All Or Nothing: Savannah Marshall's Undisputed Bid Against Franchon Crews-Dezurn

Could a Claressa Shields rematch await?
08:00, 28 Jun 2023

Boxing matches are often fought at an intersection. An ageing brawler knocking on the door of the last chance saloon against a young rogue. Two unbeaten prospects facing off, knowing only one can remain so. Two veterans scrapping to find out which one gets to carry on while the other is allocated a listless spot in obscurity. Boxing by its definition is often an all-or-nothing joust with the abyss.

That might be a dramatic way of contextualising Savannah Marshall’s upcoming fight with undisputed super middleweight champion Franchon Crews-Dezurn. At 32 years of age, she is in her physical prime. This is no last roll of the dice from a veteran nearing retirement. She is also beyond the prospect part of her journey, having reigned as WBO middleweight champion. But still, there is something of the crossroads about this fight for ‘The Silent Assassin’.


The Hartlepool knockout artist was unbeaten going into the biggest fight of her life. Last year she faced amateur rival and arguably the greatest female fighter on the planet, Claressa Shields, in a historic grudge match. The pair headlined the O2 Arena in London, the main attraction on the first major, all-female card in boxing history. Marshall had beaten Shields in the amateurs, the only fighter to defeat ‘The GWOAT’ in either the paid or unpaid ranks. Now Savannah was determined to go 2-0 against the best in the game.

Despite a valiant, brave effort in the capital, Marshall was beaten via ten-round, unanimous decision. She landed some leather on her rival, but not enough to discourage Shields. The American outboxed the Brit and even landed the heavier punches. This surprised many considering Marshall’s renowned power and Shields’ much publicised lack of it. The boxer beat the puncher, partly by out-punching her.

It wasn’t the most damaging loss, even if talk of a rematch felt a little charitable in the aftermath. But now Marshall could well plot a route back to Shields. Moving up to super middleweight, Marshall travels to Manchester’s AO Arena to try and put the O2 heartbreak behind her.


Marshall has avoided the confidence-building, soft-touch route back completely. Rather than getting her gloves moving against a mid-level fighter on an undercard, she’s right back into the pressure cooker. Crews-Dezurn is a two-time World Amateur Championships medalist and hasn’t lost since her debut, against Shields. She did suffer an initial split decision defeat in 2020, but opponent Alejandra Jimenez later failed a drugs test and the result was changed to a No Contest. 

Last time out, she unified the super middleweight championship against IBF and WBA champion Elin Cederroos. She is undoubtedly a formidable opponent, but Savannah is a justifiable favourite. Marshall’s power is a world away from that of Crews-Dezurn, who can boast just two knockouts from her eight wins. The Brit also has youth on her side, with the French star four years older at 36. Finally, Franchon has been out of the ring for 15 months, since her win over Cederroos. Marshall has got two bouts in during that time and should be the sharper on Saturday.

But Crews-Dezurn remains a formidable opponent. You don’t unify the four major world titles or medal at two World Championships without possessing world class quality. But that destructive instinct that Marshall possesses should see her through. Before the Shields defeat, ‘The Silent Assassin’ had knocked out eight opponents in a row. Four of the stoppages came in world title bouts. She has not only mixed at the very top, she’s dominated. 

If Marshall isn’t successful, there is likely no coming back at this stage. Consecutive defeats in world title fights would put paid to her ambitions as an elite competitor. It will be fascinating to see if there is any residual damage to her confidence from the Shields loss. Marshall has never had to rebound from defeat as a pro, which means she’s entering uncharted territory. It remains to be seen how she’ll navigate it.

If she is victorious, though, then the sky is truly the limit. If Marshall becomes the champion, it opens the door for a Shields rematch. Surely ‘The GWOAT’ could be tempted to try and make history, knowing that a win over Marshall would make her the first boxer in history, male or female, to reign as four-belt champion at three different weights? Sounds like the perfect scenario for a rematch.

crews-dezurn vs marshall odds*

*18+ | BeGambleAware | Odds Subject To Change

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