Savannah Marshall's middleweight world title unification fight with American Claressa Shields has been pushed back after the Brit underwent surgery on her arm; Promoter Ben Shalom says the fight will take place in early September
Wednesday 25 May 2022 06:22, UK
Claressa Shields says Savannah Marshall is trying to buy "extra time" because the Brit isn't ready for their undisputed middleweight world title clash, which promoter Ben Shalom says will take place in September.
The mega-fight between WBA, WBC and IBF middleweight champion Shields and WBO title-holder Marshall had originally been slated for late July, but the latter undergoing arm surgery means the clash is now expected to take place in early September.
While Marshall said last week that her doctors have supplied details of the surgery to Shields' representatives, the American has questioned the severity of the procedure her rival required.
"It's all mind games and it's extra time," Shields told Sky Sports News. "Her and her trainer have realised that it is not what they thought it was going to be.
"I'm not going to let Savannah steamroll me, she's not going to knock me out. She's going to have to be in great shape, she's going to have to be mentally tough and she's going to have to endure a lot of hard punches, body shots, head shots and I don't think she's ready for that right now."
While Shalom says there are a couple of dates to choose from in early September, Shields is adamant that if the fight doesn't take place on the first weekend of the month, she will have to withdraw due to her commitments to competing in mixed martial arts later in the year.
"If it doesn't happen [by] September 3, Savannah Marshall is going to have to find somebody else to play with," Shield said. "That's it.
"The fact that I've allowed it to be pushed back to September, she has enough time to heal and get ready from whatever her injury is, and we can get the fight on.
"She says he's going to knock me out in two rounds, so it shouldn't take too long."
Shalom, who promotes both fighters, is confident the bout will be made, but admits their "genuine hate" for each other is making his task more difficult.
"It's exciting because they both are playing with each other," Shalom told Sky Sports News. "There's mind games going on all the time.
"Yes, Savannah did have an injury. It had to be delayed. Claressa's obviously not taken it well, Savannah doesn't like her reaction. But the fight now will happen in early September.
"It's hotting up and that's what we wanted. We know those two don't like each other and now it's becoming harder and harder to get there because of that hate."
The fight comes after Katie Taylor beat Amanda Serrano in a thrilling April contest as a women's boxing match headlined New York's Madison Square Garden for the first time.
Shalom believes that the long-running rival between Shields and Marshall, who met in the amateurs 10 years ago with the Brit coming out on top, has the potential to create an equally spectacular event.
"It is a genuine thing and I think it's bugged Claressa since the amateur days. It's going on and she feels like she's the biggest star in boxing and she's having to wait for Savannah Marshall, and she can't quite comprehend that, and that's why it's brewing perfectly.
"I think it will be well worth the wait and we're going to see an absolute monster fight. Looking at Taylor-Serrano and how big that was at MSG, we now have an iconic fight, where I think for the first time in women's boxing, there's a genuine rivalry that's gone throughout their careers.
"It's an intriguing fight stylistically, but I can't remember where we've actually had two women's fighters that have gone through the pro ranks together since the amateurs and have that genuine rivalry and back and forth.
"It's UK vs US, it's got everything. I think it's going to be an amazing moment for women's sport and it's going to happen in the UK as well."