‘Shields is relentless’ | ‘But Marshall will land’

Speed and relentless aggression will clash with irresistible power when Claressa Shields and Savannah Marshall collide for the undisputed world middleweight championship on Saturday, live on Sky Sports.

That’s how Mikaela Mayer and Natasha Jonas break down the fight. Both Mayer and Jonas are current unified world champions but they also know Shields and Marshall better than most.

Mayer and Jonas were their team-mates on their respective Olympic squads, the former with Shields at Rio 2016 and the latter with Marshall at London 2012.

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Savannah Marshall’s trainer Peter Fury believes she’s in peak condition ahead of Saturday’s mega fight with Claressa Shields

It means they have unparalleled insight into Saturday’s main event. Naturally each is backing their own former team-mate.

For Jonas, Marshall’s increasing confidence will be crucial. “I’ve watched her grow and develop. We always knew how good she was. She just never believed in herself and I think the one thing that Peter [Fury, her trainer] has instilled in her is that belief. We see how confident she is, how she talks now,” she said.

“We’ve always known her as a silent person but now she is a little bit more expressive. She’s not scared to say how she feels and express that in the ring and outside.”

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Sky Sports’ Head of Boxing Adam Smith shares his thoughts on the all-women’s card at the O2 on Saturday, headlined by Savannah Marshall versus Claressa Shields for the undisputed middleweight title

No one doubts that Shields is someone possessed of extraordinary self-belief. But Mayer expects her style to be uniquely problematic for Marshall.

“I’ve always said this: one of my favourite things about Claressa, she’s a dog. She just goes in there, she has so much heart. She is relentless,” said Mayer, who has her own showdown with Alycia Baumgardner on Saturday’s undercard.

“Her punch count and her speed is really unheard of for women in that weight division. She has the speed and the punch count of a lightweight.

“That’s what I think is her biggest asset, especially going into a fight with someone like Savannah Marshall who is a great fighter too, she has the amateur pedigree. She’s proven to have that one-punch knockout power that makes this really exciting as well.

“But it’s two different styles. I’m obviously rooting for Claressa. I’m always rooting for her, she’s my Olympic sister and I think that she’s definitely going to have her moments where she overwhelms Savannah with her punch combinations.”

Mayer added of Marshall, “She’s got to land that one big shot because if she doesn’t Claressa will overwhelm her with her combinations and speed and aggression.”

But Jonas tips Marshall to land that power punch.

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Savannah Marshall gives an insight into her preparations for her undisputed middleweight clash against Claressa Shields, as well as sharing her thoughts on her opponent’s ‘trash talk’

“I think it’s going be a really tough fight for both. I think what it boils down to is eventually Sav is going to land,” Jonas explained.

“For me eventually Sav is going to land and when she does, people don’t get back up. I think Claressa will probably have a bit of a healthy lead. I think she’ll be winning the rounds. She’s fast, she’s explosive, she’s got a good output and that might knock Sav a little bit, eventually Sav will land.”

Her prediction is for Marshall to win by stoppage late on in the bout. “I do think Claressa will be winning, I do think she’ll pick up the earlier rounds, she starts fast and explosive,” Jonas said.

“But eventually Sav is going to land. We all know what happens then.”

The biggest fight in the history of women’s boxing – Claressa Shields vs Savannah Marshall – is live on Sky Sports on Saturday September 10. Be part of history and buy tickets for the London showdown here.

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