SAVANNAH MARSHALL could be set for a lucrative rematch with Claressa Shields after the pair’s eagerly-awaited World title showdown more than live up to the hype at London’s O2 Arena on Saturday night.

Hartlepool’s Marshall lost her unbeaten professional record as Shields secured an unanimous points success to become the undisputed World Middleweight champion.

However, the final result only told a small fraction of the story on a landmark night for women’s boxing that saw Marshall’s tear-up with Shields top an all-female bill in front of a sold-out crowd.

The pair traded ferocious blows from the first bell to the last, with Shields’ superior technical skills eventually enabling her to out-point the more powerful Marshall.

The pair have been embroiled in a war of words ever since Marshall inflicted Shields’ only defeat in the amateur ranks as she claimed World Championship success a decade ago, but they embraced in a show of mutual respect in the aftermath of Saturday’s fight and the clamour for a rematch on American soil has already begun.

“There was a rematch clause, but if it was a controversial decision,” said Shields. “I won unanimously. But if it’s what the people want, then bring it on.”

Shields’ success, which came five weeks after the fight was initially postponed because of the death of the Queen, sees her add Marshall’s WBO middleweight belt to her WBC, WBA and IBF crowns.

At a raucous O2, Marshall, who learned to fight at Hartlepool’s Headland club, walked to the ring accompanied by England Euro 2022 winner and fellow North-Easterner Jill Scott, and had to withstand a flurry of early blows before pinning her opponent to the ropes in an explosive first round.

Marshall, with ten knockouts on her record to her opponent’s two, caught Shields early in the second, briefly putting the 27-year-old back on her heels.

Shields possessed the speed, but Marshall had the power, and the pace continued through to a brutal fifth round with both women landing some hefty hooks.

The busier Shields was undoubtedly ahead on the cards by the eighth, but a cut appeared on her forehead as Marshall found a way through her defence.

Marshall knew she needed a knockout and threw everything at Shields in another savage final round, but the American landed the cleaner shots and took the fight with the judges scoring it 96-94, 97-93 and 97-93.

“For two women to sell out the O2 is unbelievable,” said Marshall. “Claressa is a brilliant fighter. She’s not as fast as I thought she was, but she’s definitely earned the title ‘Greatest woman of all time’.”

Shields added: “I got the job done. I want to thank Savannah and her team. It’s a special night for me and a special moment for women’s boxing. I think that’s the fight of the year!

“She’s a tough competitor and a hard puncher but I’m the better fighter ten years later.”

On a memorable night by the Thames in Greenwich, the undercard saw County Durham fighter Georgia O’Connor outpoint the previously unbeaten Joyce van Ee over the course of four rounds.

O’Connor, who won Commonwealth Youth gold in 2017, is rapidly rising through the professional ranks and impressed as she claimed a notable success in the capital.

Van Ee dominated the centre of the ring throughout the fight, constantly pushing O’Connor to the ropes, but the 22-year-old North-Easterner responded with some slick footwork that enabled her to hold the upper hand through all four rounds of the contest.