Savannah Marshall could be about to start the long road to a blockbuster re-match with explosive American Claressa Shields.
The Hartlepool boxing star has formally ended her association with Great Britain’s amateur team, paving the way for the 25-year-old to join the professional ranks.
SportMail revealed last month that the former world number one was weighing up her future after six years at the top of the amateur game.
Now, the picture is a little clearer after GB Boxing announced the departure of Marshall, Jack Bateson, Chantelle Cameron and Kody Davis from the World Class Performance Programme (WCPP) for boxing.
A statement from Team GB read: “The quartet will not be part of the GB Boxing squad for the 2017- 21 Tokyo cycle (which begins on 1 April 2017) and are free to pursue other career opportunities.”
Britain’s boxing chief, Rob McCracken, had hoped Marshall would spearhead the women’s side for the Olympics in Japan in 2020, but the Headland ABC middleweight has now opted to move on.
With her major rival, Shields, already making headlines in the USA after turning pro following her second Olympic title, the path is clear to a global showdown.
Marshall is the only fighter to have defeated the all-conquering, brash Shields, outpointing her convincingly en-route to becoming the 2012 world champion.
There has been no comment yet from the boxer known as the ‘Silent Assassin’ for her habit of letting her fists do the talking.
Certainly there would be no shortage of interested parties in the pro game given the lure of a showdown with Shields.
GB Boxing’s Performance Director McCracken said: “Savannah has been with the squad since the women’s programme began in 2010.
“She has made a fantastic contribution to both GB Boxing and the sport of women’s boxing as a whole.
“Savannah was the first ever female boxer to win a world championship (in 2012) and can be proud of her achievements over the last six years.”
Marshall has won medals at every competition, with the exception of the Olympics, though many felt she was robbed of at least a bronze by a poor decision in her quarter-final defeat in Rio to Nouchka Fontijn, from the Netherlands.
The Tim Coulter-trained boxer has all three colours from the World Championships, silver (2010), gold (2012) and bronze (2016), while she won the 2014 Commonwealth Games gold in Glasgow.
She also boasts titles at the World Combat Games and European Union Championship.