THIS FIGHT IS ALL ABOUT BOXING BRAINS SAYS SAUNDERS

Unbeaten Brit has total faith in his skills against Canelo
Billy Joe Saunders says he has the boxing brain to dethrone pound-for-pound king Canelo Alvarez in their blockbuster Super-Middleweight unification battle on Saturday night (May 8), live worldwide on DAZN and distributed by TV Azteca in Mexico and Latin America.

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Unbeaten Briton Saunders (30-0 18 KOs) puts his WBO strap on the line for the third time against the Mexican star and is aiming to add the WBC and WBA Super belts held by the Mexican sensation.
 
Saunders has been widely regarded as having the ring smarts to be the man to hand Canelo a first defeat in eight years and be the man to take the next step to being undisputed at 168lbs – and the 31 year old says fighting Canelo on Cinco de Mayo weekend holds no fear.
 
“This fight is all about the brain,” said Saunders. “Not about power, muscle or skill, it’s the brain and the game plan, and being able to execute that game plan.
 
“I brush opinions off because I know what goes through my head and my mind, and what I have done in my career is through the will and want to win, and the day I lose that, I won’t put a pair of gloves on again.
 
“I can only control what I am in control of and that myself, not what is outside the ring. It’s going to be a great fight it’s one I’ve wanted for years and it’s finally landed. There’s a lot at stake for both of us. Would I like my fans there? Yes. Would I like UK media there? Yes. If the fight was moved to the Mexican border I wouldn’t care.
 
“I have my own way of approaching the fight and Canelo will have too, he’s done this nearly 60 times. I’ll get in there as the best that I can be and that’s all I can control.
 
“I’ve been the underdog before, I’ve been the away fighter before, it’s not a new position, but I’m just in with a better opponent this time. 
 
“If I go in there and I win, I’m not going to run and say never again, I’ll fight him again, I’ll fight anyone, anywhere, it doesn’t bother me. It’s good for boxing sometimes when the underdogs come through, and I don’t just mean me here, because it puts the sport on a higher platform to be watched.
 
“I’m at the top of the tree where I’ve done it all as an amateur, I’ve had 30 fights, I’m unbeaten, won every title coming through, two-weight World champion – I can sit back at night and say I’m top of the pile fighting the pound-for-pound king.”
 
Alvarez and Saunders clash on a huge night of action in Texas with a stacked undercard in support of the mammoth main event, with Elwin Soto (18-1 12 KOs) defending his WBO World Light-Flyweight title against Katsunari Takayama (32-8 12 KOs).
 
Kieron Conway (16-1-1 3 KOs) defends his WBA Intercontinental Super-Welterweight title against Souleymane Cissokho (12-0 8 KOs), Eddy Reynoso trained Cuban Heavyweight Frank Sanchez (17-0 13 KOs) meets Nagy Aguilera (21-10 14 KOs), Mexican-American talent Marc Castro (2-0 2 KOs) fights on his third Canelo undercard, Castro’s old amateur foe Keyshawn Davis (2-0 2 KOs) faces Jose Antonio Meza (6-4 1 KO) over six rounds and it’s a family affair on the night with Keyshawn’s brother Kelvin Davis (1-0 1 KO) fights for the second time in the paid ranks, with Mexican Welterweight Christian Alan Gomez Duran (19-2-1 17 KOs) celebrating Cinco De Mayo weekend over eight rounds against an opponent to be named soon.
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PARKER EDGES PAST CHISORA VIA SPLIT DECISION

Results from Manchester
12 x 3 mins vacant WBO Intercontinental Heavyweight Title
DEREK CHISORA v JOSEPH PARKER WSD12 (115-113 Chisora, 116-111 Parker, 115-113 Parker)
(Finchley, England)  (Auckland, New Zealand)

Joseph Parker overcame a first-round knockdown to defeat Derek Chisora by split decision following a brutal Heavyweight battle at the AO, Arena Manchester, live on Sky Sports Box Office in the UK and on DAZN in all markets excluding the UK, Ireland, China, New Zealand and Samoa.

The New Zealander had a disastrous start, hitting the canvas in the opening seconds, and Parker showed grit along with his classy combinations to secure victory with tallies of 115-113 and 116-111, with Chisora receiving a score of 115-113.

“I am feeling it,” Parker told Matchroom. “Derek landed a lot of shots on me. I’ll probably feel it more tomorrow. The plan was to come out and box smartly and stay focused. I got caught right at the beginning. I think it was round the back of the head, I didn’t see it.

“The plan was to box and move and be smart. With the guidance of Andy I was able to box. We didn’t have the longest time together. I know I needed a lot of work. I need to keep learning from Andy and practicing the things we work on in the gym. “It was a tough fight and I got caught right at the beginning. I just had to dig deep and stay focused and follow the plan that we had in place. Swayed off a bit, but Derek is a very tough opponent. He came forward, put pressure on me from the beginning. Threw big bombs and landed a lot. “The boxing skills won me some rounds towards the end. It was a very close fight. I thought it could go either way, and I’m very thankful and blessed to get the win today. He brought the smoke. If you want to feel it, jump in the ring with him. “It’s very achievable [World Title fight]. I just have to get back to the training. There’s a lot of things I have to work on. I had a good plan in place. There’s still a lot I can show, I just have to keep working with Andy, and more camps ahead. We could do it next fight.”

10 x 2 mins Undisputed Lightweight World Titles
KATIE TAYLOR WUD10 (96-94, 96-95, 96-95) v NATASHA JONAS 
(Bray, Ireland)                                                       (Liverpool, England)

Katie Taylor retained her WBC, WBA, IBF, WBO and Ring Magazine Lightweight World Titles after a unanimous decision victory over Natasha Jonas with scores of 96-94, 96-95 and 96-95.

The Irish star shared another memorable meeting with Jonas, nine years after their London 2012 Olympic Games bout, as Taylor was forced to dig deep for the win.

“Again, it was probably a bit too exciting for my liking,” Taylor told Matchroom. “It was definitely a toe to toe battle in there. I thought I was a bit flat early on, but I dug deep to win the championship rounds. I definitely showed the heart of a champion in there and that’s what won me the fight in the end.

“She showed everything it takes to win a World Title in her last two performances. Tonight was a brilliant showcase for women’s boxing and boxing overall. Every time we fought as amateurs it was that type of fight as well. I’d prepared for a hard ten-round battle tonight and that’s exactly what it was.

“Eddie was saying that fight would have brought the PPV sales up a small bit. That’s obviously a great start. I feel sorry for the main event coming out after that fight. It was a thrilling fight. I’m just delighted to come out of it with the belts and still undefeated. 18-0, onwards and upwards. This is what I’m in the sport for, I want to be involved in the biggest fights. There’s plenty of those fights out there for me.”

4 x 3 mins Lightweight contest 
CAMPBELL HATTON WPTS4 (40-36) v LEVI DUNN
(Manchester, England)                           (Prestwich, England)

Campbell Hatton sealed a shutout points victory over Levi Dunn as he made a winning debut in his hometown of Manchester.The 20-year-old was fighting at the scene of father Ricky’s World Title triumphs after a frantic debut in Gibraltar and he displayed more discipline, sealing a 40-36 verdict following four rounds.“I could tell during the whole build up that I’d be a lot better in this fight,” Hatton told Matchroom. “I’ve just been so much more relaxed. It’s night and day. I’ve not watched it back yet, but I think I did show a lot smarter boxing and a bit more composure. 

“There’s still room for improvement but I’m buzzing with it. I’ve not had probably 10% of what I had to do last time. I’m grateful for it. I think I was hurting him a bit more this time. In a spar, it isn’t about taking them out is it. He was doing a lot of holding. He’s a tough kid and he’s done the job that he was here to do. I think I would have got him out of there if there was a bit less holding.

“My heroes have boxed here, so it’s a box ticked for me. It was weird walking down the ramp with no crowd. I can’t wait to do it again here when it’s packed. It’s not new to me now, I’ve got a bit more used to it. I’ll be straight back in the gym ready to go again. It’s all learning, and by keeping busy, I think I’ll be flying soon.”

10 x 3 mins Middleweight contest
CHRIS EUBANK JR WUD10 (98-92, 98-92, 98-92) v MARCUS MORRISON
(Brighton, England)                                                    (Hattersley, England)

Chris Eubank Jr marked his return to Britain with a punishing points victory over Marcus Morrison to stay on course for a big name fight later this year. 

Eubank Jr ended a lengthy absence from the ring, hurting Morrison on a number of occasions before sealing victory with three scores of 98-92.

The Brighton star had Morrison in trouble as early as the second round, but says he decided to let his opponent recover in order to gain valuable rounds. 

“My last fight lasted two rounds, so really it’s been two years since I had a twelve-round fight,” Eubank Jr told Matchroom. “There was definitely some ring rust, and there was definitely some getting back into the swing of things. I had him hurt bad in the second round. I backed off. I wanted him to recover so that I could be seen again. 

“I’m back on TV, I’m back fighting, this is my home. This is my life; this is what I do. I wanted to go the distance and get those rounds in. I’m happy with the performance. I followed instruction; he was telling me to do things in the corner and I went out there and did it. That’s kind of alien to me. Usually most of my career has been dependent on what I want to do, my instincts and my reaction. But now we have a head coach in Roy Jones Jr and I full trust him. I’m happy to be paired with him.

“This is the beginning of a long and great journey for me. I want to be very active this year, I want to fight at least twice more. This is a good start. Full credit to Marcus. I’ve hit guys with shots like that and they’ve gone. He kept coming. A lot of respect for Marcus. There’s a lot of World Champions in the Middleweight division. There’s a lot of big names out there for me to go and fight. Golovkin is the end goal, and anyone with a World Title. I’m coming, they’re all on the radar.”

12 x 3 mins WBA Light-Heavyweight World Title
DMITRY BIVOL WUD12 (118-110, 115-113, 115-114) v CRAIG RICHARDS 
(Saint Petersburg, Russia)                                            (Crystal Palace, England)

Dmitry Bivol retained his WBA Light-Heavyweight World Title via a unanimous decision despite a spirited performance from South Londoner Craig Richards. 

The unbeaten Russian is recognised as one of the finest fighters in the 175lbs division, but he was made to work for victory over ‘Spider’ Richards with scores of 118-110, 115-113, 115-114.

“I’m not happy but I’m okay,” Bivol told Matchroom. “It was a long rest for me and I went into the ring after one and a half years. It’s fine. My opponent was a good fighter, really good. He’s smart and he thinks. He was thinking for the whole fight.

“It’s okay. I was feeling that I’d won. I gave him a couple of rounds for recovery. I landed more clean punches. I respect him and I respected him before the fight. I think he can make problems for all fighters because of his style.

“He moved a lot. Fighters who move a lot and have good speed are really hard. He is a good fighter, but I have more weapons in my arsenal. I’m glad I have had another defence. Of course, I want unification fights. I still want them. I haven’t had a chance to fight for another belt, this is why I defend my belt.

“I’d like to fight for another belt, it would be a good challenge for me. I believe I can become the Undisputed World Champion one day, this is why I train, that’s why I have a good team. I believe one day I will be if I train hard. Thanks to everyone who supports me and watched this fight.”
 
4 x 3 mins Heavyweight contest
JOHNNY FISHER TKO3 (1:46) v PHIL WILLIAMS
(Romford, England)                     (Swindon, England)

Johnny Fisher moved to 2-0 as he stopped Swindon’s Phil Williams in the third round with a barrage of hurtful punches. 

‘The Romford Bull’ gave another impressive display of his raw power, forcing the referee to step in after a sustained assault.

“I thought it was brilliant to get out on such short notice,” Fisher told Matchroom. “Credit to Sam Jones and Eddie Hearn for getting the fight there for me. Phil Williams is an awkward and tough opponent; he’s only been stopped four or five times in 30 bouts. Awkward fight, but I got him out of there and I showed I could go three rounds and keep a high pace.

“I’m trying to find the balance between having that killer instinct and sitting behind my boxing. Sometimes in there you probably get caught between the two. As I progress, I’ll be able to use that killer instinct more effectively. It was an awkward fight, but I showed that I’ve got the strength and the power to stop people. I stopped him in the third round. We’ll go against for the next one as soon as we can. 
 
“If you stay ready, you’ll get opportunities, especially at Matchroom and with S-JAM Boxing. I showed I can turn up and get the job done. I’m very grounded. I played rugby for a long time. That teaches you a lot of discipline. I’ve got family and a support network who believe in me. They always tell me the truth as well, and I’ll always be truthful about my own performances.

“It’s all systems go, ready for the next one. I’ve got to get that jab off, because in the gym it’s coming off lovely. When you get under them lights, you can have a bit of eagerness. I’ve only had four amateur senior fights and I’ve got a long way to go in the professional ranks.”

12 x 3 mins vacant IBO Lightweight World Title
JAMES TENNYSON v JOVANNI STRAFFON TKO1 (2:10)
(Belfast, Northern Ireland)  (Mexico City, Mexico)

James Tennyson was dropped and stopped as Mexico’s Jovanni Straffon produced a stunning first-round victory to claim the vacant IBO Lightweight World Title.

The Belfast man was stunned by an early onslaught from Straffon, who dropped Tennyson heavily and then forced referee Michael Alexander to wave the fight off after just two minutes and ten seconds.

“I dreamed about this several years ago,” Straffon told Matchroom. “I know I was up against everything. I knew he was a very strong fighter. He called himself ‘The Assassin’, but he was assassinated. He punches hard, but nothing punches harder than life.

“It has been a very good year for Mexican boxing. There has been lots of surprises and upsets. I’m not really surprised about what happened. I have been well prepared for a year. I knew I was the big underdog but now I’m the winner.

“I would really like the opportunity to work with Eddie Hearn. I would like to thank my manager and promoter. I hope some really good things are coming my way. I believe I just won an opportunity to get some of the tough and big names out there. Don’t give up on anything, always keep on dreaming because dreams do come true.”

8 x 3 mins International Super-Middleweight contest
SCOTT FITZGERALD TKO3 (2:43) v GREGORY TRENEL
(Preston, England)                              (Dainville, France)

Former British Super-Welterweight Champion Scott Fitzgerald ended his lengthy absence from the ring with a third-round stoppage of Frenchman Gregory Trenel in the opening bout of the evening. 

Fitzgerald hadn’t boxed since landing the British Title against Ted Cheeseman back in October 2019, and returned at Super-Middleweight as he continues to work his way back down to 154lbs. 

In his post fight interview, the unbeaten Preston talent reiterated his desire to rematch one of his former opponents Ted Cheeseman or Anthony Fowler by the end of the year. 

“It’s an amazing feeling,” Fitzgerald told Matchroom. “There were times I thought I wouldn’t get back here. To get back in there and come out with a stoppage is a great feeling. I was whacking some shots off his head, and at some points he was smiling. I could see he was tough. At the end he wasn’t looking to throw back and I was hitting him with some big shots. The body shots were hurting him. I think it was the right decision from the ref. 
 
“I’ve already lost a fair bit of weight to get down to 12 stone. If I’m out again in July I can be under eleven and a half stone and ready for a big one then. October time, under eleven stone then. I’ve 100% learnt my lessons. I just keep the right people around me. I’ll keep my eyes on the mission. No messing about.

“I’d like to win the British Title back by the end of 2021. That’s what I’m hoping for. Cheeseman, I’m sure he’d be happy to fight me again as I’ve already beaten him. That’s a way back in for me. I’m going to keep chipping away at this weight and get myself ready. The first fight with Anthony Fowler was a great fight and everyone enjoyed it, the public enjoyed it and I know they all want to see it again. If it’s right to happen before the end of the year, I’m ready for it.”
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CHISORA VS. PARKER WEIGHTS AND RUNNING ORDER

17:00 LIVE ON MATCHROOM BOXING YOUTUBE

8 x 3 mins International Super-Middleweight contest
SCOTT FITZGERALD 12st 1lbs 4oz v GREGORY TRENEL 11st 12lbs 2oz
(Preston, England)                                (Dainville, France)

followed by

18:00 LIVE ON SKY SPORTS BOX OFFICE/DAZN

12 x 3 mins vacant IBO Lightweight World Title
JAMES TENNYSON 9st 8lbs 7oz v JOVANNI STRAFFON 9st 7lbs 2oz
(Belfast, Northern Ireland)             (Mexico City, Mexico)

followed by

4 x 3 mins Heavyweight contest
JOHNNY FISHER 17st 7lbs 4oz v PHIL WILLIAMS 19st 2lbs 7oz
(Romford, England)                        (Swindon, England)

followed by

12 x 3 mins WBA Light-Heavyweight World Title
DMITRY BIVOL 12st 6lbs 2oz v CRAIG RICHARDS 12st 6lbs 6oz
(Saint Petersburg, Russia)        (Crystal Palace, England)

followed by

10 x 3 mins Middleweight contest
CHRIS EUBANK JR 11st 7lbs 9oz v MARCUS MORRISON 11st 7lbs 8oz
(Brighton, England)                           (Hattersley, England)

followed by

4 x 3 mins Lightweight contest 
CAMPBELL HATTON 9st 9lbs 9oz v LEVI DUNN 9st 8lbs 5oz
(Manchester, England)                      (Prestwich, England)

followed by

10 x 2 mins Undisputed Lightweight World Titles
KATIE TAYLOR 9st 8lbs 8oz v NATASHA JONAS 9st 8lbs 7oz
(Bray, Ireland)                           (Liverpool, England)

followed by

12 x 3 mins vacant WBO Intercontinental Heavyweight Title
DEREK CHISORA 17st 12lbs 8oz v JOSEPH PARKER 17st 3lbs 2oz
(Finchley, England)                         (Auckland, New Zealand)
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MTHALANE vs EDWARDS OFFICIAL WEIGH-IN RESULTS

Boxing is back live on BT Sport for a second consecutive week, this time boasting a World Title fight. The action kicks off tomorrow night, live on BT Sport 1 HD at 7pm.

In the main event, brilliant South African Moruti Mthalane (39-2, 26 KOs) defends his IBF World Flyweight championship against Croydon’s Sunny Edwards (15-0, 4 KOs).

In a ten rounder Belfast’s WBO number one ranked Super-Bantamweight Michael Conlan (14-0, 8 KOs) faces dangerous Romanian Ionut Balata (14-2, 3 KOs).

Big punching Southampton Super-Featherweight Ryan Garner (9-0, 6 KOs) and Reading Super-Welterweight Joshua Frankham (2-0) are also in action.

Joshua’s cousin, Levi Frankham is one of two debutants alongside Finchley Super-Welterweight Jonathan Kumuteo.

Weigh-in results below:

Sunny Edwards 111lbs 5oz
Moruti Mthalane 111lbs 14oz

Michael Conlan 121lbs 15oz
Ionut Baluta 122lbs

Troy Williamson 153lbs
Kieran Smith 153lbs 7oz

Jordan Ellison 141lbs
Ryan Garner 136lbs 12oz

Naheem Ali 156lbs 3oz
Joshua Frankham 152lbs 15oz

Paul Cummings 155lbs 11oz
Levi Frankham 158lbs 4oz

Dale Arrowsmith 159lbs 10oz
Jonathan Kumuteo 158lbs 5oz

Stephen Jackson 119lbs 12oz
Andrew Cain 121lbs 10oz

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MOLINA WARNS EGGINGTON “YOU’RE FACING THE BEST KING CARLOS MOLINA”

Mexican warrior predicts stoppage of Birmingham ace to claim World title shot

Former World Champion ‘King’ Carlos Molina has fired a warning to rival Sam Eggington that he’ll have to be at his best or he’ll be knocked out by the Mexican warrior in their Vacant WBC Silver Middleweight Championship clash on Saturday 22nd May at the Coventry Skydome Arena, live and free in the UK on Channel 5.

In an interview with Hennessy Sports’ YouTube channel, Molina said “I feel like I’m entering my prime.  I feel good physically, I can work out, I can run.  I feel like I’m smarter now as far as my training and that has benefited me a lot with my experience and I feel like that’s what I’m using more. I feel like they haven’t seen the best Carlos Molina yet, this fight is going to be the perfect fight for me to show the best King Carlos Molina that has ever fought.”

He continued, “I want to do this for my promotional company, also it’s a great opportunity to showcase my company in England in a big fight.  The reason why I started this promotional company was for my career to get a world title and that’s my goal.  I feel like I want to be the best, I want be the best at boxing and want to be the best at promoting, I want to be the best at everything that I do. And that’s how I’m coming into this fight, I’m coming in in excellent shape.  I’ve been busy, I’ve been training all the time, I love to train, I love to box, I love to run, I’m always in top shape. I’m looking forward to this fight because he (Sam) always comes in in shape and I feel it’s a great match up. I’m not thinking at this just as a fighter, but as a promoter also.  It’s a great match up and it’s so good that I wanted to get the best view in the ring.”

Knowing that a victory over Eggington and landing the WBC Silver crown could put him within touching distance of a World title shot, Molina is under no illusion and realises he will have to defeat Eggington and leave England with the belt.

He added, “I’m focused and I need to to win this fight, there’s no other way around it.  He’s going to see the best King Carlos Molina that has ever fought so I’m ready,”“I like it that he’s confident, I want my opponent confident so when they can’t hit you they can’t do what they want to do then that’s when they lose all that confidence.  I feel like I’m going to win this fight no matter what. I have to win this fight either by twelve round decision or late rounds stoppage.”

Main event on the Hennessy Sports action-packed card features Birmingham warrior Sam Eggington (29-7-0, 17 KO’s) against Mexico’s hard-as-nails Carlos Molina (37-11-2, 12 KO’s) for the Vacant WBC Silver Middleweight Championship.  Chief support features a cracking showdown between Birmingham’s Kaisee Benjamin (11-1-1, 2 KO’s) and Dumbarton’s Martin Harkin (13-1-0, 5 KO’s) in an Eliminator for the British Welterweight Championship.

Also on the card Coventry sensation River Wilson-Bent (8-0-0, 4 KO’s) makes the first defence of his Midlands Area Middleweight title against Derby’s George Farrell (5-0-0, 1 KO).  Former British Light-Heavyweight Champion Shakan Pitters  (14-1-0, 4 KO’s) has his first back against Bradford’s Jermaine Springer (7-2-0, 1 KO)in an eight-rounder since losing his title to Craig Richards last December.  County Monaghan super-lightweight dynamo Stephen ‘The Hitman’ McKenna (7-0-0, 7 KO’s) features in a six-rounder, but the undefeated red-hot 24-year-old prospect has not needed to go the distance yet with all his fights ending inside.  Birmingham middleweight bombshell Idris ‘The Bodybreaker’ Virgo (9-0-1, 1 KO) goes in over six-rounds.  Sevenoaks all-action super-welterweight  Michael Hennessy Jr. (5-1-1) is in a six-rounder against Warminster’s Paul Cummings.  Irish super-welterweight ace Brett McGinty (1-0) follows up his thrilling pro debut last December when he features in a four-rounder against Birmingham’s Josh Hodgins.  Brighton heavyweight talent Tommy Welch (1-0-0, 1 KO), son of the former British, Commonwealth and World Heavyweight title challenger Scott, will follow up his explosive debut last December when he stopped Matt Gordon in the second round and features in a four-round contest. 

For further information go to www.hennessysports.com or social media: Facebook @HennessySports, Twitter @HennessySports and Instagram @hennessysports 

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SUNNY EDWARDS, CONLAN/BALUTA PRESS CONFERENCE QUOTES

SUNNY EDWARDS BIDS for world title glory on Friday night at York Hall when he takes on the formidable IBF flyweight champion Moruti Mthalane, live on BT Sport 1 from 7pm.

The challenger faced the media today, along with Michael Conlan and Ionut Baluta who make up the bantamweight chief support.

Below is a selection of quotes from the preview event.

Sunny Edwards, 15-0-0 (4)

I don’t think anyone has ever come to a press conference and said they have been really struggling or a camp has been hard. Every camp is hard, but it went as well as it could have gone. I want to thank Frank, MTK and BT. I have had a lot of notice for this fight and people inside the offices know I have taken short-notice fights, hard title fights at four and a half weeks notice and less than that.

For this one I have had 13 weeks where I have known the opponent, the scale of the fight and the event for a very, very long time. I have had the time to prepare meticulously, my trainer Grant has done a great job, as always, and the team is very strong. I am just looking forward to welcoming myself to the world scene on Friday night.

I need to look like myself on the poster! They must have great photoshop skills or must have foreseen the future with me being in great shape. I have always known what to do and how to get there, but with using my talent I have allowed myself to cut corners when I shouldn’t have. I’ve always trained hard and I am very fit, I am always in the gym and love training. I don’t do anything else, if i don’t go to the gym I am pretty much sitting around the house all day. Apart from my sons, there is not much more to me than boxing, if I am honest.

It has been easy to make the adjustments and my strength and conditioning coach has been cooking for me the last 13 weeks. Together with my food sponsor, the food has been put on a plate for me and I haven’t had to think about what times I am eating. It has been a good run-up, I have dedicated and committed myself to it and I am hoping those efforts will show on Friday.

Having kids has really made me appreciate what I had growing up, the opportunities I had. One thing I can say about my dad is there was never a lack of effort that went into me or my brother. He was 100 per cent full tilt from early on and we used to run something like 36 miles a week, much more than I do now!

You’ve got to enjoy the journey. Too many people focus on the destination to make them happy, but if you enjoy the day to day, whether it is camp or dieting, these are the best times of my life and a lot of boxers forget that. I am enjoying every second of it, enjoying walking in and seeing big posters of myself next to a good friend in Michael Conlan, who was a hero of mine.

It is good to be recognised as part of the top tier by just challenging for a world title and I will make my claim on Friday to join the handful of British world champions and one of the two Frank Warren promoted ones next to big Tyson. I will be where I feel I have deserved to be for a long, long time.

I don’t really know my optimum weight because I have never before applied myself like I have this time. I am eating four meals a day, two steaks yesterday and a steak and two eggs already today, with two more meals to come. I have never been like this on fight week and normally I look at food and see weight. I’ve done it properly and jumped off the scales at 51.8 yesterday, which is under the super fly limit and normally with the cut I do you would see me very drawn and my eyes a bit poppy. I look different this time and probably could drop down to light flyweight. If I lose I will just blame the weight and move down!

One realism when I first called for this fight was that he was the only MTK-signed champ. I have seen him spar up close and logged enough upstairs to think when the time comes I would be able to take him. That is no slight on him because he is a great, great world champion. I don’t need to sell him anymore than the media team has been selling him, other than to let everyone know he is a proper world champion.

I just wanted the best and he has been ranked No.1 by Ring Magazine for a little bit now. That is what I want, although I am not quite sure how the Ring rankings work, but surely if you beat the man you become the man. I am trying to be the best at the weight and, from being No.1, I can then start looking down and pick off the other champions.

I want to be at the top of the tree and recognised as such. I want to test myself and be known as one of those fighters who takes the best/hardest fights, the biggest fights that my name and platform will allow me to have.

I’ve got a ‘no quit regardless’ mentality and I think I will learn more from the 12 rounds on Friday night than I have in a large proportion of the rest of my career, which is why I am looking forward to it.

MICHAEL CONLAN 14-0-0 (8)

It has been an up and down 12 months. The things that have happened are part of life and everything happens for a reason. Before my injury my performance last August (Sofiane Takoucht) was my best as a professional and I believe I am now continuing on from that. I have had injuries, we have had a pandemic, but it is what it is. I was devastated when I did my ankle, but it happened for a reason and now I am back, fully recovered and looking forward to Baluta on Friday. I was already planning to move down to Super-Bantamweight before my injury in December. The pandemic showed me how easy it was to drop down. I am making 122lb very comfortably. I actually make 122lb easier than I was 126lb and that’s nice. I am looking forward to going in and putting a performance on. This is the weight where you will see the best performances from me and that is what I am looking forward to. This fight cements my mandatory position with the WBO and hopefully I will fight for the belt this year. I am very confident of that happening. First, I have to get rid of Ionut and I believe I will do it in good fashion. I don’t need to ask anything about his win against David Oliver Joyce. I look at him and I see what I have to see.  Ionut has pulled off two very wins recently and he is a very good fighter. He is a very dangerous fighter. He has beaten two Irish guys (TJ Doheny and David Oliver Joyce) in a row and his confidence is sky high. I believe that I will put on a performance and shut that completely down.

IONUT BALATA 14-2-0 (3)

This is a great opportunity to fight Michael and I am hopeful that he will be the third Irish fighter I beat. I will be doing the best I can. I respect Michael as a fighter. He is a very good fighter, but we are about to find out who is the best between us. I am very focused on winning this and wont think about the future. This fight is very important as regards getting a World title fight in the future.

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JONAS: TAYLOR HAS BEEN UNFINISHED BUSINESS SINCE 2012

‘Miss GB’ out to avenge Olympics loss
Tasha Jonas says she has “unfinished business” with former amateur foe Katie Taylor and has promised to settle the score when she faces the Irish star for the Undisputed Lightweight World Titles at the AO Arena, Manchester on Saturday May 1, live on Sky Sports Box Office in the UK and on DAZN in all markets excluding the UK, Ireland, China, New Zealand and Samoa.

‘Miss GB’ came agonisingly close to winning her first World Title at the age of 36 last summer when she battled to a thrilling draw with WBC and IBO Super-Featherweight Champion Terri Harper at Matchroom Fight Camp. It was the first time that two British women had competed against each other for a Word Title, and the all-action fight more than lived up to the occasion. 

The Liverpudlian met Taylor in the quarter-final stages of the London 2012 Olympic Games, losing out on points to the eventual winner of the tournament. The pair meet again nearly ten years down the line this weekend, and Jonas is confident of avenging her loss and handing a first defeat to the icon of women’s boxing. 

“I’ve finally established myself at world level which is where I always wanted to be,” said Jonas. “I think I was a bit unlucky that night. I’ve always said I’m not going to keep banging on the door of Terri Harper. I’ve put myself in mandatory positions and I’ll make the fight have to happen again, but I’m not going to wait around and I haven’t done that. Other opportunities have come forward and they’re the ones that I have taken. 

“Ever since I turned pro that’s always been the fight that everybody has wanted to see. There was 12,000 people in the arena at the time and we got the loudest crowd participation – that was the Irish and the Scousers going at it! It was brilliant. My amateur coach had been all around watching boxing, some of the biggest fights, and he said he’d never heard an atmosphere like it. It’s a little bit sad that fans won’t be there this time, but it was a spectacle and that’s what we hope to do again. 

“All eyes will be on us again and I think both of us will step up to the plate. I know I have to be better than I was last time. Without disrespecting anyone, she’s in a different league to any other opponents before. I’ve fought her before, and I’ll be ready. I’ve always wanted to be a World Champion, one fight could give me that, and everything else. It’s a huge moment for me and my career. I have to be better than I was before, which I’m prepared to do. 

“People say you have these turning points in life. As successful as my amateur career was, I didn’t achieve things that I wanted to. That was the whole point of me coming back and being a pro. There was unfinished business. Katie Taylor has been the unfinished business since 2012. To come back and not only beat her and win her Titles, to become Undisputed – what more could you ask for as a professional boxer? That’s everything. You’ve done it all within one fight. 

“Even throughout her amateur career she’s always set the bar really high and we’ve always had to catch her up. She presents herself well. She’s very positive. She’s been a great role model. That’s carried on into the professionals. When we step into the ring on fight night, she’s going to have to earn that respect. I’ve got all of the admiration and respect for her outside of the ring, but in the ring, you have to earn it. That’s what I’ll do.

“I don’t visualise anything if I’m honest. I prepare myself for every eventuality. That’s what I did with Terri and that’s probably the only time we’ve done that. That’s probably what I’ll do this time. Whatever Terri came with, I had an answer for. I think I’ll do the same with Katie. I’ll prepare for every best version of Katie. Any way that she can come at me, I’ll have an answer for it. The best version of me is a tough fight for anyone, Katie included.”

Taylor vs. Jonas is part of an unmissable night of action in Manchester, Derek Chisora (32-10, 23 KOs) and Joseph Parker (28-2, 21 KOs) collide in a huge Heavyweight clash, undefeated WBA Light-Heavyweight World Champion Dmitry Bivol (17-0, 11 KOs) puts his Title on the line against Craig Richards (16-1-1, 9 KOs), Chris Eubank Jr (29-2, 22 KOs) returns against Marcus Morrison (23-3, 16 KOs), Belfast’s James Tennyson (28-3, 24 KOs) faces Mexico’s Jovanni Straffon (23-3-1, 16 KOs) for the IBO Lightweight World Title, Preston Super-Welterweight Scott Fitzgerald (14-0, 9 KOs) makes his long awaited return and Lightweight prospect Campbell Hatton (1-0) fights in his home city for the first time as a pro. 
 
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RICHARDS: THERE’S NO PRESSURE ON ME!

‘Spider’ ready to upset WBA Champion Bivol
Craig Richards says all of the pressure is on Dmitry Bivol ahead of their clash for the WBA Light-Heavyweight World Title this Saturday May 1 at the AO Arena, Manchester, live on Sky Sports Box Office in the UK and on DAZN in all markets excluding the UK, Ireland, China, New Zealand and Samoa.

Richards (16-1-1, 9 KOs) delivered a Fight of the Year contender last time out in December against fierce rival Shakan Pitters as he stopped the Birmingham man in nine rounds to capture the British Light-Heavyweight crown.

Ranked at number 5 in the world with the WBA and number 7 with the IBF, ‘Spider’ earned his shot at world honours by remaining undefeated since his sole career loss against former World Title challenger Frank Buglioni in October 2017.

The Crystal Palace fighter, 30, comes into this weekend’s showdown with Russia’s long-reigning champion Bivol as a huge underdog and is all too aware of the huge task at hand, but feels he brings something to the table that none of Bivol’s previous 17 opponents possessed. 

“You come into boxing to become a World Champion – that’s always the goal,” said Richards. “I couldn’t be any happier that I have the opportunity to do that on Saturday. I’ve been fortunate to have these opportunities to push my career forwards. Getting the WBA Continental, getting myself in the world rankings. I’ve been in the top 10 with the WBA for two years now. I’m ranked a number 5 with the WBA and I’m in the top ten with the IBF as well. 

“I’ve boxed on a lot of big stages already. I’ve boxed unbeaten fighters, I’ve had pressure fights, 50-50 fights and underdog fights. I’ve really been under pressure in my career constantly. All of those experiences have pushed me and got me prepared for this moment. I believe that every step gets your prepared for the next one. I’ve taken the right steps. Now it’s another step. I’m the underdog again. I’ve had to do things the hard way to get myself into this position. 

“I know this guy is no joke. I’ve made sure I’m prepared in all areas. He’s a good fighter. He likes to be busy at times. He has decent footwork. There’s a couple of good names on his record. I don’t believe he’s boxed someone who brings the stuff I bring to the ring. I think he’s boxed a lot of different types of styles. I think my style is slightly different and I don’t think he’s crossed that yet. 

“The bigger the challenge, the more exciting it is for me. I always get up for a challenge. Every time I’m in a big Title fight when I’m the underdog, I go out there and I get the job done. I haven’t had to go through the gears yet. This is the sort of fight that will get the best out of me. I’ll show everyone what I’m really about. All I think about is that first bell. That’ the moment I really can’t wait for.

“There’s no pressure on me, there’s pressure on him. He’s the World Champion. He’s meant to be this big star. He’s meant to be this super champion from Russia. He’s going to want to go out there and look tremendous. He’ll want to make a statement, so there’s going to be pressure on him to go out there and perform. The pressure is on him, but I’m putting pressure on myself because I want to make sure I get that Title and prove everyone wrong.”

Bivol vs. Richards is part of a huge night of action in Manchester, Derek Chisora (32-10, 23 KOs) and Joseph Parker (28-2, 21 KOs) collide in a huge Heavyweight clash, Irish star Katie Taylor (17-0, 6 KOs) defends her Undisputed Lightweight crown against former amateur rival Natasha Jonas (9-1-1, 7 KOs), Chris Eubank Jr (29-2, 22 KOs) returns against Marcus Morrison (23-3, 16 KOs), Belfast’s James Tennyson (28-3, 24 KOs) faces Mexico’s Jovanni Straffon (23-3-1, 16 KOs) for the IBO Lightweight World Title, Preston Super-Welterweight Scott Fitzgerald (14-0, 9 KOs) makes his long awaited return and Lightweight prospect Campbell Hatton (1-0) fights in his home city for the first time as a pro. 
 
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BENTLEY vs CASH WEIGH-IN OFFICIAL RESULTS

Boxing is back on BT Sport 1 HD TOMORROW NIGHT AT 7.30PM

In the main event Denzel Bentley defends his British Middleweight title against Felix Cash, who will be putting his own Commonwealth title on the line. Elsewhere on the card, Callum Johnson returns after a 2 year absence against Croatia’s Emil Markic. David Adeleye takes a step-up when he battles Kamil Sokolowski and Queensberry prospects Henry Turner, George Davey and Karol Itauma all return to action.

Worcester’s Owen Cooper makes his Queensberry debut.

Felix Cash – 159lb 9oz
Denzel Bentley – 159lb 4oz
 
Emil Markic – 174lb 5oz
Callum Johnson – 174lb 6oz
 
Kamil Sokolowski – 230lb
David Adeleye – 225lb 7oz
 
Clayton Bricknell – 138lb 3oz
Henry Turner – 142lb 2oz
 
Jamie Stewart – 146lb 2oz
George Davey – 147lb 4oz
 
James Heneghan – 161lb 8oz
Dwain Grant – 161lb 6oz
 
Ryan Hibbert – 176lb 9oz
Karol Itauma – 176lbs
 
Daryl Pearce – 147lbs 5oz
Owen Cooper – 147lbs 6oz

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SAM EGGINGTON TAKES ON FORMER WORLD CHAMPION ‘KING’ CARLOS MOLINA FOR THE WBC SILVER MIDDLEWEIGHT TITLE MAY 22nd

Birmingham’s battle-hardened Sam Eggingtonwill face teak-tough Mexican warrior ‘King’ Carlos Molina  in a crucial showdown on Saturday 22 May at the Coventry Skydome Arena, with the Vacant WBC Silver Middleweight Championship on the line.

Presented by Hennessy Sports in association with William Hill, InfinitumNumanEverlast and King Carlos Promotions, Eggington v Molina will headline the exciting nine-fight card exclusively live and free-to-air across the UK and Ireland on Channel 5

Eggington (29-7–0, 17 KO’s), a former British, Commonwealth and European Champion, is now within touching distance of a World title shot and fulfilling his destiny of finally becoming a World Champion.

Last in action in December behind-closed-doors, Eggington put on a devastating display of power-punching to destroy former British Champion and World title challenger Ashley Theophane inside six rounds and bring to a close the colourful veteran’s 50-fight career.

In a 36-fight and near nine year career, the working-class hero has fought everyone; usually away from home at short notice in fights he wasn’t supposed to win and on the end of wrong decisions, but all that suffer and heartache will change with a victory over Molina.

Now in his prime of his life, Eggington, 27, will take the risk against dangerman Molina as he’s aware of the bigger reward that will see him placed in a primary position to challenge for the World title next if he wins the WBC Silver crown.

The fight against Molina (37-11-2, 12 KO’s) is the type of war that ‘The Savage’ will relish against a vastly experienced former IBF World Super-Welterweight Champion who has faced a Who’s Who of champions, including Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr. (twice), Mike Alvarado, Erislandy Lara, Kermit Cintron, James Kirkland, Ishe Smith, Cory Spinks and Cornelius Bundrage.

In a near 20 year career with 50 fights and 401 rounds under his belt, Molina, 37, has never been stopped in his eleven losses.  

His career highlight was defeating Ishe Smith to be crowned IBF World Champion in September 2013, but is also well known for highly controversial draws against Lara (March 2011) and Chavez, Jr. (December 2005), both fights that many felt Molina had won.  

Even more controversial was the ending to his fight against Kirkland in March 2012 Molina completely dominated Kirkland up until the 11th round of the 12-rounder, but was disqualified at the end of the round when he was floored by Kirkland and while being counted by the referee, one of Molina’s cornermen entered the ring after the bell had rung to end the round.

Mexican born Molina holds no fear of coming to the UK to face Eggington having previously pushed Josh Kelly in their ten-round WBA International title fight in March 2018 in Cardiff.  

In addition to fighting in the US, Molina has also fought in France and Santa Domingo, with his last fight overseas in Germany in February 2019.Since then Molina has kept very busy as he targets another World title fight.  

Despite the pandemic and lack of fight opportunities, Molina returned to Mexico and creatively turned promoter and fought under his own banner, King Carlos Promotions.  He has put together an unbeaten eight-fight streak with his last fight in February registering a points win over Edgar Ortega.Well aware of the danger Molina poses, Eggington is already deep in training at his Eastside Boxing Gym HQ in Birmingham with coach Jon Pegg to see off Molina’s thunder. 

Eggington, recently picked up the British Boxing Board of Control’s Contest of The Year Award 2019/2020 for his pulsating fight with rival Ted Cheeseman, said, “There’s nothing like a hard Mexican fighter to really get the blood and adrenaline pumping and I can’t wait for this one.  Molina is very experienced, he’s a former World Champion, he’s fought everyone and he’s still hungry and ambitious for another World title fight.  I like the danger that he brings to the ring which will bring the savage out in me.  I’m very close to my own World title fight and I can’t and won’t let Molina wreck that, so I’ll be going all out on him and if the knockout or stoppage comes and I’m the first man to do it to him, then that’s a bonus.” 

Molina said, “My main goal when I started my promotional company was to make my own path to a world title. This is a great test for me and I’m looking forward to being the new WBC Silver Champion. It has come at a perfect time for me, having momentum coming off of eight consecutive wins and also to continue to build King Carlos Promotions by being associated as a promoter for this show.”

Promoter Mick Hennessy is excited to bring this show to Coventry as it begins its celebrations as the UK City of Culture 2021.  The event will also be a public attended event, open on a restricted basis in-line with the government’s roadmap – Step 3.   

Tickets will go on sale shortly and will be available to purchase from  the Coventry Skydome Arena Box Office.  Hennessy Sports will release further information in due course. 

Hennessy said, “Sam ended last year in explosive style when he dealt with the experienced Ashley Theophane very effectively and it was the perfect ending on his Channel 5 debut that greatly enhanced his profile.  Now he takes on another tough and difficult challenge against Molina that is really going to test him.  Molina has seen and done it all in his near two decades in the sport and been up against some of the best around the weight, but he is still very dangerous and he’ll have to be right on it with him.  Sam is so close to a world title now and this will open the door for him.”

The undercard will feature a cracking showdown between Birmingham’s Kaisee Benjamin (11-1-1, 2 KO’s) and Dumbarton’s Martin Harkin (13-1-0, 5 KO’s) in an Eliminator for the British Welterweight Championship (subject to BBBofC approval).   Coventry sensation River Wilson-Bent (8-0-0, 4 KO’s) makes the first defence of his Midlands Area Middleweight title against Derby’s George Farrell (5-0-0, 1 KO).  Bent won the title last December with a brutal right hand that flattened rival Troi Wilson in the third round in one of the KO’s of the year.  

Former British Light-Heavyweight Champion Shakan Pitters  (14-1-0, 4 KO’s) has his first back against Bradford’s Jermaine Springer (7-2-0, 1 KO)in an eight-rounder since losing his title to Craig Richards last December and the Birmingham star is intent on reclaiming his Lonsdale belt.  County Monaghan super-lightweight dynamo Stephen ‘The Hitman’ McKenna (7-0-0, 7 KO’s) features in a six-rounder, but the undefeated red-hot 24-year-old prospect has not needed to go the distance yet with all his fights ending inside.  

Birmingham middleweight bombshell Idris ‘The Bodybreaker’ Virgo (9-0-1, 1 KO) had a great 2021 with four wins on Hennessy Sports shows and now the entertainer continues on his path towards a first domestic title.  

Sevenoaks all-action super-welterweight  Michael Hennessy Jr. (5-1-1) is in a six-rounder against Warminster’s Paul Cummings in his first fight of the year.  Hennessy ended 2021 with a complete shut-out of Dale Arrowsmith to win every round of their six-round contest.  

Irish super-welterweight ace Brett McGinty (1-0) follows up his thrilling pro debut last December when he features in a four-rounder against Birmingham’s Josh Hodgins.  

Brighton heavyweight talent Tommy Welch (1-0-0, 1 KO), son of the former British, Commonwealth and World Heavyweight title challenger Scott, will follow up his explosive debut last December when he stopped Matt Gordon in the second round and features in a four-round contest. 

Hennessy added, “This is a fantastic fight card stacked from top to bottom with quality talent and fights.  I’m thrilled to have our young guns back out in action supporting Sam in the main event and the prospect of having fans back into the arena is very encouraging as we build towards a busy rest of the year with plenty of shows coming up.”

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