Boxing pundit Spencer Oliver believes Savannah Marshall's new-found self-belief under trainer Peter Fury will give her the edge in London.
Boxer-turned-pundit Spencer Oliver has lavished praise upon trainer Peter Fury for helping shape Savannah Marshall into one of the most feared female fighters on the planet.
The Hartlepool-born star is set to tackle old-foe Claressa Shields at the O2 Arena in London this weekend, bidding to inflict a first professional defeat upon the self-proclaimed ‘GWOAT’ and fully unify the women’s 160lb middleweight division for the first time.
Victory for Marshall would cement her legacy in the sport and fulfil a lifelong dream of hers; albeit one that appeared a world away when self-confidence issues derailed her ambitions of claiming Olympic gold in London in 2012 and Brazil four years later.
“What Savannah has done with Peter Fury over the past few years is to bring out the confidence within herself,” Oliver told bet365 in the build-up to this weekend’s historic night of action in the capital.
“She has always been immensely talented, but she always struggled and lacked confidence, which explains her inconsistent nature within the amateur ranks.
“She would go and beat somebody like Claressa in the world Championships and then crash out of the Olympics when she was favourite. She’d bounce back and enjoy success in the Europeans but then crash out of the Commonwealths.
“Every time she had success she then went and crashed out - largely because she struggled with self-belief - and the big question was would she ever be able to overcome that!
“Peter has worked exceptionally hard to find a way to get that inner-belief right out of her, which for me, is exactly why she is delivering right now.”
For her opponent, the fight is all about redemption, with the talented American desperate to right the wrongs of 2012 when she suffered the one and only defeat of her glittering amateur career against Marshall.
“Listen, this rivalry goes all the way back to 2012 when Savannah beat Claressa, and to this day remains the only person to ever beat her as an amateur or as a professional,” Oliver added.
“She beat her quite convincingly actually too - 14-8, so it isn’t like it was a close contest where she just got over the line.
“Savannah has always been under Claressa’s skin, and it is something she has been desperate to reverse, which is why she has come over to the UK to take this fight.
“It is a massive moment, they genuinely dislike each other, this rivalry has been brewing for a long time and we have two fighters with 12-0 records, but for one of them it will be unlucky 13.”
But who will that fighter be?
“That is the million dollar question isn’t it!” Oliver answered.
“Look, Savannah’s punch power is exceptional and the second round KO last time out was brilliant. If she lands one of those early doors then it could be an early night.
“But Claressa is an incredible fighter with enormous talent and self-belief. It is one of those fights where we all have our opinions on how it will go, but none of us really know.
“If I was pushed, I would lean towards Savannah because she has the style and now has the confidence to win this one on points.”
If you agree with the Oliver you can back Marshall to win via ‘Decision or Technical Decision’ at 10/3 in our ‘Fight Outcome’ market.