Olympic boxing hopeful Savannah Marshall must beat China's Qian Li to make Rio
Savannah Marshall is just one bout away from reaching her second Olympic Games.
The Hartlepool boxer reached the last eight of the World Championships in Kazakhstan yesterday when she outpointed India’s Poja Rani.
Marshall will now meet China’s number four seed Qian Li tomorrow night in Astana where victory will take her into the middleweight semis and on the plane to Rio.
Marshall’s Headland ABC coach Tim Coulter believes the 25-year-old can go on to complete the job.
“I was confident before the tournament even began,” said the trainer.
“She was the strongest and fastest I’ve seen her and mentally she was in good shape.
“The worry with Savannah is always getting through the first fight and then she seems to grow into the competition.
“She’s just one fight away now from the Olympics and I’m hoping she just carries on her form.
“Savannah was good again yesterday against Rani and now she needs one more great performance.
“She looks good physically and mentally she seems right.
“She’s a born-winner – she’s got virtually every gold medal there is to get, aside from the Olympics, and now she’s only one win away from getting to Rio, which would be brilliant.”
Marshall has a win under her belt against tomorrow night’s opponent, having outclassed the Chinese girl in the World Combat Games final in St Petersburg in late 2013.
“Savannah’s beaten Qian Li before and she can do it again,” said Coulter who, despite his confidence, is an admirer of the 27-year-old.
Li has already qualified for the Olympics courtesy of gold at the Asia & Oceania Olympic qualifier in April.
Yesterday, she booked her place at the last four of the Worlds with a points victory over veteran Swede Anna Laurell.
“Li is the number four seed and obviously a good boxer,” said Coulter.
“I watched her bout against Anna and she looked very sharp and I noticed how she always liked to finish the exchanges with a left hook.
“I would like to see Savannah get her with a combination and then finish with a left hook herself.
“She needs to make sure she has the last say in each exchange.
“If she does that and boxes with the confidence she has so far, she can get that place in the semis.”