Q: MORE THAN two months have passed since your first career loss to Claressa Shields in a huge, crossover event. How has life been for Savannah Marshall?
SM: I feel good, perhaps a bit bored now, so looking forward to getting back into the gym in the new year.
I was exhausted after the fight, I think I slept for three days! It had been a long build-up, especially after the September date was put off at the last minute. I went to Borneo on holiday. I needed the break and it was nice to get away.
While I didn’t get the result I wanted, it was if I still won – if that doesn’t sound crazy.
It was amazing to be headlining a sold-out O2 with Claressa Shields and the response I’ve had from people has been brilliant.
I was proud to be part of an historic night for women’s boxing but I still want to achieve my dream of being undisputed middleweight champion of the world.
Q: You’ve recently stated the rematch clause has been activated, would there be another fight for you first?
SM: I’m just looking forward to fighting Claressa again and winning all the belts. BOXXER and Sky Sports are up for it and they are pushing for the fight for summer 2023 at St James’ Park. That would be incredible.
Whether I’d box before then has a question mark against it. For me, a super-middleweight world title fight would be an option, if I’m allowed, but it’s down to Peter [Fury, trainer] and Mick [Hennessy, promoter] to sort out if there is a fight before a rematch.
Q: Shields won your fight in October by a unanimous points decision. Steve Gray had it 96-94 but the American and Italian judges both scored it 97-93, totals Peter Fury described as “ridiculous”. Reviewing the night now, what’s your take?
I’ve not watched it back, but probably will before we fight again. I don’t really need to see it, I had the best view in the house first time around!
I honestly thought it was close. I thought if I got the rub of the green I might have got a draw, but it wasn’t to be. Credit to Claressa for winning but the two 97-93s were too wide.
Were you shocked by how aggressive she was and how confident are you of turning it around in a re-match?
I wasn’t really surprised by Claressa, I never expected her to tap and run. She stood and fought, I expected her to start fast and thought I might be down early on.
I was proud of how hard I fought, I didn’t leave anything in there and being part of such an unbelievable night was brilliant.
But are there things I’d do different tactically? Yes. For obvious reasons I’m not going to say too much, but I think I just need a couple of tweaks.
I do believe it was close and I believe I fought the best Claressa Shields that night at the O2 but I know I can do better. The re-match gives me the chance of putting things right. I’m confident I’ve got the beating of her.
Q: Your promoter Ben Shalom spoke after the fight about moving women’s championship bouts up to three-minute rounds. Chantelle Cameron has advocated it but some are against it, arguing the two-minute formula makes contests more exciting. Where do you stand?
SM: Three-minute rounds would suit me better. People talk about it being more entertaining over two minutes but why can’t it be entertaining over three minutes?
I’m confident I’d be able be able to maintain my style over three minutes. There have been talks already about making this rematch over three-minute rounds.
It would be an important development for women’s boxing. If we’re talking about pushing down barriers and having true equality then three-minute rounds would be a major breakthrough.
I made my pro debut with four-threes [against Sydney LeBlanc] and the longer the rounds the better I’ll box.
Q: How much are you looking forward to getting back in the gym with Peter Fury?
I love training so I’ve still been ticking over but I’m really looking forward to next month. Peter was as upset as I was about the defeat and we’ve chatted a couple of times and we’re looking to get back to work. He’s had time out of the gym as well, it’s been a long year for both of us.
Q: Sometimes after high-profile defeats you see boxer and coach having a parting of the ways. World champion Josh Taylor even changed coaches after a win, albeit a controversial one, swapping Ben Davison for Joe McNally. Was there any thought of a change of direction?
SM: I’d never leave Peter, we have a great relationship. What he’s done for me has been brilliant, he’s made me the world middleweight champion. When a boxer leaves a trainer, it takes time to build a new relationship, it could take years, but our relationship is strong, I have no reason to leave.
I trust Peter completely and there is no other coach I’d want to work with.
He trained me before my debut and then after I came back from America he’s coached me ever since. I love Peter, he’s made me the fighter I am today.
Q: You didn’t get to defeat the GWOAT but in terms of profile you are huge and have topped the bill on two shows for BOXXER and Sky, the first in Newcastle and then at the O2. Ben Shalom has talked of you as one of his company’s main headline acts, how do you feel about that development?
SM: The best career decision I’ve made was leaving Matchroom to sign for BOXXER and Sky Sports. What BOXXER and Sky did was brilliant, not just for me but for women’s boxing. They got the Claressa Shields fight and they made it a massive event.
Q: BOXXER and Sky pulled in big viewing figures and the fight was also screened on a delayed basis on the BBC. The promoters made a deliberate decision not to go down the pay-per-view route in an effort to maximise exposure. Where do you stand on the rematch?
SM: It was fantastic how many people watched it. The 20,000 crowd on the night was a great mix and the atmosphere was absolutely unbelievable, a lot pf people think it was one of the best fights and atmospheres of the year.
A lot of women tuned in on TV which was great for the event and for women’s sport.
I’d take pay-per-view for the rematch. I’ve worked hard to get to the position I’m in now and such an event would generate a lot of money and, from my perspective, at the point of my career I’m at I’d like to maximise my earnings.
Q: Your career changed dramatically in 2022, a devastating knock-out of Femke Hermans was followed by a long and intense build-up with Shields ahead of the big showdown of the unbeaten world champions at the O2. We’re not sure we can call you the Silent Assassin any more. What can we expect in 2023?
SM: I got beaten on the night by Claressa but the response I’ve had from people has been incredible and my profile has gone through the roof. I know boxing is a business and I need to sell myself. I was on Soccer AM last weekend and stuff like that is something I embrace now.
Being part of that historic night for boxing and women’s sport was unbelievable, but I’m a fighter and I still want to achieve my dream of being the undisputed world champion. I believe my time will come next summer.