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Savannah Marshall defends her World title but Adams and Jonas Are Out of Worlds in Jeju
by Michael O'Neill
October 30, 2014
Photo: Facebook


(OCT 30)  Reigning World Middleweight (75kg) champion, Savannah Marshall, heads a five strong team from England, just named for the forthcoming 8th Edition of the AIBA Women’s Elite Championships at the Halla Gymnasium, Jeju Nov 14/24th.

GB Boxing chooses the team that represents Great Britain in Olympic competition but there is also an ‘England Boxing’ squad. At non-Olympic events both GB Boxing and England Boxing are allowed to nominate competitors and this is the case for Jeju.

In 2012 all three (female) GB boxers were from England but in fact boxers from Scotland and Wales are also eligible to represent Team GB in Olympic events but not those from Northern Ireland, who represent Ireland.

GB Boxing has selected four women from the world class performance programme to compete in the forthcoming AIBA Women’s World Championships in Jeju Island, South Korea.

The squad includes reigning world champion, 23 years old. Savannah Marshall, who defends the title she won in China in 2012.

Missing from the 2014 World’s will be two of GB’s three boxers from the London 2012 Olympics namely Gold medallist, Nicola Adams and lightweight contender Natasha Jonas from the Rotunda Club in Liverpool, both of whom are recovering from major surgery.

In Jeju Savannah Marshall will have as team mates, flyweight (51kg) Lisa Whiteside, lightweight (60kg), Chantelle Cameron and Sandy Ryan from GB Boxing’s Podium Potential squad, who will compete at light welterweight (64kg).

The GB Podium quartet will be joined by 2014 European Championship silver medallist, Stacey Copeland, who has been selected by England Boxing at welterweight (69kg).

All five English women have travelled together and will prepare for the Worlds at a training camp in Japan along with the team from Wales, namely lightweight, Charlene Jones, and Commonwealth Games bronze medallist at middleweight, Lauren Price.

GB Boxing’s Performance Director, Rob McCracken, said: “The team has a good blend of youth and experience and is looking to build on the success that our women boxers have enjoyed in recent years.”

“The world championship is always a very tough event and will be a good test for all of the women as we build towards Rio in 2016.”

Since it was established in April 2010, women from the GB Boxing squad have won 11 medals at five major international competitions.

At the world championships in China in 2012, boxers from Great Britain won four medals. Savannah Marshall won middleweight gold, Nicola Adams took silver at flyweight and Natasha Jonas and Lisa Whiteside secured bronze at lightweight and featherweight (57kg) respectively.

Chantelle Cameron reached the quarter finals of the 2010 world championship in Barbados, where Marshall and Adams won silver medals.

Savannah Marshall was England’s first ever Women’s World Boxing Champion and won the title on her 21st birthday at the 2012 World Championships in Quinhuangdao, China with a 17-15 victory over Elena Vystropova of Azerbaijan. It was the second time Savannah had competed in a World final after she lost 5-4 to Andrecia Wasson of the USA in the 69kg final in Barbados in 2010.

In China, from an extremely tough draw, Savannah won six contests and never looked troubled against a series of opponents, including boxers ranked 2 and 3 in the world. She went on to compete at the London 2012 Olympic Games but was hampered by injury and lost in her first contest.

A shy and quiet individual, Savannah likes to let her sport do the talking and has been affectionately christened the ‘Silent Assassin’ by some of the British boxing press. Born in Hartlepool, she attended English Martyrs School where she secured 12 GCSEs. She also has a BTEC National Diploma in Sport from Hartlepool FE College which she passed with a distinction.

Before leaving her home town en route to the Japanese training camp, the 23 years old Hartlepool Headland ABC boxer told Newcastle’s “Chronicle Live” reporter Steve Rayner:

““It’s been two years since I last became world champion and a lot of boxers have improved in that time,” she reflects. “People change, people get better.

“I know fine well it’s not going to be the same experience going there as the champion as opposed to last time, when I was making my debut.

“A lot of people will be aiming for me thinking I’m the one to beat. I’m not going to go in there cocky or over-confident but I know if I do what I can, I can win.

Who does she see as her main threat?

“At middleweight anyone’s a threat. It’s the hardest weight category because what woman who fights at 69–75kg isn’t strong?

“The women’s sport’s really moved on. There are ten times more female boxers than when I first started.”

Recalling the 2012 tournament in China, Savannah had this to say to “Chronicle Live”:

“Winning the World Championships in 2012 was the most pleasing moment of my career,” she says.

“I didn’t get the result I wanted at the Olympics later that summer, but I will always be Britain’s first women’s world boxing champion. A lot of other things sprang from that.

“It was because of that I became a Sky Sports scholar, and that was a really big thing for me. As well as providing me with a mentor (head of boxing Adam Smith) they support me financially, which is great because it allows me to train full-time instead of having to juggle it around a job.

“I’ve also benefited a lot from the psychological support I’ve had. I’ve worked a lot on coping with the pressure and fighting in front of large crowds.”

“I was coming back from injury at the Commonwealth Games so my major focus just getting back in the ring,” she says. “It did wonders for me to win the gold medal and fighting in front of all the home fans in Glasgow was great.

“But apart from the Olympics, the World Championships is the No.1 competition for us and it’s in the back of my mind that I’m going there to win. I know if I box as I can, I can do that.”

Back in July, I saw Marshall take the Commonwealth Gold in Glasgow, having overcome the challenge of three of her likely opponents in Jeju – India’s Pooja Rani (3:0), Nigeria Edith Ogoke (3:0) and in the final Canada’s Ariane Fortin (2:1).

She has been in training with the GB squad in Sheffield since the Commonwealth’s and though as always much will depend with the draw in , those three boxers are again likely to be ‘in the mix’ for medals in Jeju.

With Adams out, Savannah Marshall will be England’s main hope for Gold in South Korea.

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