|Eddie Hearn, Matchroom Sport Chairman:|
“This is a huge night of boxing in Manchester on December 18 and the wonderful Manchester Arena. Of course, the main event everyone talks about, last time a real close-run fight between Joseph Parker and Derek Chisora, they do it all again – this time in front of fans.
“What a card we have for you to close out the year, live and exclusively on DAZN. We are having ten shows in the next seven weeks in six different countries, of course we’re here to talk about a tremendous card on December 18.
“Some of the undercard are in huge fights, career defining fights, and of course in the COVID world we live in today a lot of their opponents staying in their own country to prepare to fly over shortly for their challenge.
“We managed to get this fight on again, thanks to both guys for accepting the rematch for this fight. Last time out this was one fight I was so disappointed was behind closed doors. Derek Chisora is a guy who thrives on the big arenas and atmospheres, you’ve seen Joseph Parker box at Millennium Stadium in front of 70,000, against Dillian Whyte in front of 20,000 at The O2.
“We cannot wait to see the fans back in Manchester Arena for not just a great card but a really good Heavyweight fight.”
Joseph Parker – Auckland, New Zealand – 29-2, 21 KOs – defending his WBO Intercontinental Heavyweight Title against Derek Chisora:
“It’s great to be back here in the UK, Andy Lee the coach, the main man, and Johnny Ward and the rest of the team back in Morecombe. I’m excited because it’s the first rematch in my career, I’m excited to start seeing the improvements I’ve been making in camp when I’ve been away in New Zealand and the things that Andy and I have been working on.
“We didn’t have the longest camp last time but we’ve had a longer camp this time so there are no excuses. I did watch the fight back and I thought I won so I’m not sure, he thought he won too so that’s why we’re here again.
“Derek is one tough guy, he comes forward and puts on the pressure, like he said bite the gumshield and throw the kitchen sink, that’s exactly what he did and what he’s going to do for the next fight. I feel like this fight is going to different, I’ve had a lot more time to work on things that Andy has suggested I work on and now that I’m here with him in camp my confidence is growing every day seeing the improvements.
“I feel like this is the place to be you know, I have this fight with Derek in front of me and there are a lot more fights out there that can be made. We have to make these sacrifices as fighters, I know a lot of fighters that make sacrifices, I’m away from my wife and family, my parents, I feel like it’s my time to make it count.
“That’s my goal, to become two-time World Champion, I’m well positioned at the moment with the rankings but with COVID its hard lock in fights so thanks to everyone for getting this made and Chisora for accepting it again. It’s good to out three times this year and you’ve just got to take the opportunities when they come.
“I feel like I’ll finish this fight within the distance, I’ve got a good feeling.”
Andy Lee, trainer of Joseph Parker:
“We only had five weeks last time, it just wasn’t enough time to affect any change or embed any habits or instincts we were trying to work on. In saying that, Derek only had the same time with Buddy McGirt. This time Joseph has a greater understanding of what we’re trying to do, it’s as much about the mindset as it is about the technical side.
“It will be a good fight, I’ve seen a change in Joseph from the last fight and compared to the work we’ve done in between, he’s definitely focused. I think Joseph sees an opportunity for himself, the way the Heavyweight division is now, Joe fully believes when he gets past Chisora, he’s right there with any of them. I have no qualms with putting him in with anybody.
“He’ll never fight Tyson Fury because they’re as close to brothers, but anybody else in that division I’d be very comfortable with putting Joseph in with them. These young fighters here in front of me, I’m a big fan of all of them, I’m looking forward to the fight and for Joe to show exactly what he can do.
“Having David in the opposite corner brings a bit of trepidation to me, Dave was in my corner for 2/3 of the biggest fights of my career. I know what he brings, the knowledge he has, when you’re someone like Chisora small adjustments can make a big change.
“That’s probably what they’ll be looking to do. Chisora isn’t going to come out and box, jab and move, he’s going to come forward and bring the fight. Small adjustments will make a big change, so we have to be ready for that. That’s what we’re preparing to do, Joe’s working extremely hard and we’re well ahead of schedule, I’m very happy.”
Derek Chisora – Finchley, London – 32-11, 23 KO’s – challenging Joseph Parker for the WBO Intercontinental Heavyweight Title:
“Two fights behind closed doors, Usyk and Parker, Manchester again. I’m half excited and half not, I’m happy for the fight but I might be disappointed with what comes with the fight to be honest with you. I’m going to speak to my management team at 258 that we get an American referee and good judges for this fight because so many times I’ve been robbed, in Helsinki, the first one here with Dillian – it gets a bit frustrating.
“I’m happy the rematch is on, I’m excited and I’ve got David Coldwell now with me. Right now, I’m not buzzing yet, but I want to say this honestly to the press and to you Eddie, I need you to get a good referee, an American referee, not a BBBofC referee because those guys in the past have messed me around. If Robert Smith is listening, I do not want your referee to ref me for this fight.
“I know for a fact come 18 December; we are going to war. Joseph Parker doesn’t scare me; he hasn’t got anything that I’m scared of. He hasn’t power punches, I don’t know how they gave him the last fight to be honest with you, I’m just disappointed they gave it to him.
“I 100% won the first fight, I was the more pressure fighter, I was making the fight happen – all he wanted to do was hold. The whole Kronk style of holding and resting on you, that’s what they do – it’s good for them.
“The name of the game ladies and gentlemen is boxing, bite your gumshield and chuck the leather. There isn’t any point of trying to tip-toe boxing, it doesn’t work, bite the gumshield and chuck the kitchen sink – that’s the name of the game for me. We are coming to war, that’s why people love watching me, we’re coming to fight. I’ve never been in boxing my life; we’re coming to fight.
“I was saying this morning in the gym, boxing life is short, and you have to grab with both hands the ups and downs, the wins and losses, you have to enjoy it while you’re doing it. You don’t want to have any regrets when you hang up your gloves and say why didn’t I train harder for this fight.
“I love it, I enjoy training and waking up – on the M1 coming to Sheffield every Sunday. I love going back to my family, I love coming back seeing Dave and staying in a hotel. I love it and it’s the same as my opponent, he leaves his family and comes to Europe to train when he’s so far away from his wife and kids. This time we have is not long, so I always tell myself thank god for everything I have today waking up every morning, loving this game we have – boxing.”
Dave Coldwell, trainer of Derek Chisora:
“The thing about Derek is, he loves this sport and loves fighting. But what gets him going is real fights, he’s not one of these fighters that when he gets to a certain level, he just wants to cash out against mediocre opposition that he believes he’s going to beat easily. He wants to test himself, and if you look at his resume and the fighters he’s fought, that shows and what gets him going.
“The Joseph Parker fight is a fight that since the first one that’s all he’s spoke about. The first one was a very good fight, it was close, regardless of who you thought won it makes no difference, Joseph Parker won the fight. Derek’s going in there to reverse the result and put on a performance.
“He’s [Chisora] working so hard, not just hard but smart. He’s a real pleasure to coach, people think he must be so hard to work with, he’s not, this time around he’s working with the younger guys in the gym – he’s a great inspiration to them. The difference with Derek this time around is he trains, he foes his work, then he stays behind and watch the sparring with the other guys.
“He’s almost enjoying being around the environment a little bit more, he seems happier and like I said the work is brilliant. I can’t knock what he’s doing right now and we’re still weeks away from the fight. I’m quite excited to see Derek put it together on fight night, we understand it’s going to be a hard fight.
“I’ve got all the respect in the world for Andy Lee, he’s such an intelligent man, he knows everything about this sport. All his fighters are dangerous, good fighters, and I expect because he’s had more time with Parker this time around I expect a better version of him, but I expect a better version of Derek, this is going to be a great fight.”
Lerrone Richards – New Malden, England – 15-0, 3 KOs – challenging Carlos Gongora for the IBO Super-Middleweight World Title:
“I’m very excited for this fight, I can’t wait to showcase my skills and show everybody what I’m about once again. I’m very confident about this fight, you’re going to see more of Lerrone Richards with a little bit more spice, I can’t wait.
“I was very adamant from when I started my professional career to box at every level, winning the British, Commonwealth, European Title and this is the next step. I can’t wait, I’m at this level, I believe my skills are beyond this level, it’s time for me to showcase this on December 18.”
Jack Cullen – Little Lever, England – 20-2-1, 9 KOs – challenging Emre Cukur for the vacant European Super-Middleweight Title:
“A European Title is every boxer’s dream; I’m going to go in there and get the job done. Little Lever, there was only 25 at fight camp, wait until there’s 1000 of them at Manchester Arena. It’s going to be amazing and I’m looking forward to, thanks for putting me on this card, it’s a brilliant card.
“We had a game plan from day one when we found out we were fighting Yildirim – it worked. It’s all down to Michael and Dave my coaches, at the end of the day we’ll go again. We’ve watched this guy; we’ll get a game plan, and we’ll get him beat.
“I think it’s going to be an easy fight, but we’ll see. Like you said, I’ve never been in an easy fight, I’m going to stick it on him anyway he’s having it the lad.”
Zelfa Barrett – Manchester, England – 26-1, 16 KOs – fighting Bruno Tarimo in an Eliminator for the IBF Super-Featherweight World Title:
“This is the kind of fight I need in Manchester; I’ve not boxed in front of a crowd in two years so I’m excited to just fight. I’ll put on a performance, Bruno is no pushover, he’s there to take me out, he’s rugged, he will give it. He’s made for me, you know he’s not going to stand there and box, he’s going to come to fight and give it his all, I’m ready for that.
“This is what’s in my mind constantly, it’s on my doorstep, put on a great performance. Stevenson is awesome, you’ve got to give credit where it’s due, but the rest of the champions aren’t the strongest. These guys are beatable, I’m in my range to beat these guys so I just need to put on a performance, get the win. My focus is on Bruno December 18, I’m going to win and be looking good as well.”
David Nyika – Hamilton, New Zealand – 1-0, 1 KO – fighting in a four-round Cruiserweight contest:
“I feel very privileged to be here, I’m in the heart of professional boxing here so this is a massive opportunity for me. I’m looking to put myself on notice in the Cruiserweight division.
“I think there’s a lot more to professional boxing than I initially thought, I feel like I’m rebuilding Rome starting to work with Andy Lee. I’m in great company with the likes of Joseph Parker, the Fury’s are in camp, I’m a sponge right now and this is a great opportunity for me to grow, learn and develop as a boxer – also as a person.”
Jordan Thompson – Manchester, England – 11-0, 9 KOs – fighting in a six-round Cruiserweight contest:
“It’s a pleasure to be able to get out and stay active, keep the momentum going. It was good to get the win in the style I did, making a little bit of an announcement on the scene, it felt like my debut again it’s been that long. I’m keen to keep going, keep the momentum going and put on a show in front of my home fans. Back in Manchester, my hometown, I’m looking forward to it.
“At the end of the day, I will always be going for the knockout. I let my hands go with bad intentions, but there’s going to come a day where I need to get rounds in, I’m going to need to learn – I’m still learning on the job. I do need to get those rounds in but I’m sure they’ll come; timing is everything. We’ll go out there and aim to get another knockout December 18.”
Sandy Ryan – Derby, England – 2-0, 1 KO – fighting in an eight-round Super-Lightweight contest:
“I’m looking forward to it, to be on a great card, a big card like this. Let’s go and put on another big performance.
“I know what level I’m at and I think I’ve showed in my first two fight. I boxed different in my first two fights and there’s more to come next year, get me some title fights Eddie.
“I’ll be going into every fight meaning business. Hurtful business.”
Rhiannon Dixon – Wigan, England – 3-0 – fighting in a four-round Lightweight contest:
“I can’t wait, it was unfortunate what happened last time but it’s great to be on such amazing card. It’s the return back at the Manchester Arena and I’m just excited to show people what I can do.
“Women’s boxing is just getting bigger and bigger and the more that people like myself and Sandy are on these shows and putting on amazing performances, we’re changing people’s opinions of women’s boxing. I’m just excited to where things are going and showing people what I can do on December 18.”