Savannah Marshall made short work of Maria Lindberg in the first defense of her WBO middleweight title as she knocked the veteran Swedish boxer in the third round, before calling out Claressa Shields who she says is not interested in facing her. 

The win should move Marshall, a former world amateur champion who was once on the books of Mayweather Promotions, closer to a fight with Shields. Marshall remains the only boxer to beat Shields amateur or professional on the way to winning that world amateur title in China in 2012. 

“I punch too hard for Claressa Shields and she doesn’t want to know,” Marshall said. “I said last year she is not interested. She would much rather roll about in the Octagon. She would much rather call out Katie Taylor, who is four weight classes below her. I’m not going to wait about for her forever, I’d like to get out again in the summer, get another title, the IBF is vacant, and if not go back up to super-middle and get a title off one of the girls up there and then, if she (Shields) gets some guts, a big showdown with her at the end of the year.” 

Marshall had been due to face European champion Femke Hermans, but a positive COVID test of one of her team members ruled her out and in stepped the 44-year-old Lindberg for the fight at the Copper Box in London. 

It proved to be a thankless task, though, as she was completely outgunned by Marshall, who knocked her down twice. 

“Utmost respect to Maria, I am really grateful that she stepped in because on Sunday it didn’t even look like I was fighting,” Marshall said. “A change of opponent is hard to take when you train for weeks on a certain style. I didn’t think it would go like that, I really didn’t but I am happy with how I performed.  

“I get more nervous for the press conference than the fights, but I am over the moon with the progress I am making under Peter (Fury, her trainer).” 

Lindberg, who first challenged for this title a decade ago, couldn’t get close to Marshall in the first round, as Marshall moved around. She opened up in the second, though, and landed a massive overhand right that twisted Lindberg around and dropped her on her face. 

To her credit, Lindberg made it to her feet and survived the round, but it didn’t get any better for he in the third, as she was caught by two left hooks and another sold right and was sent to the floor again, this time failing to beat referee Bob Williams’s count at 1:11 of the round. 

Ron Lewis is a senior writer for BoxingScene. He was Boxing Correspondent for The Times, where he worked from 2001-2019 - covering four Olympic Games and numerous world title fights across the globe. He has written about boxing for a wide variety of publications worldwide since the 1980s.