Claressa Shields alleges she beat Savannah Marshall in a never-before-seen sparring session that sparked their feud.
Marshall returns to the ring on Saturday in Newcastle, knowing that a win will put her one step closer to the biggest women’s boxing match of all time against Claressa Shields.
Their history stretches back to 2012 when Marshall won an amateur contest between them; it is the only fight, amateur or professional, that Claressa Shields has ever lost in his illustrious career.
They are now both signed to Sky Sports Boxing and BOXXER, with the promise of delivering a grudge contest that will be the pinnacle of female fights.
Shields has now disclosed for the first time specifics about a sparring session four years later, in the run-up to the 2016 Olympics, in which she exacted some vengeance on Marshall.
Shields tells Sky Sports, “I whupped her ass.” “I turned her face the same colour as my hair!”
“She doesn’t talk about it.”
“She is aware. Inquire with her about it.
“‘It’s just sparring?'”
“Shields had won Olympic gold as a 17-year-old in 2012, then sensationally replicated the feat at the 2016 Games after this storey of sparring Marshall.”
Marshall was a member of Team GB at both of those Olympics.
Marshall has held the WBO middleweight title since going pro, whereas Shields is a three-division champion and a two-division undisputed champion.
However, she becomes passionate when recalls training alongside her British adversary in the same gym at the US Olympic Training Center in Colorado.
“She’s the only person who has ever beaten me, so if we get in the ring for sparring, she’s expected to show that, even though I’m the Olympic gold medalist, she’s better,” Shields explains.
“She hasn’t been better than me since I was 17 years old. I am now 26 years old.
“That is why she has not attained what I have.
“When was the last time Claressa battered, someone?” “There you have it,” she teases.
So, what actually occurred?
“We went to Colorado for a two-week training camp – Team GB and Team USA,” Marshall explains.
“What about the first week?” She’d strained her back. The following week? She sprained her toe. Is today the last day? She had the ability to spar.
“She threw approximately ten shots in four rounds and that was all.”
“Can you hit someone with only ten shots?”
“I’m shocked she hasn’t mentioned the fact that I was on the canvas!”
Shields claims that Marshall’s British teammate Nicola Adams, who also won Olympic gold in 2012 and 2016, was there for the spar.
Shields’ American teammates, Shakur Stevenson and Charles Conwell were also watching with interest, she claims.
“‘Damn, is that the girl who thrashed you when you were 17?'”
“‘She can’t do anything with you right now.'”
“That was uttered by everyone in the gym.”
Shields and Marshall had briefly discussed settling their score a few years into their pro careers, but it never happened – several years later, there is no more mouth-watering battle in women’s boxing.
“I beat her up in sparring, which is why her team declined the fight with me in 2018,” Shields adds.
“The fight will take place, and we’ll find out who has been lying the entire time.”
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