WATCH: ANTHONY CROLLA – THE LAST DANCE

Manchester legend bids farewell on Saturday
Anthony Crolla faces Frank Urquiaga in his farewell fight at Manchester Arena on Saturday November 2, live on Sky Sports in the UK and DAZN in the US. 

‘Million Dollar’ made his professional debut at Manchester Arena – then MEN Arena – back in 2006, outpointing Abdul Rashid. In a professional career spanning over 13 years Crolla has fought at the iconic North West venue a total of 13 times, and he is ready to say an emotional goodbye to his legion of fans this weekend.

In an incredible career of highs and lows, Crolla reached the very top of the sport, winning the WBA Lightweight crown against Darleys Perez on a hugely emotional evening at Manchester Arena in November 2015 before successfully defending his title against Ismael Barroso at the same venue the following year. 

Crolla (34-7-3, 13 KOs) fittingly returns to the scene of his greatest triumph to call the curtains on his time as a pro. Ahead of the big night, Crolla took a trip down memory lane with Matchroom Boxing to relive some of his favourite memories at the iconic North West venue. 

WATCH: ANTHONY CROLLA – THE LAST DANCE 

“I enjoy the pressure because there is so many other fighters who would love to be in the position of headlining at the Arena, this place means so much to me. I’ve sat here in the upper tiers as a young lad and have to pinch myself sometimes.

“I remember on my debut I was the live float, I was 19 and it was the dream. I ended up boxing in front of about 300 people that I’d sold tickets too and I will always remember it, it was a dream come true.

“The ringwalk is one of my favourite things about being a fighter and the reception that they give me in Manchester every time I walk out is amazing. 

“I don’t know much about Urquiaga but I know that he is capable, he lost on points when he fought for the European title but I believe I should be beating him. That’s what I will do, I will go out on a massive high on November 2 and enjoy this last dance.

“I have never avoided anyone throughout my career and I’m going to have to be on it to get the win. 

“I will miss walking out in this Arena, no matter what event I come to see at the Arena, all I see is a boxing ring in the middle of it. I know that this will be the last time that I make this ring walk but I can’t get emotional, I can in the hotel after the fight but on my way to the ring I’ve got to keep my head together and enjoy it.

“I want to get out of boxing while I have taken more from boxing than boxing have taken from me and now I believe is that time.

“I believe that I can still fight at a great level and I feel fantastic in the gym but it could be one fight or one camp too long and it could effect me in my later life, I don’t want to be that guy.”

Crolla vs. Urquiaga is part of a huge night of boxing in Manchester. 

Main event sees Irish star Katie Taylor (14-0, 6 KOs) attempt to create history by becoming a two-weight World Champion as she takes on Christina Linardatou (12-1, 6 KOs) for the WBO Super-Lightweight World title, Felix Cash (11-0, 7 KOs) defends his Commonwealth Middleweight title against English Champion Jack Cullen (17-1, 8 KOs), Martin Bakole (14-1, 11 KOs) aims to build on his knockout win over Kevin Johnson, Qais Ashfaq (7-0, 3 KOs) fights for his first pro title as he meets Joe Ham (16-1, 6 KOs)fortheWBA Continental Super-Bantamweight crown, recent Matchroom Boxing signing Terri Harper (8-0, 5 KOs) makes the first defence of her IBO World title against Vivian Obenauf (14-5, 7 KOs)and there’s also action for Sheffield Super-Lightweight Dalton Smith (3-0, 2 KOs), Birmingham Featherweight Gamal Yafai (16-1, 9 KOs), Heywood Super-Lightweight Nathan Farrell (2-0) along with the professional debut of Leeds amateur standout Hopey Price.
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HARPER PREPARED FOR “WILD” MATCHROOM DEBUT

Denaby talent makes first defence of Super-Feather World title in Manchester
Terri Harper says she is expecting a “wild” fight with Viviane Obenauf in the first defence of her IBO Super-Featherweight World title at Manchester Arena on Saturday November 2, shown live on Sky Sports in the UK and DAZN in the US.

The undefeated Denaby talent (8-0, 5 KOs) stopped South Africa’s Nozipho Bell in eight rounds to land the IBO title at the Magna Centre in Rotherham in July before putting pen to paper with Eddie Hearn’s Matchroom Boxing last month. 

South Yorkshire’s first female professional boxer is all too aware of the threats posed by Obenauf, a two-time World title challenger from Brazil who took Undisputed Lightweight World Champion Katie Taylor the distance at Manchester Arena in 2016.

Obenauf (14-5, 7 KOs) was most recently seen on these shores blasting Liverpool’s Natasha Jonas in four rounds to earn the WBA International Super-Featherweight title in Cardiff, but Harper insists that she won’t be lured into a shootout with the 33-year-old. 

“She’s going to be a tough opponent and it’s going to be a tough fight,” said Harper. “She’s a live opponent and she’s coming to win a World title. I’m ready for the challenge. I don’t want to be fighting nobodies. I want to be in these big fights and this is a great chance for me to put on a good show for my debut.

“We’ve watched a lot of the stoppage win she got against Natasha Jonas. Obenauf is a bit unorthodox and a bit wild. It’s about being smart and making sure that I don’t get caught with silly shots. This is exactly the type of fight I wanted for my Matchroom debut and I think you’ll see another level to my game.”

Harper joined the pro game in November 2017 after a successful stint in the amateurs that saw her win three national titles and take home a silver medal for England from the European youth championships in Poland in 2012.

Irish star Taylor has paved the way for women’s boxing in recent years and has long been someone that Harper has looked up to throughout her amateur and pro career. ‘Belter’ is delighted to be fighting on her undercard as she strives to create even more history by becoming a two-weight World Champion.
 
“If someone had told me two years ago that I’d be boxing on the undercard of a Katie Taylor World title bill I would have just laughed,” added Harper. “Funnily enough my birthday is on November 2 so I’ll be hoping to celebrate in style with a big win.

“Before we got the fight date my partner was going to buy me tickets to be sat at ringside for the Katie Taylor fight. I think she’s quite happy now she’s saved herself a bit of cash! It’s a real honour to be fighting on her undercard. Us women can box and we do deserve to be on the big stage.”

Harper vs. Obenauf is part of a huge night of boxing in Manchester. 

Main event sees Irish star Katie Taylor (14-0, 6 KOs) attempt to create history by becoming a two-weight World Champion as she takes on Christina Linardatou (12-1, 6 KOs) for the WBO Super-Lightweight World title, Manchester favourite Anthony Crolla (34-7-3, 13 KOs) prepares to bid an emotional farewell as he takes on Frank Urquiaga (13-1-1, 1 KO)in his final fight, Felix Cash (11-0, 7 KOs) defends his Commonwealth Middleweight title against English Champion Jack Cullen (17-1, 8 KOs), Martin Bakole (14-1, 11 KOs) aims to build on his knockout win over Kevin Johnson, Qais Ashfaq (7-0, 3 KOs) fights for his first pro title as he meets Joe Ham (16-1, 6 KOs)fortheWBA Continental Super-Bantamweight crown, Birmingham Featherweight Gamal Yafai (16-1, 9 KOs), Heywood Super-Lightweight Nathan Farrell (2-0) along with the professional debut of Leeds amateur standout Hopey Price.
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“I’M READY TO GO AGAIN RIGHT NOW!” SAYS ALEX DILMAGHANI

Crayford ace remains frighteningly focussed on fulfilling his dream of sitting on a world championship throne but has to deal with Fonseca first
Alex Dilmaghani headlines the York Hall, Bethnal Green, on Saturday 16th November when he finally takes on world class Nicaraguan Francisco Fonseca with the IBO Super-Featherweight World Championship on the line, exclusively live on free-to-air Channel 5.

The 28-year-old southpaw super featherweight – slippery, strong and savage in equal measure – stumbled on a pothole in late September when his WBA International Title challenge was scuppered at the 13th hour after Fonseca was withdrawn be BBBofC doctors after citing an illness shortly before the ring walks.

 ‘Some said Fonseca looked nervous at the weigh-in. Though he was perhaps half an inch taller, I looked bigger all round, far healthier, far stronger,’ claims‘Dilma’ who is now undefeated in well over eight years and 15 starts, many of which took place in the brawl halls of Mexico where he served a brutal ring apprenticeship.

‘We know Fonseca is big at the weight but he’d had eight weeks to prepare and, in previous articles and interviews, he’d said he’d pretty much been ‘on weight’ for a few weeks. 

‘I only learned the fight was off at about five to nine, after I was gloved up, warmed up. When the Board official approached, I just assumed it was to notify me that it was ‘Walk Out’ time. But I knew they’d not joke about something like that. I’m a big student of the sport but I’ve never come across anything remotely similar.

Ferocious Fonseca, a two time world title challenger with dynamite in his fists, had been recruited as a litmus test for the Mick Hennessy promoted Southampton law graduate who had presented himself as a world champion-in-waiting after forcing 25-2-1 Slovakian hard case Martin Parlagi to crack in eight on dazzler Dilma’s UK returnat Manchester’s Victoria Warehouse last May.

But, confronted by adversity, the one time hired help for Mexican Hall of Famer Juan Manuel Marquez demonstrated the bloody-mindedness and consummate professionalism that many knowledgeable minds believe will ultimately see him coronated at the highest stage. 

My initial emotion was ‘pissed off’. It messes with your mind. I wasn’t good to be around,’ disclosed Dilmaghani.

‘Making weight is not an issue for me – I could still make featherweight, if needed – but you think of all the heartache you’ve put yourself through in prep, the sacrifices you’ve made. You think about the plans you’d made to relax after the fight. You think about not getting the win, not being able to move on.

‘This was my long overdue break at crashing the major rankings, announcing myself on the world stage but there’s no point crying over spilt milk.  It dawned there’s nothing I could do to change it. There’ll be many more fights. At least I got the experience of another full camp, press conferences, weigh-in etc. You just have to accept that, in this industry, fights can get called off at late notice…..just not THAT late. 

‘I knew if I lost focus, it’d only harm me in the long run so I channelled the anger back into my training. The gym has always been where I go to vent my aggression and I was back there on the Monday (30th). 

‘My philosophy is, I train all year round to improve. Similar to martial artists, I treat boxing as a craft that I need to master so I try to improve every day that I’m at the gym. Others might take time off after a fight and harm their bodies, going up and down in weight. Not me. 

‘But I know my limits. There’s no risk I’ll go stale. I don’t ‘over push’ it. Sparring puts mileage on the clock so I only do that close to a fight, as a necessity. I took two weeks off sparring after the Sept 28th date but I’ve loads of good sparring recently. ‘I’m ready to go again right now or in three weeks. Nothing will deter me.’ 
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Nigel Benn Statement – Benn out through injury but show to still go ahead

(Made by an appointed spokesperson on behalf of Nigel Benn).

After sustaining a shoulder injury in training yesterday (28 October 2019) afternoon, Nigel Benn regrets to inform his fans and supporters that will not be fit to box on November 23rd. Father time has NOT caught up with him at all, as his preparation and sparring had actually progressed better than expected at this stage of his preparation.

Nigel had several anti-inflammatory injections, primarily into one shoulder joint last week, but this treatment has failed in its efforts to reduce the acute pain that is significantly affecting his punching power and full movement on one side. 

He is devastated at this setback. Years of organisation has gone into this event, and many people (aside from himself) will be affected by his inability to fight.

This setback will likely mean that he will never get the closure he sought. In his own words “I hope my fans will respect that I have no say in this decision. Please accept my apologies for any inconvenience this may cause to my loyal fans who have bought tickets, The British and Irish Boxing Authority (BIBA) for sanctioning me, undercard fighters, the venue, suppliers and anyone else who is affected by my announcement. God bless you all.”

The venue (Resorts World Arena) and the 2 appointed ticket agencies – The Ticket Factory and Eventim are currently in dialogue with the head of BIBA (Gianluca Di Caro), in an effort to rescue the event, given 10 fights are still arranged. However, refunds for ticket holders are available from the respective agents upon request.

STOP PRESS

WBF European & International Champion Tommy Jacobs versus former IBF World Champion Joshua Clottey likely headline fight for revised event

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I’M LEVELS ABOVE CULLEN SAYS CASH

Jack Cullen and Felix Cash at the Principal Hotel in Manchester where it was announced that they will fight on the undercard on 2nd November 2019 at the Manchester Arena. 17th September 2019. Picture By Dave Thompson
Commonwealth king predicts early night in Manchester
Felix Cash believes that he is “levels above” Jack Cullen and is determined to prove it when they meet for the Commonwealth Middleweight crown at Manchester Arena on Saturday November 2, live on Sky Sports in the UK and DAZN in the US. 

The unbeaten Wokingham talent (11-0, 7 KOs) landed the Commonwealth title in style by taking out Nigeria’s Rasheed Abolaji in the opening round of their clash at The O2 in February earlier this year but hasn’t fought since after an injury ruled him out of his July 6 date with Cullen.

‘Little Lever’s Meat Cleaver’ has enjoyed a breakout year, stopping Jack Sellars in eight rounds to win the English title at the Bolton Whites Hotel in May before halting Dillian Whyte protege John Harding Jr on his Sky Sports debut in Liverpool three months later. 

Despite his opponent’s recent run of impressive form, Cash insists that he has more than enough in his armoury to deal with Cullen and has predicted that their eagerly-anticipated domestic showdown won’t go the scheduled 12 rounds.

“I’ve been looking forward to this fight for a while and now it’s time to deal with this fella in good fashion,” said Cash. “There are a few weaknesses in his game which I have seen and no disrespect to John Harding Jr but he’s no Felix Cash and if he stands and trades with me then he’s going to be in trouble and he will walk onto one.
 
“He works hard Cullen, he’s a grafter who throws a lot of shots but that suits me because he is going to be there to be hit, I don’t think that he will see the twelfth round. This is the perfect fight for me to come back and show everybody how good I am.

“He’s tall and he’s awkward but I do believe he has never been in with a man or a fighter like me of my calibre. No disrespect to him but he’s been chinned before and I plan on doing the same. He is a decent fighter but there are levels in boxing and I believe that I am levels above him.

“It doesn’t matter what stage it is or how many fans he has got, it’s only going to be me and him inbetween them four ropes and I’m going to show him that there are levels.” 
 
Cash vs. Cullen is part of a huge night of boxing in Manchester. 

Main event sees Irish star Katie Taylor (14-0, 6 KOs) attempt to create history by becoming a two-weight World Champion as she takes on Christina Linardatou (12-1, 6 KOs) for the WBO Super-Lightweight World title, Manchester favourite Anthony Crolla (34-7-3, 13 KOs) prepares to bid an emotional farewell as he takes on Frank Urquiaga (13-1-1, 1 KO)in his final fight, Martin Bakole (14-1, 11 KOs) aims to build on his knockout win over Kevin Johnson, Qais Ashfaq (7-0, 3 KOs) fights for his first pro title as he meets Joe Ham (16-1, 6 KOs)fortheWBA Continental Super-Bantamweight crown, recent Matchroom Boxing signing Terri Harper (8-0, 5 KOs) makes the first defence of her IBO World title against Vivian Obenauf (14-5, 7 KOs)and there’s also action for Sheffield Super-Lightweight Dalton Smith (3-0, 2 KOs), Birmingham Featherweight Gamal Yafai (16-1, 9 KOs), Heywood Super-Lightweight Nathan Farrell (2-0) along with the professional debut of Leeds amateur standout Hopey Price.
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I’M READY TO CREATE MORE HISTORY SAYS TAYLOR

Katie Taylor press conference at the Principal Hotel in Manchester where it was announced that she will fight Christina Linardatou on 2nd November 2019 at the Manchester Arena. 17th September 2019. Picture By Dave Thompson
Irish star attempts to become two-weight World ruler in Manchester
Katie Taylor says she is ready to create more history by becoming a two-weight World Champion when she faces Christina Linardatou for the WBO Super-Lightweight World title at Manchester Arena on Saturday November 2, live on Sky Sports in the UK and DAZN in the US. 

Taylor (14-0, 6 KOs) completed her journey for Olympic gold to undisputed Lightweight World Champion with a thrilling points win over Belgium’s Delfine Persoon on the blockbuster Joshua vs. Ruiz card at Madison Square Garden on June 1. 

In a landmark moment for women’s professional boxing, Taylor jumps up in weight to 140lbs to headline at the iconic Manchester venue, and the Irish star has her sights set on Matchroom Boxing stablemates Amanda Serrano and Cecilia Brækhus should she come through her latest test. 

“This is a huge opportunity for me to become a two-weight World Champion and I’m ready to create more history for myself and my country,” said Taylor. “I’m very aware of the challenge that Christina brings. I do believe that she’s the best 140lbs in the division and I cannot wait for a very exciting and hard fight.

“It’s a new challenge moving up in weight, I’ve worked very hard in the gym to build up. You’ll see the very best of me and I’ll need to be on my game because I think Linardatou is the number one at 140lbs and she’s had some great wins in her career. 

“It’s going to be a huge 12 months for me, but I have to get past Christina first. I only take one fight at a time and my focus is completely on this one. She brings a lot to the table and I’m very aware of the challenge. She is an excellent World Champion and it’s going to be a big test for me but one that I’m confident of overcoming.

“There are still so many huge fights out there for me like the Amanda Serrano fight, a rematch with Delfine Persoon and a fight with new Matchroom signing Cecilia Brækhus, but the first goal is November 2nd and winning another World title.”

Taylor vs. Linardatou tops a huge night of action in Manchester. 

Manchester favourite Anthony Crolla (34-7-3, 13 KOs) prepares to bid an emotional farewell as he takes on Frank Urquiaga (13-1-1, 1 KO)in his final fight,Felix Cash (11-0, 7 KOs) defends his Commonwealth Middleweight title against English Champion Jack Cullen (17-1, 8 KOs), Martin Bakole (14-1, 11 KOs) aims to build on his knockout win over Kevin Johnson, Qais Ashfaq (7-0, 3 KOs) fights for his first pro title as he meets Joe Ham (16-1, 6 KOs)fortheWBA Continental Super-Bantamweight crown, recent Matchroom Boxing signing Terri Harper (8-0, 5 KOs) makes the first defence of her IBO World title against Vivian Obenauf (14-5, 7 KOs)and there’s also action for Sheffield Super-Lightweight Dalton Smith (3-0, 2 KOs), Birmingham Featherweight Gamal Yafai (16-1, 9 KOs), Heywood Super-Lightweight Nathan Farrell (2-0) along with the professional debut of Leeds amateur standout Hopey Price.
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Castle Stylishly Secures World Crown in Thailand – Stops Bamrungpao in the Fifth.

Bournemouth’s Denise Castle secured the WIBA World Minimumweight Crown on Saturday, with a sensational fifth round stoppage over Sutthinee Bamrungpao in Bangkok, Thailand. 

Castle,who was named the World Boxing Council (WBC) most inspirational athlete of the year in 2013 when she was the WBC Muay Thai World Champion, switched disciplines to Professional Boxing in 2014 and scored her first victory over Dogmaifai Keatpompetch, also in Bangkok. Soon after she earned her second win, over Saranyaphong Theinthong in Nonthaburi, Thailand to secure a shot at her first Pro Boxing Championship, for the WBC Atomweight title against Momo Koseki in August the same year in Tokyo.

Unfortunately Castle failed in her attempt to secure her first Championship accolade as a pro boxer, after the referee stopped the contest after 29 seconds of the 8th round.

It would be four years before Castle would be back in Championship action, again for the WBC World Crown, against Czech Republic’s Fabiana Bytyqi. This time the fight, in Usti nad Labem, Czech Republic, went the distance, however more disappointment for Castle as the judges unanimously scored the contest in favour of Bytyqi.

So it was a case of third time lucky for Castle, and the plucky lass left nothing to chance this time, right from the opening bell she went hard and fast on the attack, forcing her opponent on to the back foot right from the opening bell. 

Castle dominated the opening few rounds, deliberately keeping the pace high for the entire duration of each round and utilising her exceptional Ringcraft to keep Bamrungpao on the back foot as she peppered the tough Thai girl with solid rights and crisp combinations. 

Bamrungpao fought her heart out, countering every shot that came her way throughout, but as the fight moved into the fifth stanza it soon became clear that the high pace of the fight, as well as the high level of shots she was taking, were taking its toll was affecting the Thai girl. As the round edged close to the second minute Castle stepped up the pace once more, backed Bamrungpao onto the ropes and let rip with a series of massive lefts and rights, the referee Worawut Duankao let the exchange continue for a few seconds longer but as there were no defensive shots being returned by Bamrungpao, he stepped in and waived the fight off on the one minute and fifteen second mark.

Speaking from her hotel earlier, Castle spoke briefly about the fight;

“This was a different fight than I had planned for. Having only seen one round of Bangrampao prior to the fight she actually came out as a vastly different fighter which along with the temperature being 37 degrees threw me in the first round.  

“Bangrampao has a better reach than I had anticipated and it took me until round 3 to work past that and find my range.  However once that was settled I knew that it was just going to be a matter of when I would be able to finish this fight – with a very strong round 4 to me where I punished her body I managed to then switch to the lead hook in round 5 to force the ref to step in and stop the fight to save her from more punishment.

“As I said, this was not the fight I had prepared for!!!! Coming off a great 10 rounds against Bytyqi in my last fight in Czech Republic, the heat and unanticipated style and reach of Bangrampao took me by surprise – she was actually very hard to hit with her movement fighting off the back foot and I didn’t find my reach until the end of round 3 where a couple of good shots from her actually almost woke me up!!! However once that had clicked into place it was just one way traffic – and I am happy with the 5th round stoppage – clean, crisp and no injuries.”

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PROGRAIS VS. TAYLOR WEIGHTS AND RUNNING ORDER

17:00 DOORS AND FIRST BELL

8 x 3 mins Super-Middleweight contest 

DENIS RADOVAN 11st 13lbs 10oz v LUKE BLACKLEDGE 12st 8lbs 8oz
(Germany)                                            (Darwen)
 
4 x 3 mins Middleweight contest
AUSTIN WILLIAMS 11st 7lbs 7oz v MIROSLAV JUNA 11st 6lbs 12oz
(Houston)                                           (Czech Rep)
 
LIVE ON SKY SPORTS FACEBOOK
 
10 x 3 mins WBC International Super-Welterweight Title
ABASS BARAOU 10st 12lbs 14oz v JOHN O’DONNELL 11st 8oz
(Germany)                                           (Galway, Ireland)
 
LIVE ON SKY SPORTS BOX OFFICE
 
10 x 3 mins WBA Continental Welterweight Title
CONOR BENN 10st 6lbs 5oz v STEVE JAMOYE 10st 5lbs 4oz
(Ilford)                                         (Belgium)
 
12 x 3 mins EBU Cruiserweight Title
YVES NGABU 14st 3lbs 8oz v LAWRENCE OKOLIE 14st 3lbs 2oz
(Belgium)                                 (Hackney)
 
12 x 3 mins Lightweight contest 
RICKY BURNS 9st 8lbs 8oz v LEE SELBY 9st 8lbs 7oz
(Glasgow)                                  (Barry)
 
12 x 3 mins vacant WBO Inter-Continental Heavyweight Title
DEREK CHISORA 18st 8lbs 3oz v DAVID PRICE 18st 12lbs 4oz
(Finchley)                                        (Liverpool)
 
12 x 3 mins WBA Super, IBF, WBC Diamond & Ring Magazine Super-Lightweight Titles and WBSS
REGIS PROGRAIS 9st 13lbs 15oz v JOSH TAYLOR 9st 13lbs 9oz
(New Orleans)                                     (Prestonpans)
 
FLOAT
 
4 x 2 mins Bantamweight contest
SHANNON COURTENAY 8st 11lbs 6oz v JASMINA NAD 8st 7lbs 12oz
(Watford)                                                      (Serbia)
 

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CHISORA VS. PRICE + UNDERCARD PRESS CONFERENCE QUOTES

Derek Chisora – Finchley, England – 31-9, 22 KOs – fighting David Price for the vacant WBO Inter-Continental Heavyweight title:

“We are brining WAR! I am ready for whatever he has, nothing fazes me and all I’m saying to David Price is just be ready. 

“Everybody has power in the boxing game. He has to be aware of what I can do to. We’re going to bring war, I can’t box.

“Listen, I don’t need to sell anything. You’re not in my league, you don’t understand.”Bing, bing, bombs away, he’s getting knocked out!

“I’m happy to walk onto one but I will deliver one.”

David Price – Liverpool, England – 25-6, 20 KOs – fighting Derek Chisora for the vacant WBO Inter-Continental Heavyweight title:

“I know Derek needs this to get himself up for the fight. That’s sound, because the last thing Derek needs is to be shaking my hand, because we do like each other, and it’s cool. That’s fine. This is business, 100 per cent.

“I expect it to be a long fight and a painful fight for Derek because my accuracy is the telling point. I expect a knockout win.

“Taking the Chisora fight was a no brainer! The upside of this fight is massive and we are ready to go toe-to-toe on Saturday night.”

David Haye, manager of Derek Chisora:

“Price is a weapon, I’ve sparred with him over the years, he has genuine world-class power.

“He’s the hardest person I’ve been hit by, behind Deontay Wilder. David Price is no joke! When a fighter has nothing to lose, they’re very dangerous.

“Derek is twelve round fit. He knows this is no joke and that you cannot underestimate any Heavyweight. The fans are in for a real treat.”

Ricky Burns – Coatbridge, Scotland – 43-7-1, 16 KO’s – fighting Lee Selby in a 12 round Lightweight contest: 

“I’m just so happy we’re just a couple of days away now. These are the big nights like this, especially at The O2 – I’ve never boxed here before, but I’m so looking forward to it, these are the big Shows that I’ve always said I love to be involved in. 

“I know that we’ve got a tough fight here against Lee but preparation has gone well and everything has gone to plan for this fight. We’re confident in going out there and getting the win. I can always remember back when we sparred, I couldn’t believe the size of him for a Featherweight. I kept saying to him how does he do it.

“I know what I need to do. We know what to expect, all preparation has gone well and we’re just looking forward to going out there and putting on a show.”

Lee Selby – Barry, Wales – 27-2, 9 KO’s – fighting Lee Selby in a 12 round Lightweight contest: 

“I’m ready to go, back at The O2. I’ve boxed at The O2 more than any other venue in my career. I won the Lonsdale belt outright there, won and defended the World title, so I’ve got great memories there.

“We started sparring quite a while ago out in LA and whilst I was out there the date of the fight was put back so I took a week away with my family and the kids, then it was back to work. We’ve been up in Newcastle sparring with Lewis Ritson and then he came down and did a week down in Bristol.

“Everything has gone good and I’m looking forward to Saturday night. I’m expecting an extremely tough fight, Ricky Burns is very experienced. He’s a good boxer, you can’t get a tougher man, you’ve seen him box a full fight with a broken jaw, he’s an extremely tough man. He’s very skilled and I’m expecting a tough fight.”

Yves Ngabu – Roeselare, Belgium – 20-0, 14 KOS – defending his EBU European Cruiserweight title against Lawrence Okolie:

“This is what I wanted when I came to the UK! I wanted to fight the number one in the UK and that is what I have got. I have the chance to show the world what I can do and I am more than ready for this fight with two days to go. 

“I wanted to move to the world level after my last fight but these are the things that I have to do now to show people what I can do and in two days time we will see what happens.”

Lawrence Okolie – Hackney, London – 13-0, 10 KOS – challenging Yves Ngabu for the EBU European Cruiserweight title:

“This is not my first time boxing a champion, I have beat British and Commonwealth champions before so it’s just going to be continuing that on Saturday night. I have dealt with people before who have gone to sleep every night thinking that this is their time but it’s always ended up the same way with me walking away with the victory.

“I am happy that Yves has taken this fight, he said that he wanted it before and now it’s here! I am expecting a complete performance from myself because my opponent is very versatile who can come forward and box on the back foot. I am going to have to show different layers at different points in the fight so I look forward to it!”

Conor Benn – Ilford, England – 15-0, 10 KOS – defending his WBA Continental Welterweight title against Steve Jamoye:

“The O2 is home for me! I had my debut here, won my WBA title here and the reception I get here at The O2 is crazy. It’s a blessing to be on such a big show and for me this is the show of the year. I plan on showing everyone in this fight what I am made of, every fight I have is different. The fight before my last I boxed, my last fight I fancied it and got him out of there so if this guy fancies it as well then he is going to get banged out too!”

“It doesn’t bother me, if he wants to box on the back foot then I will take it to him because I am a fighter through and through and I fight with my heart on my sleeve – you know what to expect when I step through them ropes!”

Austin Williams – Houston, USA – 3-0, 3 KOS – fighting Miroslav Juna in a four round Middleweight contest:

“Firstly I want to thank the UK for all the love that I have received since I have been here, I’ve been on a private jet and headed up to Newcastle where I got to see and feel the spirit and the electric atmosphere of the UK fans.

“I really want to be a fighter who can headline a card one day over here in the UK – it was a beautiful experience for me and to be fighting at The O2 on this platform In just my fourth fight is such a blessing for me – I’m ready to put on a show on Saturday night!”

Shannon Courtenay – Watford, England – 3-0, 1 KO – fighting Jasmina Nad in a four round Bantamweight contest:

“This was a bill that I wanted to be on for a while! I am a live float which means there is a chance I can get a really good TV slot which I’m excited about and I’m just buzzing to be back at The O2. Last time I boxed here there was an amazing atmosphere and I think this is one of the best cards so far this year so I am just so excited to be there.”

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PROGRAIS VS. TAYLOR PRESS CONFERENCE QUOTES

Kalle Sauerland, Chief Boxing Officer of the WBSS:“Good afternoon London, it’s great to be here and this is it, the Super-Lightweight final for the Muhammed Ali Trophy. I am very honoured to be sitting up here with two great athletes, warriors, fighters, fighting for the greatest prize in boxing. The winner of this fight will be the best man in the division, we saw it with Oleksandr Usyk and Callum Smith and these guys have got here not because we have put them together in a great fight but because they fought the best to reach the final. “On Saturday we will see the best vs. the best to find out who the man to beat at this weight class is. In a day and age of so many titles and confusions in this sport, its nice nice to have a simplistic format of a quarter final, semi final and final and we have had some dramatic fights up until this point. “We’ve had both Prograis and Taylor become World Champions and now we have it, on Saturday on what we believe is one of the biggest stages in world boxing. We have seen so many great fights here over the years at The O2 and Saturday night is about the best vs the best, the caviar of boxing. Two guys putting it all on the line for us, they didn’t have to enter this tournament but they did it to put themselves on the line!”Great credit to Prograis and to Taylor who have fought the best to be here, and were really looking forward to seeing the Champions League Final of boxing on Saturday night.”

Eddie Hearn: 

“What a card on Saturday night! Conor Benn, Lawrence Okolie going for the European title against Yves Ngabu, Shane McGuigan in his corner. A brilliant domestic battle between Ricky Burns and Lee Selby, a mouthwatering Heavyweight contest between Derek Chisora and David Price which is headlined by this amazing fight. 

“One of the great things about the WBSS is that not only are we getting the best vs. the best but we’re getting it very quickly. I have to be honest If I was promoting Josh Taylor after that amazing win in Glasgow I probably would have taken a couple of easy defences! The great thing about the tournament for the fans is that they go straight into a unification match. 

“The best fight in the 140lb division with both guys coming off stunning wins. Regis looked great in his win against Kiryl Relikh and I was lucking enough to be up in Scotland to watch Josh Taylor’s great performance against Baranchyk where he won the IBF World title. 

“The Ali Trophy is on the line in this fight but also the World Championship belts of both men and the vacant Ring Magazine belt as well! Whether you feel that the titles, the Ali Trophy or the Ring Magazine belts carry the most weight in boxing, they’re all on the line in this fight, so everybody should be happy that we’re getting the best vs the best. 

“I’ve not got any association with these two guys so I get to sit there as a fan and just watch a great fight! Regis Prograis is a man who has been talked about in the States for a long time. Lou DiBella has been blowing the horn of Regis for a long time and he has an incredible story coming from New Orleans where we know he is very popular. 

“Josh Taylor has exploded onto the scene with world class performances and I really believe that both guys have a great opportunity to become stand-out stars in the sport on Saturday night. We are going to have 15,000 fans packed into the arena and the atmosphere is going to be incredible. 

“As always we are live and exclusive on Sky Sports Box Office in the UK and we thank our partners DAZN in the states. I wish both guys the very best and Regis all the media you have done has been incredible. I can’t see anything but this being a fight of the year contender, we have been lucky enough to already have two fight of the year contenders in October and this can only follow suit. We can’t wait!”

Adam Smith, Head of Sky Sports Boxing:   “I echo Eddie’s words and Kalle’s as well, its wonderful to have these two fighting at The O2! It’s a perfect finale to what has been a fantastic series and the winner of this is going to be in a phenomenal position. They are both wonderful fighters!”This is going to be a great night from top to bottom with some wonderful fights on the card.”Regis Prograis – New Orleans, USA – 24-0, 20 KOs – fighting Josh Taylor in the WBSS Super-Lightweight Ali Trophy Final with the WBA, IBF & Ring Magazine World titles on the line:

“He should be able to land a solid, flush punch on me and when that happens, nothing will happen. When that happens, things will change, he will realise that I am an iron-man with an iron jaw. Once he lands his hardest shot and I look at him with a face of disdain, he will think: ‘damn, I’m in trouble’.”I’m versatile, that’s the biggest differences. My last 10 fights look different. When I hit you, I hurt you.”It was a great thing to come here three weeks ago because I am comfortable and adjusted to the weather, food, people.

“Josh is the best in the world – apart from me. He’s taller, he’s longer. Does he hit harder? Maybe, maybe not. Faster? Maybe, maybe not. Better chin? Maybe, maybe not. The tale of the tape never matters. What matters is heart and boxing IQ, and mine are so high. That will be the difference.

“He gets hit. Josh has been hurt against Ivan Baranchyk and Viktor Postol who aren’t punchers like me. They’re not sharp, crisp like me, they don’t have the timing that I do.

“After his fight in Scotland I told him: ‘If you get hit by the same punches by me, you’ll get hurt.’”Josh Taylor – Prestonpans, Scotland – 15-0, 12 KOs – fighting Regis Prograis in the WBSS Super-Lightweight Ali Trophy Final with the WBA, IBF & Ring Magazine World titles on the line:“Twenty-two of his fights have been against absolute nobodies, people who haven’t fought since, journeyman. It is a padded record.”I don’t think it’s about tiny percentages – I’m quite a bit better than him in every department. Speed, power, timing, skill. I do it all better than him. He hasn’t been tested, he hasn’t been hit by anyone. He hasn’t fought anybody with the desire that I’ve got, or the skill-set that I’ve got.”He’s not under my skin. I’m ready to fight. My mind-set is starting to change now, I’m in fight mode. I’m sick of the sight of him.”Shane McGuigan, trainer of Josh Taylor:

“It’s the pinnacle of boxing isn’t it. It’s two World Champions boxing each other for a unified title on Sky Sports Box Office at The O2 arena. It’s something that, as Eddie mentioned, Josh has kind of gone under the radar and bounced onto the scene. We’ve spent four years working behind closed doors with Josh Taylor, building him up and making sure that he’s prepped and ready for this occasion.

“Camp has gone brilliantly, everyone always says that but it really has gone brilliantly. He’s razor sharp and he’s ready for whatever Prograis brings to the table. I think you see the best of Josh Taylor whenever he’s up against it, he’s definitely up against it on Saturday night. Prograis is a good puncher, he’s got very good distance and control and they’re raving about him in the states. I know my man is going to win and I don’t believe that it’s going to go the distance.”

Lou DiBella, promoter of Regis Prograis:

“When you see something like what happened to Patrick Day you realise just how much you have to appreciate the men and women that walk into that ring for our entertainment and the risks they take to entertain us. One of the best examples of that is coming this Saturday night. The two best 140lbers in the world are going to meet in the final of the World Boxing Super Series. 

“I have nothing but respect for Josh Taylor. You’re not going to hear me say a negative word about him or his team. I have long believed that the two best 140lbers in the world are Regis Prograis and Josh Taylor. I think on Saturday night Regis is going to prove that he is the number one 140lber on the planet and Josh is number two. Josh’s team feel differently. Time will tell. 

“At this moment in time it is hard for me to be as enthusiastic as I might otherwise be but I’ll tell you that I am expecting a great sporting event, a great boxing match and the best of what our sport can offer on Saturday night. My greatest wish for both of these guys, other than a Regis Prograis win which I expect, is that they both leave after giving a tremendous effort where they give everything that they have and they go home healthy to their families.”

Sam Katkovski, manager of Regis Prograis:

“I want to thank everybody for being so courteous to us here and making us feel at home. I want to thank our whole team for the past eight weeks of camp, from training, to PR, to marketing. They’ve all done a tremendous job.

“But most importantly I want to thank Regis. He has really embraced it, done everything that we have asked him to do and he’s loved doing every single one of them. He loves the UK fans and we’ve been promoting this fight feeling like we’re at home.

“Now we’re two days away we’re excited and we can’t wait. In two days the whole world will see his talent. October 26, buy the PPV and buy the few remaining tickets. You’re about to see a man continue to build his legacy and this fight is part of his legacy.”  
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