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Savannah Marshall demolished Femke Hermans to set up an undisputed clash with Claressa Shields

Savannah Marshall stopped Femke Herman in the third round to defend her WBO middleweight belt at Newcastle Utilita Arena, paving the way for an undisputed world title fight against American rival Claressa Shields

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Savannah Marshall stopped Femke Hermans in devastating fashion with a huge KO in Newcastle

Savannah Marshall inflicted a crushing knockout on Femke Hermans to set up an undisputed world middleweight title fight against Claressa Shields.

Marshall unloaded a huge left hook that sent Hermans toppling to the canvas in the closing seconds of the third round, with unified champion Shields watching from ringside at Newcastle Utilita Arena.

Britain's WBO champion is now expected to share a ring with her American rival, who holds the WBC, WBA, and IBF titles.

Savannah Marshall
Image: Britain's WBO champion patiently probed the defences of Hermans

Marshall had tested Herman's defences with a range-finding jab in the opening round, resisting the temptation to reveal her power.

But a crisp right hand from Hermans provoked an instant response from Marshall, who fired back with a fierce right of her own.

Marshall stalked Hermans in the third, gradually closing the range before a short, sharp left hand sent Hermans crashing backwards, just before the bell.

Savannah Marshall
Image: Marshall then launched a fight-ending assault in the third round

The referee had seen enough and swiftly waved it off, signalling the start of preparations for Marshall's huge meeting with Shields.

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"There's no-one else in the way between me and Claressa, so it's me and her in the summer now," Marshall told Sky Sports.

"I know Claressa can't handle my power. I believe I can beat her.

"It's got to happen here in the North-East."

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Shields says Marshall will need a lot more than power to beat her

But Shields insists she can easily overcome Marshall, telling Sky Sports: "That's what you're supposed to do.

"I said she'd do that to Femke Hermans - but I'm not Femke Hermans, I'm not Hannah Rankin, I'm not any of those girls she's fought.

"If that's what I've got to look forward to, it's going to be a wipe out."

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