Olympics: Hartlepool boxer Savannah Marshall into quarter-finals in Rio after beating Anna Laurell
Savannah Marshall tonight reached the quarter-finals of the Olympics after a superb win over old rival Anna Laurell.
The Hartlepool boxer had to do it the hard way in her opening middleweight bout in Rio, losing the opening round to the former two-time world champion.
But Marshall was not daunted and came back in magnificent fashion to clinch the last three rounds to take a unanimous points victory.
All three judges from Cuba, Ecuador and Vietnam scored it 39-37 to the Headland ABC star.
The 25-year-old now faces her arch-rival from the Netherlands, Nouchka Fontijn, in the last eight on Wednesday night.
A victory then would take her not only into the semi-final but guarantee her a medal.
Marshall was out enthusiastically against Laurell but the giant Swede used her reach to good effect to land some good scoring shots.
Savannah did some fine work to the body, but Laurell edged it for all three judges.
It put the World Championship bronze medallist under pressure, but how she responded.
She took the fight to her rival in round two, landing two strong left-right combinationsto the head and then the body plus a right to the chin.
All three judges marked the session to Marshall as they did in round three when she reeled off several eye-catching salvos.
Anna briefly came forward before the bell and there was respect between the pair at the end of the round with touch of gloves.
Marshall was now ahead for the first time going into the last of the four rounds and was determined not to let her good work slip.
She launched the round with a left hook and while the girl in the red vest responded with a couple of accurate single shots, Marshall possessed the quantity and quality, one left-right-left combo forcing Laurell back.
A right from Anna got through but the Tim Coulter-trained boxer dominated the last round to win via a unanimous verdict.
“It was a terrific performance,” said BBC TV summariser and former Olympic medallist Richie Woodhall.
“She lost the first round, so she had to show some bottle and she wasn’t going to be denied.”