“Savannah will always be our champion”

Former Hartlepool United star Paul Arnison, Savannah's brother-in-law, who watched the fight with his sons Harry, 10, and six-year-old Alfie (left)

Former Hartlepool United star Paul Arnison, Savannah's brother-in-law, who watched the fight with his sons Harry, 10, and six-year-old Alfie (left)

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SAVANNAH Marshall’s nearest and dearest say they are “gutted” after her surprise Olympic exit – but insist she will always be a champion in their eyes.

The Hartlepool boxer’s London 2012 dream is over after her shock defeat in the quarter-finals of the women’s boxing to Marina Volnova, from Kazhakstan.

The Mail watched the action unfold alongside a tense Paul Arnison, Savannah’s brother-in-law, and his two sons Harry, 10 and six-year-old Alfie along with pet dog Buster at their home in Seaton Carew.

The former Hartlepool United defender, who is married to Savannah’s sister Amanda, 34, said: “We are all just so gutted for her.

“When Savannah came out she looked nervous, which is understandable as it is her first Olympics, but she had been training really well.

“By Savannah’s reaction at the end, I think she could tell she hadn’t won.

“It is an amazing achievement just to get to an Olympics, but she won’t see it like that.

“Savannah wanted at least a medal, and she will be disheartened.

“But she is only 21 and has plenty of years left ahead of her.

“It is very hard for her at the moment but she will always be a champion in our eyes.”

Paul, who was playing for Darlington last season, added: “It is actually the first proper fight of hers I have watched.

“I saw one when she was first starting out, but not since.

“When she won the World Championship in China, I missed the first match and because I am quite superstitious I decided not to watch anymore and she went on to win.

“I was really nervous for her beforehand because we just wanted her to do so well.

“The support from the whole of town has been incredible, people have put their posters up and have been texting and tweeting with messages of support for her.

“It has been fantastic,” added the 34-year-old, who currently plays for Celtic Nation, in the Northern League.

Alfie, a keen boxing fan himself, added: “We are disappointed for her but still really proud.”

Harry added: “We are all proud of her.”

The pair are both pupils at Sacred Heart RC Primary School, in the town.

Meanwhile, dozens of shoppers watched the action unfold in Middleton Grange Shopping Centre in the Olympic television room.