Savannah Marshall starts Commonwealth Games as World No 1

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SAVANNAH Marshall will start the Commonwealth Games as world champion AND the number one middleweight on the planet.

And that is just how her Headland ABC coach Tim Coulter thinks it should be.

Boxing’s International Amateur Association have just announced their new ratings and the Hartlepool fighter has jumped from third to first, 300 points above Russia’s Nadezhada Torlopova and 400 better off than Olympic champ Claressa Shields.

Women’s boxing makes a belated debut at this sporting extravaganza next week when Marshall will be the favourite for gold in the U75 kilo category.

The 23-year-old could box in the preliminary round on Tuesday night, with the quarter and semis on Wednesday and Friday at the Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre.

If the Poolie puncher goes all the way, the final will be staged at the 12,000-seat Hydro Arena next to the River Clyde a week on Saturday.

“It’s great for Savannah that she is the world number one,” Coulter told SportMail.

“I think she’s justifies that position.

“She’s the world champion and since the Olympics she’s had two tournaments and won them both.

“Savannah has had injury issues since, but I believe that, injury free, she’s the best in the world.

“I’ve seen nothing over the last couple of years to change my mind.”

Marshall has spent long stretches out of action, principally with two major problems to a hand and shoulder, both of which required surgery.

It has meant only two competitions in the last 24 months - the 2013 European Union Championship and the World Combat Games late last year in Russia.

Marshall has not dropped a round in either event, some going given the standard of the tournaments.

If there is one slight concern it is the possibility of ring rust, but Coulter remains confident.

“Touch wood, she has been injury free for the last sixth months,” he said.

“She was in the gym with me at the weekend and everything is looking good.

“Everything has come together nicely. Her form on the pads was good and her fitness is sky high.”

Marshall is part of an 11-strong England team, which includes two female colleagues, Nicola Adams and Natasha Jonas, plus Sunderland heavyweight Warren Baister among the men.