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Savannah Marshall - The undisputed boxing world champion taking on mixed martial arts

Savannah Marshall has reached the highest level of boxing, fighting Claressa Shields and winning the undisputed super-middleweight title against Franchon Crews-Dezurn; she is taking on a new challenge in mixed martial arts with PFL and training alongside top UFC heavyweight Tom Aspinall

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Savannah Marshall called out Claressa Shields during an MMA training session with rising star Dakota Ditcheva

Savannah Marshall is an undisputed boxing champion who is taking on the world of mixed martial arts.

High-profile MMA fighters have taken part in boxing events, most sensationally and most recently Francis Ngannou, who had Tyson Fury under great pressure in a tight split decision loss.

Marshall is a boxer going in the other direction. As well as continuing her boxing career she intends to have an MMA contest in PFL.

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Claressa Shields appeared at Savannah Marshall's post-fight press conference to let her know she's ready to fight her again

She is already training in mixed martial arts. "For the first time in a long, long time I feel like an absolute novice. For the first time ever I can really, really appreciate MMA," she tells Sky Sports.

"Hats off to anybody who gets in that cage," Marshall said, but added: "It's refreshing. It's nice, it's new and I'm enjoying it."

The impact of Ngannou's introduction to boxing is still reverberating through the sport.

"I think it was a shocker. It was a massive shock. I think Tyson massively underestimated him. I think he massively underperformed. I think Ngannou is a good fighter, a good boxer. But I think his performance wasn't world class, it was just against one of the best in the world who massively underperformed for me," Marshall said.

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Undisputed super-middleweight champion Savannah Marshall reflected on her win over Franchon Crews-Dezurn and her chances of fighting Claressa Shields again

"I don't think boxing's been left in too good of a light lately," she continued. "Boxing's been taken over by YouTube boxing. So traditional boxers have to try and claw one back."

Marshall might like to be the standard-bearer for boxers in MMA, but is the first to acknowledge she has a lot to learn.

"I'm under no illusion that I'm an MMA fighter. I'm not. It's an opportunity I've been given and something I'm really, really excited about. If I can go in there and show that I'm an all-round fighter and I can switch sports, it would be brilliant for me," she said.

"It's hard, it's really, really hard. So fair play to Francis. Because no one gave him a cat in hell's chance."

Marshall is training with elite mixed martial artists like Tom Aspinall, the rising star of the UFC's heavyweight division.

"He used to come spar Hughie every now and again. I used to think back then he's quite novicey," Marshall said.

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Savannah Marshall says she is chasing the trilogy with rival Claressa Shields and is hoping it could happen in MMA and then boxing

"He moved a lot and heavyweights don't really move a lot. When I used to watch him spar he was quite bouncey where you don't really get that in professional boxing. You get that in the amateurs but not really professional fights. But then watching him in MMA it works so well for him.

"He's so fast, he's so quick. His skillset is unreal."

Eventually she expects to renew hostilities with Claressa Shields. The American, who beat Marshall in a middleweight undisputed championship boxing bout last year, has already competed in PFL. They could certainly fight again, but perhaps in MMA next time.

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Highlights as Savannah Marshall beats Franchon Crews-Dezurn by majority decision to become undisputed super-middleweight world champion

This development "puts fuel back on the rivalry".

Marshall is eyeing her first competitive MMA bout for next year. "I had the injury in my last fight with my hand [when she beat Franchon Crews-Dezurn to become undisputed super-middleweight champion] so I'm just slowly getting back into punching, sparring," she said.

"I'm looking to have another boxing fight round March time. Nothing's set in stone but that's what I'm aiming for, then enter the SmartCage in June, July."

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