Savannah Marshall eyes St James’ Park for Claressa Shields rematch as she plays down America talk

Savannah Marshall and Claressa Shields wasted no time in resuming their war of words as they planted the seeds to a perfectly-poised rematch after the Hartlepool fighter beat Franchon Crews-Dezurn to become undisputed super-middleweight champion in Manchester.

Marshall sat at her winner’s press conference basking in the company of her newly acquired belts when a magnanimous Crews-Dezurn arrived alongside Shields, who took her place alongside the media, primed to interject. Scene set.

The Silent Assassin was celebrating her first victory since tasting the only defeat of her professional career against Shields in October, the pair’s feud stemming from Marshall’s win over the American in the amateur ranks in 2012.

“I feel absolutely amazing, I came up short in October, it was the worst feeling in the world but I stuck to it and kept to my dreams,” said Marshall.

“I knew Franchon is tough, what a woman, she’s amazing, a head like concrete, I knew she’d make it physical, I knew I’d be on the floor at one point – glad it wasn’t from a punch!

“She’s one tough woman, she’s got a head like a brick. She’s been through hell and back and she’d do that to keep all the belts.

“I came up short in October, my world was over, but I’m over the moon to be undisputed.”

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Highlights as Savannah Marshall beats Franchon Crews-Dezurn by majority decision to become undisputed super-middleweight world champion

As the final bell sounded on Saturday night and Marshall’s job was complete, all eyes would turn to a ringside Shields.

Speaking afterwards, Boxxer promoter Ben Shalom stated “Claressa Shields is the one we want, it’s the only fight out there for Claressa”, before touting a North East homecoming for Marshall.

“I’d love it to be at St James’ Park, they’re really backing female sport at the minute,” said the champion.

Shields, the undisputed middleweight champion, had meanwhile been insisting any prospective rematch would have to happen in America.

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Undisputed super-middleweight champion Savannah Marshall reflected on her win over Franchon Crews-Dezurn and her chances of fighting Claressa Shields again

“I’m not going to Detroit,” said Marshall. “I think female boxing at the minute is massive in the UK, there’s no money in female boxing in the US.”

She went on to dismiss suggestions she might take an easier tune-up style fight ahead of any return meeting with Shields.

“I’m 32, there’s nobody else about in the division,” Marshall continued. “There are definitely things I’d change from the first fight, it was the best Claressa ever.

“I do want that rematch, but now I’m a champion, there’s other options out there for me. I don’t think she’ll give me that rematch. She has come over here on here own, paid for our own ticket. She was quite embarrassing how she went on screaming.

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Claressa Shields says she would fight Savannah Marshall in a rematch in America after she saw a lot of weaknesses in her victory over Franchon Crews-Dezurn

Having not walked long in the room, it was Shields’ turn.

“I want the smoke, you know what’s up,” said the two-time Olympic gold medalist.

“Come to the USA and you can get smoked again.

“You’re talking about an amateur win?! Psycho, delusional.

“I’ll smoke your silly a**.”

Marshall replied: “Bring me the money! Where are we going to fight, your leisure center?”

Shields preceded to spring to her feet and direct a flurry of heated words at Marshall, who simply smiled in reply in unison with adjacent coach Peter Fury.

Crews-Dezurn, lapping up the kind of back and forth she had just engaged in for the best part of a week, jumped in to break the tension by offering her services as ring card girl in the rematch, as well as reminding of her own credentials.

“To beat the champ you’ve got to beat the champ, I’m not happy with no majority decision, after you’ve finish your business, it can be Savannah or it can be the GWOAT [Shields],” she said.

The 36-year-old left the door open to a rematch against Marshall while paying tribute to both the new champion and another memorable night for women’s boxing.

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Franchon Crews-Dezurn sang the American national anthem before her fight against Savannah Marshall

“This is bigger than me, bigger than her, big for woman’s boxing,” said Crews-Dezurn. “Two Olympic level athletes facing one another, for myself I’m daring to be great, it’s not easy going to a different country and fighting a favourite.

“I’m not trying to take the moment, to know I have a place in the evolution of woman’s boxing, to know that after all these years I can still compete and put on a show [it’s amazing], we had a sell out arena. I did something nobody else has done and sung the anthem.

“It was a good fight, I’m happy it brought the fire out of Marshall, I know what it’s like to be written off. I saw it in her.

“I would love to do it again, I know they have plans, I have plans as well, this is what keeps the sport going. Keep making money, putting on good shows.

“I’m here to stay, it’s not over!”