Savannah Marshall to defend WBO middleweight title against Maria Lindberg after late Femke Hermans withdrawal

Savannah Marshall will defend her WBO middleweight title against Maria Lindberg this Saturday after the late withdrawal of Femke Hermans.

Former super-middleweight champion Hermans was forced to pull out after a member of her team contracted coronavirus.

Instead Marshall (9-0, 7 KOs), will now put her title on the line against Sweden’s Lindberg (19-6-2, 10 KOs), who in her career has challenged for world honours against Christina Hammer, Ema Kozin and Marie Eve Dicaire.

The fight will take place on the undercard of Conor Benn’s clash with Samuel Vargas at the Copper Box Arena in London on Saturday, live on Sky Sports.

Marshall won her world title by beating Hannah Rankin over seven rounds in October.

On facing four-time world title challenger Lindberg at the weekend, Marshall said: “I think this is a tougher fight than the original one. Maria is very experienced and tough. She’s been in with some of the best in the world.

“She’s a four-time world title challenger, but I’ve had a 12-week camp so I’ve prepared for everything. Whatever Maria brings I’m more than confident I’ve got an answer for.”

Lindberg added: “I’m always in training so I’m prepared. This is a new experience than me, I’ve never taken a fight with this short notice but there is a first time for everything.”

Ebanie Bridges has clashed with Saturday’s opponent Shannon Courtenay on how best to promote women’s boxing

Heated row over ‘more eyes’ on women’s fight

Ebanie Bridges and Shannon Courtenay’s row over the image of their women’s world title fight descended into an intense face-off and threats of a knockout.

The rivals will clash for the vacant WBA bantamweight title on Saturday night on Conor Benn’s undercard, live on Sky Sports, in a fight that has been characterised by an argument over how to promote women’s boxing.

Bridges has encouraged female fighters to “embrace femininity” and has previously worn a bikini at her weigh-ins but Courtenay believes that isn’t how to be “a role model”.

Australia’s Bridges said before their first face-off: “Women’s boxing needs more eyes on the sports. We need to do whatever we can. The reason this fight has eyes on it is because of me.

“What matters is what happens in the ring. But if we can get as many people to watch, then me and Shannon can show that women can fight. That’s my goal, to get people watching.

“Boxing is very important but we need to get more viewers into women’s boxing and I’m willing to do whatever it takes. Winning this world title would show that you don’t have to be like everyone else.”

But Courtenay shot back: “I understand – but I want more viewers for the correct reason. Katie Taylor did not pave the way for us to be talking about underwear.”

Conor Benn vs Samuel Vargas, Savannah Marshall’s world title defence, and the grudge match between Ebanie Bridges and Shannon Courtenay are on Saturday night, live on Sky Sports.

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