Claressa Shields and Savannah Marshall were ready to fight inside the ring immediately after the former scored a third-round knockout of Femke Hermans to retain her WBO women's middleweight title at the beginning of April. The win set up a showdown between the rivals that was set to happen sometime during the summer.
A source very close to the situation told DAZN during Katie Taylor-Amanda 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.
That appears to be settled as promoter Ben Shalom told Sky Sports on Thursday that Shields and Marshall have signed a contract to square off in September to determine an undisputed women's middleweight champion. A date and venue hasn't been determined.
"Early September," Shalom told Sky Sports.
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"Both fighters are ready. Both fighters are signed.
"I can't wait. It's taken a while. Claressa has finally got her match. It's the first time we're seeing a genuine rivalry in women's boxing, and that's a sign of the times."
After making mixed martial arts her primary focus in 2021 for Professional Fighters League, where she went 1-1, Shields is making boxing her main priority in 2022. In February, she defeated Ema Kozin by unanimous decision to retain her IBF, WBA, and WBC titles. A win would make her a two-time undisputed middleweight champion and become the first boxer in the four-belt era to be undisputed in the same weight class on two occasions.