Savannah Marshall stops Hannah Rankin to become the new WBO middleweight champion
Last Saturday on the undercard of Chisora v Usyk we saw Savannah Marshall seal a masterful stoppage win over Hannah Rankin to become the new WBO Middleweight Champion at Wembley Arena.
The former world amateur champion was a class above her Scottish rival from the opening bell and Marshall joined the list of British women world champions to keep herself on course for a potential showdown with American star Claressa Shields.
In the opening round Marshall tried her probing jab but Rankin darted into range to deliver clubbing counter punches. In the second a jolting uppercut breached Rankins defences as Marshall started to settle, while the Hartlepool fighter hammered in body shots before backing smoothly away in the third.
Rankins toughness continued to be severely tested in the fourth with Marshall unloading hurtful combinations and the Scott had to withstand stiff right hands in the fifth. Marshall was utilising her clever foot movement and continued her steady assault in the sixth and she broke Rankins brave resistance in the seventh. A sustained attack unravelled the defences of Rankin who took a knee and the referee waved it off when she rose to her feet.
The BBC Radio 5 Live Boxing Team have hailed this the best performance ever from a British female professional boxer.
Now in possession of the WBO middleweight title Marshall waste no time in calling out two-time Olympic Champion Claressa Shields who holds the three other world title belts at middleweight.
Shields has had her say, tweeting she cannot wait to “torch” the Briton.
“I think she’s having a heart attack on Twitter,” Marshall told the 5 Live Boxing podcast.
“That fight will 100% happen.
“As I have said before, she doesn’t want any of me. I’m all for that Shields fight. That will be the biggest fight in female boxing history.”
BBC Radio 5 Live commentator Mike Costello described Marshall’s seventh-round win as “faultless” and says a fight with Shields is exactly what is needed to add to the already growing interest in women’s boxing.
BBC Radio 5 Live analyst Steve Bunce said: “That was the best performance by a British professional female boxer ever. Hannah Rankin is a good professional and Savannah took her apart.”
Marshall’s trainer Peter Fury – who guided Tyson Fury to the world heavyweight title in 2015 – told the 5 Live Boxing podcast: “Shields is a very good fighter and deserves to be where she is.
“I believe not only does Marshall have her number, she’s inside her head and it will be a major problem when they do meet because Shields has totally read the script all over the place.
“Savannah is the new talent in world middleweight boxing, not Shields. Everyone in the country wants to get behind her as we have a new superstar in boxing.”
Marshall’s world-title success and eye-catching spat with Shields has drawn interest in women’s boxing just days before Ireland’s Katie Taylor headlines a card where the three biggest fights are all contested by women.
Taylor – the undisputed women’s lightweight champion – has unquestionably elevated the sport, as has Shields in her four years as a professional.
“We have great women boxers like Katie Taylor doing fantastic stuff,” added Fury.
“Women’s boxing is going to fly. I think within two years women’s boxing will be almost, if not nearly there, on the same base level as men. It’s getting there very fast.”
Well done and congratulations Savannah.