CLARESSA SHIELDS WITHSTOOD A VALIANT EFFORT FROM SAVANNAH MARSHALL, BUT OUT-DUELED THE HOMETOWN FIGHTER TO BECOME THREE-TIME UNDISPUTED CHAMPION
LONDON (October 15, 2022) — The long-awaited undisputed showdown, a rematch of sorts, between unified Middleweight champion Claressa Shields and WBO champion Savannah Marshalls took awhile to happen. But it didn’t disappoint.
In fact, we finally saw an opponent truly push arguably the most well-rounded fighter in women’s boxing.
Shields (13-0, 2 KOs) endured 10 grueling rounds of unrelenting pressure from the towering Marshall (12-1, 10 KOs). The two-time Olympic gold medalist from Flint, Michigan was elusive over the first half of bout, and quickly piled up a commanding lead in landed punches.
Marshall constantly pressed forward, but Shields welcomed the confined spacing. She quickly realized what her best options were, and repeatedly beat the hometown fighter to the punch. Shields emptied her entire arsenal while Marshall’s offense sputtered.
The 12-time champion, and two-time undisputed queen, was slippery when necessary and brilliantly returned fire at other times. Marshall forced Shields into the ropes at times in the second half of the fight. But she rarely landed the big shots needed to fully overcome the 174-132 landed punches deficit that secured the decision for Shields. The American also landed 19 more body punches than Marshall’s count of 14.
Shields’ boxing was the difference, along with a fierce competitive spirit.
“I bit down in every round,” Shields said. “In every round, it felt like she would hit me with a big shot, and I would hit her with a big shot. If she hit me to the body, I’d punch her to the body. But I know that I did the most work today and that I was winning with my inside combinations.”
By doing whatever it took to maintain her scoring advantage while under constant duress, Shields fought her way to a well-earned unanimous with cards of 96-94 and 97-93 from two judges.
Marshall stepped to Shields immediately with feinting and flicks of her jab. Shields, from her back foot, took a stand quickly and unloaded a lengthy flurry with 54 seconds left to go. Marshall ducked under several of the shots, but Shields made some contact.
Marshall landed a big right hand early to open Round 2, and it drove Shields back into the ropes. Shields responded with a left hook to Marshall’s chin. Shields moved inside away and started to trouble Marshall with her faster, active hands. Marshall rolled with the punches, but Shields landed enough to likely take a second round.
Marshall’s attack remained the same in Round 3. Shields slipped out of corner and landed a series of big punches. The two-time U.S. Olympian gold medalist went to Marshall’s body repeatedly, and followed that work up with shots upstairs.
Shields’ hands were busy to open Round 4. She landed multiple shots as Marshall tried to duck to her right and left. The Brit continued to push forward. Marshall landed to the head, Shields landed to the middle of Marshall’s stomach. Both women exchanged freely but the American continued to win most of the engagements.
Marshall cornered Shields again early in Round 5. Shields fought her way out of it again and widened her lead in landed punches. Marshall still struggled to find any payoff in her constant pressure. Shields placed shots both underneath and then hooks to the head of the WBO champion.
Shields marched forward again in Round 6. Shields continued to get the better of the action. Marshall worked away, attempting to find openings by using angles, but Shields still landed the more telling punches.
Marshall’s activity remained high to open the seventh frame. She slowly started to outwork Shields and banged away with hooks to the body. Shields erupted with a flurry to close the round. The round may have been Marshall’s
Shields opened the eighth round as if she felt she gave too much ground over the previous two minutes. Marshall returned to her jab and looked to operate from mid-range a bit more. Shields’ volume likely helped accomplish what she set out to do with staving off Marshall’s momentum.
Marshall pressed forward and briefly put Shields into the ropes early in the first of the two championship rounds. The action moved around the ring throughout the balance of the round. Both women brought the fight to one another.
Into the 10th, Marshall still spiritedly bulled her way forward. As the WBO champion punched, Shields returned fire. Both fighters pushed through fatigue in an attempt to convincingly out battle one another.
The two fighters embraced one another after the fight and exchanged compliments. Some applauses from the crowd suggested Shields’ effort may have garnered her some new respect – if only temporarily. However, as she continues to make history with each fight we may soon find it hard, if not foolish, to refuse to be in agreement with her claim to be boxing’s Greatest Woman of All Time.
All photos courtesy of Mark Robinson/Top Rank via Getty Images