Both women are raring to go after middleweight fight was delayed following the death of Queen Elizabeth II
The women’s double-header at the O2 Arena between long-standing rivals Savannah Marshall and Claressa Shields, and Americans Mikaela Mayer and Alycia Baumgardner, will take place on Saturday after being delayed five weeks due to the death of Queen Elizabeth II.
In the main event, two-time Olympic gold medallist Shields, the WBC/WBA/IBF/Ring Magazine middleweight champion from Flint, Michigan, will face WBO title holder Marshall. In the co-feature, WBO/IBF/Ring Magazine champion Mayer and WBC champion Baumgardner will clash in a junior lightweight title unification fight.
Marshall, undefeated in 12 contests, with 10 knockouts, is the only boxer to have beaten Shields, on her way to winning the world amateur title in China in 2012, and outlined her process of staying on track over the thirty-five days since the original event was postponed.
“Those five weeks have absolutely flown by. I’ve been pushed again by my trainer Peter [Fury] and just re-focused on the fight, and it’s here already,” Marshall, from Hartlepool, told Telegraph Sport.
“In terms of what we’ve worked on, it was just picking up from what we had already planned for. The only difference is we’ve been given even more time to work on things. And I’ve just been keeping sharp, ticking over and keeping in shape. We were careful not to overdo it, because there is a fine line with it.”
The event, now sold out, appears bigger to her. “Maybe the combination of the previous build-up along with the anticipation has helped, but it does genuinely feel big, yeah. And that’s how it should be. Look at how long our names have been linked together.
“Back then I wouldn’t have thought it would get this big. But it’s all here now and it all makes sense. I’m the biggest opponent out there for her and likewise she’s the biggest opponent for me. This is what our careers have been built towards and I cannot wait to get in there on Saturday night.”
Shields has insisted that Marshall “will get a boxing lesson”. The woman who calls herself ‘The GWOAT’ (Greatest Woman of All Time) explained to Telegraph Sport: “Look at the facts. People mention Savannah Marshall and her knockout power, but look at my undefeated record and I’m a 12 time world champion. I’m levels above Savannah Marshall, but this fight is huge and hopefully she’ll go out there and show why she’s on this stage. But I just know that I’m the one.
“I’m going to give her a boxing lesson, I’m going to give her a power lesson, she has stoked a fire in me, and she’s gonna be in for a world of trouble.
“Of course, we’ve got to talk about her punching power. She’s going to try to come out there and land a big shot. She may want to fight on the inside or on the outside. But she just wants to be able to touch me and land. That’s really all I see. But it’s a boxing match. I may get hit in there, but if she thinks she won’t get hit, then she’s mistaken. If she thinks she is a better boxer than me, she’s mistaken. But we’re going to let her think whatever she wants to think and do whatever she wants to do because I’m going to adapt and do whatever I have to do to win and make the fight easy.”
In the co-feature, Mayer has the amateur and professional pedigree, height and reach advantages, against the power of Baumgardner, and if Mayer uses her skills, and can avoid a dogfight with her foe, should claim a points victory.
In the main event, 31-year-old Marshall is likely to have to withstand more punches than in any of her previous contests, while Shields is likely to be hit harder than in any of her previous twelve fights, 10 of which the 27-year-old has won on points.
It is an intriguing fight, and a hard one to call, but if Marshall can land cleanly, it could be her night. Equally, Shields could come away the victor if she remains elusive and attacks in bursts. An inconclusive result, or a controversial decision may well – as trainer Fury told Telegraph Sport – draw the pair of standout fighters into a trilogy of meetings.
Claressa Shields vs Savannah Marshall for all the women’s middleweight titles is live on Sky Showcase, Sky Sports Main Event and Sky Sports Arena from 7.30pm on Saturday October 15.