SAVANNAH Marshall was today starting her bid to add Olympic glory to her World Championship gold.
The Hartlepool fighter was due to face Marina Volnova at the ExCel Arena this afternoon in the middleweight quarter-final.
And the reward for victory is massive – should she beat the 23-year-old from Kazakhstan then she is guaranteed at least a bronze medal.
Unlike the World Championship, the Olympic field is limited to only 12 boxers meaning that the 21-year-old needs to win only three bouts to strike gold, unlike the punishing schedule of five victories in six incredible, but exhausting, days which made her the best female middleweight on the planet.
Her Headland coach Tim Coulter, who will be supporting her in the ExCel Arena in London’s Docklands today, said the thrill of being crowned world champ would take some beating.
However, he admitted following in the footsteps of the likes of Jess Ennis, Mo Farah and Andy Murray would be “special”.
“For a boxer, winning the world title is the pinnacle in our sport,” he said. “Britain have had more Olympic boxing golds than world champions, that shows how hard the worlds are to win.
“But you can’t down play the Olympics.
“The prestige about just being an Olympian is massive, never mind winning. To be a champion in your own country would be something special, just look what has happened over the last week in London.”
Victory in her 3.30pm bout would make the Headland ABC star Hartlepool’s first Olympic medallist since 1924 when the great sprinter Dick Ripley won a bronze at the Paris Games.
In Olympic boxing, both losing semi-finalists are guaranteed a place on the podium.
But today’s bout will not be easy.
Before the World Championships, Volnova had a higher rating than Marshall, and while Savannah is now ranked second her opponent went out to the woman at number one, Russia’s Nadezda Torlopva.
To see how Savannah gets on log on to our website after her bout today at 3.30pm and see full coverage in Tuesday’s SportMail.