Hartlepool's world bronze medallist Savannah Marshall against pro boxers at Olympic Games

Savannah Marshall has taken a swipe at proposals to allow professional boxers to fight at the Olympics.

Wednesday, 1st June 2016, 4:00 pm
Updated Wednesday, 1st June 2016, 5:03 pm
Hartlepool Boxer Savannah Marshall with her world bronze medal. Picture by KEVIN BRADY

The Hartlepool star, who will be representing Great Britain in Rio, says she is “not sure” it is the right decisions.

It was announced today that international boxing federations had voted in the rule change just weeks before the Games, which start on 5 August.

The controversial decision was met with criticism from several high-profile figures, notably ex-World champion Ricky Hatton and current champ Carl Frampton.

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Many feel boxing is trying to ‘jazz up’ the competition to try to match the golf and tenis tournaments at the Olympics which feature the superstars of those sports.

Marshall, who clinched her Rio place with a bronze medal at the World Championship last week, says the boxing event should be left as it is.

“I am not sure whether they should do it, they just seem to be trying something new,” said the 25-year-old.

“If they are going to do something like this, I think it should be done for the World Championships or another international tournament, not the Olympics, I don’t think it’s right.”

At present the Olympic and World amateur boxing events are fought over three three-minute rounds with world pro titles taking place over 12 rounds.

Marshall feels the top amateurs would beat the professionals because of the different formats.

“For me, it’s two different sports,” said the Headland ABC middleweight.

“I think an elite amateur boxer would beat a professional over three rounds anyway, so I’m not sure a pro would be better.”

Marshall has just returned from Kazakhstan, where she took bronze to add to the silver she won in 2010 and gold in 2012.

“I can’t wait to go to Rio,” said the former English Martyrs School pupil who was eliminated at the quarter-final stage of the London Games four years ago.

“London didn’t go well but I’ve learned from it and I’m going to go there and enjoy it and see what happens.”

British amateur boxing bosses seem underwhelmed by today’s announcement.

A spokesperson said Team GB have only two Olympic places left to fill in the boxing tournament wit North-East boxers Josh Kelly and Pat McCormack both tipped to qualify.

“We have a very talented squad from which we have already qualified 10 boxers (8 men and 2 women) for the Olympic Games in Rio, “ said a spokesperson for GB Boxing.

“Our efforts are focused on preparing our boxers for the next qualification event in mid-June when we hope to qualify the remaining two places.”