Savannah Marshall qualifies for Rio Olympics after making World Championship semi-finals
By Mark Ashenden
Last Updated: 26/05/16 1:16am
Savannah Marshall booked her place at this summer's Rio Olympics with an ice-cool display in the World Championship quarter-finals.
The Sky Academy Sports Scholar has been under immense pressure over the last few days in Kazakhstan with the Hartlepool fighter needing to win three fights and reach the last-four to nail her place in Team GB for Brazil.
Having dispatched Elena Vystropova, the Azerbaijan fighter Marshall beat to become 2012 world champion, in the opening round and then India's Pooja Rani, Marshall was up against Qian Li on Tuesday afternoon.
The 2014 middleweight Commonwealth champion needed to be at her best against the tricky fourth seed from China and there were one or two scares in the opening two rounds.
But a big right hand in the first seemed to settle her nerves and although Li resisted with a stubborn defensive display, Marshall continued to push forward and impressed with a solid left hook in the second.
With Li resorting to holding, it was the Briton who stood firm and cool when it mattered to ease to victory and secure her place in Brazil in August.
After going into the London Olympics four years ago as newly-crowned champion of the world, the 25-year-old was distraught at failing to make the podium, and she will now have a chance to rectify that in Rio in just over two months.
Having been a Sky Academy Scholar since the London Games, Marshall has gone on to be Commonwealth champion in Glasgow two years ago and will be desperate to impress on the Olympic stage.
"I'd like to thank all of my team, my team mates, my coach Tim Coulter, Sky and my family and friends for all of their hard work in supporting and believing in me," Marshall said.
"I am really happy and grateful to be given another chance to compete at the Olympic Games."
It was also a good afternoon's work for Katie Taylor and Nicola Adams.
Ireland's former Sky Academy Scholar Taylor eased fears over a nose injury as she booked her Olympic spot after coming through against Mexico's Victoria Torres.
Adams - who had already qualified to defend her Olympic crown - cruised past Chinese Taipei's Yu-TIng Lin to make the semi-finals.
"I have won gold at every major tournament except the World Championships so I want to win this one to complete my collection," she said.
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