May 11, 2021

Claressa Shields-Savannah Marshall has to be next

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George Gigney examines Claressa Shields’ latest comments in his boxing media review

WE could be on the verge of a potentially game-changing fight in women’s boxing after Savannah Marshall held onto her world middleweight title with ease at the weekend. Marshall holds an amateur win over America’s Claressa Shields, the only female fighter to rival Katie Taylor in terms of interest she generates. Now, a rematch between the two in the paid ranks would be a seriously big deal. Prior to Marshall’s win at the weekend, Shields was already talking up the potential bout.

“They are building Savannah up to make people think it. This fight is only considered because of how great I am,” she told Sky Sports. “If I didn’t have all these Olympic gold medals and accolades, nobody would care about a fight between me and Savannah.

“I bounced back from that loss [to Marshall in the amateurs] to win two Olympics then turn pro and be outstanding, that’s why this fight would be huge. Is it going to be a back-and-forth brawl? No. I would be as dominant as I am against every other fighter. Probably more dominant because she speaks so much and I want to beat her up.

“Anthony Joshua and Tyson Fury are fighting twice and I would love for me and Savannah to be co-main event.”

While Shields-Marshall serving as chief support to a fight as huge as Fury-Joshua would be monumental for women’s boxing, it is unlikely at this stage. For one, it’s still unclear what Shields’ plans are this year after she confirmed she will be making her mixed martial arts debut at some point in the coming months.

It would, however, be a very fitting fight to lead into Fury-Joshua. Women’s boxing has made great strides in recent years thanks to the likes of Shields, Taylor and more recently Marshall and others.

What it needs now is for these fighters who have so clearly separated themselves from the rest of the pack to face each other where possible, and Shields-Marshall is an opportunity too good to pass up. That being said, this is also a fight that deserves to top its own bill.

As to Shields claiming the fight is only so attractive because of her; that’s off the mark. Were that the case, her recent fights would also have been big news, whereas the reality is that they were not. Marshall’s amateur win over Shields and her own achievements as a professional are a key part of this fight’s promotion. Let’s just hope it gets made.

It appears to be time for Dillian Whyte to be unleashed on America, and he’s perfect for the role.

Promoter Eddie Hearn has expressed his plans to expose Whyte to US audiences, throwing out a few American heavyweights Dillian could face. For his part, the Londoner is only interested in one: Deontay Wilder.

“I think the public demand for the Wilder fight is already there, to be honest,” he told Sky Sports. “There’s a lot of demand for it already. But fighting in America doesn’t hurt and it does increase the profile and the interest, and a different fan base and following. It would be good to get a big fight in America in the summer.

“I’ll fight Wilder in Alabama [Wilder’s home state], if that’s what is going to make him feel secure and safe enough to take the fight. If he wants, he can have the home judges, his hometown, whatever. I don’t care. I’d even fight him in his own home, the kitchen, the garage, the garden, wherever. I just want to get hold of him and hurt him.”

Whyte – not only a top fighter but also one of the best talkers in the game – is quite right when he talks about demand for a Wilder fight. The two men are the main contenders to the titles held by Fury and Joshua, who appear to be fighting each other this year.

So, it makes complete sense for Whyte and Wilder to square off and determine a clear No. 1 contender at heavyweight. Wilder has been uncharacteristically quiet in recent months, to the point where it’s hard to even consider him an active fighter.

Regardless of what Wilder chooses to do, having Whyte fight in America this year is a smart move. He can build his profile while waiting for the Fury-Joshua saga to play out and potentially line himself up for a shot at the winner.

Podcasts

Triller’s Chief Boxing Office, Peter Kahn, was a guest on the Pug and Copp Show to discuss the platform’s “serious” plans to be involved in boxing. He claims it was he who pushed through the enormous purse bid to land broadcast rights for Teofimo Lopez’ next title defence, and that this was done as a statement of intent.

This was undermined somewhat by the Fight Club trailer Triller released this week, which featured the likes of Snoop Doog, Jake Paul, Marshmello and Evander Holyfield. You had to be watching very carefully to catch a glance of actual active fighters, and even then it was just Lopez and his opponent George Kambosos Jnr.

Khan alluded to more legitimate boxing fights coming to the platform, but gave no details. It seems doubtful we’ll hear anything about that anytime soon.

On his own Hotboxin’ podcast, Mike Tyson claimed he hopes to have three exhibition bouts this year, against Holyfield, Lennox Lewis and Tyson Fury. He admitted the Fury one seems unlikely, though a meeting with Holyfield – who takes on Kevin McBride in an exhibition in June (groan) – is clearly in the works.

As long as names like Tyson stay interested, there’s no major incentive for Triller to majorly invest in active fighters and real bouts. Perhaps they should just admit that.

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