Boxxer supremo Ben Shalom believes the long awaited clash between Savannah Marshall and Claressa Shields can help lift Boxing from its ‘murky’ image.
Marshall and Shields’ 10-year long rivalry will come to a significant crescendo at the 02 Arena. The pair have been fierce rivals since their first meeting in the amateur divisions ten years ago, that saw Marshall overcome the American in China.
However, both fighters have an identical 12-0 professional record and have entrenched themselves as the top fighters within the women’s division. And as the two fighters get set to headline the first ever all women’s fight card in boxing history, Shalom thinks this fight can help recover the sport’s reputation.
Read More: Savannah Marshall’s rise – being ‘banned’ from sparring to headlining London's O2 Arena
“It was important in the sense, not because of virtual signaling or anything like that,” Shalom said in an exclusive interview with Daily Star Sport, when asked about the thinking behind the first all women’s fight card. “The sport has grown to such a level, that we felt like this was the fight, this was the right time when we could have a go at selling out arenas, selling a massive event around the world without having to prop anything up – the fight speaks for itself.
“That was the thinking behind it, we think it will have long standing effects on the sport. The sport is seen as a murky sport, its seen as being difficult and very male dominated, and male driven, and this was an opportunity for the sport itself to revitalise, to reposition itself.”
A damaging few weeks for boxing has already seen Tyson Fury and Anthony Joshua ’s perspective bout collapse, before Conor Benn was found to have failed a drugs test days before he was scheduled to fight Chris Eubank Jr. Boxing officials, fans, and fighters alike will, do doubt, be looking forward to getting their focus back on the ring when Shields and Marshall step into the squared circle.
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Despite the obvious historical ramifications of the bout, more focus has been paid to the fierce, personal rivalry between Shields and Marshall. Both fighters have exchanged venomous jibes which have repeatedly overspilled into personal insults. And Shalom believes the fight can also help inspire a new generation of women’s boxers and fighters.
“There were certain doubts around ‘can an all women’s [card] sell, can there be any interest?,” Shalom added. “The broadcast interest around the world with 48 crew members coming from ESPN, 30 from Super Sport in Africa, with Sky’s support, and the fact that we have already sold over 12,000 tickets alone.
“It shows that this was the right time, this was the right fight, and I think it will have long standing effects on the sport and long standing effects on women.”
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