Savannah Marshall produced a stunning performance to stop Hannah Rankin over seven rounds and win a world title for the first time at Wembley Arena.
England’s Marshall offered eye-catching variety and wonderfully crafted shots on her way to a dominant win and the vacant WBO world middleweight title.
The 29-year-old’s ferocious attack in the seventh forced Scotland’s Rankin to take a knee and the bout to be stopped.
“I’m over the moon,” Hartlepool’s Marshall told Sky Sports.
“There were times when I thought, ‘When will my chance come?’ But tonight it did and I grabbed it with both hands.”
Marshall’s first shot at a world title was postponed in mid-October when trainer Peter Fury tested positive for coronavirus but when her chance came – nine fights into her professional career – she mixed fine footwork and punch selection to inflict the first stoppage defeat of Rankin’s career.
She built openings off her jab and was able to execute Fury’s demands to marry shots to the body with attacks to the head.
Rankin, 30, showed grit to stand up to the work for six rounds but she was overwhelmed in the seventh and fell to defeat for a third time when contesting one of the major world titles.
Marshall – who also won the world amateur title in 2012 – could now target two-time Olympic champion Claressa Shields. The American is undefeated in 10 bouts as a professional and holds the other three world belts at middleweight.
“I’ve had nine fights in three years and I’ve learned sometimes it’s not just the fighting, it’s about your profile,” Marshall added.
“But Peter has always said if you are good enough you’ll get there. The only reason Claressa has got the belts is she got there before me. I know she doesn’t want any of me.”
‘That was a statement’ – analysis
BBC Radio 5 Live boxing analyst Steve Bunce:
This might be a high tide mark for British women’s boxing. We haven’t seen this from any of our female boxers – as good as they are. We saw a masterclass tonight.
That’s about leaving a statement and a mark and sending a message to Claressa Shields. That was pure quality.
Peter Fury is saying that’s the best middleweight and super-middleweight in the world by far. That was a statement.
BBC Sport boxing correspondent Mike Costello:
We could have a very special contest to build towards between Savannah Marshall and Claressa Shields. We gave Marshall all six of the completed rounds and she finished the fight in some fashion. It was a clinical performance.