SAVANNAH Marshall today spoke of her sheer relief to be back inside the boxing ring after an injury-tortured two years, writes ROY KELLY.
The Hartlepool fighter is one of England’s main gold medal hopes for the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow next month.
Marshall and her boxing team-mates were unveiled at a media conference at the English Institute of Sport yesterday.
And while the 23-year-old is quietly confident of success in Scotland, she is simply “happy” to be fighting again.
Since suffering a shock quarter-final exit at the Olympic Games, Marshall has been beset by injuries, including two key operations on her hand and shoulder.
It has meant she has fought at only two tournaments since London 2012, but both have produced gold medals, at the European Union Championship and World Combat Games.
SportMail reported last month that GB bosses opted not to send her to the European Championship, instead giving her extra time to recover from the shoulder surgery after her triumph in Russia last October.
“I haven’t boxed for eight months,” said the Headland ABC star.
“I’m just looking forward to getting back into the ring and boxing again.
“It should be a good tournament and it’s great that women’s boxing is in it for the first time.
“But my biggest emotion is probably relief that I can fight again, I’ve missed it so much.
“I’m feeling pretty fit at the moment - I don’t feel too far away from being 100 per cent and there are still five weeks to go.
“Physically, I felt OK for the Europeans, it was just my timing that wasn’t right.
“I probably wasn’t sharp enough then but it’s coming now.
“Every time I spar I feel I’m getting better.
“I’ve been sparring a couple of the GB lads here, Sam Maxwell and Aston Brown, so I’m feeling good.”
The reigning world champion will start as favourite for middleweight gold - despite her relative inactivity, she is still rated number three on the planet, behind China’s Jinzi Li and the USA’s Claressa Shields.
But while she is the highest world ranked U75 kilo boxer in Glasgow, she will take nothing for granted.
World number seven, Edith Ogoke, from Nigeria, will pose a major threat, as will Canada Ariane Fontin and Kaye Scott, from Australia.
“It’s going to be a tough competition,” Marshall told SportMail.
“Edith did well at the Olympics, the Canadian girl is a two-time world champion and I’ve sparred Kaye before and she’s good.
“It’s going to be hard to win, but I’m just happy to be boxing again.”
Marshall will be joined by her fellow Olympians, London 2012 champ Nicola Adams, and Natasha Jonas, who won silver this month at the Euros in Bucharest.
Sunderland heavyweight Warren Baister is in the men’s team for Glasgow.