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Evening Standard
Evening Standard
Marc Mayo

Claressa Shields defeats Savannah Marshall in spectacular and historic women’s middleweight title fight

Claressa Shields claimed the title of undisputed middleweight champion after ten brilliant rounds against home favourite Savannah Marshall on an historic night of women’s boxing in London.

A sold-out O2 Arena witnessed the American, the self-proclaimed ‘GWOAT’, put on a stunning performance against as she inflicted a first defeat on the Brit to earn revenge for her loss at Marshall’s hands in their amateur days a decade ago.

Shields raced out the blocks to threaten an early finish before Marshall dug deep, battling her way past her rival’s sheer speed and precision, which combined with an incredible chin to defy Marshall’s superior power.

Getting Shields up against the ropes was no issue for the Hartlepool-born fighter but the WBA, WBC, IBF and WBF champion continuously worked her way out of jams to maintain her dominance.

The end of the breathless contest saw a unanimous verdict deservedly handed to Shields, 96-94, 97-93, 97-93.

The notion of a rematch across the pond certainly interested Shields as she paid tribute to what was a momentous night for women’s boxing, and potentially women’s sport in general.

“I had to work so hard for a very long time and nobody has given me credit,” said the 27-year-old, in tears after the result was announced.

“I couldn’t even see out of my right eye she hit so hard, so I wanna thank Savannah Marshall and her team - and the whole UK for being here. It’s not just a special moment for me but for women’s boxing. It’s an unbelievable moment right now.”

Marshall, who suffered her first pro defeat in her 13th fight, told the crowd: “Massive thank you to everyone who bought a ticket, it’s amazing that two women have sold out the O2. She’s not as fast as I thought she was but she’s a brilliant fighter and definitely worthy of the title of Greatest Woman Of All Time.”

A fine undercard of women’s boxing was capped by a controversial super featherweight championship fight, which saw Alycia Baumgardner claim a split decision win to unify the division.

Mikaela Mayer suffered her first-ever pro defeat as a result despite outboxing her opponent for large parts of the ten-round contest.

(Getty Images)

Baumgardner dismissed the idea of a rematch afterwards, saying: “For all the doubters, I told y’all haters. I did that. I’m thankful. I’m blessed. I think I landed the cleaner shots, the harder shots. I was the harder puncher. I dug deep. I ain’t giving no rematch. I’m going after Troy. Undisputed is what I claim, it’s what I’m gonna do.”

British boxing was on full show beforehand as a series of Olympic stars displayed their pro credentials having recently stepped up from the amateur scene.

Lauren Price eased past Timea Belik in four rounds with a compassionate stoppage from the referee, although there was little choice in waving off Caroline Dubois’ demolition of Milena Koleva to maintain her 100 per cent pro record at the age of 21.

Karriss Artingstall was aggressive yet measured in a comfortable points victory over French veteran Marina Sakharov.

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