Savannah Marshall made a good first impression in her debut at super middleweight, earning a majority decision over Franchon Crews-Dezurn to become undisputed world champion Saturday.
Marshall won the WBC, WBA, IBF and WBO world titles after she was given scores of 99-92 and 97-93, while the other judged scored it a draw at the Manchester Arena in Marshall’s native England. The fight seemed closer than the two winning scores, and Crews-Dezurn started well, but Marshall’s tidier boxing and accurate shots won the later rounds.
Marshall defeated Crews-Dezurn in the American’s third world title defense to become a two-weight world champion as she returned to winning ways after suffering her first professional loss to Claressa Shields in her previous fight.
Shields, from Flint, Michigan, the world’s best female boxer and ruler at middleweight, unanimously outpointed Marshall in October, which prompted Marshall to move up a weight class. After making weight on Friday, Marshall claimed 168 pounds was her natural weight class and that making middleweight had been “a squeeze.”
Now she hopes a rematch with Shields can be made at super middleweight.
“I think I broke my hand on her head, and she is a tough, tough woman,” Marshall said. “Some of the rounds were close, but I was catching her with clean shots.”
Marshall added: “If [Shields] wants it, I will give it.”
Shields was ringside in Manchester, and a rematch seems inevitable.
“If Savannah comes to the USA, I will fight her at any weight she wants,” Shields said. “I saw a lot of weaknesses, and she didn’t learn from her last fight against me.”
Marshall (13-1, 10 KOs), 32, from Hartlepool, is perhaps the biggest puncher in women’s boxing, but also has an accomplished skill-set after competing at two Olympic Games. On Saturday, she eventually began to show those skills from the fifth round on.
Crews-Dezurn (8-2, 2 KOs), 36, had not fought since outpointing Elin Cederroos in a unification fight to become undisputed champion in April last year.
After singing the “The Star-Spangled Banner” in the ring before the first bell, Crews-Dezurn started impressively by dictating the opening round behind single jabs.
Marshall threw more punches in the second round, including a right late in the round that Crews-Dezurn did well to shake off. Marshall landed a series of straight shots early in the fifth round, as well as a big right as the Englishwoman began to put more pressure on Crews-Dezurn.
Crews-Dezurn, whose only defeat as a professional before fighting Marshall was a four-round points loss to Shields in her debut in 2016, became more ragged as the fight went on, allowing Marshall to score with more punches.
There was a lot of holding, and this was no classic, but Marshall was able to eventually get into her rhythm and revive her career.
Jonas outclasses Wyatt to become two-weight champion
Natasha Jonas became a reigning two-weight world champion in emphatic fashion to win the vacant IBF welterweight title by stopping Kandi Wyatt on the same bill in Manchester.
The 39-year-old from England repeatedly landed heavy shots before referee Marcus McDonnell stopped the fight 33 seconds into Round 8. Jonas rammed a hard straight left into Wyatt’s bloody face and McDonnell made a good call in stopping the one-sided beating.
Jonas (14-2-1, 9 KOs) is also WBC, IBF and WBO junior middleweight champion and dropped down a weight class to outclass Wyatt (11-5, 3 KOs).
“There are fights that the fans want to see there are fights that [broadcaster] Sky want to do and there are things that I want to do before I retire, and somewhere in between we will work out my next fight,” Jonas said.
Jonas, from Liverpool, has transformed her career in the past 18 months, winning her first world title and then two unification title fights.
Wyatt, 32, from Calgary, ended a three-fight losing streak in March but was simply outclassed by 2012 Olympian Jonas.
Jonas made a stunning start, wobbling Wyatt three times with big left hands in the first round. The first left hand was perhaps the best and Wyatt looked close to going down momentarily.
Jonas was not as busy in the second round but still caught Wyatt with a sweet lead right hook as the Canadian continued to be dominated. Jonas was too quick, clever and accurate for Wyatt who failed to gain a foothold and make any gains all fight.
Wyatt absorbed another big left hand early in the sixth round, but another in the eighth round was one too many for her.
Welshwoman Lauren Price, gold medallist at the Olympics in 2021, was ringside and is an option for Jonas to fight next.
Savannah Marshall edges Franchon Crews-Dezurn for undisputed title