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USA Today Sports Media Group
USA Today Sports Media Group
Michael Rosenthal

Claressa Shields avenges amateur loss to Savannah Marshall by unanimous decision in spirited battle

Claressa Shields finally got her revenge against Savannah Marshall … but it wasn’t easy.

Shields had to dig deep to defeat Marshall by a unanimous decision to become undisputed middleweight champion at O2 Arena in London on Saturday night.

The scores – 97-93, 97-93 and 96-94 – don’t really reflect how competitive the back-and-forth battle was.

“I’ve been working hard for a very long time,” Shields said afterward. “And no one has given me credit. But after that display tonight and after that tough opponent … you know I couldn’t even see out of my right eye in Rounds 6 through 10 because she does hit hard.

“But I’ve been down, and I did what I do in training and I got the job done.”

Shields (13-0, 2 KOs) got off to a strong start, using speed and movement to outbox the bigger Marshall (12-1, 10 KOs) and land clean, eye-catching punches.

However, Marshall soon picked up steam and took the fight to Shields, plowing forward, throwing a high volume of punches and often pinning her more celebrated opponent against the ropes.

Shields did some good work in those situations, countering effectively. But Marshall undoubtedly earned some points for effective aggression.

That’s how it went for most of the 10 rounds, with both fighters working as hard as one another and each having positive moments in what was a difficult fight to score.

In the end, Shields evidently won over the judges with those aforementioned clean shots. When she landed punches to Marshall’s head or body, you couldn’t miss them.

“She hit mem with a big shot. I hit her back with a big shot,” Shields said. “If she hit me to the body, I punched her to the body. There were times I threw her against the ropes and landed my shots. There were times when she won on the ropes. But I know I did the most work today and that I was winning (on) the inside.:

The dominant story line going into the fight was that Marshall was the only fighter ever to defeat Shields, having turned the trick when Sheilds was 17 years old in the 2012 AIBA Women’s World championships.

Shields finally avenged that setback.

“She’s a tough competitor,” Shields said. “She’s a hard puncher. She has endurance. But I’m the better fighter 10 years later, and if you ask me, I’m 2-0 against her because I never felt I lost to her in the amateurs. Now I guess we can say we’re 1-1.”

Shields has now become an undisputed champion in a third division, which is a record for men or women.

Like boxing? Be sure to visit Boxing Junkie for all your coverage of the sweet science and follow @BoxingJunkie2 on Twitter.

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