Ben Shalom’s Boxxer return to the Utilita Arena, Newcastle with Savannah Marshall defending her World Middleweight championship this Saturday Live on Sky Sports Boxing. This is continuing on from Boxxers’ impressive start to the year staging the long-awaited grudge match between Amir Khan and Kell Brook, Catterall’s impressive, but a controversial loss to Josh Taylor, and Chris Eubank’s convincing win over Liam Williams.
The main event pits Hartleypool’s WBO Champion Savannah Marshall (11-0) against Belgium’s Femke Hermans (12-3). Hermans, the former WBO 168-pound Titleist, notably challenged Claressa Shields for the unified middleweight title but lost a landslide decision.
This makes Hermans almost the perfect opponent for Marshall. A stoppage win over the Belgian would perfectly set up a blockbuster summer clash between Shields and Marshall. This fight is already in the latter stages of negotiations and could be official as early as this Saturday.
The self-proclaimed GWOAT Claressa Shields holds the other 3 titles at middleweight. She defended them against unbeaten Ema Kozin, in her UK/Boxxer debut in February. After the fight, there was a surprisingly intense war of words between Shields and the normally softly-spoken Marshall. Shields will now be ringside for Savannah this weekend where the heated build-up is expected to continue.
Savannah Marshall – Femke Hermans Chief Support
On Chief support is a well-matched, 50-50 welterweight fight between the Albanian king Florian Marku (10-0-1) in the biggest step up in his career against the former British and Commonwealth champion, Wales’ Chris Jenkins (23-4-5).
After losing his titles to Essuman, the Welshman got a big win against former unified super lightweight champion Julius Indongo getting his career back on track. Florian, a skilled and flamboyant boxer, has teamed up with underrated trainer Grant Smith ahead of his promotional move to Boxxer and is hoping to up his game on several levels.
The IBF International Title is on the line. Marku won this over Ukrainian-Italian Maxim Prodan (19-0) on the Joshua-Usyk undercard. Also up for grabs is a possible world ranking with the IBF. Marku has a massive fan base in the UK, which will come out in numbers this Saturday, but is planning to have an Albanian homecoming in 2022.
Jenkins has been vulnerable to the body in recent fights and although Marku is not the biggest puncher, there is the feeling that Marku can score a stoppage and an impressive win should he be able to take advantage of this. Should Makru win, a perfect next fight for him would be Chris Kongo. Kongo is also under Boxxer and boxed last weekend.
Sky Sports Boxing Undercard
Also on the Savannah Marshall – Femke Hermans undercard is Manchester middleweight Brad Rea (12-0) who faces Namibian Lukas Ndafoluma (20-4) over eight rounds. Rea, who is returning from an excellent first-round knockout last time out against unbeaten Craig McCarthy, is one of the top prospects in British boxing, but rarely gets mentioned in the same sentence as the likes of Dalton Smith and Adam Azim.
This is good matchmaking for the Mancunian as Ndafoluma is of a higher level than any Rea opponent to date and has only been stopped once in four defeats, however, that was in his last fight to 22-9 Mhlongo so there is the sense that at the age of 36, Ndafoluma has lesser resistance.
Should Rea be able to get some quality rounds as he did against Jez Smith, he will be able to move into title fights in the second half of 2022.
To complete the main fights on the undercard, Boxxer super middleweight tournament winner Zak Chelli (10-1-1) faces unbeaten 26-year-old, Lancashire’s Jack Kilganon (11-0) over Eight/Ten Rounds. Kilganon, the former central area middleweight champion, steps in on less than 72-hours notice after Diego Costa pulled out of the fight.
By Freddie Firman and Darshan Desai
Also Read: The Cold, Hard Truth: Is Claressa Shields vs Savannah Marshall Really PPV Worthy?