Marshall title defence moved to April, live on Sky Sports

Savannah Marshall will defend her WBO middleweight world title against Femke Hermans in Newcastle on April 2, as she looks to stay on course for an undisputed clash with Claressa Shields.

The show, which was previously scheduled for March, will see Marshall take on the Belgian former world champion at Newcastle Arena, live on Sky Sports.

Also fighting on the card will be Florian Marku, who looks to continue to his ascent to welterweight world championship contention, and heavyweight Nathan Gorman, who is returning to action after more than a year out of the ring.

The unbeaten Marshall’s third defence of the world title she won against Hannah Rankin in October 2020 comes against a dangerous opponent in Hermans, with the pair having previously been set to meet in April 2021 before a positive Covid case in the Belgian’s camp forced her to withdraw.

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Claressa Shields and Marshall had to separated as a war of words erupted between the pair in Cardiff following Shields’ fight

Marshall is seeking to extend the 11-0 start to her professional career, as she looks to secure a hugely anticipated undisputed middleweight world title clash with Shields, who holds the division’s three other titles and sits on a 12-0 record.

Marshall was ringside to watch Shields dominate Ema Kozin in Cardiff earlier this month, with the pair becoming embroiled in a war of words following the American’s victory.

The fight sees Marshall return to the scene of her most recent victory, a second-round stoppage of Lolita Muzeya in October that extended the Brit’s run of stoppage wins to seven.

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Marshall stayed on course for a super fight with Shields after a spectacular win over Lolita Muzeya in Newcastle

Hermans is a tough and experienced operator who previously took Shields the distance when she challenged her for the unified WBA, WBC, and IBF world middleweight titles in 2018 and will be hoping to secure a rematch if she can beat Marshall in Newcastle.

“I’m really happy to be going back to Newcastle Utilita Arena after the amazing reception I received there last time,” Marshall said.

“Femke is a very tough girl and it’s going to be a hard night’s work but I’m really looking forward to putting on a show.

“I’m sorry to anyone who has been inconvenienced by the date change but I hope everyone who wants to be there can still be there. I really can’t wait,” said Marshall.

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Shields showed what she is capable of, dominating from start to finish in her points victory against Ema Kozin

Boxxer chief Ben Shalom said: “We can’t wait to return to the Utilita Arena on April 2 and feel the incredible atmosphere and buzz of the Newcastle fans. This is a crucial fight for Marshall – she has to beat the dangerous Femke to secure the ultimate showdown with Claressa Shields.”

Sky Sports head of boxing development Adam Smith added: “We are thrilled to be returning to the North East where there is such a passionate and growing fan base for Savannah Marshall.”

Marku, competing in his first fight since signing with Boxxer, takes on former British and Commonwealth champion Chris ‘Rock n Rolla’ Jenkins.

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Albanian boxer Florian Marku says it means everything to sign with Boxxer and Sky Sports, with Conor Benn on his radar

‘The Albanian King’ maintained his undefeated record in November by outpointing Jorick Luisetto, while Jenkins is coming off an emphatic decision win over former unified super-lightweight world champion Julius Indongo in Cardiff earlier this month.

The winner takes a big step closer to competing for major title honours later this year.

“I’m excited for my first fight of the year, it’s going to be the start of very big things,” Marku said. “I love fighting in new places so I’m looking forward to entertaining the amazing Newcastle fans and showing them my brand of fighting.”

“Chris Jenkins is a good opponent. He’s won championship belts in Britain and he’s just beaten a former unified world champion. This will be a tough fight between two warriors. This is an important year for me – I’m looking to make a big statement and put the rest of the 147-pound division on alert.”

Image: Nathan Gorman is returning to action after a year out of the ring

Gorman, the former WBC International Silver champion, will return to the ring for the first time in over a year as he takes on American Scott Alexander.

The 25-year-old, who holds an 18-1 record, is looking forward to a period of activity as he targets domestic titles and world rankings.

Tyneside legend Aaron Chalmers, announced last week as a new signing to the Boxxer stable, will also make his promotional debut on the card.

Coached by renowned trainer Adam Booth, Chalmers’ millions of fans will be watching keenly as he transitions from his successful career in professional MMA.

Source : Sky Sports