Shields vs. Marshall Fight Results: Shields Victorious In Pulsating London Thriller



Shields vs. Marshall Fight Results: Shields Victorious In Pulsating London Thriller
Photo Credit: BOXXER

Saturday's undisputed middleweight title fight between Claressa Shields and Savannah Marshall capped off an entertaining all-female card at London's O2 Arena. The card symbolized how far women's boxing has come in a relatively short period. Until 1998, women's boxing was deemed illegal in the UK. 24 years on, the ladies lit up the boxing landscape on this historic Saturday night. Sky Sports broadcast the card in the UK, while ESPN+ was the place to watch in America. Sky also aired the card for non-sports subscribers on their Showcase channel.

Saturday's main event has been over ten years in the making. May 2012 was when Shields and Marshall met at the World Amateur Championship in China. On that day, Marshall got the better of Shields – the only loss of Shields' highly decorated 65-fight amateur campaign.

Since then, both women have been asked when they would meet again. The answer turned out to be October 15, 2022. Both ladies are now experienced professionals. Both entered the ring with 12-0 records. Marshall, from Hartlepool, England, was regarded as the heavier puncher due to her ten knockouts compared to Shields's two. Shields from Flint, Michigan, USA, arrived in London as the holder of the WBC, WBA, and IBF middleweight straps. Marshall brought the WBO crown to the ring. The winner would leave as the undisputed champion.

We were treated to a ten-round classic as a fast-paced, fiercely skillful battle unfolded. Marshall fought forward for most of the bout; Shields repelled her with fast, accurate, and powerful counters. It was a case of the boxer besting the puncher in a breathtaking showing of talent and fortitude. Once the action had ended, the judge's scorecards announced Shields as the victor – Steve Gray 96-94 while Frank Lombardi and Luigi Boscarelli scored it 97-93 for the American.

Considering she was in hostile territory away from home, Shields more than lived up to her self-appointed GWOAT (Greatest Woman of all Time, for new readers) nickname. She trusted that her ability would see her through the difficult moments in the fight. And there were many. Backed by a passionate home crowd, Marshall was up for taking the fight to Shields from the opening bell. The opening round set the tone as Shields seemed to invite Marshall to close the gap and throw so she could score with her fast, accurate counters.

The second round saw Marshall following the instructions of head trainer Peter Fury. Fury asked his fighter to remain on the front foot, and Marshall obliged, knocking Shields back towards the ropes with a big right hand at one point.

And so, it continued in this manner. Both boxers were putting everything into their work, Marshall sticking to the plan of walking Shields down, prepared to take one or two in order to land, while Shields looked like she was beginning to enjoy showcasing her talents off the back foot. At one point in the third, Shields countered expertly to get out of a tight spot in the corner.

Round four saw Shields biting down and throwing spitefully herself. Marshall was still stalking her; now Shields was targeting the body. Round five was possibly the easiest to score with Marshall, perhaps as a result of the body shots, looking tired. Shields was able to pick her off as she advanced. Marshall would not be discouraged, though, and looked to have her breath back as we moved into the second half of the undisputed title fight. Shields continued to find the target with her precise counters as she did all night.

It wasn't all nice flurries and footwork, though. Round seven saw Shields show that she could absorb Marshall's unquestionable power – taking a few shots flush as perhaps she started to feel the pace a bit. The attritional nature of the fight showed when Shields suffered a cut above her left eye in the eighth round. It had no effect on things, though – if anything, it focused Shields even more, to make sure she saw the job through to completion.

The final two rounds saw Marshall really forcing things to the point that she wasn't giving herself room to work. Praise is due to Claressa here too, as in these moments, she edged closer to Savannah in order to make it more difficult for the English boxer to land with effect. The classy counters kept on coming as Shields put an exclamation mark on her performance before we went to the scorecards.

A tearful Shields spoke to interviewer Andy Scott of Sky Sports in the ring after the announcement: “I've been working hard for a very long time. No one has given me credit, but after that display tonight against a tough opponent, I couldn't see clearly out of my right eye during rounds six thru ten because she does hit hard, but I bit down, and I did what I do in training, and I got the job done. I just want to thank Savannah Marshall and her team; I want to thank the whole UK for being here because it's not just a special moment for me, but it's a special moment for women's boxing. Here we are in front of 20,000 fans at the O2 Arena in London, and I think that's the fight of the year. I'm so happy, and it's an unbelievable moment right now.”

Marshall also spoke in the ring afterward, standing next to Shields as both women showed tremendous respect for one another: “I just want to say a massive thank you to everyone who bought a ticket to come and support me. I really appreciate it. Claressa's a brilliant fighter; she's not as fast as what I thought she was, but no, she's a brilliant fighter, and she's definitely earned the GWOAT title.”

The boxers put on a show-stopping main event. They are a credit to themselves, and the sport of boxing is lucky to have them involved.

Baumgardner Snags Split Decision Victory Over Mayer In Close Co-headliner

Photo Credit: BOXXER

In an attraction fit to top most cards, Mikaela Mayer and Alycia Baumgardner did battle in a super featherweight unification fight. The co-main event was a genuine grudge match, with both boxers going back and forth on social media and then in person during fight week. The theme for both women being heavy disrespect, Baumgardner believing Mayer has had her professional career handed to her on a plate, Mayer maintaining that Alycia hadn't earned the right to make such statements.

Mayer of California entered in possession of the IBF and WBO belts. Baumgardner, hailing from Ohio and now based in Detroit, landed in London as the WBC title holder. Would any of the pre-fight bad feeling spill over into the early stages of the bout? It appeared that once the bell rang, Mayer was influenced more by what had gone before, moving away from her usual controlled style and more than once getting tagged powerfully after she had fallen into Baumgardner's cleverly laid traps.

Mayer was better in the third session, displaying more of the smooth skills and disciplined boxing we have become accustomed to seeing from her. Mayer dominated the fourth round as the fight looked to be swinging her way as the middle portion of the contest approached. Mayer's jab began to take over in round five. It enabled the Californian to begin to really impose herself and her style on proceedings. Mikaela's right hand was beginning to be seen more and more – a direct by-product of her authoritative jab. After dominating the sixth, Mayer again walked into some Baumgardner fire in round seven, feeling the power of two right hands to the head.

The two-minute rounds really fly by quickly. Round eight was a round of two halves. Mayer was back controlling things in the first 60-seconds while Baumgardner landed some eye-catching shots in the final minute. One right to the body, followed by an uppercut, showed that this fight was still up for grabs.

The final four minutes saw Mayer back to controlling the distance and attempting to keep things textbook behind her jab. Baumgardner remained a threat when the ladies got close enough, demonstrating her inside skills. The final bell ended an absorbing tactical fight, sporadically threatening to catch fire. Terry O'Connor scored it 97-93 Mayer, but his colleagues Steve Gray and John Latham both saw it in Baumgardner's favour by the narrowest of margins, 96-95.

“I think I landed the cleaner shots; I had her cut on her forehead, so yeah, I was the harder puncher; I dig deep,” the winner told Andy Scott. “Nah, that girl isn't getting a rematch. I'm going after Choi, as I said. Undisputed is what I'm going to do. I'm just thankful again, thank you to the UK,” the new unified champion replied when asked if we may see a part two to this rivalry. Mayer (17-1) will have to process the defeat and decide if she wants to pursue the rematch or move up to 135lbs. Baumgardner (13-1) seems to know what her immediate future holds. We shall see.

Undercard Roundup

The televised portion of the evening got underway with 2020 Olympian Karriss Artingstall defeating France's Marina Sakharov 60-54 in a featherweight contest. Artingstall (2-0), of England, fought aggressively out of the southpaw stance. Artingstall's right hooks to the body really caught my eye. Her shot selection was impressive as she cleverly complimented the body attacks with plenty of headshots to ensure Sakharov had to remain on the defensive for the duration.

Another Tokyo Olympian and southpaw, Caroline Dubois, was next under the lights. Dubois (4-0) was too good for Milena Koleva of Bulgaria. Fighting in her home city, Dubois displayed speed and a desire to land her big left hand as she hunted a third stoppage victory. The Shane McGuigan trained lightweight floored Koleva in the fourth round and finished the job in style in round five – forcing the referee to rush in and wave the contest off when Koleva, suffering after Dubois landed a tasty body shot, could no longer defend herself. Dubois' “Sweet Caroline” nickname is a nice touch, even if boxing fans have heard more than enough of that particular Neil Diamond hit over the years. Put Caroline Dubois on your watch list.

The theme of southpaw Olympians continued as Lauren Price was next to box. The middleweight gold medallist in Tokyo, Price, from Wales, was matched against Timea Belik of Hungary. This was Price's second professional outing. Price (2-0) dominated the welterweight bout from the opening bell. Control of distance set up Price's accurate punches. Her footwork was exceptional as she landed at will to head and body. Bilek's desire to walk forward played into Price's hands as the blurring hand speed of Price shocked the game Hungarian boxer. The onslaught was halted in the fourth round when the referee stepped in to call a halt to the procession. At 28 years old, Price looks capable of stepping up several levels in her next bout. Hopefully, we will see her in more testing contests before too long.

Before the broadcast burst onto our TV screens, April Hunter (6-1), Ginny Fuchs (2-0), Georgia O'Connor (3-0), and Shannon Ryan (3-0) all won their bouts via shutout decisions on the Sky Sports Boxing YouTube channel. All four fighters did what they were expected to do against limited opposition, taking the next steps on their burgeoning professional journeys.

As this card demonstrated, now is a good time for women to be involved in boxing. In the last quarter of a century, the sport has come on leaps and bounds on the female side; the coming decades may be even more ground-breaking. Shields and Marshall, Mayer,  Baumgardner, and earlier this year, Katie Taylor and Amanda Serrano have all set the standard for how good women's boxing can be. It's going to be interesting to see how many of the next generations can hit those lofty heights.

A boxing fan since his teenage years, Morrison began writing about the sport in July 2016. He appreciates all styles of boxing and has nothing but respect for those who get in the ring for our entertainment. Morrison is from Scotland and can be found on Twitter @Morrie1981.