MARSHALL'S LOOKINGBACK TO HUNGRY SELF
Savannah Marshall loves winning medals '“ you don't build up the sort of collection she has without hunger in the proverbial locker.
But one thing has kept her going over the last four years – the pain of one of her defeats.
Marshall is desperate to reach the Olympics so she can put the record straight after her exit at the 2012 London Games, where she had been favourite for gold.
True she was on the wrong end of what this reporter felt a dodgy decision, but the Hartlepool boxer will admit that she was not herself when she lost that quarter-final in the Eastend of our capital.
But the 25-year-old is showing she is back to her old self by reaching the last eight of the World Championship in Kazakhstan following a unanimous points win over Pooja Rani.
Victory over China’s Qian Li tomorrow night will win her a place in Rio.
After being at her majestic best when eliminating Elena Vystropova on Friday, the Headland middleweight was in great form again in the round of the last 16 against the Indian she had beaten en route to Commonwealth Games glory.
Rani was a busy opponent, not to mention an awkward one given her southpaw stance. She was out quickly, throwing wild swings only to miss with more than she landed.
The sharper, more accurate work came from Savannah, connecting with a sweet right and left right combination and another right. The judges put quality ahead of quantity and round one went to the blue corner.
Rani came out with purpose in the second, but Marshall was the classier act, scoring with two excellent, long lefts.
The southpaw factor made it untidy at times but Savannah rammed in a long, straight right and then a dazzling three-punch combination.
“Keep the gap” said GB coach Lee Pullen ahead of round three and while the first telling shot came from Rani, a big right, most of the Indian’s shots were taken on the shoulders or gloves.
Marshall maintained the edge and two good rights to the head helped her on the way to take round three too.
The fourth was a Marshall masterclass, landing long, straight punches to the head before rattling in several hooks to the body. Turning it on, the Poolie landed at will to clinch the final session too.
The judges from Kazakhstan, Vietnam and Ecuador all scored it 40-36 to the girl from Dyke House, who has yet to lose a round.
Her Headland coach Tim Coulter said: “The tactics were a bit different to Friday – Savannah used her feet more and stood off more with Rani charging in. But it was another good performance.
“The first two rounds were a little untidy but she got her range in the third and fourth and looked good.”