Claressa Shields and Savannah Marshall antagonised one another at a press conference in London on Tuesday, two months before the women clash in the English capital to crown an undisputed middleweight champion.
Briton Marshall defeated Shields in an amateur bout in 2012, marking the only time the American has ever been beaten in boxing. Now, 10 years on, the pair are set to square off as professionals – both with 12-0 records – as Marshall puts her WBO title on the line and Shields defends the WBC, WBA and IBF belts.
The rematch will headline an all-female card at the O2 Arena on Saturday 10 September, with Sky Sports airing the event but choosing not to put it on pay-per-view – so as to increase the fight’s reach.
“She got lucky in 2012, but she won’t get lucky in 2022,” said 27-year-old Shields, a two-time Olympic gold medalist, at a heated press conference in London.
“I was 17. She couldn’t shake me, she didn’t drop me, but all of a sudden now she’s a ‘knockout’ puncher.”
Marshall has 10 stoppage wins to Shields’ two, but the American is confident of avoiding the Briton’s power and emerging victorious in September.
“They’re saying she’s a big knockout puncher and she has the recipe to beat me, so my job is to show everybody in the world that she doesn’t,” said Shields, who has held titles in three weight classes.
“I can knock Savannah Marshall out in Round 8, 9 or 10.”
Touching on her rivalry with Marshall, Shields said: “I don’t hate nobody, but I really do have a huge dislike for her. My grandmother told me not to use the word ‘hate’.”
Addressing Marshall, 31, directly, Shields said: “It burns in you that I’ve got two Olympic medals and you’ve got zero. No Olympic gold medals, one belt. I’ve got five belts over here.”
“They’ll soon be over here,” replied Marshall. “10 September, I will be the new undisputed middleweight champion of the world.
“I’m not just gonna beat you, I’m gonna outbox you, I’m gonna hurt you. I’m the better fighter. I win this fight through heart and my boxing brain. That will be the end of all this ‘GWOAT’ rubbish, it won’t be rammed down anyone’s neck anymore,” Marshall added, referencing Shields’ “Greatest Woman Of All Time” nickname.
“I’m a fan of Claressa Shields,” Marshall continued. “What she’s done for the sport is amazing, she’s a pioneer, but the reality is she doesn’t beat me. She didn’t perform [in 2012] and she won’t again. It kills her. Look, it absolutely burns inside her.”
After Shields hit out at Marshall by saying, “I can leave a country and fight, she won’t do that; she wouldn’t come to the US,” the Hartlepool fighter retorted: “It’s in the UK because Claressa doesn’t sell a ticket [in the US].”