Hartlepool boxer Savannah Marshall goes for Olympic glory

Savannah Marshall is hoping to make it second time lucky at the Rio Olympics.
Savannah Marshall is hoping to make it second time lucky at the Rio Olympics.
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Hartlepool boxer Savannah Marshall says the lure of becoming a double Olympian spurred her to shrug off her London 2012 heartache and make it second time lucky at the Rio Olympics.

Marshall was left stunned by her first round defeat to Kazakhstan's Marina Volnova four years ago, which came just three months after she had been crowned women's world champion at the age of just 18.

She took some time to recover from her shock loss but believes she is now much more capable of launching her campaign for an Olympic medal, which begins against Swedish veteran Anna Laurell on Sunday.

Marshall said: "I didn't perform at my best in London, but I often think back and wonder if I would still be boxing now if I had gone out and got a medal in London.

"I am a much better boxer now, and I am much more used to the cameras and the attention. I was overwhelmed by everything in London and I was naive about the whole experience."

Marshall says the last four years have helped put her boxing career in perspective, and kept her calm when she failed to qualify for Rio at the first attempt at the European qualifiers in May.

"I didn't feel like I got the decisions in Turkey, but I thought, 'you know what, I'm just going to give it my all and if it's not enough, so be it.'

"It's not like boxing is my life right now. I've got other interests and other dreams - I'd like to go travelling and do all the things I haven't been able to do in the last five years."

Marshall faces a tough route to a medal, as she could beat Holland's Nouchka Fontijn - who knocked her out of this year's World Championships at the semi-final stage - in the second round.

She added: "I'm more mature now and I know it's not the end of the world. I might have bombed out of the Olympics in the first round, but at least I actually got there.

"How many other people can say they've been a two-time Olympian at the age of 25?

"You can't just walk in off the street and wear a GB tracksuit, so I must be half-decent - that's what I keep telling myself."