When we look at the ascension of women's boxing over the last few years, there are many notable names that have transitioned from amateur to professional with great success, but one that has yet to taste that success is Hartlepool's, Savannah Marshall.
For Marshall, the journey began back in 2003 when stepping into the boxing gym for the first time with friends as a way to keep fit. This soon became a home from home as no matter the weather she would make the dreaded cycle to the Headland gym to ensure she never missed a session and thus the beginning of an incredible journey.
Fast forward seven years and Savannah Marshall found herself competing in the world championships across the other side of the world in sunny Barbados and picked up a silver medal in the welterweight category, but this would just be the beginning of what was to be a fantastic amateur career.
Marshall would compete at the European, Commonwealth, World and Olympic championship events going on to pick up a total of two bronze, one silver and two gold medals to her collection and making history by becoming the first British female fighter to win gold at the world championships.
Along that route, Marshall met a certain Claressa Shields and handed Shields the first and only defeat of her career to date, a feat which seems much more impressive given what Shields has since gone on to do as a pro.
As a fighter turning professional you can only dream of the dizzy heights of fighting in Las Vegas, well for Savannah Marshall that dream became a reality after signing with Floyd Mayweather's promotional company and subsequently making her debut on the undercard of "The Money Fight" between Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor in August 2017. After picking up five wins in just over twelve months and a WBO Inter-Continental title, the road to glory is well underway and after more impressive performances early in 2019, it was not going to be long before the big time promoters would come calling.
Alas, Eddie Hearn & Matchroom Boxing announced the signing of Marshall in August 2019, she would go on to impress fans as she marched on to a fifth-round TKO over Daniele Basteri on the undercard of Vasyl Lomachenko-Luke Campbell. This would now leave many to wonder when that coveted world title shot would come.
A chance meeting with the former amateur foe and now super middleweight queen Claressa Shields would happen once more, but this time it was outside of the ring as spectators at an MTK show in London in November 2019. Both have mutual respect for each other and their respective accomplishments, but for Marshall, it was about putting herself into the forefront of the mind of Sheilds and pushing for that big fight.
As yet the fight is yet to be made, but this has not stopped Marshall and promoter Eddie Hearn look to catapult Savannah into the big time by capturing a world title, so a move to the light heavyweight division was the viable option and a shot at the current WBO champion Geovana Peres (8-1-0 1KO) has been since been moved from its original date of April 4th to the 27th June. However, given the current landscape of the pandemic sweeping the globe, it may still not yet take place.
Should the fight take place, this will be the opportunity Marshall has worked so hard to secure. Does she have the ability to dethrone Peres and pick up her first world title? I certainly think she does, she has shown in her eight outings as a professional that she has the natural ability and physical advantages over most of her opposition, but it will take more than just this to secure the world title and will provide Marshall with the step-up in class she so desperately needs to make her mark on women's boxing known and also provide the enticement of another world title for long time rival Claressa Shields to finally settle the score once and for all.
We are obviously in times of uncertainty, not just regarding sport, but regarding the health and welfare of everybody that this virus has the potential to affect.
The reality is that lives have already been lost and the hope is that people will, at some point, be able to return to doing what they love once it is safe to do so.
Scheduled fights will no doubt be cancelled for the foreseeable future whilst the ramifications of what is happening continue.
We hope to see these sportsmen and sportswomen on our screens again soon, providing the entertainment we as boxing fans regularly take for granted.