|Eddie Hearn, Matchroom Sport Chairman:|
“Thank you to everyone in attendance today here in Manchester ahead of a huge night of boxing this Saturday, live and exclusively on DAZN all around the world from the Manchester Arena.
“A huge crowd is expected as we wrap up what has been a sensational year against all odds. Tomorrow night we have our 43rd show of the year in Uzbekistan, Saturday night we have our 44th show of the year in Manchester and I think it’s one of the best shows we’ve put on so far this year.
“Of course, the main event a Heavyweight blockbuster, the rematch between Joseph Parker and Derek Chisora. One of four brilliant 50/50 championship fights on this card, littered with great young talent and fighters emerging on the World Championship stage.”
David Higgins, Founder and Director of Duco Events:
“It’s a pandemic and a crazy world. The fact Matchroom are still making events happen is fantastic. It’s a risky business, I think sometimes in boxing it’s fashionable to hate successful people, but I think everyone in the sport should be grateful Matchroom are keeping these shows going and providing the opportunities.
“We’re grateful for sure, and to Derek Chisora for always bringing a fight. Someone asked me today saying he’s going to come swinging trying to take Joseph’s head off does that worry you. I said no it doesn’t I’m sure we’ve prepared for that, but I’ve seen Joseph sometimes at his best in those types of situations. I’m sure Joseph is going to be cool and stick to the plan but if Derek wants to swing Joseph is ready for that too.”
“It’s great to be back in Manchester with the team. We’ve had a tremendous camp; this fight will be different from the first for sure.
“Not having a crowd made a big difference, I think Derek feeds off the crowd, I feed off of them too. A lot of fighters feed off the crowd and just having no noise and hearing specific voices it’s pretty weird.
“The World Title, my eyes are just purely on this weekend and Derek Chisora. I want to probably knock him out between round six and ten.”
Andy Lee, trainer of Joseph Parker:
“I know how much Chisora would have improved with Dave because when I won the World Title, in my corner assisting Adam Booth was Dave Coldwell – I know all about him. I know how he will help Chisora improve.
“After the first fight when the bell rang, I thought they were going to give the decision to Derek Chisora, I said it to him in the ring. We got the decision and when I watched it back, I thought Joe won the fight. We won’t be negative, Joe’s going to be a lot more positive, he’ll stand a lot more, fight a lot more and be more consistent with his attack. It should make for an excellent fight.
“If anything, the crowd in there will be a benefit to Chisora more than Parker because he’ll feed of that and the energy, he’s a big favourite. He’s now the hero, people love him and his fight style, he’s given us great fights over the years. We’re here to do business, when Joseph gets in the ring, he’ll be different in terms of the spite he has, mentally and physically.”
Chose not to speak.
Dave Coldwell, trainer of Derek Chisora:
“I think as a fighter gets more experience under their belt, they get wiser and realise certain mistakes that they made earlier on in their career they can’t afford to make as they go on. They just learn and get smarter.
“Derek when he linked up with David Haye, changed the way he lived nutrition-wise, looking after his body and keeping it maintained even between fights. Even though he’s getting older, that takes it’s time to really bed in and with consistency you get better results in how you perform.
“Right now, Derek is performing really well, I’m happy with the work he’s done in the gym, his commitment, his sparring sessions have been great. He’s in a good place and you’ll see on Saturday.
“I don’t expect it to go the distance. I think Parker’s link up with Andy Lee, he’s a very smart man when it comes to boxing, he’s worked with two of the best in business and to sprinkle a bit of Andy Lee’s knowledge in there you’re going to get results. I’m expecting a better, more aggressive and positive Joseph Parker, but in the same vein I’m seeing a better Derek Chisora.
“People have underestimated what a difference having a crowd makes to these guys, Derek loves the crowds singing his name and getting behind him. Certain fighters it doesn’t affect, your cool calculated boxing skillsters who’ll think their way through everything. Fighters like Derek and Joseph, they get that vibe, and it adds an extra few per cent. When you’re talking about performance levels in these kinds of fights, those little per cents add up.”
“I’ve sold near enough 1,000 tickets, and I’ve promised everyone I’m winning the European Title, that’s my early Christmas present. I’m taking it with both hands and I’m going for it, I’ve had the European Title in my head for a long while and come 18th December it’ll be a victory and a dream come true.
“You win a European Title and you’re right up there in all the rankings, anything can happen after this. I’ve just got to get past Sadjo on the 18thand we’re ready for next year.
“I’ve just got to stick to my game plan, if I stick to it then it should be a good night for me.”
Kevin Lele Sadjo:
“I did accept the challenge very quickly and thanks for the invitation. I am in form, my camp has had me training ready for a fight, when the opportunity arises to feature on a Chisora card it’s something you can’t miss. Without even watching Jack Cullen we were ready to sign up quickly and I’m hoping to return to France with the European Title.
“It’s funny you should choose the word war; the war is not in the crowd but in the ring. The war is where I position myself as a boxer, it’s not just the crowd for Jack Cullen, my crowd is watching me at home on DAZN. I think it’s going to be a superb encounter and the war is all about heart and I’ve brought my heart.”
“Bruno Tarimo, I’ve studied him, watched him, I know he’s a solid fighter. He throws the kitchen sink and has a bit of brains about him, but this is my World Title fight. I’m not thinking about anything else, he’s my target and I respect him and the struggles he’s had. This is boxing, it doesn’t matter where you’re from or what you’ve done, it’s all about what happens in the ring. I’m excited and more than ready for this.
“I’m doing this for my mum, it’s been a hard year but tough times, tough people. This is boxing and I can express how I feel in the ring, come Saturday night I’ll be victorious.”
“Firstly, I want to thank God for bringing me here safe, this is my first time in Manchester for a big show. Thanks to Matchroom for bringing me onto the show, I appreciate it. Thanks for the support of my team in Australia and Tanzania – for my country.
“I come from nothing, I can fight Super-Bantam but I have opportunity in Australia, it helps me but it doesn’t have the small weight. I have to take the big fight with big people to be World Champion and help my family.
“Zelfa Barrett is a good fighter, he’s smart and my team and I back in Australia were watching him. Every fighter is different, all the fighters in Australia know and support me, it’s going to be a good show on Saturday night.”
“This is a world level fight, a real-world level fight, a fight that I relish, and I know I can win – win in great fashion.
“The winner of this fight, which will be me, can push on to world level. I’m excited about this fight, it’s an opportunity for me to showcase my skills at the higher level and shut the doubters up. Once I win this fight, the future is bright.”
“I feel very lucky to be here, thank you for having me on the card. I have the opportunity now to let people know who David Nyika is, I’m here to stay in the UK and ready to make my mark. I feel totally blessed to be part of such a big camp.
“I didn’t come away with a gold medal, so I technically didn’t achieve my ultimate dream of getting a gold. Onwards and upwards, this is an opportunity for me to make a living and continue down a path that I’ve dreamed of as a kid.”
“We’re also looking to make a statement, my trainer Clifton Mitchell is holding me back a little bit, he wants me to start strong, sharp and box. When we see an opening, we’re going to take her out.
“Don’t worry, the knockout is going to happen, we’re going to show a little boxing first. It isn’t going eight rounds.”
“It’s a pleasure to be back out, especially in my hometown, I’m looking to go out there and put on another explosive performance. Like I always say, artistic violence, that’s one thing you can expect with me.
“The Cruiserweight scene domestically is buzzing right now; I definitely see myself getting amongst that and coming out top of the crop. Like I said, I’ve got an amazing team in place, I’m looking forward to what next year brings. Definitely titles on the horizon no doubt about it.”
“I think activity is one of the most important things to be out on a regular basis. I know I’ve got a durable opponent for the weekend; he’s been with some of the domestic fighters I’ve been fighting for British and European Titles so I’m looking to make a statement on Saturday and do things other Welterweights haven’t been able to do.”
“It was a bit frustrating hearing my opponent potentially pulled out again and all the mix up of this week. I’m just excited to get there on Saturday. I’m just looking to make my mark on 2022 and I just can’t wait for it.”
“Two weeks ago, you [Eddie] slid into my DM’s and asked if I wanted to fight, I said yeah let’s go. People have routine victories, I have routine knockouts, I think Saturday is going to be another routine knockout. I’m going to operate like John Wick.
“I like this, I like this living. I give it all to boxing and for the next five to six years I just want to box – I don’t want to do anything else.
“Let’s go, like I said I have a brilliant team, we are going for the Bridgerweight Title. I’m really into it and let’s go, I’m going to give my whole life to it and I’m sure we’re going to get it.”
The action-packed card is in association with promoter Phil Jeffries, and sees local hero Lewis Ritson meet Christian Uruzquieta, three-weight world champion Ricky Burns take on Emiliano Dominguez, unbeaten Thomas Patrick Ward face Leonardo Padilla, plus Mark Dickinson, Joe Laws, Joe Maphosa, Adam Cope, Mark McKeown, Alex Farrell, Jordan Flynn and Ewan Mackenzie are all in action.
It will be shown live on Free Sports, BoxNation and Premier Sports in the UK, on Fight Network in the USA and Canada, plus more networks worldwide. Here’s what all the boxers had to say at today’s final press conference:
Ritson: “It was a massive setback in my last fight. It wasn’t the best of performances, but I’ll make that right on Saturday. I’ll get a good win and then we’ll get people talking about me again and the dream can stay alive.
“A lot of the fighters in the North East have fought at the Rainton Arena in their careers, and we’ll get plenty of fans in there and create plenty of noise. It’s going to be a good night.
“I’ll wait and see what Uruzquieta comes with and brings. We know he can box and fight a bit, but we’ve got a plan for what to do on the night.
“I’ve heard what Probellum’s next plan is, so I need to make sure I can get through Saturday and then get people talking about me again.”
Uruzquieta: “I’m very happy to be here. I want to thank God, Probellum and Miura Boxing. I’m happy to come back to Europe and this will be a fight that I will win.
“I’m a Mexican warrior, and I don’t know if I will win by points or knockout, but it will be a great fight and I will definitely win.”
Ward: “My opponent is a good fighter, and I’m looking forward to Saturday. I’ve been knocking on the door for a world title for a long time. I was one of the best super-bantamweights, but my shot never come, now I’m pushing on at featherweight.
“There are a lot of good guys there who I’d love to fight. Both me and my opponent on Saturday are ranked high with the WBA, and this is a fight that will push us closer to a shot at that title. Leo Santa Cruz still holds the Super title, and then you have Leigh Wood and Michael Conlan fighting next year too.
“There’s Emanuel Navarrete who I was chasing down at super-bantamweight and not many wanted to fight him. It seems to be the same for him at featherweight, but that’s a fight that I still want. I’ve got to get through Saturday and then we’ll see where I go.
“At super-bantamweight it was getting too hard to make the weight, and my best performances wouldn’t have come from me at that weight. It was time to move up, and now this is a really good division to be in.
“I want titles, so whoever has them is who I want to fight. Just send the contract over. I’ll travel to you and you can choose where you want to fight and you can pick what gloves, it doesn’t make a difference for me.
“You can expect a good performance from me on Saturday. The fans are the real winners, as Probellum are putting on this great show. Look at the talent you’ve got here, so thanks to them for this event.”
Padilla: “First of all I want to thank God. This is a fight that can lead to something big for me, and this is a great chance for me to be on the big stage, so it’s good for my career. I’ve got a good team with me, and I’m here to win. I’ve fought better rivals than Ward, and soon you’ll be hearing ‘and the new’ after this fight.”
Burns: “I’m looking forward to being back. I never say no to any opponent, and whatever names they give to me that’s who I’ll get in there with. This is my first fight back in two years, and in that two years there have been a lot of fights spoken about and a few dates that have fallen through.
“I’ve teamed up with new trainers and I’m training alongside Mark McKeown now, so I’m excited to put on a good show. After each fight I’m straight back in the gym, as boxing is one of those sports where if you don’t enjoy it, it’s too hard.
“I always drag myself out of bed at 6:30am to do the track work, and if I wasn’t good enough I’d be the first one who knows it’s time to call it a day. I was in a bad place after the Lee Selby fight, it was close but I thought I’d done enough to win.
“In the build up everybody just kept going on about my age and when I would retire. I was thinking ‘you do know I’m fighting on Saturday don’t you?’ It felt like I was being forced out, but thanks to Probellum for making this happen, and we’ll get down to business on Saturday.
Dickinson: “I want to start off by saying a big thank you to Probellum for this opportunity so quickly after my debut. My debut wasn’t broadcast on TV, so this time it’s going to be good to be shown properly as a fight in front of my home fans.”
Laws: “After the loss against Rylan Charlton, I went back to the drawing board and straight back into the gym and asked myself a lot of questions.
“I’m enjoying the ride and I’m training hard, and I hope that on Saturday I can perform exactly like I have been doing in the gym.”
McKeown: “I can’t wait to get in there on Saturday and showcase what I’ve got. Big thanks to Probellum for giving me the opportunity to be on a card as big as this, and I won’t disappoint.”
Promoter Phil Jeffies: “It’s great that Probellum is coming to the North East, especially with the likes of Lewis and Tommy. This show will be a sellout, and it will be rocking inside the Rainton Arena.
“The fans in the North East know how to make an atmosphere, and it will be great to have them all in here. I’m chuffed to be working with Probellum. They know how to treat the boxers, and we’re going to push boxing in the North East.”
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