SAVANNAH Marshall has put her Olympic heartbreak behind her by reaching the semi-finals of the European Union Championship.
The Hartlepool boxer returned to the ring in style last night in Hungary, where she defeated the form girl of 2013 – Poland’s Lidia Fidura.
Marshall is already guaranteed at least a bronze medal, no matter what happens in tonight’s last-four bout with tall Swede Love Holgerrsson in Keszthely.
But the 22-year-old will be looking to go all the way to the final where she could face her arch-rival, Nouchka Fontijn, from the Netherlands.
Marshall has not fought since she suffered a shock and controversial London 2012 quarter-final defeat to Marina Volnova last August.
Injury has kept the Headland ABC star out since then as she recovered from surgery to a troublesome left hand.
And she was given one of the toughest draws at the EU Championship – a last-eight showdown with Fidura.
The Pole, who celebrated her 23rd birthday this week, had won two tournaments this summer, including a victory over Marshall’s Olympic conqueror in the final of the Feliks Stamm event in Warsaw.
Fidura even tried to imitate the spoiling tactics Volnova used in London to pull off one of the shocks in the ExCel boxing ring.
But Marshall last night made sure there was no upset in the Helikon Sport and Conference Arena.
Headland ABC coach Tim Coulter said: “I spoke to Savannah last night and she was very positive.
“Sometimes she can be a bit downbeat if she’s been involved in a bit of a scrappy bout.
“But I think she’s pleased to simply be back in the ring given the length of time she’s been out.
“Just boxing again felt good – the Olympics obviously hurt but this is a fresh start for her.
“The Polish girl obviously saw the tactics Volnova used at the Olympics and got the win with.
“But Savannah was strong and fought her off.”
Tonight’s last four bout is unlikely to have as much grapple – Holgersson, who defeated home hope Nagy Timea in her quarter-final last night, is a boxer rather than a scrapper.
The middleweight, still only 19, is the successor to Swedish great Anne Laurel, and enjoyed a glittering junior career and has moved effortlessly into senior boxing.
Marshall already boasts a win against her when the then two teenagers met at the WBC’s Night of Champions event at Cardiff International Arena in August 2010.
Holgersson arrived with a massive reputation, only to be taken apart 10-1 by the Poolie.
The imposing Dutch fighter Fontijn awaits in the other half of the draw.
The world number 10 defeated Ireland’s Sinead Kavanagh to set up a semi with Nives Radic after the Croatian beat Andrea Strohmaier, from Germany.