Frank Smith: “It’s great to be back here in Cardiff for another fantastic evening of boxing at the Ice Arena Wales. We have hosted two massive nights here recently topped by Heavyweight king Anthony Joshua and now it’s time for the youngsters to make their mark. British boxing is in such a good place at the moment and the JD NXTGEN series is a fantastic way to showcase some of the best up and coming talent in the UK. There’s a huge array of talent featuring on Saturday’s show and I’m looking forward to an exciting night.”
Kody Davies: “I want to thank everyone involved in getting me on this show. Joe and Sean are old Team GB team mates of mine and it’s good to be fighting on their undercard. Me and Gavin have been putting in some serious hours in the gym and it’s going to show on Saturday night. I can’t wait for you all to see what I’m capable of.”
Daniyar Yeleussinov: “I feel good and I’m very happy to be here in the beautiful city of Cardiff. I’m looking to put on an exciting performance and make some new fans so make sure you come and see me fight.”
Dylan McDonagh: “I’m excited to be here in Cardiff. Thanks to Matchroom for getting me on this brilliant show. This is my moment and I’m ready to seize my opportunity. I’m not scared of anyone and don’t care who they put in front of me. I believe that I’ll do a job on Sean on Saturday so make sure that you tune in.”
Sean McGoldrick: “I’ve recently changed trainers. Everything has been great with Gavin. I feel like I’m in the best shape of my life and I can’t wait to fight in Wales for the first time in my pro career. I’m ready to put on a big performance for everyone.”
Natasha Jonas: “Boxing has taken me all around the World but never to Wales so it’s nice to be here in Cardiff. My opponent is a durable opponent, she went the distance with Katie Taylor. I want to showcase my talent. I just need to tick another box off and show what I can do.”
Sean Dodd: “I’m looking forward to getting back to winning ways and getting my hands back on the Commonwealth title. I’m ready to make a big change and put in a good performance. I can see that Joe has a great family backing him so it’s just like being back at home for me, it’s nice to see. I wish the very best for the both of us. I need to stick to my game plan, work hard and get the win. This is a massive test for me and I’m really looking forward to getting in there and seeing what happens. I’m up against it but in life you get nowhere without taking risks. I’m ready for this.”
Joe Cordina: “I won my first professional title here in Cardiff on the undercard of Anthony Joshua’s win over Joseph Parker at the Principality Stadium and it’s good to be making the first defence of it here as well. I’m in a proper fight now. Sean is great fighter, he’s got a lot of heart and he’s got a great fanbase that will be making a lot of noise on Saturday. It’s going to be a hell of a fight. This will be my hardest fight in the professionals to date. There’s going to be fireworks. I’m going to give it everything I have to come away with the Commonwealth title. I’m fighting for my kids and there’s no way that I’m wasting this opportunity.”
Main event at the Ice Arena Wales sees Joe Cordina and Sean Dodd clash for the Vacant Commonwealth and WBA International Lightweight titles, Welsh Commonwealth Gold Medal man Sean McGoldrick fights on home soil for the first time in the paid ranks against unbeaten Irishman Dylan McDonagh, Natasha Jonas steps up her hunt for World honours with a first defence of her WBA Super-Featherweight Inter-Continental title against Viviane Obenauf, Rio Olympic Gold Medal stand-out Daniyar Yeleussinov fights for the third time in the pros, unbeaten Featherweight talent Jordan Gill continues his journey to more titles and Light-Heavyweight talent Anthony Sims Jr. makes his debut under new promoter Eddie Hearn with action elsewhere from Birmingham Super-Bantamweight Gamal Yafai, Lytham Lightweight Scott Cardle, Newport Super-Middleweight Daniel Barton, Cardiff Light-Heavyweight Nathan Thorley, Gloucester Welterweight Akeem Ennis Brown and Pontilanfraith Light-Heavyweight Kody Davies.
Very limited remaining tickets are on sale at www.stubhub.co.uk priced at £40 (unreserved) £70 (reserved floor seats) and £150 (ringside VIP).
Scottish Commonwealth Games bronze medal man joins paid ranks
Talented amateur John Docherty has signed a promotional agreement with Matchroom Boxing.
Docherty landed Commonwealth Games bronze for Scotland in Australia in April, defeating England’s Ben Whittaker to reach the semi-final stage and land his medal.
The former Team GB man has chosen to join the paid ranks following his success Down Under and will follow in the footsteps of three-weight World ruler and Scottish legend Ricky Burns by training under Tony Sims in Essex.
Docherty will start life as a Super-Middleweight and will make his debut in the new season, and the 20 year old cannot wait to get his pro journey underway.
“I am so excited to get my pro career started,” said Docherty. “I loved my time with Team GB and representing my country in Australia was a huge honour, but that chapter is closed now and I cannot wait to test myself in the pro’s.
“It’s brilliant to team up with Matchroom Boxing and Sky Sports, and training with Tony in Essex is going to bring me on so much. There’s lots of class fighters in the gym and of course, I’ll be training with Ricky, who is a legend in Scotland and someone I’ve always looked up to, so to be able to learn from him every day is going to be amazing.”
“I am delighted to welcome John to the team,” said promoter Eddie Hearn. “John’s amateur pedigree speaks for itself and he has all the ingredients to be a big success in the paid ranks.
“He’s a fiercely ambitious young man that is eager to learn every day, which is vital to make it in this sport. John’s commitment to move down to Tony’s gym in Essex to be alongside his fellow countryman and Scottish great Ricky Burns shows how dedicated he is to becoming a star, and I can’t wait to see his journey get underway in the new season.”
Heavyweight ruler set to box at national stadium in September 2018 and April 2019
Anthony Joshua OBE has committed his future to his loyal UK fight fans with his next two fights to be staged at Wembley Stadium connected by EE in London.
Joshua will defend his IBF, WBA, WBO and IBO crowns at the national stadium in the English capital on September 22 and will return to Wembley Stadium on April 13 next year for his 23rd pro fight.
The Heavyweight king has already set a post-war attendance record at the stadium when 90,000 fans filled Wembley Stadium to watch Joshua stop Wladimir Klitschko in the 11th round of their stunning battle last April.
The 28 year old has since filled Principality Stadium in Cardiff twice, defending his belts against Carlos Takam in October before unifying the division by taking Joseph Parker’s WBO belt in March – with the two events in the Welsh capital pulling in over 150,000 fans.
With two more sell-outs at Wembley Stadium expected, Joshua will have sold in excess of 400,000 tickets over five huge World title fights, and the fan favourite is thrilled to be back under the arch for his next two blockbuster nights.
“I am returning to Wembley after two mega fights in Cardiff,” said Joshua. “I want to thank the supporters from Wales and Great Britain and also the people of London for patiently awaiting my return.
“Being north London born and raised it is in my blood. The opportunity to fight in such an iconic stadium is normally a once in career opportunity, so to be given the chance to fight there again is amazing. Wembley just added a fourth lion to the den.”
“I’m extremely honoured to get the opportunity to promote two more shows at the national stadium and delighted for British fight fans that Anthony has made this commitment to them,” said promoter Eddie Hearn.
“I don’t think anyone will either forget that night of April 29 against Klitschko and we plan to bring two more dramatic events to Wembley Stadium in September and April. Images from these AJ events make our country the envy of the boxing world and long may it continue.”
James Taylor, Senior Commercial Manager, Wembley Stadium said: “Wembley Stadium is home to the biggest and best sporting events and it is fitting that one of the world’s leading sports stars returns to fight under its iconic arch.
“AJ’s last appearance at the national stadium was a record-breaking event which will be remembered as one of the highlights in the venue’s history. We look forward to welcoming Anthony and his thousands of fans back to Wembley for two huge fights in September and April.”
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan has ensured it will be possible to have capacity crowds at both events by working closely with Transport for London who will postpone planned engineering works and provide additional staff.
Sadiq Khan, said: “That incredible night last year when Anthony Joshua defeated Wladimir Klitschko at Wembley in front of a record crowd will go down as one of our city’s greatest sporting events.
“I am absolutely delighted that Wembley is set to host these next two chapters of AJ’s remarkable career. We have once again worked closely with Transport for London to make sure this can happen and to allow for tens of thousands of boxing fans to travel to Wembley Stadium for the fights.
“I have pledged to bring the biggest bouts in world boxing to London and these epic showdowns will cement London’s reputation as the best city in the world for top-class sport.”
An announcement on the opponent for Joshua’s clash in September and ticket details will be made next week.
Newcastle ace targeting major honours after inking new deal
Lewis Ritson has signed a new five fight deal with Matchroom Boxing.
The Newcastle ace landed the Lord Lonsdale belt for keeps last weekend on his home patch, drilling Paul Hyland Jnr inside a round in front of a raucous Metro Radio Arena crowd.
Ritson initially signed with Eddie Hearn and Matchroom after ripping the British Lightweight title from Robbie Barrett in seven rounds in Manchester in October and thrilled in quickfire defences earlier in the year, putting Joe Murray away in the opening round in Manchester in February then ending Scotty Cardle’s attempts to regain his old title in a two-round shootout.
The 24 year old will now target European honours and beyond, and the ‘Sandman’ is delighted to put pen to paper and continue his incredible rise with Hearn and Sky Sports.
“I’m delighted to extend my deal with Matchroom,” said Ritson. “It’s been a rapid rise but one that I have enjoyed fighting on the big stage live on Sky Sports.
“We’re going to keep busy and I can’t wait to see where we go from here, but I can’t get complacent I need to keep focused and keep winning.
“Since the Barrett fight we have fought everyone Eddie has presented to us no problem, I’m a fighter at the end of the day and have no problem jumping in there with anyone my team believe I’m ready for.
“The atmosphere in Newcastle was unreal. I had a little moment before the bell went to soak it all up. The plan is to return there in October and I hope we can continue to build.
“There’s no pressure on me to talk about St James’ Park, it’s an aspiration and something to aim towards – A year ago I was a massive underdog to win the British so let’s roll the dice and see where we end up.
“It’s been a fantastic year, everything is improving not just in the ring but in my home life as well as a result.
“The European title is the logical next step, I’d like to prove to myself I can win that which is a move up and there’s some talk of a fight in America before the close of the year but that’s all up to Eddie and the team to lock down and for me to keep doing what I do best.”
“I’ve been completely blown away with what Lewis has done over the past 8 months and last Saturday in Newcastle was epic,” said Hearn. “I think he is one of the most exciting fighters in World boxing right now and has a huge future in the sport.
“We are looking forward to working with Phil, Dave, Neil and the team in guiding him at the right pace to major titles. I really believe the Sky is the limit for Lewis Ritson.”