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Claressa Shields tells Savannah Marshall: Shut up and stop living off beating me in the amateurs

Liam Happe
Claressa Shields tells Savannah Marshall: Shut up and stop living off beating me in the amateurs(Getty Images)
Only one person has defeated Claressa Shields in any form of combat sports: Britain's Savannah Marshall. Will they finally run it back at professional level?

Claressa Shields was clearly in no mood to hear the name "Savannah Marshall" when she was interviewed by Sky Sports this week, days after signing a deal with Professional Fighters League to add mixed martial arts to her resume in 2021.

Shields has considered juggling both boxing and MMA for some time, with the PFL deal meaning it will finally happen next year.

However, every interview the three-weight world boxing champion conducts inevitably includes questions about her rival and fellow London 2012 Olympian Marshall, who is the only competitor to beat Shields at any level so far.

That result came in the second round of the 2012 AIBA Women's World Boxing Championships in Qinhuangdao. Reaching the top two would have guaranteed Shields' spot in London, though she made the cut anyway and went on to win gold.

At the time, the Flint native seethed over Marshall "running all fight" and how "I won, but the judges weren't giving me any points".

The two have traded snipes on social media ever since, though whenever talk of doing it again in a professional ring enters the discussion, that discussion soon fades out.

Marshall's promoter Eddie Hearn has been the most pro-active in trying to seriously make Shields-Marshall II happen, but in the Sky interview Shields insisted that Marshall must do more before she would take the fight.

"What annoys me is that Savannah lives off this," she said. "What are her accomplishments besides this? Nothing.

"She went to the Olympics, she didn't medal. She went to the world championships and stood on the podium below me.

"In the amateurs, I was 77 wins and one loss. I won two world championships and two Olympics. Savannah was at every tournament that I won. Every girl that beat her, I smoked them. Savannah never won a medal.

On that fateful night in China eight years ago, Shields said: "I was 17. I have footage and it looks like I won the fight.

"I got her in the corner but the referee broke us up and put us back in the center which was to her advantage because she was taller and longer.

"She beat me on 'score points' 14-8. Big whoop! She landed six more punches than me, supposedly! She had a welt on her eye. It was a loss. I won't say I was robbed.

"Savannah isn't a better fighter than me, and that's been proven.

"Listen, stupid - I fought the best fighters and won the belts. I beat Christina Hammer - could Savannah beat her? I beat Hanna Gabriels - can Savannah beat her?"

This led to Shields being asked point-blank if she will actually fight Marshall again if her hectic schedule of boxing plus MMA allows.

The American's response was: "It is so sad for her that she wanted to wait for my belt to become vacant, rather than fight me for it. That's so soft.

"She could have fought for all the belts at 160lbs to show how tough she really is.

"Savannah's coach Peter Fury said she's too strong for me? Shut up, shut up!

"Savannah hasn't been challenged enough yet for her to even be saying my name. But if she wants to come see me? Then come see me. I'll shut her and her team up because they do too much talking for me!"

It remains to be seen if the fight is finally made in 2021. Shields is expected to fight in one or two MMA bouts next year to introduce her to the realm before she takes up a full-time 2022 PFL season berth, at which point boxing would presumably go on the back-burner for a while.

Attempting to box and compete in MMA simultaneously isn't a common occurrence, but isn't unprecedented either. However, the likes of Michael "Venom" Page attempted to add boxing to his MMA resume when he signed with David Haye in 2017, but only boxed in two low-key wins before losing his MMA unbeaten record in his second bout back to Douglas Lima.