Hartlepool boxer Savannah Marshall faces repeat of 2012 final at World Championship

Savannah Marshall with her ex-GB team-mate Anthony JoshuaSavannah Marshall with her ex-GB team-mate Anthony Joshua
Savannah Marshall with her ex-GB team-mate Anthony Joshua
Savannah Marshall has been paired with the girl she defeated to win World Championship gold at this do-or-die tournament.

The Hartlepool boxer will take on Elena Vystropova in the round of 32 at the AIBA World Championships on Friday night following today’s draw in Kazakhstan.

Both fighters, who received byes in the round of 64 in the U75 kilo division, met in the 2012 final almost four years ago to the day.

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It represents a challenging start for Marshall, who has found herself unseeded for the competition which is the final qualifier for the Olympic Games.

The 24-year-old must reach at least the semi-finals to win a spot at Rio and she has been given a hard path.

If she sees off the seventh-seeded Azerbaijan boxer, she will meet the winner of the Mariya Borutsa (Ukraine) v Pooja Ranji (India) in the last 16 with number three seed Li Qian from China, a potential quarter-final opponent.

However, a tough draw could be just what the Headland ABC middleweight needs after taking out top fighter after top fighter to reach the 2012 final in China.

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There she came up against the unheralded Vystropova, who had quietly emerged through the easier side of the draw.

Vystropova, originally from the Russian state of Dagestan, proved her most testing opponent, but Marshall emerged champion 17-15, a brilliant left-right combination just seconds before the final bell proving decisive.

So close was the bout that three of the four rounds in Qinhuangdao were drawn, but Savannah held the edge and she must now do the same in Almaty on Friday night.

Marshall held the proud record of not losing a single round at that tournament on her way to gold, having won silver as a teenager at the 2010 worlds at U69 kilo.

The Commonwealth Games title holder is one of only two British boxers to ever be world amateur champions, Frankie Gavin being the other.