Marshall joins women's boxing team-mates in booking London 2012 berth
Friday, 18 May 2012
May 18 - Savannah Marshall has become the third member of Britain's female boxing team to qualify for London 2012 – the first time ever that women's boxing will appear at the Olympic Games – after she made it to the final of the International Boxing Association (AIBA) Women's World Boxing Championships in China.
The 20-year-old middleweight (75kg category) from Hartlepool put in a superb display in her semi-final to comfortably defeat Russia's world number-two Nadezhda Torlopova 18-10 after dominating the bout behind her jab from the outset.
It had been a long wait for Marshall (pictured top) after her team-mates Nicola Adams and Natasha Jonas booked their London 2012 spots by reaching the semi-finals earlier in the week at flyweight (51kg) and lightweight (60kg), respectively.
But Marshall had to win her semi-final at the Championships – the only Olympic qualifying event for female boxers – to guarantee her London berth especially as all four of the middleweight semi-finalists hailed from Europe, and only three boxers from the continent automatically qualify.
Marshall will now meet Elena Vystropova of Azerbaijan in the gold-medal match, although she is guaranteed at least a silver medal.
"To know that I had to win my semi-final against the world number-two just to secure a place at London was a lot of pressure, but I kept my nerve and am just incredibly relieved to have finally qualified for the Olympics," she said.
"It's what I have been working towards for the last three years and to know I have finally achieved it is amazing.
"It has been such a tough week and a really hard draw for me, but I can now go into the final feeling a lot more relaxed and just looking forward to knowing that I have an opportunity to become world champion."
The result means that Britain will now be represented at all three weights in the women's Olympic boxing competition at ExCeL in London this summer.
There was also great news at flyweight where Adams (pictured below, in blue) secured a spot in her third consecutive World Championship final with a comprehensive 11-6 victory over Elena Savelyeva of Russia.
In the final, the 29-year-old from Leeds faces a repeat of her 2010 World Championship final against Ren Cancan of China.
Although Cancan got the upper hand on that occasion and is ranked number one in the world, Adams won their most recent encounter in February this year at the Strandja Cup in Bulgaria and she will be eager to land her first World Championship title as she prepares for London 2012.
"It's been a really good week already with securing Olympic qualification and winning my third World Championship medal," she said.
"I have got silver medals from the last two World Championships from 2008 and 2010 so the challenge now is to go one further and turn silver into gold."
However, there was disappointment at lightweight as Jonas had to settle for a bronze after losing her semi-final 18-10 to Sofya Ochigava of Russia.
The opening round looked close but Ochigava boxed well to move into a 4-1 lead, which she extended to 8-3 at the bell at the end of the second.
This left 27-year-old Jonas with it all to do and, despite delivering flurries of blows through the final two rounds, it was not enough to emerge victorious.
The Russian will now face Ireland's legendary Katie Taylor in the final.
Taylor, 25, considered one of the best female boxers of all time, will be looking to achieve her fourth consecutive world title.
May 2012: British women boxers make history by securing London 2012 spots
May 2012: GB women boxers compete for only chance of Olympic qualification
May 2012: Alan Hubbard - Acting extra Adams hungry to take centre stage, rather than a walk-on part, in London 2012 boxing ring
April 2012: British trio of Adams, Jonas and Marshall selected for Women's World Boxing Championships
September 2011: Qinhuangdao unveils countdown clock leading up to Women's World Championships