NORTH-East boxer Savannah Marshall landed back on home soil last night after a triumphant trip to China that saw her become Britain’s first female world champion and an instant favourite for Olympic Gold.

The shy middleweight, who started boxing at the age of 12, celebrated her 21st birthday over the weekend by defeating Azerbaijan’s Elena Vystropova in the Women’s World Boxing Championships.

She also secured her place in the London 2012 Olympics, the first year female boxing has been included in the Games.

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Savannah returned to her native Hartlepool from China last night and mother Christine Dee said she was planning a double celebration for family and friends to celebrate her milestone birthday, and her amazing win.

Ms Dee watched the championships via an internet link and said she was overwhelmed after a tense final in which Savannah’s opponent gave her a bloody nose before she nudged 17-15 ahead to win the bout.

“I just can’t get over it,” said Ms Dee. “I have never stopped smiling, never stopped laughing, since she won.

“We have had an emotional week with a lot of ups and downs and I was a nervous wreck when she was fighting.

“I think she has surprised herself. Savannah’s aim was to qualify for the Olympics but I don’t think she expected this. We are so proud of her - and always have been.

“When she qualified for the Olympics on Friday she couldn’t believe she had done it. She was very emotional. “ Savannah, who boxes with Headland ABC in Hartlepool, will be one of the first three British women to box in the Olympic Games and is now one of the country’s brightest medal hopes. She trains in Sheffield during the week, then with her trainer Tim Coulter in Hartlepool at the weekends.

She was cheered on from home by her mother, father John Marshall, brother Charlie Marshall, 20, sister Amanda Arnison, 34, and her nephews aged ten and six.

Ms Dee said her daughter had grown in confidence over the last year.

“She doesn’t say much,” she said. “She is not a person of words, but she is always calm before a fight, very calm.

“She is very shy but she has started to open up in the last year.

“I could see the change in her in that ring throughout the last week. She was starting to cheer when she did well and really grow in confidence.”

She said Savannah started boxing at the age of 12 when some of her male friends who lived nearby joined a boxing club.

“She started getting into it but we never predicted this. It is amazing. We are really excited about the Olympics.”