Savannah Marshall’s coach targeting Olympic glory in 2016

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Tim Coulter is targeting Olympic success with Savannah Marshall with Rio 2016 just nine months away.

The Headland ABC boxing coach feels the 2012 world champion is beginning to find the sort of form which made her the number one middleweight on the planet.

Marshall won the GB Championship in Sheffield on Thursday night when she beat Yorkshire’s Natasha Gale on points.

It means the 24-year-old will represent Great Britain at next year’s European Olympic qualifier in Turkey in April and the World Championships in Kazakhstan in May.

The first competition is in effect the European Championship in all but name as the continent’s best chase places at Rio.

There are more Olympic places on the line at the Worlds in Astrana, where Marshall will be chasing her second global crown, having won gold in China in 2012.

After winning the worlds - and being the only boxer to beat American sensation Claressa Shields - the Headland star was the favourite to be the first women’s Olympic middleweight champion.

It did not go to plan, Marshall losing in the quarter-finals though it looked - and still seems today - a bad decision by the judges.

Coulter is, of course, proud to have a world champion but believes the Olympics is the competition to excel at.

“The priority has to be qualifying for Rio,” he told SportMail.

“Savannah did the greatest thing a boxer can do when she won the worlds in 2012.

“She was only the second-ever world champion Britain has had, male or female.

“But being a world champ only gets you half the credit as being an Olympian.

“Boxing people know the world championship is the pinnacle and is the harder competition to win.

“But for the general public, it’s the Olympics. Look at Nicola Adams, she became a household name after winning in London.”

Coulter was thrilled by Marshall’s display on Thursday night at the English Institute of Sport.

The heat was on his boxer.

In previous GB Championships, Marshall has had no challenger and British Boxing bosses have flown in foreign opposition just so she could box at the event.

But, for the first time, the Commonwealth Games gold medallist has had an opponent, with Gale having made rapid strides since taking up the sport two years ago.

However, class, experience, fitness and power told on Thursday night with Marshall giving the 25-year-old two standing eight counts.

“Before the championship I tried to turn it around with Savannah and say the pressure was on Natasha,” added Coulter.

“But the pressure was on Savannah.

“She had to come out and prove she was number one, which she did.

“Natasha came out and landed a right at the start and it panicked Savannah a bit and she started falling in a little.

“But from about the mid-point of the first round you could see the class and it started to flow.

“The only thing I really said to her was ‘be quick’ and everything else will follow.

“It did and I was over the moon with her.”