Hartlepool boxer Savannah Marshall targets Claressa Shields after brushing aside Femke Hermans

Savannah Marshall handed Hermans the first stoppage loss of her career. Credit: PA Images

Savannah Marshall cleared the way for a world middleweight title unification clash with Claressa Shields after knocking out Femke Hermans in Newcastle.

Marshall handed Hermans the first stoppage loss of her career with a stunning left hook in the final seconds of the third round.

It was an emphatic message to send to Shields, who was watching at ringside, ahead of a projected meeting later this summer.

The rivalry between Marshall and two-time Olympic champion Shields has been brewing since the Englishwoman beat the American at the World Amateur Championships in 2012.

The Hartlepool-born Marshall told Sky Sports: "There's no-one else in the way of me and Claressa - it's me and Claressa in the summer now. I know Claressa can't handle my power."

However Shields insisted she was unimpressed by Marshall's performance, saying:

"I'm no Femke Hermans or any of those other girls she has fought against.

"As much power as she (Marshall) has, if that's what I've got to look forward to, it's going to be a wipeout."

Earlier on Saturday, Marshall's promoters Boxxer announced the respective signings of British Olympic champion Lauren Price and bronze medallist Karriss Artingstall.