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Friday, December 30, 2022 9:30 am

Claressa Shields (right) and Savannah Marshall (left) went head to head this year at The O2, the biggest night of women's boxing ever held in the UK.
Claressa Shields (right) and Savannah Marshall (left) went head to head this year at The O2, the biggest night of women’s boxing ever held in the UK.

Women’s boxing has received unprecedented attention in 2022. Especially when UK’s Savannah her Marshall and US’s Claressa Shields had a blockbuster battle in her O2. Originally published in her October, the preview set the stage for the biggest night of women’s boxing ever seen in the UK.

When Savannah Marshall and Claressa Shields last met in a boxing ring, they were both amateurs with no realistic prospects of making a good living out of the sport.

Ten years later, bitter rivals are set to renew their rivalries at the top of the professional ranks on a historic occasion promising to win $1 million each.

The purse outlines Saturday’s middleweight unification fight between England’s Marshalls and the American Seals, which is expected to sell out the 20,000 capacity O2 in London.

It will be the first all-female elite card headlining act ever seen in the UK, as it will give them the opportunity to show that women’s boxing can be big business.

“We want this to be the biggest women’s fight of all time, and we want more people to see it than ever before,” said promoter boxer CEO Ben Shalom. I did,’ he said. City AM “We feel we are totally headed in that direction.”

Women’s boxing has grown rapidly since 17-year-old Shields entered the Olympics in London 2012, where she won her first two gold medals.

Marshall failed to live up to the world champion bill in home games, but the success of Team GB’s Nicola Adams and Ireland’s Katie Taylor put her in the spotlight.

Taylor in particular blazed a trail in the professional ranks, culminating in a sell-out showdown with Amanda Serrano at New York’s Madison Square Garden earlier this year.

It’s the first time a women’s fight has headlined a legendary boxing venue, and Marshall and Shields are breaking new ground this weekend.

“Being at the top of any boxing event is a huge privilege and I am always grateful to be a part of it,” Marshall said. City AM “But the fact that this is an all-female card, and the first of its kind, creates a different type of emotion.”

Boxxer CEO and promoter Ben Shalom says Shields v Marshall is the biggest women's boxing fight of all time.
Boxxer CEO and promoter Ben Shalom says Shields v Marshall is the biggest women’s boxing fight of all time.

In addition to those at O2, more people are likely to watch the fight from home, with Shalom setting an ambitious target of 1 million viewers in the UK. Broadcast in 100 other countries.

The show will take place on Sky Sports, but not behind an additional box office paywall.

“The interest was so high that it was easy to put this on pay-per-view. With the men’s heavyweight title on the undercard, I think it would have sold more,” Shalom said.

“But we’re taking a long-term approach. We know this will be the best advertisement ever for women’s boxing.

Nevertheless, the buzz was big enough to generate the biggest prize money of Marshall’s career, rivaling Shields’ final fight.

Shields v Marshall: GWOAT v Silent Assassin

What drives the appeal is the innocent and long-lasting antagonism between two of the game’s most stylistically most antagonistic fighters.

27-year-old Shields aims to become the undisputed champion at two weights and become the first man or woman in modern times to unleash punch after punch to beat his opponent.

The 31-year-old Marshall holds the only middleweight belt not owned by an American and has ended 10 of his 12 professional fights with an early judder hit.

Their personalities are also chalk and cheese, with outspoken Shields appointing themselves GWOAT (Greatest Women of All Time) and introverted Marshalls dubbed Silent Assassins.

And most of all, what bothers Shields is that Marshall remains the only woman to beat her at the Amateur World Championships ten years ago.

“Everyone is supposedly fighting this battle over Savannah Marshall’s knockout power, but I’m the one who makes it all work,” Shields said. City AM “She won one world title and I won 12 titles in three different weight classes.”

Savannah Marshall is known for her terrifying punching power, winning 10 of her 12 early games.
Savannah Marshall is known for her terrifying punching power, winning 10 of her 12 early games.

“This fight with Claressa feels like this was always meant to be,” said Marshall, who was trained by Peter Fury, the uncle and mentor of British heavyweight world champion Tyson Fury.

Women’s boxing has had stars like Adams and Taylor, but never had the depth of quality needed for a true rivalry.

“In boxing, you first need a great fight,” said Shalom. “It’s a great fight, a rivalry never seen before in women’s boxing. The interest it’s gotten is incredible.”

The Shields-Marshall card profile has also benefited from the wider boom in women’s sports, with Marshall confirming the name of England’s Lioness and other fighting female fighters such as mixed martial arts star Ronda Rousey. Acceptance in sports.

It was also helped by the quality of the undercard, which featured a blockbuster super-featherweight title fight between Americans Michaela Mayer and Alicia Baumgardner.

“It’s not special because it’s a women-only show. This is a period of great boxing cards,” said Marshall. “People are paying attention to this because the quality speaks for itself.”

Men’s biggest game purses will be overwhelming – Tyson Fury could take home £25m – but Shields believes women are on the road to achieving equality. increase.

“If you keep making best vs. best [fights]”I think women’s boxing will catch up with men’s boxing and become equal, perhaps in my time,” she said.

The feuding pair can agree on one thing: they hope Saturday’s show, which was postponed last month after the Queen’s death, will be the first of many such nights in the spotlight. is.

Shields said, “I hope we spread national news around the world.

The Shields are still driven by their only loss in the Pro or Amateur ranks to Marshall 10 years ago
The Shields are still driven by their only loss in the Pro or Amateur ranks to Marshall 10 years ago

Shalom believes it will grow women’s boxing further, bring new audiences to the fight, and even repair the sport’s checkered image.

“For all that is probably poorly managed in boxing, this is a historic moment that shows how popular the sport is and how people have accepted that women’s boxing is a serious field. .

“I have a lot of girls at home and I can see a serious path towards a professional boxing career.”

About a third of women’s boxing ticket buyers are women, compared to just 5% for men’s boxing.

“We hope the rise of women’s sport will open up possibilities for boxing and help us in our mission to make it more transparent, accessible, better run and thrive.

“Because we need partners and broadcasters who are proud to be involved in this sport.”

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