BIRTHDAY GIRL Savannah Marshall made history when she became Great Britain’s first ever female amateur boxing world champion.
On the day she turned 21, the middleweight (75kg) secured gold with a tense 17-15 victory over Elena Vystropova of Azerbaijan on the final day of the Women’s World Amateur Boxing Championships in Quinhuangdao, China.
Teammate Nicola Adams had to settle for her third consecutive World silver after narrowly losing her flyweight (51kg) final 14-10 to home favourite Ren Cancan of China.
Marshall’s gold medal capped a historic week for Great Britain which saw the team qualify boxers in all three of the Olympic weight categories for London 2012 and secure four World Championship medals.
Along with Marshall and Adams, Natasha Jonas won bronze and qualified for London in the lightweight (60kg) category. Lancashire’s Lisa Whiteside took bronze in the non-Olympic featherweight category (57kg).
Marshall, Adams and Jonas are all based at GB Boxing’s headquarters, the English Institute of Sport – Sheffield (EIS Sheffield), where they have trained since 2009.
GB Boxing’s Performance Director, Rob McCracken said: “This is a great end to a superb week for amateur boxing in Great Britain that has seen the whole team box extremely well.
“Savannah has performed superbly throughout the competition and to come away as World Champion from such a tough draw in a high-class field is an indication of her immense talent. She is still very young yet this is her second appearance in a World Championship final and, as long as she continues to work hard, Savannah can achieve anything she wants in this sport.
“Since we stared the women’s programme in 2010, all of the squad have worked incredibly hard to get to where they are today. Their achievements are a well deserved reward for their dedication and commitment and a fitting tribute to the superb efforts of the all the coaches and back-up team that have supported them every step of the way.”
Savannah Marshall said: “It’s been an amazing week and to come away as World Champion and with a place at the Olympics is pretty incredible. It’s great to go one better than the last time (when I got silver in the 69kg final in 2010) and now I am just looking forward to the Olympics and making sure I am in the best possible shape to be successful in London.”
Nicola Adams added: “I wanted the gold today and sadly it was not to be, though overall I have to be happy with this week as I have reached a third World Championship final and guaranteed my place at London. The Olympic Games is the big prize and I hope to go one step further in London.”
The British Amateur Boxing Association (BABA) was set up in August 2008 to run the elite GB Boxing programme from the state-of-the-art EIS Sheffield.
Steve Brailey, chief executive of Sheffield International Venues, which operates the venue, said: “In what will be a historic Olympic Games, with women’s boxing included for the first time ever, we are so proud that Sheffield will be represented by three superb boxers.
“Having trained in the city at EIS Sheffield for the last three years as part of the GB Boxing squad, it will be fantastic to see Nicola Adams, Natasha Jonas and Savannah Marshall go on to achieve their Olympic dreams at 2012 and I’m sure the whole of Sheffield will be behind them.”
Details of all finals are below:
75kg: Savannah Marshall v Elena Vystropova (Russia)
Savannah wins 17-15
On her 21st birthday, Savannah Marshall becomes the World Champion! What a tournament for GB's 75kg representative at the London Olympic Games. This was a tense affair, with Savannah staying with her opponent in the first and with the scores level pegging at 3-3 at the end of the round. The second was crucial, with Marshall building a 2 point lead over her opponent using her jab to good effect, catching her opponent and keeping out of range. The Azeri was always in it though, but with the final two rounds drawn, and her opponent's workrate dropping in the final round it is Savannah who takes the gold medal to add to her Olympic place at London 2012.
51kg: Nicola Adams v Ren Cancan (China)
Nicola loses 14-10
Nicola has to settle for her third consecutive World silver medal going down 14-10 to her Chinese opponent. The bout started in cagey fashion, with both boxers reluctant to commit, but Cancan edged ahead at the end of the first 2-0. Nicola was the boxer coming forward, but her opponent found the cleaner shots to extend her lead to 4 points at the end of round two. Nicola upped her workrate in the third and reduced the gap, but on home soil her opponent boxed calmly to keep Nicola at bay in the last to finish a 14-10 winner.