Savannah Marshall sent an emphatic reminder to her decade-long rival who was seated ringside.

A superfight with Claressa Shields waited in the balance, with boxers afforded separate title defenses before their head-on collision. Shields held up her end, dominating unbeaten Ema Kozin over ten rounds to defend her lineal/WBC/WBA/IBF middleweight championship while running her record to 12-0 (2KOs).

Marshall would up the ante with what is recognized by as the best women’s knockout of the year.

It came in the third defense of her WBO middleweight crown versus former super middleweight titlist Femke Hermans. The April 2 title fight took place at Newcastle Arena in Newcastle, barley 30 minutes from Marshall’s Hartlepool hometown and with a partisan crowd—and Shields—on hand for an emphatic third-round knockout that stood far above any other fight in what marked a time capsule year in the golden era of women’s boxing.

Belgium’s Hermans offered up every trick in the book in her best effort to have the fight go some rounds. The crafty veteran managed to go all ten in a decisive defeat to Shields in their December 2018 WBA/WBC/IBF middleweight title fight and was never stopped or dropped through 15 pro fights leading into her latest title bid.  

Marshall needed just six minutes of ring time to change that dynamic.

Hermans did well to survive for more than two rounds but quickly ran out of ring space. Marshall offered some tricks of her own, working the body and also switching between conventional and southpaw. A right hand by Marshall had Hermans trouble late in round three. The visiting challenger managed to slip another right hand but was not prepared for the left hook that put her flat on her back. Hermans was laid out on the canvas, her right hand draped across her face as referee Howard Foster waved off the contest.

The marked the eighth consecutive knockout for Marshall, none bigger in her career to that point. It paved the way for an undisputed championship clash with Shields, who avenged a decade-old amateur defeat to Marshall at 17 years of age as she scored a competitive but clear unanimous decision win on October 15 in London.

After the fight, Shields descried her longtime adversary as a hard puncher and the unification bout as “definitely the hardest fight of my career.”

Marshall may not have left London with a career-defining win. She does, however, leave 2022 with’s Women’s Knockout of the Year award.

The runners-up for’s 2022 Women’s Knockout of the Year award are listed below, in chronological order.

Dee Allen KO1 Milena Koleva (March 4, Tower Hamlets, London): Allen was on the verge of a disastrous pro debut, as she was floored by a two-punch combination just ten seconds into the bout. The Londoner immediately rose to her feet and proceed to take the fight to Koleva, a 23-fight veteran at the time who was frozen by a right hand and pummeled along the ropes by Allen to close the show at 1:20 of round one.

Raven Chapman KO1 Gabriella Mezzi (May 20, Bethnal Green. London): Chapman’s lone knockout of a three-fight 2022 campaign was delivered in grand style. The unbeaten featherweight from High Wycombe didn’t waste any time in her Queensberry Promotions debut, as she took the fight directly to Mezzi. The mission took less than a minute to complete, as a series of body shots was capped by a sweeping right hand upstairs by Chapman (5-0, 2KOs) to put Romania’z Mezzi down for the full ten count at just 0:58 of the opening round.

Mary Spencer KO1 Chris Namus (June 23, Montreal): An intended comparative performance became a spectacular showcase for then-unbeaten Spencer, who made quick work of a former title challenger. Uruguay’s Namus was four months removed from a knockout loss to Natasha Jonas in their WBO junior middleweight title fight, with Spencer getting the job done inside of a round. Three knockdowns came of the brief affair, the final sequence which saw Spencer land a left hook, right hand, left hook combination to end matters at 1:58 of round one.

Ebanie Bridges TKO8 Shannon O’Connell (Dec. 10, Leeds): Absent the sight of collapsing in a heap, O’Connell frozen and battered defenseless along the ropes served as a satisfying ending for Bridges in this all-Aussie grudge match. The two had plenty to say leading into the IBF mandatory title fight, but Bridges spoke loudest with her fist. The reigning titlist floored O’Connell in round three and was well ahead through seven rounds before closing the show. O’Connell’s left hand was down by her side as Bridges slammed home a pair of right hands, each snapping back the head of her challenger and the latter forcing referee Howard Foster to intervene at 1:45 of round eight.

Jake Donovan is a senior writer for Twitter: @JakeNDaBox