We got a grudge match and undisputed middleweight supremacy on deck as Claressa Shields will challenge Savannah Marshall at The O2, London, on Saturday, September 10. The championship women's bout will be aired in the UK on Sky Sports and in the United States on ESPN+.
Shields (12-0, 2 KOs) comes into the matchup putting her in the WBA, WBC, and IBF World Middleweight Championship belts, while Marshall (12-0, 10 KOs) will be placing her WBO title up for this undisputed matchup. We get this matchup a decade brewing in the making as Shield's last loss in the professional boxing ranks came to the hands of Marshall back in the 2012 Olympic Quarterfinals.
“I don't hate nobody, but I really do have a huge dislike for her. My grandmother told me not to use the word hate, so I won't use it, but I don't like Savannah, and she's one of my biggest haters,” Shields told the assembled media at today's press conference in London.
“They're saying she's a big knockout puncher, she's the only blemish on my record as an amateur, that she has the recipe to beat me. My job is to show that she doesn't and that I don't reign supreme in three different weight classes for no reason. If she was better than me, she'd be the one supreme in three different weight classes, not me.”
The eyes don't lie 👀❌
— Sky Sports (@SkySports) July 5, 2022
Marshall responded back at the presser, “I'm actually a fan of Claressa Shields. She's a pioneer, and what she has done for the sport has been amazing. But the reality is, she doesn't beat me. She didn't before, and she won't again. And it kills her. It absolutely burns her inside, the fact that I beat her and I'll beat her again. I'm not just going to beat her. I'm going to outbox her. I'm going to hurt her.
“This fight has been a long time coming, but we're here now, and on September 10, I will be the new middleweight champion of the world.”
There is no love lost between those two. Nor will the chief support action that has Mikaela Mayer (17-0, 5 KOs) putting her WBO/IBF/Ring Magazine junior lightweight titles on the line against WBC champion Alycia Baumgardner (12-1, 7 KOs) in a unification matchup.
In 2021, Mayer unified the WBO and IBF titles in an action-packed slugfest against Maiva Hamadouche, which also earned her the Ring Magazine belt. In her last outing, she retained her titles with a decisive win over former champion Jennifer Han. Mayer is confident that she will take a positive step toward becoming an undisputed champion.
Mayer said, “I'm here to make the biggest fights possible, so I salute my team for making her an offer she couldn't refuse. Huge thanks to Boxxer, Top Rank, Salita Promotions, ESPN, and Sky Sports for working together to co-promote such an iconic event! I am ecstatic to finally be making my UK debut and to share the stage once again with my Olympic sis, Claressa Shields. I LOVE this era of women's boxing because we are re-writing the narrative and working to give our supporters the fights they DESERVE. To date, I've accomplished all I said I was going to do, and this next fight will be no different. I have all the tools and experience I need. There are levels to this sport, and she's nowhere near mine. You can bet on it.”
A HISTORIC night in Women’s Boxing 👑
— Top Rank Boxing (@trboxing) July 5, 2022
Baumgardner made waves onto the scene by traveling to Sheffield, England, to challenge WBC champion, Terri Harper. Though fighting on enemy turf in front of thousands of British fans, the native of Fremont, Ohio, landed a perfectly timed counter right hand that knocked Harper out on her feet. Baumgardner then made the first defense of her crown in April with a shutout decision over former unified world champion Edith Soledad Matthysse.
Baumgardner said, “When we are both gray and old, Mayer is still going to be having Alycia Baumgardner flashbacks. When she is lying horizontally in the ring, Mayer will think back to the first time my name left her mouth, and she's going to wish it hadn't. I guess we're going to find out if Regina George has a chin. Not only will Mayer feel my power, but her descendants are also going to feel what I do to her. Not only will I take Mayer's belts, but I'll take everything from her. She'll be lucky if I let her keep her name. If I'm not haunting her dreams before the fight, I will be after it. If you come at the queen, you best not miss. On the bright side for Mayer, a loss to me will be the best result on her resumé.”