Pulev Vs Meroro and Class Vs Mwale Co-Headline Globally Broadcast Event on 29th Jan

With the distinct lack of televised boxing events for fans of the pugilistic arts to watch in January 2021, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Botswana based Global Boxing Stars and the Jackson Group have entered into an agreement with United Kingdom based Go Sports & Entertainment, for the world-wide broadcast distribution for a series of International Championship Boxing Events in Tanzania throughout 2021.

“It’s an exciting joint venture in a beautiful part of the world. The broadcast partners Azam TV are providing a world class production, and it’s refreshing to be working with great like minded people from Jackson Group Sports who have been instrumental in bringing this deal together” stated Global Boxing Stars CEO Scott Patrick Farrell, before adding “Get ready for the first of the Rumble In Dar boxing series on January 29th, non-stop action is guaranteed “

The first event takes place at the Next Door Arena, Masaki, Dar-Es-Salaam, Tanzania on the 29th January 2021.

Bulgaria’s Terval Pulev (15-0-0), the brother of Heavyweight Kubrat Pulev, who was KO’d by Anthony Joshua back in December, versus Namibia’s Vikapita Meroro (29-9-0) co-headlines the event along with Tanzania’s Ibrahim Class (24-6-0) versus South Africa based Malawian Dennis Mwale (8-0-0), who will be competing for the World Boxing Federation (WBFed) Intercontinental Lightweight Championship

The sensational undercard features a further Championship contest, between Tanzania’s Shaban Hamadi Jongo (7-1-2) and New York, USA’s Shawn Miller (18-5-1) for the WBFed International Heavyweight belt.

Unbeaten Zambian World Prospect Lolita Muzeya (16-0-0) makes her return to the ring on the event and South Africa’s rising Heavyweight sensation Ardi “The Iron Fist” Ndembo (1-0-0) makes his second pro outing.

The full line up for this exciting International show is:

Lightweight: Ibrahim Class versus Dennis Mwale

World Boxing Federation (WBFed) Intercontinental Championship

Heavyweight: Shaban Hamadi Jongo versus Shawn Miller

World Boxing Federation (WBFed) International Championship

Cruiserweight: Vikariat Meroro versus Tervel Pulev

Super Welterweight: Nicolaus Michael Mdoe versus Gomotsang Gaasite

Featherweight: Nasibu Ramadhani versus Nkosinathi Biyana

Super Lightweight: Happy Daudi Mwagike versus Lolita Muzeya

Super Flyweight: Stumai Muki versus Recai Madondo

Lightweight: Hashim Japhari Kiranga versus Said Mlosi Mussa

Cruiserweight: Hafidh David versus Kaminja Ramadhan

Heavyweight: Pascal Lezile Enock versus Ardi Ndembo

In addition to the above event on the 21st January the dates for the full series of Global Boxing Stars and Jackson Group events in 2021 is:

26th March 2021 – Full line up to be announced 

28th May 2021 – Full line up to be announced 

30th July 2021 – Full line up to be announced 

24th September 2021 – Full line up to be announced 

26th November 2021 – Full line up to be announced 

Various broadcasters world-wide (National Broadcasters, Digital, Cable, Satellite as well as On-Line) have already been secured, however the full list of channels will be announced in the coming week or so once all syndication agreements are finalised.

The GSE developed Broadcast Distribution Network for the 29th January 2021 event is anticipated to provide Free to View access to around Three Quarter of a Billion Homes and Devices Globally.

Further details, as well as press releases, interviews and videos will be distributed over the coming days and weeks. 

www.globalboxingstars.com 

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AVANESYAN-KELLY POSTPONED

Following a ruling from the British Boxing Board of Control, the David Avanesyan vs. Josh Kelly event scheduled to take place on Saturday January 30 has been postponed.

In a statement, the BBBofC said: “Following the increase in COVID-19 cases in the United Kingdom and the effects such increases has on the NHS and the work of the Board Medical Officers, it has been decided that no tournaments under the jurisdiction of the British Boxing Board of Control will take place in January 2021.

“A further review by the Board’s Medical Panel and Stewards will take place later in January in relation to tournaments from February onwards.”

Matchroom Boxing will announce the rescheduled date for Avanesyan vs. Kelly as soon as possible.
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Joshua Stops Pulev In 9th To Retain Titles.

12 x 3 mins IBF, WBA, WBO & IBO Heavyweight World Titles
ANTHONY JOSHUA WKO9 (2:58)v KUBRAT PULEV 
(Watford, England)                            (Sofia, Bulgaria)

Anthony Joshua dominated and then floored mandatory challenger Kubrat Pulev to score a ninth-round knockout and retain his IBF, WBA, WBO & IBO Heavyweight World Titles at The SSE Arena, Wembley on Saturday, live on Sky Sports Box Office in the UK and Ireland and on DAZN in the U.S. and more than 200 countries and territories on its just-launched Global platform.

With 1,000 ticket-buying fans allowed into the building for the first time at a British fight since the COVID-19 pandemic began, Joshua’s entrance was met by a huge roar from the crowd.

Joshua floored Pulev heavily on three occasions, twice in the final round, and ended the fight with a vicious right hand. The explosive performance from Joshua would have demanded the attention of WBC ruler Tyson Fury – they remain on a collision course to decide an Undisputed Champion in 2021.

Joshua told Sky Sports afterwards: “I started this game in 2013. I’ve been chasing all the belts. I’ve been dealing with mandatories.”Of course I want the challenge. It’s not about the opponent, it’s about the legacy and the belt. Whoever has got the belt, I would love to compete with them. If that is Tyson Fury, let it be Tyson Fury. It’s no big deal.

“It’s one fight at a time, picking them off one by one. That’s all it’s about for me. I’ve got to stay focused.”

“There’s been a lot of talk,” Eddie Hearn told Sky Sports. “As he said, it’s less talk, more action. Since he came into the office, he wanted to be the Undisputed Champion of the World.

“We’re going to be friendly, we’re going to be nice. We know what we have to do. Starting from tomorrow, we make the Tyson Fury fight straight away.

“It’s the only fight to be made in boxing. It’s the biggest fight in boxing. It’s the biggest fight in British boxing history.”

12 x 3 mins vacant WBO International Cruiserweight Title 
LAWRENCE OKOLIE WTKO2 (1:45)v NIKODEM JEZEWSKI
(Hackney, England)                                (Koscierzyna, Poland)

Lawrence Okolie swiftly demolished Nikodem Jezewski to stay on course for a WBO Cruiserweight World Title fight next year. The unbeaten 27-year-old was denied a fight for the vacant WBO belt after Krzysztof Glowacki tested positive for COVID-19 last week, but Okolie made short work of his Polish replacement opponent.The explosive power in Okolie’s fists was evident in the opening minute as he rattled in a right hand before a body shot sent Jezewski to his knees.A straight right hand then sent shockwaves through Jezewski’s legs as he tumbled back to the canvas. Okolie would not be denied a quick finish and a right hand sent Jezewski tumbling backwards for a third and final time in the second round.

Speaking to Matchroom afterwards Okolie said: “I’m really happy. I was in the back room thinking I’m really calm and chilled. I just went out there to try and execute what I do every day in the gym. I really came out of the cage. I’m happy to get the win. I’ll have to watch it back, but from the reaction ringside, it seems like it was good. It’s what we’ve been working on. I do it every day in training. It’s about taking it from training to the fight. If I’m able to do what I’m doing in training in my next fight, I’ll be a World Champion. I’m excited. 

“He was undefeated and he was in shape preparing to fight. It was a risk, he had the world at this feet. It felt like a normal show, even with everyone spread out. It felt good. I’m really excited to watch it all back. That’s five stoppages on the trot. I’m feeling good and I want to keep the KO run going. It was good to shake out and make the weight. I had a good training camp and we’ll just build off that for the next one.”

10 x 3 mins International Heavyweight contest 
HUGHIE FURY WUD10 (100-90 x2, 99-91) v MARIUSZ WACH
(Manchester, England)                                  (Krakow, Poland)

Hughie Fury overcome a gaping cut as he defeated Mariusz Wach on points to keep alive his hopes of another World Heavyweight Title fight. The 26-year-old suffered a nasty gash over his left eye, but still managed to control Wach with his clever skills to earn a unanimous decision win with scores of 100-90,100-90 and 99-91, continuing his climb back up the rankings. 

“Everything is moving in the right direction,” Fury told Matchroom afterwards. “I did rush my work a little bit. I was hurting Wach with the right hand. I was getting to him. As I threw the right hand in the fourth there was a clash of the heads as he came in. I couldn’t see out of the eye at all. I went back into the corner and my dad told me to get back to my boxing. Wach is a tough man. We just relaxed and flowed back into it, and picked him off. 

“I don’t have any doubt in Kerry Kayes. He’s a guardian angel. As soon as I got back to my corner he got to work. He deserves all of the credit in the world. I’ve been in with everyone, and to be honest with you, I was like a boy against men. Now I’m a man people can see a big difference, and I’m coming. This is just the start. People will see a lot more to come from me.”

10 x 3 mins vacant WBC International Heavyweight Title
MARTIN BAKOLE WUD10 (98-92, 97-93, 96-94)v SERGEY KUZMIN
(Kananga, Congo)                                                     (Saint Petersburg, Russia)

Martin Bakole outpointed Russia’s former amateur standout Sergey Kuzmin to land the vacant WBC International Heavyweight Title.

The Congolese fighter, who is based in Scotland with trainer Billy Nelson, neutralised Kuzmin’s aggression with his accurate jab as he earned a unanimous decision with scores of 98-92, 97-93 and 96-94.

“I want to thank god for this big victory,” Bakole told Matchroom. “To be honest, I’m not happy. I didn’t work the way I was supposed to work. I did three weeks in the gym. We kept that a secret. I was not 100% fit. I won the belt and I’m now WBC International Champion. It was a tough fight. if you look at round 2, I was close to knocking him. He survived because he’s a big guy. I needed to win this belt for my baby. I’m ready now. I’m in the top 10. I’m ready to face anybody. I’m going to see my family and then come back quickly to get in the gym to prepare for next year. 

“I want anyone. I’m ready to face anyone. I’m not in this business to play around. I’m in this business to win and I have a belt now. I told Michael Hunter to watch this fight. My next one is going to be him! Michael Hunter, look at my eyes; let’s do it again. This time I will beat him, believe me. I made a mistake, and now I’ve fixed my mistakes. I’m improving, and he can see that himself. Anthony Joshua is going to beat Kubrat Pulev, believe me!”

10 x 3 mins Super-Welterweight contest
KIERON CONWAY WUD10 (100-89 x2, 100-90)v MACAULAY MCGOWAN 
(Northampton, England)                                        (Wythenshawe, England)

Northampton Super-Welterweight contender Kieron Conway improved his unbeaten record to 16-1-1 (3 KOs) with a dominant points with over late stand-in Macaulay McGowan. 

Conway was originally slated to fight Frenchman Souleymane Cissokho before the Anthony Joshua-managed fighter was forced to pullout last week. 

‘Too Class’ floored McGowan as he sealed a unanimous decision victory with scores of 100-90, 100-89 and 100-89, before calling out the winner of the Ted Cheeseman vs. James Metcalf fight that is slated to take place early next year. 

“I’m content with the performance to be fair,” Conway told Matchroom afterwards. “I just did what I had to do. He was tough as anything. I hit him with everything that I possibly could have. I thank him a lot for stepping in at such short notice. He gave it everything and made it a good fight. As soon as these sharp, accurate and hard punches land, people go on the defensive. It make it a hell of a hard night for them. They just don’t want to keep taking them all night. I was really frustrated about the Cissokho fight, but I’m happy I still got to fight in the end on such a big stage. Job done now and we move on.

“I’m very grateful to get out twice this year. I feel like I’m one of the privileged ones. Especially this kind of opportunity on the big stage. Hopefully there was a good bit of exposure there for me. It was actually quite refreshing having people there shouting. It was nice to have them back. I’m very confident. People underestimate me. As soon as they take one or two stiff shots they just want to make it a hard night and survive. Hopefully I get the winner of Ted Cheeseman vs. James Metcalf. We’re all shouting for that though. I guess we’ll all have to wait our turn. I’m coming, and I’m not going anywhere. I want anyone who wants it. I’m not ducking or avoiding anyone.”

8 x 3 mins International Welterweight contest
FLORIAN MARKUv JAMIE STEWART DRAW (76-76)
(Lushnje, Albania)    (Longton, England)

Florian Marku vented his frustration after he was forced to settle for a controversial draw on his Matchroom debut, despite flooring Jamie Stewart in the second round and forcing the pace throughout the fight. The London-based Albanian has been calling for a Welterweight clash with stablemate Conor Benn and Dillian Whyte’s Chris Kongo, but endured the first blemish on his eight-fight record after referee Marcus McDonnell scored it a 76-76 draw.A disappointed Marku told Matchroom: “This is my life. They give a draw on my record. I didn’t deserve it. I was beating this guy every round. Congratulations to him, he accepted the fight on four days’ notice. He had a tough head. This wasn’t a draw. I put him down in the second or third round. I was outboxing him. He was running sometimes and he was making the jab. What else did he do? He punched me in my guard, nothing else. 

“He can take many punches. He is a tough opponent. This is a shame, a shame for the referee that gave me this draw. I don’t know what I can say. It’s a shame for the sport. They are trying to ruin my career. I feel so disappointed with this decision. The referee doesn’t like me. That is the only justification for this. Maybe because I am from Albania and my opponent was from England? This is my life. He couldn’t handle the pressure and he took many shots to the head. This wasn’t my best performance. I wasn’t as powerful as usual but I was beating him.”

8 x 3 mins Super-Bantamweight contest
QAIS ASHFAQ WTKO4 (0:22)v ASHLEY LANE
(Leeds, England)                         (Bristol, England)

Leeds Super-Bantamweight Qais Ashfaq bounced back from his first loss in the pros with a fourth-round stoppage of Bristol’s Ashley Lane.

The 27-year-old 258 MGT talent suffered a points loss to Marc Leach last time out at the Marshall Arena in Milton Keynes, but got his career back on track with an impressive win over former Commonwealth Champion Lane. 

Ashfaq displayed far more aggression as he floored Lane in the first and third rounds before the fight was halted in the fourth, improving his record to 9-1 (4 KOs).

Speaking to Matchroom afterwards Ashfaq said: “It felt great. I was out here to prove a bit of a point, without letting that get into my head too much. I was here to do a job first and foremost. It was great to get the win, and in style. Ashley Lane came over to me just before the decision was announced and he said, ‘listen, I saw your last performance and that’s why I took this fight’. He wanted to see if it was just a bad performance or if I was just saying that. He told me that my last fight was just a bad performance and I’m going to go places. I was here to prove a point and I believe I’ve done that in style. 

“I put him down twice before it was stopped. Just before the stoppage I was waiting for the ref. I was hitting him clean. The ref had to jump in at some point. The referee is there to protect his health. Ashley Lane is no mug, he’s had his best days at my weight. He’d only lost one of his last nine fights before this one, and that was a British Champion who stopped him in 12 rounds. I did it in 4. That’s a lot quicker. Two fights ago he boxed for the British and Commonwealth Titles at my weight. Two fights later I’ve just done that to him. I’m proving a point.”

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EGGINGTON STOPS THEOPHANE

Sam Eggington smashed Ashley Theophane in the sixth round tonight in Redditch with one final body shot to get back on track towards championship contention in 2021.

From the opening bell, Eggington used his size and strength advantage and set a relentless pace to break down Theophane who had some remote success. Eggington mixed his punches up well throughout the contest from a solid jab to a hard right hand then going downstairs to land some very heavy body shots to slow down the Theophane.

The Birmingham beast kept Theophane trapped in the neutral corner and giving him very little opportunity escape as he unloaded his big shots.

In the sixth Eggington landed a hard right to Theophane’s ribs under the elbow that dropped the Paddington man.  He was up at nine but referee John Latham had seen enough and waved it off at 2:58.

Egginton was coming off a questionable loss to Ted Cheeseman in August, but he firmly put that behind him with his commanding performance tonight and showed that he still has plenty to give.

He said, “I’m over the moon with the result.  I felt I was hard done by against Cheesman and I needed to get back with a good win and prove that I’ve got plenty left in the tank.  I know Theophane would be tricky from the start and hard to it.  It was hard to get through at first and I just had to keep the pressure on and breaking down and I knew I’d get to him eventually.”

“I’m not shouting anyone out, I’ll fight anyone put in front of me and I can’t wait for a big 2021.  I’d like to thank Mick Hennessy and Channel 5, it was a great set up here tonight.”

On the undercard, Brighton heavyweight Tommy Welch, son of the former British and Commonwealth Heavyweight Champion, Scott, made an impressive start to the pro ranks with a second round stoppage of Matt Gordon in his debut. Heavy handed Welch pummelled Gordon in the corner with the referee stepping to halt the onslaught at 2:56.

Sevenoaks middleweight Michael Hennessy Jr. returned to winning ways with a complete shut-out of Dale Arrowsmith to win 60-54. 

Hennessy produced some great work with variations to head and body and fast combinations, Arrowsmith stuck with Hennessy and pushed him all the way, but the younger man’s classier work stood out.

Undefeated Monaghan super-welterweight hot-shot Aaron ‘Silencer’ McKenna destroyed the more experience Jordan Grannum in the second round with a perfect left hook to the body.  Although Jordan had not been stopped in 79 fights, he couldn’t handle the power of the hard-hitting 21-year-old who appeared on the show courtesy of his promoter Golden Boy Promotions.

Signing his new promotional agreement with promoter Mick Hennessy earlier today, middleweight ace Idris Virgo outpointed the vastly experienced Kevin McCauley over four rounds.  The bright young star worked well behind the jab and showed some excellent body punching in the impressive showing.

Aaron’s older brother Stephen McKenna also signed a long term promotional deal with Hennessy yesterday and maintained his 100 percent win and KO record.  It was the first time McKenna had gone beyond the second round and had to venture into the fifth to get the stoppage against MJ Hall, but the extra rounds will give the 23-year-old talent more ring experience.  Although McKenna set a blistering pace from the opening bell, looking to bomb out Hall with huge shots, he pursued Hall throughout until he got him in the corner and laded some hard shots in the sixth and the referee stepped in.

In the only Championship contest of the evening, Kaisee Hall claimed the Midlands Area Welterweight Championship with a points victory over local rival Ben Fields by a score of 97-95.  Benjamin boxed well showing fast hands and holding the centre of the ring, but Fields was pushing the action throughout.
COMPLETE FIGHT RESULTS

FIGHT #1

4 x 3 Heavyweight Contest

Tommy Welch WTKO2 (Time: 2:56) Matt Gordon 

FIGHT #2
6 x 3 Light Middleweight Contest
Michael Hennessy WPTS6 (60-54) Dale Arrowsmith

FIGHT #3
6 x 3 Light Middleweight Contest
Aaron McKenna WTKO2 Jordan Grannum


FIGHT #4
4 x 3 Middleweight Contest
Idris Virgo WPTS4 (40-36) Kevin McCauley


FIGHT #5
6 x 3 Super Lightweight Contest
Stephen McKenna WTKO5 (Time: 1:56) MJ Hall


FIGHT #6
The Midlands Area Welterweight Championship
10 x 3 Minute Rounds at 10st 7lbs (147lbs)

Kaisee Benjamin WPTS10 (97-95) Ben Fields

FIGHT #7
10 x 3 Super Welterweight Contest
Sam Eggington WTKO6 (Time: 2:58) Ashley Theophane


For further information go to www.hennessysports.com or social media: Facebook @HennessySports, Twitter @HennessySports and Instagram @hennessysports 
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JOSHUA VS. PULEV WEIGHTS AND RUNNING ORDER

17:10 LIVE ON SKY SPORTS FACEBOOK

8 x 3 mins Super-Bantamweight contest
QAIS ASHFAQ 8st 12lbs 4oz v ASHLEY LANE 8st 10lbs 6oz
(Leeds, England)                      (Bristol, England)

followed by

18:00 LIVE ON SKY SPORTS BOX OFFICE

8 x 3 mins International Welterweight contest
FLORIAN MARKU 10st 6lbs 15oz v JAMIE STEWART 10st 5lbs 14oz
(Lushnje, Albania)                            (Longton, England)

followed by
 
10 x 3 mins Super-Welterweight contest
KIERON CONWAY 11st 5lbs 10oz v MACAULAY MCGOWAN 11st 4lbs 7oz
(Northampton, England)                  (Wythenshawe, England)

followed by
 
10 x 3 mins vacant WBC International Heavyweight Title
MARTIN BAKOLE 17st 13lbs 6oz v SERGEY KUZMIN 18st 6lbs 7oz
(Kananga, Congo)                            (Saint Petersburg, Russia)

followed by

10 x 3 mins International Heavyweight contest 
HUGHIE FURY 17st 9lbs 5oz v MARIUSZ WACH 19st 8lbs 6oz
(Manchester, England)            (Krakow, Poland)

followed by

12 x 3 mins vacant WBO International Cruiserweight Title 
LAWRENCE OKOLIE 14st 3lbs 13oz v NIKODEM JEZEWSKI 14st 3lbs 11oz
(Hackney, England)                              (Koscierzyna, Poland)
 
followed by

12 x 3 mins IBF, WBA, WBO & IBO Heavyweight World Titles
ANTHONY JOSHUA 17st 2lbs 13oz v KUBRAT PULEV 17st 1lbs 11oz
(Watford, England)                             (Sofia, Bulgaria)
 
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JOSHUA VS. PULEV UNDERCARD UPDATE

The full undercard to Anthony Joshua’s long-awaited return to UK soil against Kubrat Pulev at The SSE Arena, Wembley on Saturday December 12, has now been confirmed. All of the action will be shown live on Sky Sports Box Office in the UK and Ireland and on DAZN in the U.S. and more than 200 countries and territories on its just-launched Global platform.

Following Krzysztof Glowacki’s positive COVID-19 test last week, Hackney Cruiserweight star Lawrence Okolie (14-0, 11 KOs) will now take on Poland’s undefeated Nikodem Jezewski (19-0-1, 9 KOs).London-based Albanian Welterweight sensation Florian Marku (7-0, 5 KOs) makes his keenly anticipated Matchroom debut in an eight round contest with Derby’s Alex Fearon (9-2) just over a week on from signing promotional terms with Eddie Hearn. Northampton Super-Welterweight contender Kieron Conway (15-1-1, 3 KOs), who was originally slated to fight Frenchman Souleymane Cissokho, will now clash with Wythenshawe’s Macaulay McGowen (14-1-1, 3 KOs) over ten rounds. 

Ramla Ali’s (1-0) second professional fight against Vansea Caballero (3-9-3) has been removed from the show after the Somali-British fighter, who made a winning start to life in the paid ranks in October, returned a positive COVID-19 test.

Anthony Joshua (23-1, 21 KOs) defends his IBF, WBA, WBO and IBO Heavyweight World Titles against Mandatory Challenger Kubrat Pulev (28-1, 14 KOs), Manchester Heavyweight Hughie Fury (24-3, 14 KOs) returns against Poland’s Mariusz Wach (36-6, 19 KOs), Martin Bakole (15-1, 12 KOs) and Sergey Kuzmin (15-1, 11 KOs) fight for the vacant WBC International Heavyweight Title and Leeds Super-Bantamweight Qais Ashfaq (8-1, 3 KOs) looks to return to winning ways against Ashley Lane (14-9-2, 1 KO).
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SAUNDERS RETAINS WBO 168LBS WORLD TITLE WITH DOMINANT POINTS WIN OVER MURRAY

12 x 3 mins WBO Super-Middleweight World Title
BILLY JOE SAUNDERS WUD12 (120-109, 120-109, 118-110) v MARTIN MURRAY
(Hatfield, England)                                                                        (St Helens, England)

Billy Joe Saunders retained his WBO Super-Middleweight World Title with a dominant unanimous decision win over St Helens veteran Martin Murray to stay on course for a huge unification battle with the winner of Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez vs. Callum Smith next year. 

The unbeaten 31-year-old dominated from the opening round with his superior ring skills as Murray fell short in his fifth World Title attempt, losing out on the judge’s scorecards with scores of 120-109, 120-109 and 118-110 at The SSE Arena, Wembley.

“I wasn’t really happy with that performance,” Saunders told Matchroom. “I’m not taking anything away from Martin, he came with a good game plan. He got through it. He tucked up and survived well. I can only be a bit critical of myself because I had a bit of ring rust. My jab was there but there was just that bit of snap missing. I was trying to look for stuff when naturally it’s there. 

“When you’re in a training camp getting ready for Canelo Alvarez and you’re in the biggest fight of your life, you’ve got that fear factor and everything there, and then the pandemic came and I can only be thankful to be out this year. But then you’re back in camp and it’s a defence against Martin Murray, I was pencilled in to fight him twice in 2018. It was sort of like a hard kick in the teeth. But look, I’ve got to be thank my management team MTK that I’m even out this year. 

“It is what it is, and we move on. I’m 30-0 and still unbeaten and still World Champion. I’ve been World Champion now since 2015. People can run my performance down but let’s make the big fights, because it’s certainly not me turning them away. Eddie knows that I’m always there to sign. I had the Canelo fight signed and it fell through, that’s nobody’s fault. 

“A big well done to my lads who boxed on the show tonight. Lewie Edmondson and Donte Dixon did well. Martin was a cunning old fox, he knew what he was doing and he had the ref on his side, he had the ref eating out of his hand. Fair play to him. I learnt a lot from him to be honest. Perhaps everything happens for a reason and I learnt a hell of a lot from the fight. 

“Fair play to Callum Smith and I really do wish him all of the success in that fight. I think he’s got the tools to do the job. Canelo would have been training since May for this fight. He would have had Smith in his eyesight from day one. It’s been sprung on him at five or six weeks. They’re very clever in the way they work. If Smith has done his homework and prepared well then I give him a good chance of winning the fight. We are pushing for big fights constantly. After the Canelo fight I want to know my next date. I’m not getting any younger and I want to show my full potential.”

12 x 3 mins WBA Lightweight World Title Eliminator
JAMES TENNYSON WTKO1 (2:14) v JOSH O’REILLY
(Belfast, Northern Ireland)                   (Hamilton, Canada)

Hard-hitting Belfast Lightweight James Tennyson took a step closer to the WBA World Title by taking out Canada’s Josh O’Reilly in one round. 

Tennyson produced a ferocious display before the WBA World Title Eliminator was stopped by referee Marcus McDonnell after two minutes and 14 seconds.

It is Tennyson’s sixth straight stoppage win since moving up to Lightweight, further enhancing the 27-year-old’s reputation as one of the most exciting contenders in the red hot 135lbs division.

“It was great to get the win on another great show,” said Tennyson. “I went out and it was sort of nip and tuck, and then I think I caught him with a left hook. I saw him go a wee bit so I thought, ‘you know what’, and just put it on him and it paid off. We came out and there wasn’t too much to see between the two of us until I clipped him with that one shot. I got the win and an early night.

“I’m feeling like I’m going to go all of the way here at Lightweight. I’m feeling a heck of a lot stronger and sharper. Eddie just mentioned about Jorge Linares at The SSE in Belfast and the thought of nights like that make the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. Those are the sort of fights that I’m in boxing for. Given the opportunity, I can put my name right up there and mix it with the top names. The Lightweight division is red-hot. There’s Teofimo Lopez, Gervonta Davis and Devin Haney. I’m here and I’m going to start making some noise.”

8 x 2 mins International Bantamweight contest
SHANNON COURTENAY WTKO7 (1:35) v DOROTA NOREK
(Watford, England)                                     (Poznan, Poland)

Shannon Courtenay landed the best punch of her career to knockout Dorota Norek in the seventh round as she returned to winning ways.

Fighting down at 118lbs for the first time, ‘The Baby Face Assassin’ had to deal with a fast start from her Polish opponent who was intent on imposing another unexpected defeat on her.

The Watford prospect brawled her way back into the fight then gradually took control and Norek’s defences began to unravel.

“This was needed,” said Courtenay. “I felt like I was back at home. I felt like myself but better. I just needed this to finish the year on a high. I can go into the next fight, whether it’s the rematch or not, with good momentum behind me. She was so rough and coming in with her head, I just thought, ‘you’ve got to be patient’. Like I said before the fight in many of my interviews, timing was going to be key. I had to be patient and wait to let my hands go. I was countering with the left hook when she had me up against the ropes. I wasn’t losing my head and making it scrappy. I knew that if I paced myself, and didn’t rush in, I’d catch her with a right hand because she was open for it. I knew that if I was patient it would come and it did. 

“She had a really high groin guard so the body shots weren’t really having an affect. I was going to try and slow her down to the body but it was such a high groin guard I knew that wasn’t going to work. I knew I had to catch her flush to end it so that’s what I did. 118lbs is the lightest I’ve ever been, amateur and pro career. I want the rematch with Rachel Ball. If she genuinely believes that she won the fight, which many people don’t think she did, why wouldn’t she want to prove people wrong. It’s a fight that everyone wants and it makes sense.”

6 x 3 mins Featherweight Contest  
DONTE DIXON WPTS6 (58-56) v ANGELO DRAGONE
(Sheffield, England)                     (Carmarthen, Wales)

Rising Sheffield Featherweight prospect Donte Dixon moved to 5-0 with an impressive points win over Welshman Angelo Dragone. 

The Billy Joe Saunders and MTK-managed talent was taking a big step up in class against his first opponent with a winning record and raised his game to suit the occasion. 

“I thought I boxed good. At some points in the fight I was standing there a bit too long and not covering up the best I can. We’ll learn from it and come back better. I’m alright with it. I noticed that I’m up there when it comes to the levels. Levels-wise and skills-wise, I was better than him. He kept coming and made it difficult at times but I feel like I passed with flying colours.

“Billy is managing me so it was nice to look good on his undercard. Billy is helping us a lot getting on these big shows, this is my third time on a Matchroom show. These are the best shows. Today I got to fight on Sky, I’ve always wanted to fight on Sky. Big thanks to Billy Joe, MTK and Adam Etches. 

“I got some very important rounds under my belt. He was a tough guy and kept on coming. I thought I nearly got him out of there in the last round when he was holding on. He was looking at the ref but it didn’t happen. It was a good learning fight. Whoever they put in front of me I’ve just got to keep on beating and then we’ll move on from there. Big thanks to my mum, it’s her birthday tomorrow. Happy Birthday mum.”

8 x 3 mins International Super-Middleweight contest
LERRONE RICHARDS WPTS8 (80-72) v TIMO LAINE 
(New Malden, England)                             (Helsinki, Finland)

Lerrone Richards made a winning start to life as a Matchroom fighter with a comfortable shutout points win over Finland’s Timo Laine.

In what was also his first fight under new trainer Dave Coldwell, unbeaten Richards quickly established his probing jab in the opening minute.

Laine, who was fighting in the UK for the just the second time, had clearly come to survive and offered very little offensively, to the frustration of Richards and his new team. 

Richards, who had been out of the ring since outpointing Lennox Clarke in November 2019, cruised to an 80-72 decision on the referee’s scorecard.

“I’m pleased with it, we got the rounds under our belt,” said Richards. “We move forwards now towards European honours. He tried to do something in the opening round and I put him in his box, he didn’t want to come out. It was frustrating at times so I stuck behind my jab and got the victory. I’m very pleased, it was my first fight under Dave Coldwell as well and it was good that I could get the ring rust out for the new year. 

When asked about fighting behind closed: “To be honest it didn’t feel any different. I just get on with it, it’s my job. I think I started to enjoy it a little bit more later on in the rounds. In round eight I started to talk a bit and have a little fun. I’m happy with my performance overall. We all bounce off each other in the gym and we’re always learning. Like I said, Dave Coldwell is a teacher, he’s not just a coach. We’re all improving every day.

“It’s some story and it has been quite hard really the last few years, I’ve been funding myself, nobody really knows that. I’ve not had many sponsors backing me but I believe in myself and I believe that I can go to the top. That’s what we plan on doing. I’m going to auction off my shorts and all of the money will go to the NHS. The NHS has done a great thing for our country in supporting everyone. 

“This is a marathon, not a sprint. I know I’m going to get there in the end. When I get there I’m going to stay there. European, and then we’ll talk about world honours after. I’ll tell you and this is a fact, I’ve had more promotion in the last two weeks than I’d had in my whole career and I’m grateful for that. The future is bright.” 

6 x 3 mins Super-Middleweight contest
LEWIS EDMONDSON WTKO3 (2:22) v JOHN TELFORD
(Southampton, England)                        (Manchester, England)

Southampton Super-Middleweight prospect Lewis Edmondson moved to 4-0 with the first stoppage win of his career against John Telford in the evening’s opening bout. 

‘The Saint’, who is guided by WBO Super-Middleweight king Billy Joe Saunders and MTK, dominated Manchester’s John Telford from the opening bell, landing sharp hooks and jabs at will. 

Telford was dropped in the first round before being put down again in the third, the 26-year-old bravely rose to his feet once more before the ref waved off the fight after another onslaught from Edmondson.

“We had a game plan with the team and we stuck to it,” Edmondson told Matchroom afterwards. “It obviously paid off. I think it confused him because before the fight he said he couldn’t find much fight footage of me. I think he only found a bit from when I was a kid, and when I was a kid I was only orthodox, as soon as I went southpaw I saw it in his eyes, he was thinking ‘what’s going on here?’. Boom I caught him, and I knew I had him every time I hit him. His legs went a little bit funny and I knew I had him.

“I didn’t want to rush it. In previous performances I’ve caught my opponents and I’ve rushed it. I took my time, that’s what we’ve been working on, and I got the job done. I can’t thank my team, Billy Joe Saunders and MTK, enough. I’ve been out twice within a month. This was meant to be a good step-up on paper and a lot of people thought it was a hard fight for me. I’m glad I got to show my level. 

“It’s hard trying to break those journeymen down because it’s their job to survive. We knew the stoppages would come once my opponents started opening up a bit. It was a big step up and I think I made light work of him. Billy Joe wants to move me quickly, he’s seen what I’ve been doing in the gym. We’re ready to move forwards. I feel like I’m improving every day.”
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SAUNDERS VS. MURRAY WEIGHTS AND RUNNING ORDER

17:45 LIVE ON SKY SPORTS FACEBOOK

6 x 3 mins Featherweight Contest  
DONTE DIXON 9st 1lb 10oz v ANGELO DRAGONE 9st 1lb 14oz
(Sheffield, England)                (Carmarthen, Wales)

followed by

6 x 3 mins Super-Middleweight contest
LEWIS EDMONDSON 12st 3lbs 3oz v JOHN TELFORD 12st 2lbs 8oz
(Southampton, England)                      (Manchester, England)

followed by

19:00 LIVE ON SKY SPORTS

8 x 3 mins International Super-Middleweight contest
LERRONE RICHARDS 12st 4lbs 0oz v TIMO LAINE 12st 3lbs 10oz
(New Malden, England)                          (Helsinki, Finland)

followed by
 
10 x 3 mins WBO International Super-Middleweight Title
ZACH PARKER 11st 13lbs 0oz v CESAR NUNEZ 11st 13lbs 11oz
(Derby, England)                            (Pamplona, Spain)

followed by
 
8 x 2 mins International Bantamweight contest
SHANNON COURTENAY 8st 5lbs 14oz v DOROTA NOREK 8st 3lbs 14oz
(Watford, England)                                     (Poznan, Poland)

followed by

12 x 3 mins WBA Lightweight World Title Eliminator
JAMES TENNYSON 9st 8lbs 13oz v JOSH O’REILLY 9st 8lbs 5oz
(Belfast, Northern Ireland)                (Hamilton, Canada)

followed by

12 x 3 mins WBO Super-Middleweight World Title
BILLY JOE SAUNDERS 11st 13lbs 5oz v MARTIN MURRAY 11st 13lbs 6lbs
(Hatfield, England)                                   (St Helens, England)
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SAUNDERS VS. MURRAY + UNDERCARD PRESS CONFERENCE QUOTES

Eddie Hearn:

“We’re back in the bubble for a big night of boxing this Friday, the World Super-Middleweight Championship between Billy Joe Saunders and Martin Murray, live on Sky Sports in the UK and DAZN around the world. It’s great to be here. We’ve been lifted by the news that fans will return for the Anthony Joshua versus Kubrat Pulev fight on December 12. 1,000 allowed into The SSE Arena, Wembley for that, so this effectively, touch wood, will be our last ever show, we hope, behind closed doors. We’re ready to make the most of it, and ready for a great night of boxing.”

Billy Joe Saunders – Hatfield, England – 29-0, 14 KOs – defending his WBO Super-Middleweight World Title against Martin Murray:

“First of all I’ve got to thank yourself and Sky for even getting us out this year. I didn’t think I was going to get out. All of the big fights were tied up, out of the fights that were left out there Martin Murray’s name was screaming out. We were supposed to fight twice before, it didn’t happen. He’s boxed for the World Title four times, he should have been a two-time World Champion, he was on the wrong end of two decisions. 

“People are looking at this fight as a walk in the park for me and think I should win easily. If you look at Martin, he’s never took damage. He’s never been beaten up in a fight. Golovkin was what it was, he got him in his prime. I promised him his shot and it’s here. I believe that it’s my time to shine now. I’m doing this fight for my uncle Tom who passed away who was like a dad to me. “I want the Jacobs fights and the Canelo fights and the Andrade fights now, but sadly everyone was tied up this year. The only one really worthy of taking the fight which was available was Martin Murray. He’s a four-time World Title challenger. In my opinion, two-time World Champion, so it’s not a bad pick out of the bunch.”I know Martin is coming to fight. I haven’t been beaten on the UK soil since I’ve been 12-years-old. I’ve got a good track record, and I’m going to keep it that way. He’s going to bring a good game, but afterwards he can go back to St Helens, take his cash back and have a good Christmas and retire with the family, because that’s what I’m planning on doing, retiring him.”

Martin Murray – St Helens, England – 39-5-1, 17 KOs – challenging Billy Joe Saunders for the WBO Super-Middleweight World Title:

“This is my fifth one now. I know how hard a fight it’s going to be. I really rate Billy Joe. We’ve got unfinished business. Everything happens for a reason. I firmly believe, and truly believe that the pull outs years ago, all of the little set backs that I’ve had, have all brought me to this point and like I said, I’m fit, focused and ready. 

“I get it, I get why he pulled out to be honest with you. We all want those bigger fights. It makes sense. There was a little bit of frustration at the time but I left that where it was and I’ve got nothing against Billy. We shook hands when I got beat in my fight against N’Dam, he was on the card with me. He’s here now and he’s honoured his word. He’s going to be in top condition himself and we’re going to lay it all on the line. It’s going to be a good fight.

“No one has ever done it in five times in the UK. I believe Groves four, Frank Bruno four, and I truly believe that there’s been a reason why I’ve picked myself up off the couch when times have been low and I’ve not wanted to go to the gym, but I’ve forced myself to get there. There’s been a reason for it and it’s for Friday. For me to achieve what no-one else has done in the UK.”

James Tennyson – Belfast, Northern Ireland – 27-3, 23 KOs – fighting Josh O’Reilly in an Eliminator for the WBA Lightweight World Title:

“It’s good to hear people saying things like that, it means I’m doing something right. I’m really looking forward to the fight night now. I’m going to put on a masterclass performance in another fan-pleasing fight. I come out every time and I give the fans what they want. I do what I need to do to get the win as well as that. I’m just going to go out and be me, box hard and box smart.”

Josh O’Reilly – Hamilton, Canada – 16-0, 6 KOs – fighting James Tennyson in an Eliminator for the WBA Lightweight World Title:

“I’m super excited. I’ve never been on a stage like this. It’s awesome to get this opportunity. I’m happy to be sharing the ring with James, I think it’s going to be a great fight and I’m looking forward to it. I started boxing when I was 14, I didn’t really do much as an amateur but I got to travel enough with a few teams. I got over to Ireland when I was younger and I have a bunch of people supporting me out in Cavan, I got to train there for a bit. I had a really good time and I trained there for a few months when I was younger. I expect nothing less. I’m a fan, I like watching the kid. I’ve seen him enough and I think there’s a lot of stuff I can do in there to negate a lot of the stuff he does. I’ve got my own plan on what’s going to happen, it’s just about executing it.”

Shannon Courtenay – Watford, England – 5-1, 2 KOs – fighting Dorata Norek in an eight round Super-Bantamweight contest:

“I think there’s nerves with every fight, and coming off a loss I’ve got to prove myself now. Pressure is a privilege. If there’s no pressure then nobody believes in you, so I’m taking it in my stride. I’ve made the choice to move, so I’m now living in a hotel next to my camp. I’ve made a lot of sacrifices but it’s paid off because I’m at 118 for the first time. It’s time to make a statement. 

“I think it would be easy for me to sit here now and say, ‘oh it’s fine’. I’ll be honest. I felt like the floor underneath me had been taken. I felt like my world was over. You’ve got to hit rock bottom to come up again. Now I’ve had that bitter taste of what a loss is like, I’m never going to taste it again. It’s made me more determined. Mentally and physically I’m a lot stronger.”

Dorota Norek – Watford, England – 6-1, 1 KO – fighting Shannon Courtenay in an eight round Super-Bantamweight contest:

“Thank you Eddie, I am very grateful for the opportunity to be here and to participate in such a big event. I love to fight. I’m a fan of Shannon’s. I’ve watched a lot of her fights and I know this will deliver for the fans. I come from the MMA background as you mentioned, so I’m not scared of big boxing gloves. I promise to show my full potential and my aggressive style. I’m here to win.”

Zach Parker – Derby, England – 19-0, 13 KOs – fighting Cesar Nunez for the WBO International Super-Middleweight Title:

“I’ve got to focus on Friday night. He’s going to be a tough opponent. I can’t look too far ahead with this mandatory spot. My full focus is on Friday night and Cesar Nunez. You’ve got to make noise with every fight. That’s why people want to watch you, for the knockouts and the showbiz. Hopefully I can give a good performance and make a big fight next year with Billy Joe or any of the other World Champions. I think Saunders vs. Murray is going to be a good fight. It’s last chance saloon for Martin Murray so we’ll just have to see what version of him turns up. I’m picking Billy Joe on points.”

Cesar Nunez – Pamplona, Spain – 17-2-1, 0 KOs – fighting Zach Parker for the WBO International Super-Middleweight Title:

“First and foremost I would like to thank Matchroom and Sauerland for the opportunity. I’m coming to take this chance and win on Friday night.”

Lerrone Richards – New Malden, England – 13-0, 3 KOs – fighting Timo Laine in an eight round Super-Middleweight contest:

“I’m very happy and excited. Let’s go! There’s no pressure, I just need to do Lerrone Richards. Like I always say, it’s all about the skills. On Friday night you’re going to see that. Timo is a tough competitor. I’m taking him very seriously and I’m going to do a job on Friday night.”

Timo Laine – Helsinki, Finland – 28-14, 12 KOs – fighting Lerrone Richards in an eight round Super-Middleweight contest:

“It’s going to be a hard challenge for me. I’ve seen a couple of Lerrone’s fights and he looks really skilful. I want to say thanks for this opportunity. When the fight starts I have to get going straight away. It’s eight rounds and I have to be fast.”

Lewis Edmondson – Southampton, England – 3-0 – fighting John Telford in a six round Super-Middleweight contest:

“Firstly I’d like to say thank you to Eddie Hearn and Frank Warren. I’m contracted to Frank Warren, I don’t know if anyone knows, but they’ve come together for this one and let me get on the bill, so I’d like to thank them for that. I feel like I’m ready to move forward. I feel like I done well as an amateur, I won National Titles and boxed for England. I feel like that’s helped me. I’ve got great fighters training alongside me like Billy Joe Saunders and a great team around me. I’m looking to move forwards fast. I’ve seen a little bit of John. I’m 25 and I don’t want to wait around too long, I want to get in the mix.”

John Telford – Manchester, England – 11-2-1, 2 KOs – fighting Lewis Edmondson in a six round Super-Middleweight contest:

“It’s a big opportunity for myself. We only got a week’s notice but we were already training to box three weeks ago on the Ultimate Boxxer show. That fell through because of my opponent testing positive for COVID. We had a couple of days off then had a call that very weekend asking if we’d be interested on boxing on a Matchroom show. I jumped at the chance. I’ve had a quick look at Lewis, he seems good at what he does. There’s not a lot to look at in his professional career. We’ve seen what he did as an amateur, let’s see how it stands him on the night. Good on him for jumping straight up, there needs to be a lot more of that in the sport now.”

Donte Dixon – Sheffield, England – 4-0, 3 KOs – fighting Angelo Dragone in a six round Featherweight contest:

“I’m looking forward to it and I’m ready to go. All through training everything has gone well. All of my road work has been done and all of my work in the gym has been done. I just can’t wait to fight now. Billy always gets on to you about me and that’s good, I kind of like it because he wants me to get out there so he gives me these opportunities. He knows I can perform. I look forward to putting on a good performance on Friday.

“This is another tough opponent for me but the better they are, the better I’m going to perform. I like that it’s going to be a tough one. I’m happy with my progress right now. I’ve sparred a lot of these guys and I hold my own against them. Right now I’m on the right track. When we get those fights in the future, I’ll do good against them guys.”

Angelo Dragone – Carmarthen, Wales – 5-1 – fighting Donte Dixon in a six round Featherweight contest:

“100% I’m ready for this. I’ve trained really hard, we had a six-week training camp and I’ve trained twice a day every day. I’d just like to thank Matchroom for the opportunity. We’ve seen some upsets over the last few weeks and there’s going to be another upset on Friday night. I’m ready to go. I’m a 30-year-old man, he’s younger, a 20-year-old. All of the hype is around him. I’m an experienced man, I’ve been involved in Title fights on live TV. I’ve been there and I’ve done it. Let’s see if he can beat the stallion. I’ll be on him from the first round to the sixth round. I’m going to set a fast pace, I’m always in battles. I’m going to give 100% to get the win.”
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SAUNDERS: I HAVEN’T OVERLOOKED MARTIN

Two-weight World Champ focused on all-British showdown
Billy Joe Saunders insists that he hasn’t overlooked four-time World Title challenger Martin Murray as he prepares to put his WBO Super-Middleweight crown on the line for the second time this Friday at The SSE Arena, Wembley, shown live on Sky Sports and DAZN.

Hatfield star Saunders (29-0, 14 KOs) was on the verge of securing a mega fight with Mexican pound-for-pound icon Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez earlier this year before the coronavirus pandemic turned the sporting world on its head and scuppered his shot at greatness. 

Saunders, who was scheduled to face Murray twice in 2018, has expressed his desire to take on the winner of Alvarez vs. Callum Smith in a huge unification battle in 2021, but the 31-year-old two-weight World Champion has refused to underestimate St Helens man Murray. 

“I just want to get one in before the end of the year,” said Saunders. “There’s a lot of fighters struggling to get out. I’ve had a major disappointment. The Canelo fight fell through in May. On Friday we’ll rock and roll.“If you want to go on professional experience, he’s had more fights than me. He’s challenged for the World Title four times. He should have been World Champion in two of those fights. I’ve promised him a chance.

“There’s always a risk I could get in there and get knocked out in one round. There’s a risk to people’s lives. I haven’t overlooked Martin. I’ve trained myself the best I can for the date. I know he doesn’t lay down, I can’t afford that kind of performance.“Martin has his own mind. He’s prepared how he wants to prepare, whether he wants to train on emotion, grit or experience. He has to find a way to beat me and that will be difficult for any fighters on the planet. I can sense frustration from Martin’s camp. We had two fights that fell through.

“I would be disappointed if I went in there and blew him away in one round. I need rounds for next year. I need to get in there, in the real thing, to go into the big fights next year. To get over that bridge I need to beat Martin Murray. He’s not one of those fighters you can ever completely right off.”

Saunders vs. Murray tops of big night of action in London, Belfast’s James Tennyson (27-3, 23 KOs) meets Canada’s Josh O’Reilly (16-0, 6 KOs) in an Eliminator for the WBA Lightweight World Title, Watford Super-Bantamweight Shannon Courtenay (5-1, 2 KOs)looks to return to winning ways against Poland’s Dorota Nurek (6-1, 1 KO), Derby’s Zach Parker (19-0, 13 KOs) takes on Spain’s Cesar Nunez (17-2-1, 9 KOs) for the WBO International Super-Middleweight Title, New Malden Super-Middleweight talent Lerrone Richards (13-0, 3 KOs) makes his Matchroom debut, Southamptons’ Lewis Edmondson (3-0) clashes with Manchester’s John Telford (11-2-1, 2 KOs) over six rounds at Super-Middleweight and exciting Sheffield Featherweight Donte Dixon (4-0, 3 KOs) meets Welshman Angelo Dragone (5-1) over six rounds. 
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