Eight months on from tasting defeat for the first time as a pro, Hartlepool’s Savannah Marshall (12-1-0, 10KOs) returns on Saturday as she looks to overcome undisputed super-middleweight champion Franchon Crews-Dezurn (8-1-0, 2KOs).
A rematch between Liam Smith and Chris Eubank Jr was initially set to headline the show at Manchester’s AO Arena before an injury to the former forced the bout to be pushed back a second time.
Mark Heffron was also set to defend his British and Commonwealth super-middleweight titles versus Zak Chelli before withdrawing through injury earlier this month.
The Main Event
Marshall admitted this week her unanimous decision defeat to Claressa Shields in October was a pill which proved difficult to swallow.
Initially looking to take her frustrations out on those around her, including trainer Peter Fury, the 32 year old now has her sights set on super-middleweight glory as Virginia’s Crews-Dezurn travels across the pond to the North-West this weekend.
Speaking exclusively to BBTV when the fight was first announced in April, Marshall was defiant in wanting to return with a big fight.
“I just thought ‘why would I take a massive step down when camps are hard, sparring’s hard’. I thought ‘I don’t wanna go through all that for someone I’ve already boxed before’.
“The fight with Franchon nearly got made a number of times but the reason it fell through was money. Obviously she’s got all the belts now and she called me out straight after the Claressa fight.
“Fair play, she’s seen me now as a bit of a cash cow now and that I can sell a bit of a ticket and she’s jumped on it. Fair play, it’s a business.”
The American has taken just nine contests to tie all four belts together at 168lbs, the depleted depth in the female code no doubt playing a role in a still impressive feat, and kicked off her own pro career against the aforementioned Shields.
With both women making their pro debuts against each other at Las Vegas’ T-Mobile Arena in 2016, Shields won all four rounds against the World amateur silver medalist who had only opted to turn pro at three weeks notice.
Crews-Dezurn decided to take a run at the professional code however and won her next three bouts before claiming the WBC super-middleweight crown two years later.
The WBO was added the following year before the IBF and WBA belts completed the collection with a wide unanimous decision win against Elin Cederroos in April last year.
A fiery fight week press conference was backed up by an equally intense weigh-in, with both fighters coming in a pound under the 168lb championship limit.
The pressure is on for Marshall as she looks to remind the boxing world why she was regarded as boxing’s most heavy-handed female fighter.
Crews-Dezurn meanwhile has no intentions of losing the belts she has worked so hard for, accusing Marshall of having everything handed to her on a plate while she was forced to feed off scraps on her way to the top.
More world title action takes place further down the card as, like Marshall, Natasha Jonas (13-2-1, 8KOs) hopes to capture world honours in a second separate weight division.
The vacant IBF welterweight title is up for grabs against heavy underdog Kandi Wyatt (11-4-0, 3KOs) who, despite defeating Kirstie Bavington in March, has lost three of her last four fights.
Jonas was crowned British Boxing Board of Control fighter of the year for 2022 after tying up the WBC, WBO and IBF super-welterweight titles in three contests.
The Liverpudlian opted to move down to welterweight this weekend with a potential undisputed fight against the winner of Jessica McCaskill vs Sandy Ryan lingering over the horizon for the back end of 2023.
Further down the card, undefeated Mark Jeffers (15-0-0, 4KOs) makes way for the injured Mark Heffron to take on Fulham’s Zak Chelli (13-1-1, 6KOs) over ten rounds at super-middleweight.
Polarising light-heavyweight Ben Whittaker (3-0-0, 2KOs) also returns for his fourth pro outing against Vladimir Belujsky (13-6-1, 9KOs) over eight.
A six-round welterweight rematch also takes place between Wolverhampton’s Kirstie Bavington (7-4-2, 2KOs) and Newcastle’s April Hunter (6-1-0) after the former handed Hunter her first pro defeat back in 2021.
Top super-middleweight prospect Callum Simpson (11-0-0, 9KOs) also faces Boris Crighton (11-3-0, 7KOs) while heavyweight William Howe makes his pro debut versus Jake Darnell (2-19-0).
Featured image: Lawrence Lustig/BOXXER.