Claressa Shields v Savannah Marshall: American produces career-best performance in historic fight

Savannah Marshall poises with Claressa Shields
Claressa Shields and Savannah Marshall have been rivals since their amateur days

Claressa Shields became undisputed middleweight champion by beating long-time rival Savannah Marshall via unanimous decision in London.

The American was sensational in a career-best performance, avenging the only defeat on her pro and amateur record and staking her claim as one of the best fighters in the world.

All three judges saw it in Shields’ favour – 96-96, 97-93, 97-93 – as she claimed the WBA, IBF, WBO, WBC and Ring Magazine titles on a historic night for women’s boxing.

Both women paid tribute to each other and touted a potential rematch after a night of firsts at the O2 Arena.

The fight, which was 10 years in the making, was the first time two female boxers had headlined at a major venue in the UK.

It was a fascinating fight full of action and edge-of-your-seat exchanges as Marshall showed incredible heart and resolve to stay a constant threat.

It was billed as the biggest fight in women’s history and could quickly turn into one of the greatest rivalries in boxing history if fans are treated to a second and even third fight.

It was also a fight of the year contender, the perfect follow-up to Katie Taylor and Amanda Serrano’s remarkable encounter in April at Madison Square Garden that was another massive leap forward for women’s boxing.

In the space of six months the female code has produced two undisputed fights contested by elite champions, sell-outs at major venues at opposite ends of the world and two fight of the year contenders.

Shields was emotional in her post-fight speech, but beamed with joy as she insisted the night did not just belong to her.

“It’s not just a special moment for me, but it’s a special moment for women’s boxing, Savannah Marshall, Alycia Baumgardner, Mikaela Mayer, Caroline Dubois,” Shields said.

“Women’s boxing has been around for so many years and so many greats that came before us, but here we are in front of 20,000 fans in London at the O2 Arena and I think that’s fight of the year.

“I’m just so happy and it’s an unbelievable moment.”

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