Boxer heads Great Britain’s challenge in Czech Grand Prix

Great Britain's Savannah Marshall
Great Britain's Savannah Marshall

SAVANNAH Marshall “can’t wait” to get back into the boxing ring when she spearheads Great Britain’s side at the Grand Prix in the Czech Republic this week.

Marshall flew out with GB team-mates Nicola Adams and Natasha Jonas today for one of the last major tournaments ahead of the World Championships in China in May.

The Hartlepool fighter is one of the favourites for gold at Ústí nad Labem, where the tournament gets under way tomorrow and finishes on Saturday.

Marshall missed the last international event, the Stranja Cup in Bulgaria after returning ill from Britain’s productive training camp in Brazil last month.

But the 20-year-old goes into the Grand Prix in optimistic mood after a successful run of form which climaxed with a sensational double performance against world champion at Under 81 kilos, Roseli Feitosa.

Marshall, many felt, got the wrong end of the decision in their first meeting in Sao Paulo, losing on punch countback after a 16-16 draw but she gave the Brazilian no chance in the return match, the Poolie winning 26-22.

The Headland ABC star has not looked back since winning a bronze medal at the European Championship last October .

She reeled off four great wins in November, against a quartet of her Olympic rivals – Germany’s Andrea Strohmaier, Australia’s Naomi Fischer Rasmussen, Franchon Crews, from America, and Kazakhstan’s Dariga Shakimova, the last three wins on her way to gold at the London Prepares Series.

Marshall then outclassed double world champion Anna Laurell in a Sweden v GB international, which was the pick of the lot until that win over Feitosa in Brazil.

“Missing the Stranja Cup was a bit frustrating at the time,” Marshall told SportMail. “But I came back from Brazil feeling ill and needed the time off to get myself put right.

“I’d had a lot of bouts and done well so not going to Bulgaria has not done me any harm.

“I’m not sure which countries are there this week but I’ve heard the Netherlands may be competing which means I might come up against Nouchka [Fontijn] who beat me in the Europeans.

“But I feel ready and fit. A gold is always the target Team GB set us and I will go there and try my best.”