I’ve gotten better over the years, and I’ve challenged myself to be better after every fight. . . . So I couldn’t live off a win or take a win. or anything. Just win and move on.” you don’t.”

Marshall, on the other hand, was left out of the preliminary stages of the London and Rio Olympics, suffered from social anxiety and considered retiring from boxing in 2017 to turn professional and build on his formidable reputation.

Marshall and Shields enter this fight with a 12-0 record, the former as the WBO titleholder and the latter as the joint WBC, WBA and IBF 160lbs champions.

“It was a long time ago, 10 years ago, it doesn’t mean anything, but like I said before getting under his skin, it blows his mind, so of course I’ll bring it up,” Marshall told Sky Sports.

“I know everything I need to know about Claressa, I’ve known her for a long time, I’ve seen a lot of her fights, it was just about keeping her sharp and studying her game plan a little more.”

On Saturday at 9:40 p.m., they will walk in the ring after the fight for the unification of the world super featherweight title between Mikaela Mayer and Alycia Baumgardner.