By: Sean Cross
Two of the highest-profile bouts to be found in modern boxing go down on Saturday at London’s O2 Arena. This is where Claressa Shields puts the WBC, WBA and IBF middleweight champion on the line against WBO middleweight champion Savannah Marlsal in 10 rounds. But before that, the WBO, WBC and IBF junior lightweight belts are up for grabs as Mikaela Mayer takes on Alicia Baumgarner in another scheduled 10-rounder. Both of these bouts featured top division talent vying for division supremacy. The fact that not every woman was a fan of her opponent added to the tension.
The 13-1 Baumgarner had a strong start to the fight, which may have surprised some. However, Meyer shut down and asserted herself as the feud continued. As the rounds began to stack up, even though there was no cage, it was clear that the fight was neck and neck and each woman was going to have to do her best to get the edge on the other. After the final bell, there was a sense that the judges could rule any number of ways for Meyer, Baumgarner or Picture without being accused of robbing either fighter. In the end, it was Baumgardner who walked out of the ring with a split decision win and several lightweights in her possession.
There was a bit of plot leading up to the main event. 12-0 Shields has only tasted defeat once in her career, and that was as an amateur against, you guessed it, Marshall. Now 12-0 Marshall was hoping for a second time in the best shields, and take the undisputed middleweight championship with her. It wasn’t meant to be, but that doesn’t mean Marshall didn’t put on a show. She did. She just wasn’t good enough for the warrior’s shield. And so, in the end, Shields was awarded a unanimous victory. The American star has become the undisputed champion at Marshall – but she’s definitely had to work for it.