Claressa Shields: Savannah Marshall has been ‘declining in skill’ since pair’s first fight

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Claressa Shields is out to avenge an amateur loss to Savannah Marshall (Getty Images)
Claressa Shields is out to avenge an amateur loss to Savannah Marshall (Getty Images)

Claressa Shields has claimed that Savannah Marshall has been ‘declining’ in ‘skill’ since the pair’s first fight, as anticipation builds for the middleweights’ rematch this September.

Shields’ only loss as a boxer came against Marshall at amateur level in 2012, and the American is out to avenge that defeat when she faces her British rival at London’s O2 Arena next month.

Shields, 27, carries the WBC, WBA and IBF middleweight titles into her rematch with 31-year-old Marshall, who holds the WBO belt. Both fighters are unbeaten at professional level, with Shields’ record standing at 12-0 (2 knockouts), while Marshall’s is also 12-0 (10 KOs).

Shields has played down her opponent’s skills, however, as well as the suggestion that Marshall is the heavier hitter despite the Briton’s superior knockout record.

“Absolutely not,” Shields told Sky Sports. “You have to look at the opposition. I accept her knockouts, but I don’t respect them because of the opponents that they came against.

“In my 12 fights, I fought against girls who were undefeated, girls who were champions. I went in there against girls who I wasn’t supposed to beat early in my career, and I destroyed them – whether it was a knockout or not.

Shields and Marshall will square off at London’s O2 Arena on 10 September (Getty Images)
Shields and Marshall will square off at London’s O2 Arena on 10 September (Getty Images)

“[Marshall’s] first weakness is underestimating me. That’s the first, and I think her mindset has stayed in 2012 at the World Championships in China [where Marshall outpointed Shields]. For all these years, she hasn’t been able to move forward from there. She also has been declining as far as her skill [is concerned].

“I know I’m going to go in there and look phenomenal, and I know I’m going to go in there and land the big shots and be in control of the fight like I always do. I think now my knockout journey starts, and I’ll be knocking out girls from here on out.”

Shields also addressed the prospect of a rematch with Marshall after their in-ring meeting on 10 September, a fight that is being billed as one of the biggest in the history of women’s boxing.

“We got it in the contract, she can start the whole rematch clause thing or whatever. It’s no big deal,” Shields said.

“This isn’t my first rodeo, this is my third undisputed fight. I’ll be just enjoying it, and if we have to fight two times, three times or fight just once, it really doesn’t matter to me. I’m going to win all the time.

“We’re going to put on a show not just for women’s boxing but for boxing as a whole.”

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