Hartlepool boxer Savannah Marshall must conquer world again to win place at Rio Olympics

Savannah Marshall: World date next month
Savannah Marshall: World date next month

Savannah Marshall’s Rio 2016 hopes are in the balance after suffering a first round exit at the European Olympic qualifier in Turkey.

The Hartlepool boxer was outpointed by Erika Guerrier in the round of 16 bout in Samsun yesterday.

Everything is in place for her – talent, fitness, strength, timing, experience. She’s going to have to take all that into the ring

TIM COULTER

It’s a shock defeat – and painful one – for the 24-year-old who now only has one opportunity left to win a spot at this summer’s Olympic Games.

Marshall must now turn back the clock at the World Championships in May.

Headland ABC coach Tim Coulter said: “It’s good there is a quick turnaround before the Worlds.

“There is no time for Savannah to dwell on this, she’s going to have to get straight back into it.

“Everything is in place for her – talent, fitness, strength, timing, experience. She’s going to have to take all that into the ring.”

The Commonwealth title holder will be devastated by a close points loss to Guerrier, a boxer she would expect to beat nine times out of 10.

All three judges scored the opening two rounds to the French girl, leaving Marshall an uphill task.

Two judges awarded the third round to Marshall 10-9, though the other judge marked it for Guerrier, and the Dyke House girl could not turn it around in the last.

Her loss was the second shock result of the women’s middleweight session.

Number one seed Nouckha Fontijn suffered a points defeat at the hands of unheralded Irish boxer Christina Desmond.

With Dutch ace Fontijn in Marshall’s half of the draw, the route appeared to have been opened for Savannah to go all the way to the final and clinch one of the two spots on offer for Rio.

That hope was soon ended and now Marshall must do the business at the Worlds in Kazakhstan from May 19.

She will need to repeat her glory run in 2012 when she became Britain’s second global gold medallist by winning the world title on her 21st birthday in China.

The four semi-finalists in Astrana will gain Rio places.

“I’ve not seen the bout with Guerrier or spoken to Savannah yet, so it is difficult for me to comment about the contest until I do,” said Coulter .

“I’m not sure this scoring system suits her, but that is no argument really because that’s how amateur boxing is now judged.

“But I’d like to see Savannah get out there and do what she does best – fight.”