MMA is challenge I've been missing in boxing - Marshall

Savannah Marshall after defending her super-middleweight titles against Franchon Crews-Dezurn last July
Marshall has won 13 of her 14 professional boxing bouts [Getty Images]

Britain's Savannah Marshall says the challenge presented by mixed martial arts is something she's "been missing for a long time in boxing".

The 33-year-old undisputed super-middleweight boxing champion will make her professional MMA debut against Mirela Vargas at PFL Europe in Newcastle on 8 June.

She has not competed since beating Franchon Crews-Dezurn last July to unify boxing's super-middleweight division.

"All I wanted to be was undisputed and have all the belts and that's what I've done," said Marshall.

"This is a new journey for me. This is a new checklist. This is a new set of goals, and it's really exciting. This is new, and it's the unknown, and it's really got me pumped up.

"This is something I've been missing for a long time in boxing."

Hartlepool's Marshall has been training MMA for around nine months, although she has said she plans to return to boxing by the end of the year.

In preparation for her debut against Brazil's Vargas, which is the headlining fight on the card at the Utilita Arena, she has been training with Britain's UFC interim heavyweight champion Tom Aspinall.

"Training has been hard, real hard. It's been a massive change but one I've really enjoyed," said Marshall.

"Of all things, I prefer grappling. It's been my favourite part of my transition to this sport."

Marshall has said one of her primary motivations to transitioning to MMA is to set up a bout with long-term boxing rival Claressa Shields.

Marshall beat American Shields at amateur level but lost to her for the undisputed middleweight belts in 2022.

Like Marshall, Shields is under contract with the PFL and has won two of her three fights in the promotion.

"I've seen Claressa Shields' fights in the cage, and I can see how she might struggle with certain things, and obviously, what would benefit me in the boxing ring doesn't really benefit me in MMA," said Marshall.

"I'm talking about stance-wise, and I had to really change how I stand.

"Like I said, all I can take from Claressa’s fights is that I can point out what she struggled with.”