Savannah Marshall believes knowing “what to expect” in Brazil will give her a better chance of adding an Olympic medal to her collection.
The Hartlepool boxer is one of the contenders for success in the women’s middleweight division.
The injuries over the last three or four years have not helped and being out for long periodsSAVANAHH MARSHALL
Marshall was on the podium at the World Championships in Astana in the early part of the summer when she clinched her place in Rio and re-established herself as a major force.
The 25-year-old’s bronze completed a full set of world colours, having won silver in Barbados in 2010 and gold in China two years later.
But after arriving at London 2102 as favourite to become the first women’s middleweight Olympic champion it all went horribly wrong.
Marshall crashed out in the first round, the victim of a questionable decision but also a below-par performance.
Since then injuries have plagued the Headland ABC star while there have been a few high-profile stumbles, with first-stage exits at the 2014 Worlds, 2015 European Games and 2016 European Olympic Qualifier.
It left her under real pressure going into the second and final qualifying event, but how she responded.
“I wanted to qualify in Turkey but I lost to someone I should not have been beaten by,” she told SportMail.
“No offence to Erika [Guerrier], she’s the French national champion, but for me, things could not get any lower after losing to her.
“I went to Kazakhstan for the World Championship putting no pressure on myself and just determined to give it everything.”
She certainly did just that, defeating her 2012 world final victim, Elena Vystropova, in her first bout and also accounted for world number three, Li Qian, in the quarter-finals.
Those wins against leading world-ranked boxers restored her self-belief.
“It was nice to get back to something like my best,” she said.
“The injuries over the last three or four years have not helped and being out for long periods.
“I’d maybe have a good run and then be out for six months and that’s hard, especially when the girls in my weight class were boxing and achieving things.
“I think it showed in tournaments that I had not been as active as them.
“But I was very happy with how it went in Kazakhstan.
“Boxing Vystropova first helped, it was a really tough fight four years ago, but I wanted to show that I was better now than I was then.
“Beating Qian Li felt good. She’s a top girl, the number three in the world, who had just won the Asian qualifier. That gave me a lot of satisfaction.
“Having an injury-free run and that good form is a major help.
“I’ve learned from London and I know what to expect now at the Olympics.
“I feel that I’m now in a good place.”
That is good news for Marshall’s fans, though they will have to be patient.
Her Games entry is not until Sunday, August 14. She is the final North-East fighter to climb into the ring at Riocentro Pavilion 6.
Sunderland’s Josh Kelly starts his welterweight programme this Sunday, with Pat McCormack, from Washington, in action at light-welter a week tomorrow.