Savannah Marshall fails in bid to become undisputed world champion as classy Claressa Shields puts on boxing masterclass

Savannah Marshall fails in bid to become undisputed world champion as classy Claressa Shields puts on boxing masterclass

WONDER WOMAN Claressa Shields dethroned our girl Savannah Marshall to become undisputed middleweight queen and settle their decade-long row.

The 27-year-old – a two-time Olympic champion and three-weight pro ruler – dominated the Hartlepool hero, 31, on points atop the historic all-female O2 card.

Claressa Shields became the undisputed middleweight champion - and in some style
Claressa Shields became the undisputed middleweight champion – and in some styleCredit: Richard Pelham / The Sun
It was a night of despair for Brit hero Marshall
It was a night of despair for Brit hero MarshallCredit: Richard Pelham / The Sun
The American celebrated wildly after the result was announced
The American celebrated wildly after the result was announcedCredit: Richard Pelham / The Sun
Shields beat Marshall on a unanimous decision
Shields beat Marshall on a unanimous decisionCredit: Richard Pelham / The Sun

And the Michigan legend did it all this time while caring for her two nieces and nephew while her sister recovers from personal issues.

Ten years after Marshall beat Shields in the amateurs in 2012, the judges rightly called it: 96-94, 97-93 and 97-93.

A moronic section of the impressively packed crowd booed the American anthem and proud patriot Shields looked determined to punish them for it.

Dressed in the stars and stripes and with Mr T emblazoned on her socks she was afraid of no foe or fool.

Shields was hurt in the second but she showed incredible grit to dig deep and whack back with a left hook that tanned the usually pale complexion on Marshall’s right cheek. It was brilliant action.

Up to 11, Silent Assassin Marshall was so crippled with shyness she would barely talk, 20 years later, in the third, she was hunting down a monster in front of 20,000 people and peppering her with insults as well as punches.

During one exchange in front of the press desks she roared “come on!” as she clumped at her.

The fourth was a blur of brawling and technical boxing close-up-and-personal. Marshall left her height and range advantages in her corner and went tow-to-tow with her shorter foe. It was a shootout.

Marshall did land plenty of power punches during the scrap
Marshall did land plenty of power punches during the scrapCredit: Richard Pelham / The Sun
Shields maintained her unbeaten record - and handed Marshall her first ever pro loss
Shields maintained her unbeaten record – and handed Marshall her first ever pro lossCredit: Richard Pelham / The Sun

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Marshall’s honeyshot right hand was fearsome but it kept leaving her open to Shields’ left hook and the fifth was one of the worst sessions for it.

Marshall walked on to a handful of bruising shots at the end of the sixth, it was her worst round of the fight so far but he legs were honest.

Marshall – who was rejected for a part-time job in lockdown by a handful of firms – had 20,000 fans screaming her name in the seventh when it looked like her engine was running on fumes alone and Shields was showboating with her Philly shell defence throughout round eight.

The American master was just too good but everyone would love to see the rematch with the score now tied at 1-1.

After her stunning success, Shields said: “I did what I do in training and I got the job done.

“I want to thank Savannah Marshall – it was a special night for women’s boxing and I think it was fight of the year.”

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Marshall added: “She was not as fast as I thought she was but she is a brilliant champion. I would be up for a third one.”

In the chief support of the night at London’s o2, Alycia Baumgardner secured a contentious split decision victory against Mikaela Mayer to unify WBC, WBO and IBF super-featherweight titles.

Despite plenty of needle in recent months, there was mutual respect at the final bell
Despite plenty of needle in recent months, there was mutual respect at the final bellCredit: Richard Pelham / The Sun

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Wally Downes Jr

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