The victor of the Claressa Shields vs Savannah Marshall showdown will not only win the undisputed world middleweight championship but will become the biggest star in women’s boxing, says promoter Ben Shalom.
WBO titlist Marshall will take on unified WBC, IBF and WBA champion Shields on October 15 at the O2 Arena, live on Sky Sports.
“Whoever wins this fight is, I think, going to be the biggest name in the female sport,” BOXXER’s Ben Shalom told Sky Sports. “It’s going to have that many eyeballs on it, it’s that important.
“Savannah knows that but she’s not looking past this fight. She’s not looking past October 15. She knows that this is what she’s been training for and, at the end of the day, it’s just a fight. She will get in there as ready as ever and beyond that she knows what’s on offer.”
Their contest would have happened earlier this month but was cancelled the day before it was due to take place after the death of Queen Elizabeth II once the British Boxing Board of Control suspended boxing for that weekend.
It was a difficult moment for all involved. “We knew it was going to have wide-ranging effects and ultimately it was taken out of our hands on the Friday morning when football was cancelled and everything like that. We knew that the Board was going to have to make a very, very difficult decision either way,” Shalom explained.
The news had to be broken to both Shields and Marshall, as well as Alycia Baumgardner and Mikaela Mayer who box in a super-featherweight world championship unification on the undercard.
“Boxing is about promotion. It’s not like other sports. This was the biggest moment of Claressa’s, Savannah’s, Mikaela’s, Alycia’s lives and one of the biggest nights in the sport so it would not have been fair for them not to get the promotion and the coverage that they deserve and in that that definitely was the right decision,” Shalom reflected.
“I think the scale of the event, the size of the event, the magnitude,” he continued. “Just the whole point of the event was a celebration of the sport and almost a milestone for the whole sport. To not be able to celebrate in that way, it was a very, very tough one to take as a promoter.
“I know we’re now left with again what can be one of the biggest nights for the sport of the whole year. I feel that that might have been taken away at the time and so with hindsight, given that we’ve been able to put it on three or four weeks later, I think it’s going to be even better.”
Keeping the show together was a significant feat, and no easy task in professional boxing.
“I don’t think it would have happened in the men’s sport,” Shalom said. “They all understood what had happened. They all understood it was taken out of our control.
“They were professional, they took it on board, they were immediately on to me about what would happen and when it would be rescheduled for. I think we have the perfect date, it gives them enough time to re-prepare, rather than a stop-start.”
It gave him an insight into how strong-willed all the fighters were. “It showed me how professional they are,” the promoter said.
“I think everyone saw Savannah that week and she was unruffled by anything,” he continued. “She’s mentally extremely ready. That’s half the battle.
“She’s extremely confident about this fight. She couldn’t have done anything more.
“She knows that this is her place. She knows who she is now. She’s a superstar within the women’s sport and she’s headlining the O2.
“Equally when I was sat there I could see Claressa’s confidence and this is her time… This is two fighters at their very peak with no doubt in their mind.”
The stage has been reset for an epic contest. The longest-running rivalry in women’s boxing has been extended for a few weeks more, but it will finally be decided on October 15, once and for all.
All tickets purchased for original Shields vs Marshall date remain valid for October 15. Last remaining tickets can be purchased at boxxer.com.