Savannah Marshall became a two-weight world champion with a majority-decision victory over undisputed super-middleweight champion Franchon Crews-Dezurn on Saturday evening.
The 32 year old returned to the ring at Manchester’s AO Arena for the first time since her defeat to old rival Claressa Shields at middleweight in October.
Shields, who was there to support her friend Crews-Dezurn, revealed she would be open to a rematch against Marshall at 168lbs providing the Brit is willing to travel to America.
Although a scrappy affair at times, Marshall produced the cleaner work on the night to earn a deserved win in her 14th pro outing.
Maryland’s Crews-Dezurn never halted in her pursuit to defend her undisputed crown with aggressive footwork as she continued to apply pressure to the former middleweight champion Marshall.
The latter looked to enjoy most success when fighting at range with a prodding jab which made room for accurate straight rights but was often forced to fight inside thanks to the aggression of the American.
After a fiery fight week, the two fighters embraced at the final bell while awaiting the decision which saw one judge score the fight a 95-95 draw, while the others both scored for Marshall by 97-93 and a wide card of 99-92.
To her credit, Crews-Dezurn reacted graciously to the result, even posing alongside Marshall’s team post-fight who were taking photos with the belts.
The 36 year old had showed tremendous heart all night and remarkably sang her own national anthem just moments before trading blows with Marshall in the AO Arena ring and proved many doubters wrong who were predicting an early blowout for the Brit.
Attention soon turned to a potential rematch with Shields who appeared as a pundit for Sky Sports on the night.
Shields collected all the middleweight belts against Marshall in October to become undisputed champion for the second time in her career – the first in the sport’s history to do so.
While she was open to a second bout with her old rival – Marshall remains the only fighter to defeat her thanks to a victory in the amateurs 11 years ago – Shields insisted the bout must take place in her own country America.
“If Savannah comes to the USA, I will fight her at whatever weight she wants to fight at. Come to America, I already came over here and beat her up already”, Shields told Sky Sports.
The message was reiterated to Marshall at the post-fight press conference as the Brit agreed to travel across the pond in a bid to rectify the only loss on her professional record.
Like Marshall, Liverpool’s Natasha Jonas also captured world honours in a second weight division with a dominant seventh-round victory over Canada’s Kandi Wyatt.
The bout saw Jonas claim the vacant IBF welterweight title, potentially setting up a huge fight with the winner of the upcoming clash between other champions Jessica McCaskill and Sandy Ryan.
Jonas made a fast start to the fight, rocking Wyatt with a straight left in the opening seconds before setting about the Canadian as she looked to force a first-round stoppage.
Wyatt survived the round but looked out of her depth as Jonas continued to look for an opening, and after a punishing seven rounds referee Marcus McDonnell mercifully waved the bout off to seal Jonas’ victory.
Light-heavyweight Ben Whittaker also forced a late stoppage in his eight-round contest against Vladimir Belujsky.
Tokyo 2020 silver medalist Whittaker floored the Slovakian in the third before rocking him again in the final seconds of the eighth to collect his third stoppage in his first four pro outings.
Elsewhere, late replacement opponent Mark Jeffers upset Zak Chelli over ten rounds with a unanimous decision victory while Callum Simpson endured the ten-round distance for the first time against Boris Crighton.
Welterweight April Hunter also floored Kirstie Bavington on the way to avenging her 2021 defeat to the former European champion.
Featured image: Lawrence Lustig/BOXXER.