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  • Five Of The Biggest Female Fights Ahead Of Claressa Shields Vs Savannah Marshall

Five of the biggest female fights ahead of Claressa Shields vs Savannah Marshall

Since its inclusion in the 2012 Olympics, women’s boxing has been on an upward trajectory, constantly evolving and breaking new boundaries.

On Saturday, Claressa Shields will take on Savannah Marshall at The O2.
The bitter rivals were originally scheduled to go toe to toe on September 10 - but the fight was postponed on the eve of the weigh-in due to the death of Queen Elizabeth II.
Shields, a two-time undisputed world champion, will defend her WBC, IBF and WBA middleweight titles against British WBO titleholder Marshall, who has stopped 10 of her 12 opponents.

It could be one of the greatest women's boxing fights of all time, so we take a look back at five times previously that this slogan has been used.

Laila Ali vs Jacqui Frazier-Lyde (2001)

In 1975, Muhammed Ali and Joe Frazier explosive rivalry culminated in a rubber match that's widely known as the 'Thrilla in Manila'. After one win apiece, it was Ali who came out on top in the trilogy bout, retiring Frazier on his stool in round 14 to retain his WBA and WBC world heavyweight titles.
Little did both men know that their 1975 Ring Magazine fight of the year would be replicated 27 years later by their daughters Laila Ali and Jacqui Frazier-Lyde.
Ali, who began her career first, was 9-0 (8 KOs) coming into the bout while Fraizer-Lyde was also unbeaten at 7-0 with all of her wins being inside the distance. The latter's main motivation was to avenge her father's two defeats against Ali.
The fight - that was ironically dubbed as Ali-Frazier IV - became the first pay-per-view event to be headlined by two female boxers, stamping itself in women's boxing history. Boxed over eight rounds, the pair fought a wild and highly entertaining fight, with both of them being staggered on multiple occasions.
Despite the brawl the fight turned into, the hearts of the females outshone everything as they took each other's best shots and remained standing through all eight rounds. The judges gave the fight to Ali via majority decision (79-73, 77-75, 76-76).
Following the historic bout, both of them continued to fight but it was Ali who retired on top with a record of 24-0 and multiple world titles won along the way.

Cecilia Braekhus vs Ivana Habazin (2014)

Norwegian-born Cecilia Braekhus made her pro debut in 2007 after a glistening amateur career that saw her win gold in the European Championships and silver at the World Championships.
The former kickboxing world champion immediately made her mark as a professional by winning the vacant WBA and WBC welterweight titles in her eleventh fight against Vinni Skovgaard.
Just three fights later in 2010, Braekhus added the vacant WBO belt to her collection as she earnt a rare inside the distance victory against Mikaela Lauren.
Meanwhile, Croatia's Ivana Habazin had lost her first attempt at winning a world title when she came out on the wrong end of a close decision against Eva Bajic for the IBF world welterweight title.
Hazazin managed to write her wrongs however exactly a year later in 2014 when she eventually got her hands on the IBF strap after a split decision win over Sabrina Giuliani.
The pathways of Braekhus and Habazin finally crossed later on in 2014 as they fought for the undisputed welterweight championship. This was the first time two females had fought for all four belts.
Despite the historic build-up towards the fight, the bout itself was a straight-forward one for the Norwegian, showing the huge gulf in class between the two and highlighting the lack of depth within the women's division at the time as Braekhus won via unanimous decision, with each judge having it a shutout.
Since then, Braekhus remained the undisputed champion for six years until she lost the belts to Jessica McCaskill in 2020 while Hazabin would win the IBO middleweight belt in 2018, avenging her first loss to Eva Bajic.

Claressa Shields vs Christine Hammer

Shields has been one of the shining stars of the women's division since the inclusion of the sport in the 2012 Olympics. She picked up gold medals in both London and Rio.

It was after her gold medal in 2016 when the self-proclaimed GWOAT turned over into the professional ranks after an astonishing amateur record of 77-1 (that one loss coming to Savannah Marshall).
Shields' first bout was a unanimous decision win over Franchon Crews-Dezurn, which at the time looked like a standard win, yet Crews-Dezurn has since won two world titles of her own and will be fighting for the undisputed super middleweight crown on the undercard of Taylor-Serrano.
It took only four fights for Shields to win world honours as she picked up the WBC and IBF super middleweight crown against Nikki Adler. Fast forward two years later, the American had won a total of five world titles in two weight divisions in just eight fights.
Unlike Shields who was new to the professional game, Christina Hammer had been around the block, making her debut in 2009, when Shields would've been just 14 years of age. The German fighter won her first world title in her eighth fight and remained undefeated for the first 10 years of her career.
When the two women met in the spring of 2019, many saw the fight as a legacy fight. The old generation of female boxing against the new wave of talent who have made their names through the Olympics.
The two fought for Shields' WBA, WBC and IBF middleweight titles as well as Hammer's WBO belt. Adding more history to the fight, the Ring Magazine awarded the winner their prestigious belt for the first time in a women's contest.
The bout ended in favour of Shields who comfortably outboxed her opponent to a unanimous decision victory (98-92, 98-92, 98-91), inflicting Hammer's first and only career defeat.
Since the bout, Shields became the first two-weight undisputed champion as she conquered the super welterweight division and is now eyeing up a mouth-watering clash between her old amateur rival, Savannah Marshall.

Katie Taylor vs Delfine Persoon (2019)

Katie Taylor went straight to the heart of Irish boxing fans when she won her country a gold medal in the 2012 Olympic games. Despite her unfortunate result in the 2016 games which saw her crash out in her first bout, this didn't deter Taylor however, who turned pro just three months later and spearheaded the women's boxing new era.
When turning over, the fighter from Bray showed she wasn't afraid of anybody as she picked up good wins against Jessica McCaskill, Victoria Bustos, and Eva Wahlstrom. By her thirteenth fight, Taylor was already the WBA, IBF and WBO lightweight champion.
The woman who stood in her way was the strong and tough fighter from Belgium Delfine Persoon.
Persoon had a record of 43-1 before facing Taylor and had fought all but one of those 44 career fights in her native country. Despite this, she was well known in the women's division for her tall and rangy style.
After turning pro in 2009, Persoon had names such as Eva Bajic, Maiva Hamadouche and Erica Farias for the WBC lightweight belt on her record.
The talk of Taylor vs Persoon has been building for a while due to their clash of styles which would make it a super fight in the women's division. The vision soon became a reality as the two were confirmed to fight on the undercard of Anthony Joshua vs Andy Ruiz Jr at Maddison Square Garden.
When it came to fight night, the bout lived up to the hype as the pair treated fans to an all-out war. Both were visibly marked, especially Persoon whose left eyebrow had swollen immensely. Once the ten rounds had passed, the judges controversially gave the fight to Taylor (96-94, 96-94, 95-95) despite many believing it was Persoon who was victorious.
Despite this, both women stole the show and put women's boxing on the map that night, treating the fans to the rematch a year later.

Katie Taylor vs Delfine Persoon 2 (2020)

Due to the attention the first fight got along with the somewhat dubious decision, Taylor and Persoon agreed to a rematch. The fight would take place at Eddie Hearn's Fight Camp series in Brentwood.
The anticipation for this fight was even bigger than the first after the great performances of both fighters.
Fourteen months after their first war, round 11 began and they picked up exactly where they left off. Although in the eyes of many the bout didn't reach the heights of their first, the contest was still exciting and constantly back and forth action.
The decision again went to Taylor however this time around it was more convincing in the eyes of not only the fans but also the judges who scored it 98-93, 96-94, 96-94.
Since the bout, Persoon has had a few more low-profile fights back in her motherland of Belgium, being the victor in both.
Meanwhile, Taylor has remained unbeaten and undisputed as she comes up against her biggest challenge yet against the seven-weight world champion Amanda Serrano this Saturday.

READ MORE: Claressa Shields feeling 'stronger and more energised' ahead of Savannah Marshall fight

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