|TAYLOR vs KHONGSONG PRESS CONFERENCE QUOTES|
|WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING returns to BT Sport on Saturday when Josh Taylor defends his unified WBA/IBF super lightweight belts against mandatory challenger, the unbeaten Apinun Khongsong from Thailand. Also in headline position is the return of former WBC world flyweight champion Charlie Edwards to the ring, where he will step up to bantamweight to take on Kyle Williams.|
Earlier today, the four fighters took part in an online media conference ahead of Saturday’s event and below is a selection of the pre-fight comments.
Kyle Williams (11-2)
It is his coming out party but we are here to spoil that. Charlie is a fantastic athlete, I have watched him throughout his career, but when we get in there it is two men and I am looking to take what he’s got. I fought for the British title against Farooq and it was not a fight I was completely outclassed in. I showed that I’ve got the goods to be at that level and just got caught. Against Thomas Essomba it showed I’ve got the toughness for the game and showed that when it gets hard I stick in there and continue to fight, as Charlie knows.
Charlie Edwards (15-1)
First and foremost I would like to say it is so good to be back. I’ve missed being on the stage, missed being at the press conferences and I am really looking forward to the fight. Outside of the ring it has been really great for me this year, I have really settled and that has helped me with my training. I am feeling good, feeling strong and I am looking forward to getting back in there, putting the dark times behind me of making that terrible weight and moving forward with my career. Kyle is a good fighter, he is tough, game, he is gonna come and he is gonna try and make it awkward in there. It is what we expect at this level and this is his world cup final, his golden ticket so we expect him to come and have a right good go.
With not having to make flyweight it is nice to be able to string a sentence together now! Last time I couldn’t even do the media stuff. It is good and I feel ready. It is chapter 2 and I am looking forward to it.
Apinun Khongsong (16-0)
I am happy to fight here and being behind closed doors is good for me because there will be no people and boxing fans. I am very proud to fight Josh Taylor because he is a very good champion. I have prepared very well to fight him on Saturday. The plan is to stop Josh Taylor by knockout.
Josh Taylor (16-0)
I don’t think not having a crowd will affect my performance at all. I’ve been practicing in the gym with no music, no noise and nobody speaking, so we have been replicating what the experience will be like. I’m looking forward to getting in there on Saturday and I have kept fit and in shape throughout the year. I can’t wait to put on a strong performance.
You will see on Saturday what changes I have made working with Ben (Davison) and I am not going to give away what we have been working on. It is good and we’ve been working on a lot of things and this is a nice start to a whole new book. This is the start of it, it is going to be better than the last one and I can’t wait to get going on Saturday.
Khongsong is standing in the way of where I want to go so I need to get rid of him. This is his introduction to world boxing and I am going to make it a painful one for him. He doesn’t belong at this level and I am a couple of levels above him. I am going to go in there and knock him out on Saturday.
I have seen a lot I can exploit. He is a very good fighter and very strong, punches with both hands with power, but it is not enough to beat me. I am just really looking forward to getting in there on Saturday and putting on a strong performance.
Live coverage on BT Sport 1 begins on Saturday at 7.30pm
|Pound-for-pound star faces Brit favourite in Heavyweight WAR|
|Ukrainian pound-for-pound star Oleksandr Usyk will finally face British favourite Derek Chisora on Saturday October 31, live on Sky Sports Box Office in the UK and DAZN in the US, after their original May 23 date was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. |
Usyk (17-0, 13 KOs) made the move to Heavyweight after dominating at Cruiserweight, ending his extraordinary spell at 200lbs as the Undisputed king with a phenomenal run of victories in his opponents’ backyard against Marco Huck, Mairis Briedis, Murat Gassiev and Tony Bellew.
The 2012 Olympic Gold medallist began his assault on the Heavyweight division by retiring Chazz Witherspoon in seven rounds at the Wintrust Arena in Chicago last October and continues his bid to become a two-weight World Champion when he faces an in-form Chisora (32-9, 23 KOs).
Former World Title challenger Chisora scored a devastating second round knockout over Poland’s Artur Szpilka at The O2 in July 2019, a year on from his incredible eighth round KO win against Carlos Takam at the same venue, before blitzing fellow Brit David Price in four rounds in October 2019.
The Finchley powerhouse, who is guided by former two-weight World Champion David Haye, has lofty ambitions of his own and is planning on giving Usyk nightmares in his first real test in boxing’s glamour division as he looks to pull off what would be one of the best wins by a Brit in recent years.
“I have really missed boxing,” said Usyk. “I am working hard in my training camp to show a spectacular performance on October 31. I expect a real test in Derek – he is strong, tough and resilient. He is a really big guy and he hits hard.
“As a Cruiserweight, I reached the highest heights as Undisputed Champion and now I am following the same path as a Heavyweight. I need to test myself against world class Heavyweights on my new road to Undisputed and Derek stands in front of me.
“Many people say that Derek is a monster, but deep down he is a kind man. I don’t expect to see that good side of him. I know that he wants to break me, but I am water, wind and fire all together. Derek Chisora, I am coming for you!”
“Helllllo, Usyk, I’m ready for you, helllllo Usyk!,” said Chisora. “Usyk, I’ve been ready for you all year. It’s my home turf and after such a tough year for everyone, I’m going to give the British public the Halloween party they deserve and finally get revenge for my boy Tony Bellew!”
“Yesterday’s news from the Government was a kick in the nuts, so to bounce back with this fight at this time is so important for boxing,” said promoter Eddie Hearn. “You’ve either got to sit back and say ‘it’s not possible’ or find a way to make it happen, and I’ve got to say a big thanks to Team Usyk, ‘Del Boy’ and David Haye for staying patient and helping get this over the line.
“It’s an absolute firecracker and a fight that’s so important to the Heavyweight division over the next few months. We saw a stunning victory from Povetkin recently to shake up the mandatory situation, can WAR Chisora spring the upset and KO the undefeated Undisputed World Champ? I know he will do everything he can to try and get the victory and this will be another night of Heavyweight drama!”
“Oleksandr Usyk versus Derek Chisora is one of the most anticipated fights in the Heavyweight division,” said Alexander Krassyuk, General Director of K2 Promotions. “The fight was originally scheduled to take place in May, but I can assure boxing fans around the world that it will be worth the wait.
“Usyk is under huge pressure. He has to prove himself as a true Heavyweight, while Chisora has nothing to lose and is always dangerous. It will be a violent and bloody battle. I cannot wait to see them finally collide in the ring on October 31.”
“I see this fight with Usyk as the perfect opportunity for Derek to gate crash the world top 5,” said David Haye of Hayemaker Promotions. “He’s a massive underdog, with very few experts picking him to cause the upset. But I know something they don’t, I know Derek has the size, the chin and more importantly the heart to walk through hell to get this win.
“Derek cancelled his last family Christmas holiday in preparation for this very fight, and as a result has spent the best part of a year improving his boxing IQ, and building a relentless engine, he is ready to step in the ring with Usyk and wage WAR. The world will be shocked at what Halloween havoc Chisora brings to the party.”
Adam Smith, Head of Boxing Development at Sky Sports, said: “We’re very excited to announce the rescheduled date for Oleksandr Usyk versus Derek Chisora, an intriguing Heavyweight showdown with plenty at stake!
“Ukrainian star Usyk has already showcased his sublime skills on these shores in that dramatic battle with Tony Bellew, while Derek Chisora has rejuvenated his career since teaming up with his former foe David Haye.
“A potential fight with Unified Champion Anthony Joshua is already within Usyk’s grasp, but Chisora has big ambitions of his own, and with Haye by his side, could we see the battle-hardened Brit pull off a stunning upset? Usyk against Chisora has all the ingredients for a Heavyweight classic!”
Tickets purchased for the postponed event at The O2 in London on Saturday May 23 will be refunded. Please contact your point of purchase if you have any queries.