Hartlepool boxer Savannah Marshall on top of the world after second major title win

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SAVANNAH Marshall was today “buzzing” after clinching her second major title of the year.

The Hartlepool boxer struck gold at the World Combat Games in Russia, taking apart in-form Qian Li in last night’s middleweight final.

Marshall was handed a unanimous decision in St Petersburg against the 23-year-old from China to continue her dream comeback into top-level competition.

After her shock quarter-final elimination at the Olympics in London, things got even worse for the Headland hero when she was ruled out with leg and hand problems.

But after almost a year out, the 22-year-old roared back with gold at the European Union Championships in Hungary in July and now the title at the World Combat Games, a global fighting spectacular featuring 1,500 athletes from 120 countries.

And the great thing is that Marshall told SportMail that she thinks she won without hitting peak form.

“I am buzzing to have got the gold,” she said. “I still don’t feel I boxed my best at this tournament but I have to be pleased because I fought three good girls.

“I’m happy with the victory though.

“I was thrilled to win the EUs in my first tournament back and I thought that might be it for the year because there are so few women’s events about – all the big ones are in 2014.

“So to come to a top championship like this and get three hard bouts and three victories is brilliant.”

Marshall, one senses, is being a little hyper critical as her performance in the Yubileiny Hall was from the top drawer.

It seemed, on paper, she could have her work cut out – the tall Li looked quick, both with her hands and feet in the semis and, at the age of 23, was, like Marshall, young and fresh.

But the reigning world champion never gave her a sniff as she won Great Britain’s fourth medal at the event and the first gold.

Marshall was a little slow out of the blocks but still had the best of the opener and by the second round had fully found her rhythm and was landing strong jabs and accurate two and three-punch combinations.

It was a pattern which continued throughout the four sessions as the Camerons Brewery-sponsored middleweight completed the tournament without having lost a round.

Headland ABC coach Tim Coulter said: “She was fabulous, I thought Li was fast but Savannah was too quick and too good.

“I thought may be she tried to hit too hard with her jab in the first round but after that she upped the speed and kept it nice and long, doubling and trebling it up.

“There were some nice hooks to the body as well.

“Li had looked a good boxer in the semis, but in the final, Savannah was a class above.”

l BROTHERS on title trail: Page 51