Claressa Shields says she is feeling "better this time round" ahead of her rescheduled fight against Savannah Marshall; watch the pair face off in the main event on Saturday in their undisputed world middleweight title fight at The O2 in London, live on Sky Sports
Thursday 13 October 2022 06:14, UK
Savannah Marshall is the first to admit her victory over Clarissa Shields in the amateur ranks holds little bearing heading into Saturday's undisputed showdown at The O2 - but that will not stop her from dropping the occasional reminder.
A points defeat to Marshall a decade ago remains the sole blemish on the glistening resume of Shields while fuelling a rivalry that will come to fruition at the tip of a historic all-female card this weekend.
"It was a long time ago, 10 years ago, it means nothing, but like I said before it gets under her skin, it winds her up so of course I'm going to bring it up," said Marshall.
Shields recently suggested the loss to Marshall had been a "robbery" though played down the idea of a rivalry as the pair attended Wednesday's Grand Arrival event in London.
She said: "You guys (the media) have created that rivalry yourselves, we fought in 2012 when I was 17, she got the decision but I went on to win the Olympics twice and the World Championships three times. If you ask me it's really not a rivalry, but we've never been able to fight again so we get to fight again and see who is the better professional."
Both cut relaxed figures four days out from fight night having had to recharge mentally and physically in the wake of the original September 10 show being postponed following the death of the Queen.
Such can be the gruelling nature of training camps that fighters are in fight mode long before fight week, even more so in this scenario.
"I cannot wait, this month has flown by, when they said the fight was off I was thinking 'ah another four weeks of training, I'm dreading it' but it's flown by," said Marshall.
"I'd done a full 12-week camp, I'd done a whole fight week, all the highs, lows, emotions, all the way up until the weigh-in and I was on-weight.
"I had a couple of days off, I didn't get out of bed for about three days, I was just drained. I'm here, I feel good and I can't wait for Saturday. All the hard work is done now."
Though both afforded themselves time off after the initial postponement, extra time to plan will have done them no harm as far as preparations are concerned.
"I know all I need to know about Claressa, I've known her for a long time, I've watched many of her fights, it was just about keeping sharp and going over the gameplan a little bit more," added Marshall.
Shields explained that she feels "better this time around" as she enters her 13th professional bout, which offers a fascinating clash of styles between the American's finesse and Marshall's power.
Where the two do share mutual ground is their appreciation for what beckons as a landmark night in women's boxing.
"The fact that two women have nearly sold out the O2, most men can't do that. It's unbelievable," said Marshall.
"I've waited a long time to get in the ring with Claressa, like she has with me, and I'm over the moon with the reception we've got - not just in the boxing world, but the UK is backing female sport massively as well. The timing is perfect."
Shields has long been an advocate for the rise of women's sport and is pleased to see such a vast interest in Saturday's event.
"It feels great to be part of it, to be headlining and just giving all these other women more exposure," said Shields. "Women's boxing is in a better place than it was years ago.
"People are always talking stuff about how big I am and how big I'm not, but in reality I'm one of the biggest women's boxing stars ever and that's why I'm able to come to another country and sell out a venue. I am popular, people do love to see me box and they're really interested in this fight."
Watch Claressa Shields and Savannah Marshall meet to unify the middleweight titles live on Sky Sports from 7.30pm on Saturday.