BOXING

AUTHOR: Star Sports Content

STAR PREVIEW Sat: Claressa Shields v Savannah Marshall

Savannah Marshall and Claressa Shields are quickly building the most heated rivalry in female boxing and they will finally clash as professionals this weekend at London’s 02 Arena.

The pair are undefeated as professionals but they did meet as amateurs in 2012, with Marshall coming away with a close and controversial decision.

The fight was originally scheduled for September but was postponed due to the passing of the Queen. The delay may have been a hinderance to the fighters but it has only heightened anticipation with the fans and by time the opening bell goes on Saturday excitement will be at fever pitch.

The WBC, WBO & IBF middleweight titles will be on the line but this fight feels bigger than any belt. This is the first real rivalry in female boxing and pride is on the line as much as any belt. Claressa Shields comes into the fight as the self-entitled “GWOAT” and she has been outstanding so far as a professional.

Hailing from Flint, Michigan, Shields had an incredibly tough start to her life but she has used boxing as a tool to a better life. As an amateur she was a standout member of Team USA. She is outspoken to the point she divides fans but she backs up all her talk when it’s time to fight.

With a record of 12-0 (2KO), The American remains the only female fighter in history to hold all four major titles in two separate divisions. The things she has achieved in twelve fights are remarkable and at just 27 years of age, the best is still yet to come.

Not many fighters could compete with Shields but Savannah Marshall was the exception, as an amateur she beat her but as a professional she has enjoyed similar success and with her exceptional punching power, she is quickly becoming a must-see attraction in British boxing.

Marshall is also 12-0 but her 10 knockouts are perhaps the difference between these two fighters. Female boxing doesn’t hold many real concussive punchers but Marshall is the exception, she is a ferocious knockout artist with many of her finishes coming with just a single punch.

It would be disrespectful to call this a puncher vs boxer matchup, but the winner will ultimately come down to which fighter can turn this into ‘their’ fight. Shields will want this to be a pure boxing match because her illusive style combined with the two-minute rounds in female boxing will allow her to win rounds and take this to the scorecards. On the other hand, Marshall will want this fight to take place at close quarters, where she can land big shots and look to knockout Shields like she has done to ten of her previous twelve opponents.

Despite travelling to the UK, Shields will start as the slight (10/11) favourite with Marshall priced at (1/1). Shields is a justified favourite and it is the forced break of a couple of weeks that may be her biggest advantage. Marshall is very big for the weight and she will have struggled to make the weight limit the first time, having to hold her weight and make it again this week would have been incredibly difficult. If the Brit is slightly jaded in the right on Saturday night, it would be no surprise.

Shields doesn’t struggle to make the weight so she may be the fresher of the pair come the opening bell and she has a good chance of turning this into a pure boxing match. If she can, the American holds clear advantages and the best bet of the night could be Claressa Shields by decision at (11/8).

The entire undercard features female fighters which is historic but one fight that stands out is Mikaela Mayer vs Alycia Baumgardner for the IBF, WBC & WBO super featherweight titles. Mayer is the clear (2/5) favourite but Baumgardner is a very live underdog. The American has travelled to the UK to upset the odds when she knocked out Terri Harper last year so she will revel in her underdog status this weekend.

Mayer is the deserved favourite here, but questions remain whether this is her real weight class and Baumgardner is a fighter in a rich vein of form. At (9/4) the American is a tempting underdog and someone worth taking a risk on.

JORDAN NEILD


RECOMMENDED BETS

BACK Claressa Shields by decision 1pt at 11/8 (Latest Star Price ? CLICK TO BET NOW)

BACK Alycia Baumgardner to win 1pt at 9/4 (Latest Star Price ? CLICK TO BET NOW)


PROFIT/LOSS (OCT 2022): LOSS -5.86 points
(Excluding ante-post recommendations CLICK HERE)


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