Savannah Marshall explains Claressa Shields rematch collapse as Hartlepool fighter prepares for Franchon Crews-Dezurn fight
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The amateur rivals finally squared off with one another for the first time in over a decade and produced a classic which has helped play its part in the continuous evolution of women’s boxing.
And Marshall is set to headline her second successive show when she meets the undisputed super middleweight champion, Crews-Dezurn, in Manchester on July 1 as she steps up a weight to compete for more undisputed gold.
But for much of the year, in the aftermath of her only professional loss, the question surrounding Marshall has been about one thing and one thing only: a rematch with Shields.
The American produced a stunning display to score a unanimous decision victory over Marshall and would insist that any rematch between her and Marshall would have to take place in America.
“If her and her team want it, come on over to the USA and we can get it done,” Shields told Sky Sports after October’s triumph.
“I just feel like if I came and fought her on her home turf, she needs to know what it feels like to come to my territory and do it.
“I want her to have to experience what I experienced and we’re going to see if she even fights the same. She looked defeated after the fight.”
Having spent time away from the ring, and gyms, in the wake of defeat, Marshall returned later in 2022 to confirm she would reactivate her rematch clause with Shields with the hope being for a blockbuster showdown this summer at Newcastle United’s St. James’ Park.
But despite numerous public appearances and plenty of back and forth between the pair, a rematch would not be made, with Marshall, instead, moving to Crews-Dezurn after Shields defended her middleweight crown against Maricela Cornejo at Detroit’s Little Caesars Arena earlier this month.
And speaking recently with The Mail at the launch of her new ‘Off The Canvas - The Better You’ project, Marshall went into detail about what the last eight months have been like in pursuing the rematch with Shields and why, in the end, it did not happen.
“I think it’s quite obvious now that the fight was so big because of our personalities,” Marshall explained.
“She played the baddie, I played the goodie, but I was quite shocked by how much actual support I had on the night and what I've got since then.
“I think we’re seeing it now and I think she’s starting to realise that she needs me.
“The opportunity was there for a rematch and she massively priced herself out.
“She basically wanted a lot of money, silly money, which wasn’t doable and I feel like she will be regretting that now because look at this fight with Franchon. Sky are backing it massively.
“It’s a massive fight. It’s getting a lot of coverage. And I think she’s watching thinking the hype would have followed her but it hasn’t, it’s followed the girl who got beat.
"There's a buzz around this fight with Franchon and I don't think she likes that.
“I would have went over there for it,” Marshall added after Shields had insisted the fight be made in America.
“But it boils down to she hasn’t got a broadcaster and she hasn’t got a massive promotional team that would have been able to give it the eyes that it needed.
“She needs me and I think she’s finally starting to wake up.”
Shields is expected to make the journey to Manchester's AO Arena after taking care of her own business over Cornejo but, again, suggested she would be more open to fighting the winner of Marshall-Crews-Dezurn in America.
"I’ll be looking at that fight – I think I’ll go over to the UK and show my face a little bit and see whoever wins,” said Shields.
“But whoever wins, if they want to come and meet me here at Little Caesars again, where all my fans come out to watch me fight, I’m down for it.”
Shields added on Marshall in a recent interview with Sky Sports: “If that’s what her game plan is, and I’m her motivation to have this fight [with Franchon], and she thinks she'll become undisputed and then it’ll be undisputed versus undisputed then tell her all that is fine.
"Keep on thinking about me and keep on letting me be her motivation like I’ve been for all these years.
"If she loses this fight to Franchon, which I think she will, she can still come and get the smoke and try to fight me again for my undisputed championships and I’ll whoop her again.”
But Marshall, who is now fully focused on claiming undisputed glory at super middleweight, does not necessarily believe Shields would take the fight if she is to dethrone Crews-Dezurn next month.
“Personally, now, I don’t think she’ll give me the rematch. I think she’s too stubborn,” Marshall told The Mail.
“She massively priced herself out of it before and I think she’ll do it again.
"If I get it, great. I’d go to America but, again, it generates more money here. It generates more press, more publicity, so from a business side it makes more sense to have it here.
“But who would have thought coming out of the ring back then that I’d be in this position now?
“I’m about to fight for the undisputed super middleweight title. Boxxer are still behind me, Sky are still behind me and I’m pushing this project that I’ve been working really hard on.”
Marshall challenges for the undisputed super middleweight title on July 1 at Manchester’s AO Arena.