By: Sean Crose
“Gonna be big mad!,” Claressa Shields tweeted on Thursday. “I know you ain’t want this fight @Savmarshall1 but talked yourself into an ass whooping! No one has seen when I loss a very close fight to you in the amateurs! But THE ENTIRE WORLD IS GONNA SEE ME WIN NOW !!!!!” While it looked like an undisputed middleweight title bout between Shields and Savannah Marshall might not happen, promoter Ben Shalon has announced that the match is now a go, signed and sealed.
“Early September – both fighters are ready, both fighters are signed,” Shalom said to Sky News. “I can’t wait. It’s taken a while. Claressa has finally got her match. It’s the first time we’re seeing a genuine rivalry in women’s boxing, and that’s a sign of the times. It’s an incredible time for the sport and an incredible time for any woman getting into the sport of boxing.” Although no location has been announced, the match is certainly a big deal. Why? Well, not only is the bout for all the marbles in the middleweight division, it’s also offering the undefeated Shields the opportunity to settle old scores.
Marshall, after all, is the only person to have bested two time gold medalist Shields in the amateurs. Both women have gone on to huge careers, but it’s Shields, of Flint Michigan, who has truly shined. Clearly Great Britain’s Marshall aims to put the spotlight on herself instead. As things stand, the 12-0 Marshall, holds the WBO middleweight title while the 12-0 Shields holds the WBC, WBA, and IBF belts. Shields’ last match in the ring was a 10 round unanimous decision over Ema Kozin last February. Marshall last saw action last month, when she knocked out Femke Hermans in three.
The two titlists were supposed to throw down in July, but a Marshall injury put an end to that date. Shields felt Marhsall was dragging her feet, and so it appeared the anticipated fight might not happen at all. Fortunately, matters now appear to be settled, at least on paper. What happens in the ring remains to be seen. This is clearly the biggest women’s bout since Katie Taylor fought Amanda Serrano a few weeks ago in front of a large Madison Square Garden crowd. That fight was an instant classic. Will the same be said of Shields-Marshall? Shields is one of the most skilled fighters in the business, while Marshall has serious knockout power, stopping all but two of her opponents within the distance.
Styles, as they say, make fights.
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