Hartlepool's Marshall banishes bad memories as she makes Commonwealth Games final

IN THE FINAL: Hartlepool's Savannah Marshall is guaranteed a gold or silver medal after winning her Commonwealth Games middleweight semi-final

IN THE FINAL: Hartlepool's Savannah Marshall is guaranteed a gold or silver medal after winning her Commonwealth Games middleweight semi-final

First published in Sport The Northern Echo: Photograph of the Author by

ONE more win, and the questions about the 2012 Olympics in London can be put to bed forever.

Just as Ripon diver Jack Laugher has used these Commonwealth Games to banish bad memories from two years ago, so Hartlepool boxer Savannah Marshall is finding that the path to redemption reaches its conclusion in Glasgow.

By her own admission, Marshall froze on the big stage in 2012, tamely losing her opening Olympic fight despite going into the Games as the reigning world champion. For a shy, self-effacing girl from the Hartlepool Headland club, the Olympic experience was simply too overwhelming.

Two years on, and with two years more experience under her belt, 23-year-old Marshall is a completely different beast in Commonwealth colours.

This evening's semi-final demolition of middleweight opponent Edith Ogoke was an exemplary display of controlled aggression, and while Canada’s Ariane Fortin will be a more dangerous opponent in tomorrow's final, Marshall should win gold provided she maintains her focus for one more fight.

She is certainly the most polished fighter in her division, not to mention the most powerful. It is just a case of holding things together for four more rounds to finally draw a line under an experience that continues to blight a career that would otherwise be heralded as one of the most successful in North-East sport over the last decade.

“I know I’m up there with the best, and it’s just been a case of trying to enjoy things this time around,” said Marshall, who will be guaranteed a sizeable amount of North-East support tomorrow.

“I didn’t really enjoy the Olympics, especially when I lost, so I’ve just tried to embrace all this a bit more and I’ve really enjoyed it more this time as a result.

“I knew what to expect after the Olympics, and I think that’s helped. I’m a bit more prepared than last time. I think it (the Olympics) was just all a bit much for me.

“It was two years ago, and I was still young. To go from being world champion straight into the Olympics in the space of two months, it all just came a bit fast for me.”

Marshall’s career trajectory in the last two years suggests the Olympic experience was just a blip, and tonight's performance was as accomplished as any produced by a British boxer at the Games.

Her opponent, Ogoke, had battered her way to victory in the previous round, throwing around haymakers with abandon and catching her opponent unawares with her unorthodox style.

It was always going to be imperative that Marshall boxed her way to victory rather than being drawn into a brawl, and she sensibly used her reach advantage to ensure Ogoke was never able to get any telling shots away.

Marshall caught the Nigerian with a searing right hook at the end of the first round, and rocked her opponent again with a great left jab at the end of the second.

She continued to pick her shots sensibly in the third, and while Ogoke briefly rallied in a scruffier final two minutes, Marshall was far enough ahead on all three scorecards to earn a unanimous points decision.

“I’d seen her box in the Olympics, so I knew quite a lot about her,” said the North-Easterner. “I’m really happy with how I’ve done, especially after having been out (injured) for nine months. I would have been happy enough just to get a medal, never mind getting into the final.”

Fortin will be a more unpredictable proposition in tomorrow’s final, with the Canadian having recovered from a slow start in her own semi-final to condemn Wales’ Lauren Price to two standing counts.

She is a more conventional and controlled puncher than Ogoke, but boasts nowhere near as much experience as Marshall, who will hope to join her close friend Nicola Adams on the gold-medal podium.

Tomorrow’s action switches from the relatively tight confines of the Scottish Exhibition Centre to a 10,000-capacity venue at the nearby Hydro, but with her Olympic experience at the back of her mind, Marshall is confident she can cope with the added pressure.

“It’s the final and I’ll get on with it,” she said. “This is the first time I’ve seen the Canadian, and I’ve never boxed her before. But I’m in the final and I’m looking forward to it.”

Comments

Comments are closed on this article.

Send us your news, pictures and videos

Most read stories

Local Info

Enter your postcode, town or place name

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree