Two female grudge matches are about to be settled on the same evening.
Coming off the monumental April 30 fight between Katie Taylor and Amanda Serrano, it was announced that rivals Claressa Shields and Savannah Marshall would meet in the main event of an all-female card to determine an undisputed women's middleweight champion on Saturday, Sept. 10 from The O2 in London. The co-main event is Mikaela Mayer and Alycia Baumgardner locking horns in a women's 130-pound title unification bout.
Shields is no stranger to undisputed status. She held all four middleweight belts between 2019 and 2020, then repeated the feat at junior middleweight to become the first and only boxer ever to simultaneously hold the four major titles in two weight classes. An almost-perfect amateur record mirrors her perfect professional record: her only ever loss inside a boxing ring came at the hands of Marshall in 2012.
The fight was on the rocks as a source very close to the situation told DAZN during Taylor-Serrano fight week that Shields and Marshall were supposed to fight on July 9 in England. The same source says Shields, who did analyst work for DAZN during that week, and Marshall were supposed to have an introductory news conference on May 2, two days after Taylor beat Serrano in a fight of the year candidate.
However, the source states that Marshall hadn't signed her part of the contract, and the fight was in question as Shields hadn't heard from Marshall. Then there was the matter of Marshall having surgery, with Shields disputing the validity of the injury and not wanting to wait for a proposed September date. Now, the contracts have been signed, and the rivals will settle their score.
"I don't hate nobody, but I really do have a huge dislike for her," Shields said at Tuesday's press conference. "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. 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."
"I'm actually a fan of Claressa Shields," Marshall said. "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."
Baumgardner (12-1, 7 KOs) burst onto the scene eight days after Mayer defeated Hamadouche. She traveled to Sheffield, England, and stunned British standout Terri Harper via fourth-round TKO to win the WBC title. Then, in April, she made her first title defense with a shutout decision over former unified world champion Edith Soledad Matthysse.