On Sunday, Savannah Marshall became the undisputed super-middleweight world champion with a majority decision win against Franchon Crews-Dezurn. However, the talk afterward was already moving on to who she will fight next, namely Claressa Shields, who was watching from ringside and had plenty to say for herself.
The bout at Manchester’s AO Arena was Marshall’s 13th professional victory and won her the WBA, WBC, IBF, WBO, and The Ring female super-middleweight titles. It represented a successful comeback from the disappointment of her defeat to Shields in London last October.
That fight was a significant one for several reasons, being the first time two female boxers headlined at a major venue – the O2 Arena – as well as the first all-female boxing card. However, it was also Marshall’s first-ever professional defeat and was a fiery encounter, with bad blood clearly lingering between the pair.
The war of words begins
After Marshall’s victory over Crews-Dezurn, Shields wasted no time calling her out and insisting on facing her again on home turf: “If Savannah comes to the USA, I will fight her at whatever weight she wants to fight at,” Shields told Sky Sports. “She is going to get beat up in America, that’s what is going to happen.”
Her promoter Dmitriy Salita insisted that there are several direct flights from the UK to Detroit, making it easy for Marshall and her fans to come over for the fight. However, Marshall’s promoter Ben Shalom insisted that while she wanted to take on Shields, they wanted to be a North East homecoming for her by staging the rematch at St James’ Park in Newcastle.
Marshall herself made it very clear that she isn’t interested in fighting Stateside for the first time since her debut fight against Sydney LeBlanc in Paradise, Nevada in 2017: “I’m not going to Detroit,” she said. “I think female boxing at the minute is massive in the UK, there’s no money in female boxing in the US.
“I do want that rematch, but now I’m a champion, there’s other options out there for me. I don’t think she’ll give me that rematch. She has come over here on here own, paid for our own ticket. She was quite embarrassing how she went on screaming.”
Who will back down?
After that, the press conference descended into chaos, with Shields and Marshall trading insults and threats while Crews-Dezurn offered to fight either of them or act as ring girl for their rematch.
Marshall had defeated Crews-Dezurn in a lively fight, with The Silent Assassin declared a 95-95, 99-92, 97-93 winner by the judges. Last month, Shields, the undisputed middleweight champion and self-proclaimed Greatest Woman of All Time maintained her 100% record after 14 fights with a victory over Maricela Cornejo in Detroit.
Michigan is her home ground, and it seems like for this bitter rematch to take place, either she or Marshall needs to back down in the battle of Newcastle vs Detroit or find a neutral venue both can agree on. So far neither woman has shown any signs of being for turning.
Written and distributed by Chat T Sports.