Savannah Marshall knocks out Femke Hermans to pave the way for Claressa Shields blockbuster

Savannah Marshall produced a stunning knockout victory over Femke Hermans in Newcastle - and immediately turned her attention to a world middleweight title unification fight with Claressa Shields.

The 30-year-old Hartlepool fighter inflicted a first professional defeat on Hermans of Belgium with a devastating left hook in the third round.

With long-standing rival Shields watching ringside, the statement win opens the door for a huge clash between the pair later this summer.

Shields wasted no time in fanning the flames by entering the ring at the Utilita Arena and the pair exchanged words before security pulled them apart.

'Silent Assassin' told Sky Sports: "There's no-one else in the way of me and Claressa - it's me and Claressa in the summer now. I know Claressa can't handle my power."

Michigan superstar Shields is undefeated in 12 professional fights so far and is a double Olympic gold medalist.

The 27-year-old has held multiple world championships in three weight classes, including light-middleweight, middleweight and super-middleweight.

The only blot on her distinguished career is a defeat by Marshall at the World Amateur Boxing Championship back in 2012.

The outspoken American said she intended to make her rival pay and was unimpressed by Marshall's win over Hermans.

She said: "I'm no Femke Hermans or any of those other girls she has fought against.

"As much power as she [Marshall] has, if that's what I've got to look forward to, it's going to be a wipeout."

No official fight date has been confirmed yet between the pair but a potential unification fight between Marshall and Shields will be another feature to a star-studded and ground-breaking year for women's boxing.

Ireland's undisputed lightweight champion Katie Taylor will take on Amanda Serrano on April 30 at Madison Square Garden in what will be the first female fight to headline the iconic New York City venue.

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