British boxer, Savannah Marshall has won 13 of her 14 professional fights with 10 coming by way of a knockout and is dominating the sport as the undisputed champion of the super-middleweight division. With the world at her boots, one would forgive this warrior, who had to battle to become accepted in boxing as a fledgling female, to take her time between fights, but that’s just not how this trailblazer operates.

On June 8, 2024, The “Silent Assassin” will make her MMA debut for the Professional Fighters League. I sat down with this elite athlete between training sessions, and soon found out why she feels ready to mix it up in the cage.

Savannah Marshall wrapped in an American flag
Professional Fighter League

Savannah Marshall is Not Afraid of Being a ‘Newbie’

Far from being welcomed into the boxing fraternity with open arms, females like Savannah Marshall are all too often made to feel like outsiders in the noble sport. “Only when I look back now, I can see how hard it was,” shares this gutsy girl. “If I want something, I’m focussed, and I’ll go and get it. That’s me. But when I look back now, I think ‘wow,’ the situation, the atmosphere, it was quite clear no one wanted me there.” Marshall had thrown herself into the lions den at just 12 years of age. “What’s that?” apparently remarked one of the trainers on catching sight of her. Coaches were particularly hard on Marshall because they hoped that she would never come back, but instead they found that the harder they were on her, the more determined she became to return. “It kind of went on from there,” explains the fighter, who managed to change hearts and minds by sticking it out. As the boys dropped off one by one, hitting their teens and preferring to party, Marshall says she was the “first one there, standing outside the gym, waiting for it to open.” Marshall would be the last one to leave, never missing a session. Locally, she won approximately 26 fights in a row, meaning that her coaches had no choice but to take notice of her potential for greatness. “It got to the point where they just couldn’t ignore me anymore,” she explains. Her self-professed “ignorance” about being a newbie while focussing on learning is a huge advantage when it comes to stepping into mixed martial arts competition.

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Savannah Marshall is Training for Success

Having made Team GB and gaining multiple medals such as Gold at the 2012 World Championships, and the 2014 Commonwealth Games, Marshall understands the serious training required to compete at the highest level. “I’m in the gym twice a day,” she shares. Marshall still trains for boxing once a week with Peter Fury and is now training for MMA every morning. “Then I mix it up with my strength and conditioning,” she adds. A quick peek at Marshall’s Instagram account reveals that this fighter is putting in the work, and likes to perform actions that are sports specific, such as “mimicking the movement of a punch”.

Savannah Marshall has Great Teachers

Soaking up knowledge like a sponge, Marshall has been able to draw on some legendary teachers thus far. The girl from Hartlepool, England, was once spotted by Mayweather Promotions and signed a pro contract with the group. Despite winning her pro debit in Las Vegas, a victory against Sydney LeBlanc on the undercard of the clash between Floyd Mayweather Jr and Conor McGregor, Marshall decided to return to the UK, but recalls that during her Vegas adventure she once received a 3 a.m. missed call and a follow-up text inviting her to go and watch Mayweather train.

“Looking back now, I should have got up,” says Marshall, who was given a very real an insight into the insane training schedule that some of the world’s most successful athletes undertake. Tyson Fury’s uncle, Peter Fury has also been an important mentor. “Peter has been massive in my career,” says Marshall. “He’s played like a father figure,” she explains, noting that he’s strengthened her mind as well as her body.

The British boxer says that Fury taught her to look at the details of her work. Rather than just go in and spar as heavily as possible, Fury encourages her to work on jab technique, or breakdown the session in some other way, in order to improve a particular aspect.

Savanah Marshall has Learned Not to Underestimate MMA

The boxing champ freely admits that she “totally underestimated how hard it would be,” says Marshall of her MMA training so far. “Even the stance change, the weight distribution, that sort of thing. I didn’t actually realize it until I went into MMA, but boxing is pure cardio. Every session is cardio, whereas (MMA), even the wrestling, it’s (about) strength, neck strength, core strength, it’s a totally different sport.”

The fighter says that she is very much enjoying learning to grapple, and continuing the theme of learning from great trainers, Marshall is receiving wisdom from Andy Aspinall of the Aspinall Brazilian Jiu Jitsu family. “The trust has been there,” she explains, noting that she’s known Andy and his successful son, Tom Aspinall for many years.

Never Stay Still

The Silent Assassin’s PFL Europe debut is proof-positive that even as undisputed boxing champion, Marshall has no intention of resting on her laurels. “Time waits for no one,” she says. “You can’t sit about and dwell on what you’ve accomplished.”

In her MMA debut, Marshall takes on Mirela Vargas, (1-2-0) who has won a bout, ironically, with an early knockout punch. “She’s a bit of a question mark, really,” comments Marshall of her first PFL opponent. “Because, obviously, she’s never been out of the first round. Then there’s the prospect of revisiting her rivalry with Claressa Shields, who also fights with the PFL.

“People love to see the build-up, to see the controversy, the drama, and that’s what I took massively from me and her (as opponents). People loved it, and wanted to see bad blood.” Savannah Marshall is scheduled to take on Mirela Vargas on June 8 in Newcastle, England.

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