Hartlepool's Savannah Marshall and American Claressa Shields agree middleweight unification fight for September

After months of negotiations perhaps the biggest fight in women’s boxing has been made as Savannah Marshall’s long-awaited bout with rival Claressa Shields has been announced.

By Joe Ramage
Saturday, 28th May 2022, 9:50 am
Savannah Marshall delivered a devastating knockout to Femke Hermans last time out in Newcastle Arena to defend her WBO middleweight belt. Picture by Martin Swinney
Savannah Marshall delivered a devastating knockout to Femke Hermans last time out in Newcastle Arena to defend her WBO middleweight belt. Picture by Martin Swinney

Hartlepool’s fighting champion Marshall and American Shields have been on a collision course years in the making and the two will finally go head-to-head as pros after Sky Sports boxing promotion Boxxer announced a deal has been agreed between the two fighters.

The undisputed middleweight world championship bout had been in jeopardy after the original proposed date of late June or early July had to be postponed at Marshall’s request after the 31-year-old required surgery following her last outing over Femke Hermans.

Marshall’s devastating knockout win over Belgian Hermans in April saw the two amateur rivals lock horns as she came face-to-face in the ring with WBA, WBC and IBF middleweight champion Shields in front of a raucous Newcastle crowd.

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Claressa Shields argues with Savannah Marshall ringside after the WBA, IBO AND WBF Women's Middleweight Title fight between Claressa Shields and Erna Kozin at Motorpoint Arena Cardiff on February 05, 2022 in Cardiff, Wales. (Photo by Huw Fairclough/Getty Images)

All eyes have since been on making the fight official before Marshall required what has been successful surgery.

But despite Shields threatening to walk away from the fight, a deal has now been made for September.

"Early September - both fighters are ready, both fighters are signed," Boxxer’s Ben Shalom told Sky Sports News.

"I can't wait. It's taken a while.

Savannah Marshall and Claressa Shields will face off with one another in September. Picture by Martin Swinney

"Claressa has finally got her match. It's the first time we're seeing a genuine rivalry in women's boxing, and that's a sign of the times.

"It's an incredible time for the sport and an incredible time for any woman getting into the sport of boxing."

While no official date has been confirmed, two time Olympic Gold medallist Shields took to social media to suggest the fight will take place on September 3 before delivering a message to the WBO champion.

“No one has seen when I loss a very close fight to you in the amateurs! But THE ENTIRE WORLD IS GONNA SEE ME WIN NOW,” Shields wrote.

As well as Marshall’s surgery, one of the hold ups in negotiations had been agreeing a venue for the fight which is, as yet, to be finalised.

Marshall declared after her blockbuster victory over Hermans in April she wanted the fight in the Newcastle while Shields was keen to take Marshall away from her native North East.

And Boxxer’s Shalom believes a venue is close to being secured with Newcastle and London the front runners.

"We are very close to finalising the venue," Shalom added.

"The fight's got so big now that it needs an international venue. It will happen in the UK - all the venues want it.

"It's going to be between Newcastle and London, we'll see."

Marshall is the only woman to defeat Shields in her career after beating her as an amateur back in 2012.

As pros, both Marshall and Shields have impeccable records with 12 wins each although Marshall does boast a higher knockout ratio with 10 of her wins being by way of stoppage to Shields’ two.

But with the fight signed, this rivalry, a decade in the making, is set to get its showpiece conclusion as Shields looks to avenge the only loss of her career while Hartlepool’s Marshall looks to cement her legacy.