Hartlepool, England’s Savannah Marshall stole the show on Saturday’s excellent BOXXER card from Newcastle’s Utilita Arena televised live on Sky Sports. The WBO world middleweight champion made an impressive second defence of her title with a second round stoppage of courageous Lolita Muzeya.
‘Silent Assassin’ Marshall (11-0, 9 KO’s) had to weather a serious early storm from Muzeya (16-1, 8 KO’s) as the challenger came out like a human threshing machine. The Zambian put everything on the line in the first three completed minutes either side of the bell.
The champion was shocked by the intensity of her challenger but boxed cautiously to avoid any early damage. After receiving a pep talk from trainer/cornerman Peter Fury she stood her ground in the second round and her superior technical skills started to take over, landing strong jabs with power punching follow ups. This forced the challenger to ‘hit the wall’ three minutes in as her early intensity began to take its toll.
Muzeya was backed onto the ropes by Marshall’s heavy shots, and under extreme pressure, the referee Michael Alexander was forced to jump in to save the African from further punishment. The official stoppage was 1:58.
A potential mouthwatering match up looms against multiple world champion Claressa Shields (watching the transmission live in the US and interviewed post-fight). BOXXER CEO Ben Shalom confirmed both would feature on their 11 December promotion in Birmingham, England on the path to a potential meeting in 2022.
Marshall is the only fighter to defeat Shields amateur or pro (the American reaffirming in the post fight interview that her defeat was as “an amateur”). The British champion responded back to Shields’ bravado with “What a load of crap !”.
Both ladies will enter the contest extremely confident in what is potentially the stand out fight in the world female ranks. Shields is ranked #2 and Marshall #10 by The Ring magazine.
Chris Eubank Jr (31-2, 23 KO’s) forced Wanik Awdigan (28-1-1, 11 KO’s) to retire at the end of round 5 in a middleweight contest. The German based Armenian looked lively for the opening rounds boxing out of a southpaw stance, catching the Brighton man by surprise with some solid shots. Eubank was always in control though, and cautiously tracking his opponent, stepped up the pace from the third landing a series of hooks, jabs and screw uppercuts. Eubank acknowledged post fight the awkwardness of his opponent, expecting an orthodox fighter, and the need to show patience over the completed rounds.
The middleweight division is stacked with exciting options and Eubank confirmed he was targeting “anyone with a world title” and “ready for the big fights and big names”. There are stellar names out there for him, most notably Gennadiy ‘GGG’ Golovkin, and if that fight can be made would sell out any indoor arena in the UK.
British heavyweight Hughie Fury (26-3, 15 KO’s) scored a stoppage win over Christian Hammer (26-8, 16 KO’s) when the German retired with a right bicep injury also at the end of the fifth round. In a candid interview post fight, Hughie’s father Peter Fury gave him a 7.5/10 acknowledging it was a good win but with some room for improvement. Similar to Eubank Jr; the key is to keep him active and move quickly onto the next step up.
Local Newcastle favorite Steve Robinson (4-0, 3 KO’s) scored an early stoppage win over outgunned Reece Barlow and looks an exciting addition to the heavyweight division.
There were also several very competitive undercard fights and BOXXER is a welcome and refreshing addition to the British fight scene. Look out for further dates live on the Sky platform in the UK.