“I’m confident because as I said last time, I was going to become World Champion and I did it. I said I was going to beat Kid Galahad within the distance, and I did. The same will happen on Saturday, I will beat Josh Warrington within the distance. Maybe he’s too confident and doesn’t understand he’s facing Kiko Martinez.
“Josh is a great boxer, he’s won some fantastic fights in his career, beating Frampton, Selby, Galahad and many more. He’s still a big name in boxing, I think he was doing well in the Lara fight until the accidental clash of heads. He’s still got credibility in the world of boxing, and I want to go on and beat him, knowing last time it wasn’t just luck when I won the world title against Kid Galahad.
“I’m confident because I’ve visualised this in training, I’ve visualised knocking Josh Warrington out. When I say something, I’ll do it, so you can’t just believe it and not follow through and do it. When I say things, I’m going to do it and I’m going to do it on Saturday night.”
“I’m very excited, I’ve had a few sunbeds and my hair is looking on point, suit on. It’s a good occasion, the sun’s out, it kind of reminds me of four years ago when I first become World Champion – same kind of energy. I feel like the city is excited for Saturday night because they know what’s to come, World Championship will be staying in Leeds. I’m very grateful to Kiko for giving me this opportunity but the belt is staying here on Saturday night.
“I must have upset him in some way because he’s demanded this fight. I’ve said it in many interviews, it’s how this sport work, it goes in circles. We were meant to be sparring partners for the Lara rematch, it’s funny he’s gone on to win a World Title and his first defence is against me. He’s confident and I’m sure he would have trained hard, but I’ll be ready for everything he brings on Saturday night.
“I’ve trained for a hard twelve round fight, 5 years ago we shared some hard rounds but those five years ago my stock has risen since then. I’ve only gotten better and better, I’ve had some slip-ups in the last year but it’s time to get back on top.
“I only focus on winning; I know Kiko’s mentioned himself win or retire and putting himself under that pressure. I’m just focused on winning and having that hand raised, that’s how I see myself, being in that arena. And the new.
“My book has gone from potentially being in the bargain aisle of Asda to a best-seller, what a chapter this is. It’s all in my hands, I’ve got to do the business, it’s funny how this sport works. I’ve got to make sure my stars have aligned for a reason and go out there on Saturday night and do what I’ve done all camp. I’m trained hard, I’ve worked hard and I’m ready for anything.”
Maria Cecilia Roman:
“First and foremost, thank you to all the people who have made this possible. It’s a big night for me on Saturday, in my boxing career I’ve always set myself objectives and I’ve always managed to achieve those objectives – it comes from working hard. Now my ambition is to be the best in my division and Saturday will be another step to go on, my plan is going on and win other titles. This is going to be another objective I’m going to achieve on Saturday.
“It’s going to be a total war on Saturday, I think it’ll be great for all boxing fans and in particular female boxing fans. It’s going to be another successful defence for me on Saturday night.”
“It’s absolutely unreal, to be a co-main event fighting in Leeds for a World Title, I just feel so grateful. Cecilia coming over here to fight me, I’m just so excited about this fight, I’ve been excited about having this for before it was even happening.
“I wanted this fight because I knew it was going to be a great fight, as in a fan-favourite kind of fight. Having the World Title on the line just makes everything even more exciting for me.
“Moving over here and doing my camp here with Mark [Tibbs] has been amazing, we’ve definitely gelled well, and I think I’ve definitely changed his opinion – how women train and our mindsets. I’m really excited to be Mark Tibbs and the whole families first female World Champion.
“This fight and becoming a champion is the exclamation mark on this part of my story, having the belt around my waist and proving you can really do things if you set your mind to it. Everything that I stand for, having that belt, for me is the final point of it.
“Without being a World Champion it’s a great story but being a World Champion means everything to me, it means a lot for the women out there. Being a World Champion would change my life and I’m really excited for that.
“I’m always ready, I’ve come through a lot of adversity in all of my fights, I don’t see me losing this fight. I’m literally going for it all and I believe it’s my time to win this fight.”
“We wanted this and not someone to come in and lay down, the last fight I was a massive underdog, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. In my mind it’s the same again, I like that he’s here talking, it takes words like that for the bookies to think he’s the favourite.
“I’m glad he’s up for it because I’ve had this fire in my belly for a while, but this fight in particular gives me this bit between my teeth. I’m glad it’s like this.
“One thing of how I approach every fight, I haven’t got that mindset or that chip on my shoulder. I’m the champion and he’s got to come and take my belt, although I’m the owner of this belt it can just be vacant, I’ve got to go and prove I’m worthy and that I deserve it. I’ve got to show I’m worthy to be the owner of that belt, it’s great being full-time but I haven’t taken it for granted because it’s taken me such a long time to be full-time.
“I know what it’s like going to work, getting up in the morning in shit weather and having to squeeze training in, a run here and there. I’m doing it properly now and I appreciate it, I’m not taking it for granted. I know how much it means and I’m not letting it slip. I’m not here enjoying it as a fan to enjoy the fight, this is how the rest of my career is going.
“Ryan’s cast his net out there but I’m not taking the bait. It doesn’t matter however the fight goes, I’ll do what necessary to win, however it comes. I’m fully prepared for whatever it is, just expect me to win.”
“I’m really enjoying not being hungry, thirsty, and just the usual stuff I think all my counterparts are feeling. It’s very alien to me.
“I do call to Maxi, you showed it when you caught Saffron that you’ve got that in you. It’s not a natural thing for you, you’re a southpaw. I’m calling that upon you, I’m beckoning you, I’ll stand in the middle of the ring, let’s adhere to the warrior god.
“No one’s fought me yet and not for a sustained period, even the two that beat me, that haven’t fought me. You want to fight Maxi, you want to inspire everyone else, I was inspired by Conlan and Wood.
“I haven’t had a fight of the year; I haven’t even been close and you [Maxi] have just been nominated for one of the boxers of the year. Let’s do it, why not, we’ve got twelve rounds which is a long time, and a fight will break out. When it does, I don’t want you to run away, let’s entertain the people.
“It’s a good story but let’s have it right, Liam won that fight against Maxi. As far as ending Liam’s career, he was sparring me at the start of this. I think Maxi should have a lot to thank Liam for because without COVID, he can’t be British Champion, he can’t IBO Champion because he was there. It’s my duty to step it, Maxi’s story doesn’t happen if Liam doesn’t get it.
“I haven’t even thought about defeat, I’ve never gone into a fight ever believing that the man can beat me. I’ve been told and I’ve got really honest brothers, when I fought Lee Selby, my brother didn’t want that fight. When we fought, I wasn’t good enough and was beat by experience, beat by the better man but he understood that I did have the style to beat that man, but I wasn’t good enough that night. I’ve made mistakes in the sport, but I won’t be making those mistakes against Maxi.”
“My last couple of fights now have been step ups and these are the fights we have been asking for for the more titles. The fight that was originally scheduled got removed so we looked to Ray Moylette and thought he was the perfect opponent for my next fight.
“I know what Ray’s about and he knows what I’m about.
“We [Ray and Dalton] haven’t achieved what we have achieved by just playing around.
“There’s obviously going to be pressure on the ones who are coming up but I am confident in my abilities. I know the level where I am going to get at and this is just a stepping stone for me.
“Ray is no easy opponent. It’s a tough challenge, what I’ve got on Saturday night. I’ve got to bring something more than what I have in my previous 9 fights as a professional. And you’re going to see that.”
“I’ve been reaching out to Matchroom for a long time because Matchroom is the benchmark for boxing especially in England and Ireland. I’m just grateful to have the opportunity and I’m excited to take it, so I’m ready for it.
“We all started boxing years ago and it’s always the dream to fight on the big shows and the big cards and thankfully now I have the opportunity to do that. I’ve been on the count for the last three years and then I can was sidelined for other boxers. I didn’t have the backend. But thankfully I kept myself in shape, ready, and in the position that when the opportunity came – I knew you’d come calling at some stage, but I didn’t think it would take three years to get on a card. – thankfully it did and I’m ready for it.
“I’m here as an opponent for Dalton on paper but in reality when I heard I got the opportunity to fight him, I was expecting a much harder fight on one of your shows.
“I’m coming off the couch and I’m ready to fight. I’d be daft not to take this fight that I know I can win.”
“I’m very excited. I promised the fans that I was going to be active and I’m definitely living up to that 3 weeks out and I’m back in.
“I have confidence in my ability, and I know what I’m capable of. I want to test myself against the best so I’m going to keep putting my hand up to fight the best girls.
“I’m expecting a tough fight and I know that Bec comes fighting. She’s no pushover so I’m just focusing on having a good performance and showing everyone a side of me that they haven’t seen yet.”
“There wasn’t a role for me, as far as I know, I went out and got what I wanted and created my own role for myself because I was never going to be a walkover. I’m not the elite but we know if you want to get to the top, you’ve got to get through the gatekeeper.
“I’ve trained anyway, even if I wasn’t boxing, I love training. I have taken quite a few fights on a day’s notice because I do stay ready, and I do love what I do. Some things have gotten in the way and I’ve made some mistakes with opportunities that I’ve had but I’m not going to let that stop me. I’ll keep the smile on my face and keep trying until the day that I retire.”
“Obviously, this stage is a big stage so I want to put on a big performance in front of my home crowd.
“The preparation for this one has been ideal really.
“Looking forward to watching some really good boxing from not just Josh but everyone on this card.”
“Yeah 100%, I’m ready for this one.
“I’m going to put on a spectacular performance. Not sure how many rounds we are doing this time, 4 or 6, doesn’t make much of a difference.
“No slip-ups. You’ll see what I am about this time around.
“I’ve been traveling, sparring, getting in more rounds and I’m putting in the right work with the team in the gym.”
“Thank you, Eddie, Matchroom and DAZN for getting me on a massive card. These are the cards you dream of being on when coming through the amateurs.
“It was a good debut. I was pretty good with it. … I’m looking to be as active as possible this year. I want to push on a get as much as experience as I can.
“I honestly don’t know why I need to be held back at all at the moment. I’m taking it one day at a time. I’m looking past the old ones especially on Saturday night.
“Matchroom need a few North East stars especially up in Newcastle and I believe I am the one for the job.”
Ritson headlines the big night of boxing at the Utilita Arena, which also sees stand-out amateur Pat McCormack make his highly anticipated professional debut, and the atmosphere as the local hero hit the scales was a taste of what is to come on Friday.
McCormack, who faces a late change of opponent, features as the co-main event with Troy Williamson defending his British super-welterweight title on a packed card.
UK fight fans can watch the action live on Eurosport’s linear channels, discovery+ and Eurosport App, with the fights also being shown around the world.
The broadcast is due to start at 9pm local time.
10 Rounds Super-lightweight contest
Lewis Ritson (22-2) 10st
Dejan Zlaticanin (24-3) 9st 13lbs
6 Rounds Welterweight contest
Pat McCormack (debut) (weighs in tomorrow)
Justin Menzie (5-5-1) (weighs in tomorrow)
BRITISH SUPER-WELTERWEIGHT TITLE – 12 Rounds
Troy Williamson (17-0-1) 11st
Mason Cartwright (17-2-1) 10st 13lbs 12oz
6 Rounds Super-middleweight contest
Mark Dickinson (2-0) 11st 8lbs
Peter Kramer (11-4-3) 11st 6lbs
10 Rounds Featherweight contest
Thomas Patrick Ward (31-0-1) 9st 3lbs
Alexis Boureima Kabore (28-5) 8st 13lbs
6 Rounds Light-heavyweight contest
Ben Rees (debut) (weighs in tomorrow)
Greg O’Neill (6-6) (weighs in tomorrow)
6 Rounds Welterweight contest
Joe Laws (12-1) 11st 11lbs
Alexey Tukhtarov (4-27-6) 10st 13lbs
6 Rounds Cruisweight contest
Robert Ismay (10-0) (weighs in tomorrow)
Christian Adjoufack (0-7) (weighs in tomorrow)
6 Rounds Super-flyweight contest
Joe Maphosa (11-1) 8st 5lbs
Santiago el Eusibio (3-3-2) 8st 4lbs
4 Rounds Cruiserweight
Stephen Sayer (debut) 13st 8lbs
Daryl Sharp (6-85-1) 13st 12lbs
4 Rounds Super-welterweight contest
Alex Farrell (6-0) (weighs in tomorrow)
Konstantin Alexandrov (10-53-4) (weighs in tomorrow)
4 Rounds Lightweight contest
Adam Cope (3-0) (weighs in tomorrow)
Jonny Phillips (5-9) (weighs in tomorrow)