Hartlepool Olympic boxer Savannah Marshall won’t rule out Tokyo 2020

Pat McCormack (left), Savannah Marshall and Josh Kelly (right) during the Olympics team announcement at the English Institute of Sport, Sheffield. Picture: Rui Vieira/PA Wire

Pat McCormack (left), Savannah Marshall and Josh Kelly (right) during the Olympics team announcement at the English Institute of Sport, Sheffield. Picture: Rui Vieira/PA Wire

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Savannah Marshall is getting ready to join swimmer Jemma Lowe as a two-time Hartlepool Olympian.

The 25-year-old was today receiving her Team GB kit in Birmingham, ahead of next month’s games in Brazil.

I’m still enjoying my boxing. As long as I’m still enjoying it, never say never

SAVANNAH MARSHALL

Revitalised Marshall is looking to bury the disappointment of London 2012 when she entered the debut of women’s boxing at the Olympics as one of the favourites for gold.

Sadly, she exited in the quarter-finals in our capital but optimism has returned – and rightly so – ahead of Rio following a bronze medal at the World Championships in May.

And don’t rule out a third Olympics in Tokyo in 2020!

“I’m still young, I’m still fit, I’m healthy,” said Marshall at the official unveiling of the Team GB boxing squad at the English Institute of Sport.

“I’m still enjoying my boxing.

“As long as I’m still enjoying it, never say never.”

Her words and positive body language at yesterday’s media day in Sheffield show just how far the Headland ABC star has come in a short time.

After falling at the first hurdle at the European Olympic Qualifier in Turkey in April, the boxer known as the “Silent Assassin” was drinking the last-chance-saloon at the World Championships in Kazakhstan.

The Camerons Brewery-sponsored fighter had to reach the semis in Astana or face not just having August off, but, potentially, the end of her career.

But the Poolie rose to the task, eliminating the sixth and fourth seeds en-route to the last four where, unfortunately, she lost out to bogey opponent, Nouchka Fontijn.

Marshall admits the task will be a tough one in Rio, but is quietly confident of bringing back a medal and banishing the memories of London.

“I’m four years older, I feel more mature now,” said the Commonwealth Games champ

“I just want to go there and perform, I didn’t do that in London.

“If I can go there and perform I can win.

“It’s going to be really hard.

“The qualification process changed for this year, the two best from each continent and the four semi-finalists from the worlds. It will be hard, but, if I go there and perform, I will be happy.”

The Olympic Games has hardly been a medal-laden path for North-East boxers, Sunderland’s Tony Jeffries aside in 2008 in Beijing, where he won bronze.

But that could change in Rio given a quarter of Team GB’s 12-strong boxing squad are from the region – with Marshall being joined by first-time Olympians, Pat McCormack, from Washington, and Sunderland’s Josh Kelly.

McCormack, 21, will box at light-welter, with Kelly, 22, a division up at welter.

“It’s great having Pat and Josh in the team,” added Marshall.

“They are brilliant boxers and have a great chance.”