Savannah Marshall is bidding for Commonwealth boxing gold to help put her 2012 Olympic misery behind her but knows the competition is getting tougher.
The Sky Sports Scholar has conceded her sharp rise to the pinnacle of women’s boxing came at a price when she suffered the heartbreaking defeat in her first bout at London 2012.
The Hartlepool middleweight had headed to the capital as one of the strongest British favourites for gold after bludgeoning her way to world title glory in China just three months prior to the Games.
But out-of-sorts Marshall was dumped out by Kazakhstan’s Marina Volnova, beginning a shift in fortune which saw two significant operations as Marshall sought to keep her meteoric rise on track.
Marshall said: I had gone to the world championships as an underdog and just three months later I was favourite for Olympic gold.
I think it was a case of too much, too soon and the pressure was just a bit too heavy.
Marshall has fought in only two competitions since London, winning gold in both the European Union Championships and the World Combat Games last year.
But shoulder operations and wrist problems have limited her chances to right the wrongs of her Olympic flop, and she was left out of the team for last month’s European Championships in Romania in order to continue her rehabilitation process.
However, Marshall believes the first difficult chapter of her career is behind her as she looks to make history by becoming one of the first women to win a gold medal at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow next month.
I was really disappointed after London but I was only 21 and I believe I have really matured a lot since then, she said.
I’m happy and I’m glad things have worked out. I really feel a lot better about everything and my injuries have healed, and I’m over the moon to be part of the team going to the Commonwealth Games.
The level of competition Marshall can expect to face in her 75kg class in Glasgow is testament to the increased strength in depth in women’s boxing since it was first accepted into the Olympic programme for 2012.
World number three Marshall will go into the event as the highest-ranked athlete in the competition but will come up against the likes of Welsh fighter Lauren Price and Nigeria’s Edith Ogoke, who brought the house down in London with her brawling first round win over Azeri Elena Vystropova, whom Marshall had previously pipped to win her world crown.
The level of competition domestically is also improving with the likes of development squad athlete Stacey Copeland last month winning European silver at 69kg.
Marshall added: Stacey has done brilliantly – despite not being on the GB squad or training full-time, she managed to go out there and get a silver medal.
There are loads more female boxers now than when I started boxing. You have to fight four or five times now to win the ABAs where you used to get straight to the final. It is really good to see the sport so healthy.