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Savannah Marshall and Chantelle Cameron depart GB Boxing
by Michael O'Neill
March 18, 2017
Photos:  Facebook

(MAR 18)  GB Boxing performance director Rob McCracken confirmed Friday that Savannah Marshall, Chantelle Cameron, Jack Bateson and Kody Davis have all left the World Class Performance Programme (WCPP) and are all expected to be turning Pro in the coming days.

Marshall, Cameron and Bateson have been members of GB Boxing squad for over five years; they thus join Nicola Adams and Ireland’s Katie Taylor and Michael Conlan in the Pro sport as well as a number of top former ‘amateurs’ from other countries headed by Claressa Shields of the U.S.

Hartlepool’s Savannah Marshall in fact defeated Shields at the AIBA World Championships in Qinhuangdao in 2012 the American’s only defeat in an illustrious career to date. Without doubt it won’t be too long before they again meet ‘inside the ropes’ in the Pro game.

The 25 years old Marshall, thus became GB’s first ever female world boxing champion, winning her final bout on her 21st Birthday. The two-time Olympian also won a silver medal at welterweight in 2010 and a bronze at middleweight in 2016.

Bantamweight Bateson won a European Championship bronze medal in 2013 at light-flyweight and Cameron was the squad's first-choice boxer in the Olympic lightweight category in 2016 but narrowly missed out on qualification for Rio.

GB Head Coach Rob McCracken said: "All four of the boxers leave with our best regards and I wish them every success in whatever they go on to do next.

"At the end of an Olympic cycle, it is common for boxers to take some time to decide on whether they want to commit to another four years and, for now, Savannah, Chantelle, Jack and Kody have decided that their futures lie away from GB Boxing.

"Savannah has been with the squad since the women's programme began in 2010 and has made a fantastic contribution to both GB Boxing and the sport of women’s boxing as a whole. "She was the first ever female boxer to win a World Championship [in 2012] and can be proud of her achievements over the last six years.

"Chantelle and Jack are great people to have around and have both given excellent service to the squad.

"Like Kody, they are well liked by everyone here at GB Boxing and the whole team wishes them all the very best of luck in the future."

As at the time of writing there has been no official comment from either “the Silent Assassin” (Marshall) or from Cameron as to whether or not they will be joining one of the British promoters (Eddie Hearn or Frank Warren) or signing up with a U.S based outfit. Chantelle did tell her social media fans : “ I'd like to thank everyone at GB boxing who have worked and helped me through the years of me being on the programme but I've decided to finally call it a day in the amateurs. I have good memories and thanks to all the people who have followed and supported my journey”

The loss of Marshall and Cameron is another blow for the AIBA since they’ve lost Olympic Gold medallists Shields, Taylor and Adams and several other World & Confederation medallists since the ill-fated tournament in Rio last August but this was a problem that almost everyone (other than the AIBA it seems) forecast for despite the comments of Dr C K Wu, AIBA President back in 2012 that AIBA women’s boxing had a great future the fact remains that by their concentrating on trying to dominate the men’s sport they did almost nothing to help the women. Still three Olympic weights four years later in Rio and no other path to the Pro sport e.g.: no WSB or APB.

Now they’ve paid a heavy price and those named are but a few of the many excellent boxers who have turned Pro as indeed will many others in the coming year. There are no AIBA World Championships (for women) this year and in Europe no European titles at stake either so why would (m)any of the top boxers wish to remain and watch others earn excellent money in the Pro ranks?

The AIBA will say of course that they are spending a significant sum of money promoting the sport in Africa (which is indeed excellent news) and also in India but though boxers from other Continents draw “modest” crowds in their home countries they are not well known outside their native lands and that is highly unlikely to change in the foreseeable future even if there are four or five weights for women come Tokyo 2020.

Time and time again WBAN and other media outlets have encouraged, indeed pleaded with, AIBA to do more for the women’s sport but those efforts fell on “deaf ears” at the AIBA – and IOC – and now they’re paying a heavy price. Until there is true EQUALITY for all boxers – male and female – the AIBA will no longer retain the services of its best boxers and if that means having significant prize monies for ALL major tournaments – other than the Olympic Games – then and only then is there any likelihood that the top boxers in ‘Western’ countries will remain.

Meantime such as Shields, Adams ,Taylor and others will continue to draw the crowds and help further promote the Women’s sport to the masses and gradually convert those that hitherto have shown no interest. It’s a win-win situation for ALL women Pros be they those that were already top Pros before Rio 2016 or the ‘newbies’ who have understandably taken much of the limelight in recent months. Overall it is the sport of BOXING that is the big winner.

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