|Conor Benn:“People aren’t giving van Heerden a chance here which surprises me. For people to be saying, ‘why’s he fighting van Heerden?’, that’s a backhanded compliment really. They are trying not to show me respect but really they are because you wouldn’t have put me in this position two years ago, three years ago, four years ago. So, it doesn’t really matter what people think at the end of the day because progression is real. “I love challenges. I thrive off of challenges, so do all fighters. We are all competitive and we love to compete and this is a challenge. This is a different type of challenge that I am prepared and will overcome with flying passing colours. “I’m going to go in if I see an opportunity. I’ll take it. “I knocked out Algieri out like no one else has. I’m going to knock Van Heerden out like no one else has. I believe that passion and hard work can get you anywhere. “It’s not emotion, I just fight with passion. I work extremely hard and it ain’t just me working hard. It’s six years of sacrifice to let a moment like this slip between my fingers.”
Chris van Heerden:“All respect for Conor for giving me this opportunity. I have nothing but respect for him. I am ready for this. I have visualised this moment… I was supposed to fight in the UK a couple of times… It was always a dream and a vision. I have what it takes to be in that top 10. I see it. I didn’t come here for paycheck. I didn’t come here to get a fight. I came here for my career. I came here to win and get my career back on track and get back in that top 10. I do believe in myself, and I do believe that I have everything it takes to get right back up there.
“I respect Conor Benn and I believe he is right up there with the best and that is why I took this fight. I want to be competitive and if you talk about boxing, I do believe I am a better boxer than Conor, all around better boxer. He’s an angry, aggressive fighter. He’s a fighter. I’m a boxer. And I do believe that I have the skill to show that I am a better boxer than Conor.
“I was offered a bunch of other fights, way easier fights. But I believe that Conor is right up there, and I am there to test him and see if he’s really, really legit.
“I just wish my dad was here because we spoke about this moment for a long time. I left him for eight years, every birthday, every Christmas, chasing this dream. And then my dad was brutally murdered three years ago. But we did it and we are here. So, I feel it. This is it.”
Chris Billam-Smith:“It was a good fight last time but for me this is giving me the opportunity to put this to bed and prove my performance can be so much better than it was last time. And, I have proved that in camp. I will put on a superb performance on Saturday night. “Now I know the ways to get around him and get the knockout.”
Tommy McCarthy:“The last fight was so close and I’m so happy to get the rematch so we can set the record straight and get the win again… He may have to cancel Bournemouth because I am winning this on Saturday night. “As long as I win on Saturday night, that is all that I’m focused on. It is a must win. And I have to stay concentrated on it. I am fully focused. “He did it the gentlemanly way and gave me a shot (of rematch) when he didn’t have to give me one. There was so much controversy with the first one. The respect is earned and I don’t have any ill feelings especially because the fight we had was one of the fights of the year. “As long as we are in the ring throwing shots, I need to be switched on.”
Alycia Baumgardner: “I’m more than ready. As you know, I love to fight. I stayed in the gym to stay ready. What builds a fighter are these experienced fighters. I know she’s a fighter and she’s well-seasoned. It tells me that she’s never been stopped before, so I know what’s important and I know what I need to do come Saturday night. “You will see a dominating performance even if it goes the distance, you will see a seasoned fighter – you know just a different calibre of who I am. We want the knockout, and the power is real.”I will be undisputed at 130 pounds. I believe it and I’ve received it. I understand who I am as a fighter. That fight with Mayer is a big fight for women’s boxing and as we continue to grow the sport, we will continue to build in the sport.”
Edith Soledad Matthysse:“I’ve accumulated a lot of experience and it’s very important in my game. I’ve come here to win and I’m hoping to clock up a win on Saturday not only for me but also for my country, Argentina. “Saturday, I hope to be leaving here victorious.”
Jack Cullen:“Last fight was in the bag, but it was what it was. I’ve shook it off. I’ve gotten over it through Christmas and I’m back training hard. He wants to knock me out so it’s going to be a belting fight. “The game plan is to box and do what I do best. We will get through this, flying colours and hopefully see a rematch once we get past this, no injuries.”
Vladimir Belujsky:“I’ve been watching Jack for the last two or three years and I’ve always fancied his fights. I was hoping to get this fight. “I know the plan on Saturday night and I’m looking forward to it. “All that’s on my mind right now is to knock him out. There’s nothing else I’m going into the ring with. Just to knock him out and get him out of there.”Campbell Hatton:“This weekend is my opportunity to box in front of my friends and family. Since I started the sport, people have been desperate to get behind me and now is the time. “We went away to Spain and there was no pressure on me at all. It was about going in there and concentrating on the job, relaxing and settling down.”
Jordan Thompson:“I think he (Gudino) is going to pose a few different looks… I think I’ve just got to go out there and enjoy myself. And again, I’ll put on another display or artistic violence. I’m looking forward to getting back out there and putting on a show for the fans. “I believe in myself. I know what I’m capable of. Those who know me know what I’m capable of. For me, it’s about when the opportunity comes, you’ve got to be ready for it and take it. Which I’m sure I will be and when the time comes, I’m sure it will be special.”
Mario Angel Gudino:“I’ve been taking up experiences around Europe. I’ve been in Belgium and Norway on my journey here. Come Saturday, it’s a great opportunity for me to extend that experience and hopefully take away a victory.”
Cyrus Pattinson:“I know he’s very durable. I’ve not really stopped since April last year, no longer than a week off from the gym. It’s about building up momentum, getting through every fight. And I think that’s when you’ll see the best Cyrus Pattinson. “It’s all about getting the rounds in. Going from three rounds straight in Essex, it’s a big jump going to eight… I obviously want to get to that level to start competing for titles.”
Thomas Whittaker-Hart:“I’m happy that I’m out again and I can build on the momentum. I just want to keep busy and keep fighting… I can push on and keep looking for a title. I want to keep fighting and keep progressing to different levels. I am happy. “I’m coming to win. I’ve had a lot of experience in the amateur game. I’m used to people commenting on it. You will see more skills. I’m happy about it and I’m looking forward to the fight and putting on a great performance.”
Luke Evans:“I’m absolutely buzzing to be here… Manchester Arena, it’s what every kid dreams of when you come from Manchester. I’m just from down the road in Salford. Done a lot of tickets like you said. It’s just a very proud moment for myself coming from the small hall scene. This is my opportunity to take on the big stage and I have to take advantage of that. “This is what dreams are made of. This is my opportunity and I’ve got to seize the moment. Most importantly, I’ve just got to enjoy it. “In boxing, it’s a funny old game. You never know where you’re going to be or where you’re going to end up. So, I’ve got to take full advantage of this opportunity.”
James Metcalf:“It’ll be good to get out again ahead of the big one in Spain next month.”The best James Metcalf can win this fight, definitely.”
|‘The Destroyer’ takes on ‘The Heat’ in Manchester
|Conor Benn will defend his WBA Continental Welterweight Title against South Africa’s Chris Van Heerden at the AO Arena in Manchester on Saturday April 16, live worldwide on DAZN (excluding New Zealand and Australia).
‘The Destroyer’ (20-0, 13 KOs) secured a stunning knockout win over former World Champion Chris Algieri last time out in December, taking out the American with a brutal right hand in the fourth round of their top of the bill clash at the M&S Bank Arena in Liverpool.
The 25-year-old contender from Essex holds top ten rankings with the WBA, WBO and IBF after notching three wins during a breakout 2021 – and the British star believes that 2022 will be an even bigger year for him as he works towards a World Title shot.
‘The Heat’ (28-2-1, 12 KOs), born in Johannesburg, South Africa, previously held the IBO Welterweight World Title from 2011 until 2013, beating Kaizer Mabuza, Sebastian Andres Lujan and Matthew Hatton during his Title reign.
Now residing in Santa Monica, California, USA the 34-year-old southpaw is eager to test himself against one of the fastest rising Welterweights in world boxing and should provide valuable rounds having only been stopped once by Errol Spence in 32 fights.
A huge undercard sees Bournemouth’s European Cruiserweight Champion Chris Billam-Smith (14-1, 10 KOs) rematch Belfast’s former champion Tommy McCarthy (18-3, 9 KOs) following their epic back and forth battle at the Matchroom HQ last summer.
‘The Gentleman’ withstood a late fightback from McCarthy as he edged out a narrow split points decision to add the British and European Cruiserweight Titles to his Commonwealth Title, before defending his EBU crown with a points win over Dylan Bregeon in Sheffield.
Manchester Super-Featherweight contender Zelfa Barrett (27-1, 16 KOs) looks to build on his impressive IBF World Title Eliminator win over Australia’s Bruno Tarimo on the Parker vs. Chisora 2 undercard when he challenges European Champion Faroukh Kourbanov (19-3, 3 KOs) – a former opponent of Joe Cordina.
Hard hitting Cruiserweight talent Jordan Thompson (12-0, 10 KOs) has scored two big first round knockouts since putting pen to paper on a promotional deal with Eddie Hearn last June, and the 28-year-old from Manchester will be out to impress his home fans again as he works towards his first Title shot in 2022.
Hyde Lightweight prospect Campbell Hatton (6-0, 2 KOs) quickly returns to action after earning the best win of his career over Joe Ducker last month, Little Lever’s Jack Cullen (20-3-1, 9 KOs) aims to bounce back from his stoppage loss to Kevin Lele Sadjo in December and Alnwick Welterweight Cyrus Pattinson (3-0, 1 KO) hopes to make it two wins from two fights in 2022.
“I’m excited to step into the ring with Chris Van Heerden,” said Benn. “Van Heerden is a tough operator and a southpaw who will be in there giving it his all in every round. For me and my team it’s now about fighting every style that we can face as we continue to head towards World Championship status and Van Heerden brings something different to the table than I’ve not faced before.
“With that being said this is another stepping stone for me on my journey to the top, I haven’t seen anything in Van Heerden’s previous fights that I can’t deal with, and I expect another explosive victory on April 16. If he comes to fight or he wants to box, I can deliver that smoke either way! The AO Arena has to be one of the most exciting venues to fight in. I love Manchester. I get shown a lot of love and support up in Manchester – it’s a fighting city. I bring the entertainment every time I fight and I can’t wait for April 16.”
“Sometimes it takes 10 years for that one year to come around that completely changes your life,” said Van Heerden. “This is my year. I want to thank Conor Benn for taking the fight, knowing that I’m coming to beat him in his backyard. I also want to thank Eddie Hearn and Matchroom Boxing for taking this risk and my manager Peter Kahn for getting this fight done. I am looking forward to putting on a show in Manchester on DAZN.”
“Conor Benn is fast becoming one of the biggest stars in British Boxing and he faces by far the toughest test of his career to date when he takes on Chris Van Heerden in Manchester on April 16,” said Matchroom Sport Chairman Eddie Hearn. “Van Heerden has mixed at the very highest level and faced fearsome Welterweight ‘Boots’ Ennis last time out before the fight was ruled a no contest due to a clash of heads – he always comes to fight, and I expect a gruelling battle for Conor. We are building an action-packed card and already announce the rematch of one of the Fight of the Year contender between Chris Billam-Smith and Tommy McCarthy and local star Zelfa Barrett challenges for the European Title. I expect another blistering statement from Conor Benn live worldwide on DAZN.”
“We are excited to welcome back one of the brightest prospects in boxing, Conor Benn, to the platform when he takes on former IBO Welterweight Champion Chris Van Heerden on April 16,” said Ed Breeze, EVP Rights at DAZN. “This is another huge test for Conor as he continues his quest to capture a World Title in 2022. We pride ourselves in having the best schedule in boxing, and with the announce of this matchup in April and early May you will see Canelo Alvarez, Ryan Garcia, GGG, Taylor vs. Serrano and Conor all fighting live on DAZN.”
Tickets are priced £40, £60, £100, £150 and £300 (VIP).
FightPass tickets will be available to purchase for Matchroom Boxing FightPass members from midday on Thursday March 10 via StubHub (www.stubhub.co.uk) and Matchroom Boxing (www.matchroomboxing.com)
General Sale tickets will be available to purchase from midday on Friday March 11 via StubHub (www.stubhub.co.uk) and the AO Arena (www.ao-arena.com).
|16:00 GMT LIVE ON BEFORE THE BELL
4 x 3 mins International Super-Bantamweight contest
JOE MCGRAIL 121lbs 4oz v FRANCISCO RODRIGUEZ 117lbs 11oz
(Liverpool, England) (Alfacar, Spain)
6 x 3 mins International Super-Lightweight contest
CALUM FRENCH 10st 6oz v RUSTEM FATKHULLIN 10st 12oz
(Gateshead, England) (Ufa, Russia)
8 x 3 mins International Featherweight contest
JORDAN GILL 128lbs 10oz v ALAN ISAIAS LUQUES CASTILLO 127lbs
(Chatteris, England) (Cordoba, Argentina)
4 x 3 mins International Super-Welterweight contest
PADDY LACEY 11st 3lbs 2oz v VASIF MAMEDOV 11st 6lbs 5oz
(Chester, England) (Perm, Russia)
19:00 GMT LIVE ON DAZN
10 x 3 mins vacant WBA International Middleweight Title
CAOIMHIN AGYARKO 159lbs 5oz v NOE LARIOS JR 160lbs
(Belfast, Northern Ireland) (California, USA)
6 x 3 mins International Super-Bantamweight contest
PETER MCGRAIL 123lbs 4oz v ENGEL GOMEZ 124lbs 12oz
(Liverpool, England) (Chinandega, Nicaragua)
10 x 3 mins vacant WBA Continental Super-Featherweight Title
JOE CORDINA 129lbs 15oz v MIKO KHATCHATRYAN 129lbs 12oz
(Cardiff, Wales) (Liege, Belgium)
10 x 3 mins vacant WBA Continental Super-Lightweight Title
ROBBIE DAVIES JR 139lbs 2oz v HENRY LUNDY 141lbs 4oz
(Liverpool, England) (Philadelphia, USA)
10 x 2 mins Undisputed Lightweight World Titles
KATIE TAYLOR 134lbs 11oz v FIRUZ SHARIPOVA 143lbs 4oz
(Bray, Ireland) (Taraz, Kazakhstan)
12 x 3 mins WBA Continental Welterweight Title
CONOR BENN 146lbs 8oz v CHRIS ALGIERI 146lbs
(Brentwood, England) (New York, USA)
|Eddie Hearn, Matchroom Sport Chairman:
“It’s a bit chilly here compared to Las Vegas, we’re on one hell of a run, of course in Madison Square Garden just a couple of weeks ago – we saw a fight of the year contender between Teofimo Lopez and George Kambosos Jr. Last week we were at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas for another great fight between Devin Haney and JoJo Diaz Jr.
“We’re in Liverpool for a tremendous fight card, a double header with Conor Benn and Katie Taylor. We’re expecting around 7,000 at the M&S Bank Arena, a great city and we can’t wait to be back on Saturday night.”
“I know Algieri’s a test, he’s a step up, he said I haven’t been tested but it’s getting a bit boring saying I haven’t been tested. Every fight moving forward for me is potentially going to be a test, Formella said exactly the same thing, so did Vargas. You don’t get ranked top five in the WBC, WBA, ranked in the IBF and WBO for nothing. I plan on passing these tests with flying colours and that’s exactly what I do.
“I know Algieri’s going to come in there to win, I’ll exploit his mistakes as well because I see holes in his armour. I’m just ready to fight man, I always get like this during fight week, get intense and animated – ready to go. I want to get in there Saturday night and iron someone out.
“Algieri is a better version of all my last opponents, and he beats everything they do in my opinion in terms of boxing IQ, cuteness, knowing his way around the ring. People say he can’t punch but anyone with 8oz gloves can punch. I’m well prepared, I’m not concerned about what he brings to the table because I know what I can do.
“Algieri is going to come, he’s going to throw and try to win, which him and his team believe he can. I’ll exploit holes in his armour, he’s up against a young lion, up against someone who’s on the come up. Every single camp I go in to I give it 100%, I level up every single time and can only beat who you put in front of me, and I will deal with them. Not only do I beat them, but I learn, school’s never out.
“I had to show a lot of grit and determination of overlooking an opponent early on in my career, I know now never to do that. When someone asks me about other fights, I don’t entertain the thought, at the end of the day none of them materialise if I don’t get through Algieri. Once I get through him, and I believe I will, then the doors can open.”
“Training camp has gone great, I feel great and got in here early, we’ve all adjusted very well to the time zone. We’re happy to be here, I know a lot of European fighters are enamoured in fighting in the States, but a lot of us are enamoured about fighting here because of the fan base here in Europe and in the UK – the UK fans are some of the best in the world. The opportunity to be here and fight in front of those crowds is a big feather in the cap for me in my career.
“I’m excited for fight night, it’s going to be electric, I think we have the opportunity to put on a fantastic fight. You [Eddie] mentioned Lopez vs. Kambosos as potential fight of the year, I think this fight will potentially be a rival to that in terms of a style match-up and what I bring to the table. I think this is going to be a fantastic fight and everybody should tune in.
“I’ve been around this game a long time and I’ve been in with the elite of the elite, I’ve been on both sides of the table. At the end of the day, skills pay the bills and experience kills, so we’re coming in here with our experience, our skills, and we’re going to utilise that plan to find a victory.
“I’m in fantastic shape, fight week is a lot longer when you don’t have to worry about the weight. I’m just raring to go, I just can’t wait for fight night, I still feel like it’s far away. The weight has been a bit of a blessing.”
“I’m very aware of the challenge on Saturday night, I haven’t overlooked Sharipova at all, I know what she brings, and I’m prepared for whatever comes my way Saturday night. I’m also aware that there’s so many big fights out there for me, the bigger names that could possibly happen next year, so I’ve got to get through Saturday night first and focus on the bigger fights ahead.
“You’ve seen so many upsets so far this year in the boxing world when people have maybe gone into the ring underprepared or overlooking certain opponents. I know that obviously can’t happen, I’ve made that mistake before as an amateur fighter where I have overlooked opponents – being beaten and learning the hard way. I’m 100% prepared and focused coming into the fight, I’m ready to put on a big performance.
“I can’t wait, this is such an amazing card with so many packed fights, it’s going to be an amazing atmosphere and an amazing night – full of so many Irish people travelling over for the fight. It’s going to be a loud arena so I can’t wait to get in there and perform.”
“I feel very confident and welcomed here in this city, I have a great respect for Katie Taylor. She’s been my idol all the time but I’m coming here to win.
“I was preparing well, thanks to my team for their support and I’m ready for the fight on Saturday night.”
Robbie Davies Jr:
“It’s a great fight for me to come back to definitely, Hank’s been in with some of the top names in the division. In Liverpool fighting is embedded in us so I won’t be shying away from anything he brings to the table. I’ve been working hard in the gym and I’m ready to go on Saturday night.
“There’s definitely a big team bonding in the gym, Shane has had a lot of belief in me since I started, picking out a few things we need to change. Each step forward now we’ll showcase a little bit more of what we’re working on in the gym with Shane – Saturday night is going to be the start of it, and we’ll push on for a big 2022.
“This is a must win for me, the Lewis Ritson defeat didn’t go my way, it was a bit disappointing. When I fought the Mexican kid, everyone watching seen what went on, but I’m a much better fighter since being with Shane. It’s given me a belief back in myself and I’ll show that Saturday night.”
“We’ve been training hard, preparing for this fight, we’re ready to get this title.
“After that fight fell out, we went back home and stayed in the gym, stayed ready. We always stay ready to fight man, you show up and be prepared and ready to fight – that’s what we do.
“This is going to be a great fight; it’s going to be war. I will be victorious.”
“I can never overlook anybody, I’ve got Miko on Saturday so he’s my focus at the minute. I’ve never been shy to make clear that being a World Champion is what I want and that’s where I want to be. First thing’s first, I’ve got Saturday to deal with.
“My performance wasn’t the best at Fight Camp, I felt comfortable and didn’t get out of second gear and I still got the win. I was out for eighteen months and when I got back in the gym I worked on a lot of things and took it into the fight. All I want to do this fight is building on my last camp, building on that performance, and getting a similar result.”
“This is a great opportunity for me, it’s a last-minute fight but I’m in great shape and ready to make a good fight on Saturday night.”
“It’s good times, obviously fight number one was a belter, belter card in Liverpool. You’ve [Eddie] brought another belter card to Liverpool, got me and Joe on it, I’ve trained alongside French and Cordina, I know Robbie Davies, watching Benn and Taylor for years. Boxing on a card alongside these is a privilege and I’m looking forward to Saturday.
“The experience of the first fight will be with me for life, probably won’t get anything like that until I’m fighting for titles. It’s good to get that on my debut, I’ve got that under my belt, a good six rounds and the first of my professional career. I’m looking forward to performing on Saturday, keep the ball rolling and pushing on for a big 2022.”
“It’s a great opportunity to showcase myself on this platform and what an honour it is to fight on Katie Taylor and Conor Benn’s undercard. I’ve had the privilege of being in training camps with Katie so fighting on her card means so much to me. I’ve got 150 crazy Irish fans coming over for Saturday night so it’ll feel like, I can’t wait to get in there and put on an explosive performance.
“I want to be in the best fights possible and in the past, it has been hard to match me. I’ve got an unbeaten fighter in front of me on Saturday night, so I look forward to getting past that test, being in some fights next year and going back to Belfast and headlining a show there – putting my name in the Middleweight division.”
Noe Larios Jr:
“I’m happy to be here, I feel blessed, I’m super stoked to have this opportunity. I’m just here to do my job on Saturday and get the job done. I’m happy to be part of this undercard.
“I think at some point there’s a time you have to fight the bigger guys and bigger opponents. This is that time and we’re ready for it on Saturday.”
“I’m lucky to be here and to be in this situation. Five years ago, I was playing professional football looking upwards of getting to the Premier League and then some. If you’ve followed me recently, you’ll see what the story is and the what the journey has been.”
“I’ve got quite a big following, I think it’s relatable to loads of people in Liverpool, we’ve all made mistakes and I’m just trying to build myself back up – not in football anymore but in boxing. Hopefully the support continues, and I can climb up these rankings and do something in boxing.
“People used to snigger when I was boxing and playing football but in my 17 amateur fights I snoozed half of them – I was knocking out everybody in the amateurs. If people will comment and look down, they’ll find out when they fight me.”
“I’m glad to be still fighting, thanks for having me on the card, I was absolutely gutted when Guerfi pulled out, I thought this was going to be the weekend I won that European Title and push on. This is boxing and these things happen, it’s been delayed, and I look forward to a good fight on Saturday.
“I was miserable for about an hour, horrible to be around and upset, but you have to get out of bed in the morning and push on. I’ve stayed in the gym all year, I feel like I’ve been mandatory for this title for ages so I’m looking forward to getting the win on Saturday night, looking good for the fans who have travelled and pushing on for the European Title.
“It’s a great division and I’m glad to be a part of it, I feel like getting Saturday out of the way, win a European Title and my name’s well and truly in the mix. If I get a final eliminator or a defence of the title, maybe even a straight World Title shot next year, let’s go for it and push on – I want these big fights.”
“I’ve been boxing in these sports halls, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan, all over the world over the past five years, it’s going to be nice to come out and box in front of all my friends and family in a big stadium like the M&S Bank Arena.
“Hopefully I can take that amateur experience into the pro game, I had a few WSB fights for the five rounds distance so I can hopefully take that experience into the professional ranks and be Matchroom’s next star.”
“It’s a brilliant card to be making my debut on, it’s special for me to be on the card with my brother Peter – I’m happy.
“My older brother, he’s like my best mate but I also look up to him. He’s a role model to me.”
|Rising Welterweight star clashes with former World Champion on December 11
|Rising Welterweight star Conor Benn will face former World Champion Chris Algieri at the top of a huge night of boxing at the M&S Bank Arena in Liverpool on Saturday December 11, live worldwide on DAZN.
‘The Destroyer’ (19-0, 12 KOs) maintained his perfect record with a shutout points win over Mexico’s Adrian Granados on the Lara vs. Warrington 2 bill in September after he was given a deafening welcome by over 20,000 Leeds fans, and the Essex native is looking to end a huge year in style as he pushes towards more titles.
New York’s Algieri (25-3, 9 KOs), a former WBO Super-Lightweight World Champion, represents a big step-up in class for 25-year-old Benn having shared the ring with some of the biggest names in the sport including modern legend Manny Pacquiao, former unified Super-Lightweight ruler Amir Khan and unified Welterweight World Champion Errol Spence Jr.
“To headline in a city like Liverpool you need to be in the ring against a world class operator,” said Benn. “Chris has done it all, a former World Champion and exactly the opponent I need to gain experience from.
“We expect Algieri to bring his best, but I want him deep in the trenches with me, I want to use this opportunity to display my skills and ability against a quality fighter to prepare me and take another step closer to a World Title. A former World Champ vs. a very, very hungry contender, I can’t wait for December 11.”
“This has a big fight feel to it and I’m thrilled to be back on this type of stage,” said Algieri. “The UK has brilliant fans and I’m looking forward to performing in front of those legendary crowds.
“December 11 with be a masterclass with me utilising my deep bag of skills and experience. Benn is hungry and tough but this is a huge step up in class for him. I’m coming to show that it’s not his time yet. I still got the goods and the world will see it once again come fight night.”
“Chris Algieri represents Conor Benn’s toughest test yet”, said Ed Breeze, EVP Rights at DAZN. ‘We believe Conor will be a superstar of the sport and we are incredibly excited to see him finish his breakout year in style, live and exclusive worldwide on DAZN.”
Full card details will be announced next week.
Tickets are priced £40, £60, £80, £100 & £300 (VIP).
Matchroom Fight Pass members will be able to purchase tickets from midday on Monday November 8. Priority ticket info will be emailed directly to eligible members.
General Sale tickets can be purchased via StubHub (www.stubhub.co.uk) from midday on Tuesday November 9.
|‘Tigre’ aims to stop “England’s new golden boy”
|Adrian Granados says he will “humble” Conor Benn when they collide for the WBA Continental Welterweight Title at the top of Fight Camp Week 1 in Brentwood, Essex on Saturday July 31, live worldwide on DAZN.
‘Tigre’, a 33-fight veteran who is no stranger to boxing’s biggest platforms, has gone the distance with former two-time Welterweight World Champion Shawn Porter and former multi-division World Champion Adrien Broner in losing efforts – and the 31-year-old believes he is on another level to the opponents Benn has faced.
Benn produced dominant performances in his last two outings against Sebastian Formella and Samuel Vargas – leading to many in the sport labelling him as one of the new stars of the thriving 147lbs division – and Granados says that he will need to stop the 24-year-old Essex native if he is to come away with a victory.
“I want to beat Conor Benn and get closer towards a World Title shot of my own,” said Granados. “I’m not worried about whatever Conor Benn is saying. He’s saying he’s going to stop me. He’s saying he’s going to do this and do that. You know what? I don’t talk, I just show up, and that’s what I’m going to do.
“Confidence is good. That’s what we all have. I’m a confident fighter. I’m confident in my abilities. I just don’t talk the way he does. Some of the things he said about me, it’s like, ‘alright boy you’re going to find out now’. Don’t be talking all that mess because you’re going to get humbled real quick.
“I’m not anybody else you ever fought. He’s making it seem like he’s going to dismantle me, he’s going to destroy me. It’s like bro, you ain’t nobody. I didn’t even know who he was until recently. I’ve got respect for the Benn name. I respect him because he’s a Benn. It’s from his dad and what his dad has done.
“I’m going to have to stop him because I’m fighting England’s new golden boy in England. I’ve got to stop him. I know everyone was impressed with his fight with Samuel Vargas but he just kind of jumped on Sammy and Sammy wasn’t expecting all that. It was a great win for him, but I’m not Samuel Vargas.
“I kind of see myself as a loveable loser because I just can’t get a decision. I can’t get a win at the big stage. I give hell to whoever I fight. Have they looked at my losses and think I’m the right fight to take? My career could look so much different if the right decisions were made in my fights. I know that I’m going to show the heart that I’ve got and the balls that I’ve got.
“I’ve asked questions of much better fighters than Conor Benn and I’m not coming to the U.K. to make up the numbers. This is a big opportunity for me against a fighter I know they’re hyping to be the next big thing. They’ve made a mistake in picking me. This is a big moment for me and I’m taking it.” Benn vs. Granados tops a huge night of action as Fight Camp returns with a bang, WBA Featherweight World Champion Xu Can (18-2, 3 KOs) puts his Title on the line against Nottingham’s Leigh Wood (24-2, 14 KOs), Tommy McCarthy (18-2, 9 KOs) and Chris Billam-Smith (12-1, 10 KOs) collide in a massive showdown for the European, British and Commonwealth Cruiserweight Titles, former World Title challenger Avni Yildirim (21-3, 12 KOs) aims to bounce back from his loss to pound-for-pound king Canelo Alvarez when he takes on ‘Little Lever’s Meat Cleaver’ Jack Cullen (19-2-1, 9 KOs), Liverpool Super-Welterweight Anthony Fowler (14-1, 11 KOs) promises to build on his huge third-round knockout win over Jorge Fortea, Manchester Lightweight Campbell Hatton (2-0) continues his young journey in the pro ranks against Jakub Laskowski (4-4-1, 2 KOs) and former amateur star Sandy Ryan makes her highly-anticipated professional debut at Super-Lightweight against Kirstie Bavington (3-1-2, 2 KOs).
|‘The Destroyer’ headlines Fight Camp Week 1 live on DAZN
|Conor Benn is aiming to take another step towards a World Title shot when he puts his WBA Continental Welterweight Title on the line against Adrian Granados at the top of the first week of Matchroom Fight Camp in Brentwood, Essex on Saturday July 31, live worldwide on DAZN.
‘The Destroyer’ lived up to his name last time out in April when he took just 1 minute and 20 seconds to wipe out Samuel Vargas inside the opening round and improve his unblemished record to 18-0 with twelve knockouts, sending out a brutal warning to his Welterweight rivals.
The rapidly improving 24-year-old has promised more fireworks when he meets Mexico’s Granados – a 33-fight veteran who is no stranger to boxing’s biggest platforms having gone the distance with former two-time Welterweight World Champion Shawn Porter and former multi-division World Champion Adrien Broner in losing efforts.
“Last time out – big statement,” said Benn. “Would I have liked to get more rounds in? Of course, but I’m not going to complain about knocking him out in one round! I was straight off to have my Ruby Murray. I’m looking for world honours. I’m knocking on the door for World Titles. For me to be headlining the first Fight Camp show, live on DAZN, is a blessing. Entertainment is what you’ll get from me. Value for money. Expect fireworks every single time I fight. I don’t care who you are, nobody wants to watch a boring fight. I’m here for a good time, not a long time.
“I’m interested to see how much further we can go. Do I believe I can win a World Title? 100%. There will always be critics. There will always be naysayers. It’s impossible for them because that’s their mindset. That’s why they sit on social media projecting their faults. I don’t think anything is impossible. If I wanted to switch and do whatever it is – it could be absolutely anything – I’ll make it successful. It’s not just boxing. It’s my mindset, it’s what I do.
“I’ve had a target on my back ever since I turned pro because my dad is Nigel Benn. It’s as simple as that. ‘The Dark Destroyer’, the legend. People like to call me silver spoon, but I’ve chosen the hardest sport in the world. I don’t have to be here. I have everything to lose. I’m a winner – all round. Of course I want the big fights. I want to be the best fighter in Britain – which I believe I am. The rankings don’t lie and I’m number one.
“We’ve seen all of the Mexicans come over around derail some of the Brits. It’s about time I set the score straight. Granados presents a different struggle. He’s saying he wants to box and all of that. Alright then mate – try me. He can prepare for King Kong, he can prepare for whoever he wants, it doesn’t bother me. Do what you’ve got to do. Do what you want. Prepare how you want. It isn’t going to make any difference come fight night. I’m up for it – more than ever. I’m hungrier now more than ever, and if he thinks I’m going to let him get in the way of me getting my World Title he’s got another thing coming that’s for sure.”
Benn vs. Granados tops a huge night of action as Fight Camp returns with a bang, WBA Featherweight World Champion Xu Can (18-2, 3 KOs) puts his Title on the line against Nottingham’s Leigh Wood (24-2, 14 KOs), Tommy McCarthy (18-2, 9 KOs) and Chris Billam-Smith (12-1, 10 KOs) collide in a massive showdown for the European, British and Commonwealth Cruiserweight Titles, former World Title challenger Avni Yildrim (21-3, 12 KOs) aims to bounce back from his loss to pound-for-pound king Canelo Alvarez when he takes on ‘Little Lever’s Meat Cleaver’ Jack Cullen (19-2-1, 9 KOs), Liverpool Super-Welterweight Anthony Fowler (14-1, 11 KOs) promises to build on his huge third-round knockout win over Jorge Fortea when he takes on Roberto Garcia (44-5, 27 KOs), Manchester Lightweight Campbell Hatton (2-0) continues his young journey in the pro ranks against Jakub Laskowski (4-4-1, 2 KOs) and former amateur star Sandy Ryan makes her highly-anticipated professional debut at Super-Lightweight against Kirstie Bavington (3-1-2, 2 KOs).
|‘The Destroyer’ calls out Amir Khan after emphatic win
|12 x 3 mins WBA Continental Welterweight Title
CONOR BENN WTKO1 (1:20) v SAMUEL VARGAS
(Essex, England) (Bogota, Colombia)
Conor Benn wiped out Samuel Vargas inside the opening round to retain his WBA Continental Welterweight Title at the Copper Box Arena in London, live on Sky Sports in the UK and on DAZN in the U.S. and more than 200 countries and territories.
‘The Destroyer’ lived up to his name as he took just 1 minute and 20 seconds to progress to 18-0 with twelve knockouts, sending out a brutal warning to his Welterweight rivals.
The unbeaten 24-year-old unloaded a torrent of spiteful shots that left Vargas reeling on the ropes, prompting the referee to swiftly wave it off, and Benn quickly expressed his desire for a big domestic clash with Khan.
“I train hard for it,” said Benn. “Again, you’re talking levels. It shows the level I’m at. Errol Spence, Danny Garcia, Vergil Ortiz, Amir Khan – nobody banged him out like that. First round, first round! He came and he was game. He took my belt off me in the week and I had a little stare down with him.
“He was telling me he was ready to fight, and he was talking a good game. He said I had no power. It’s irrelevant because a lot of people can talk. My shots were landing flush. You could tell they were hurting him. When I first hit him it landed swiftly and I thought, ‘right, this is going to be a much quicker night than I thought’.
“I’ve been working on my power with my strength and conditioning coach Dan Lawrence. We’ve been working with Tony, endless hours. First to arrive last to leave. He’s always pushing me. I told you lot I’d knock him out in the first round. I was cool, calm and collected. I work so hard.
“Give me Amir Khan. I know he’s too busy on reality TV. If he wants it, he can have it. I can deal with pressure. I can cope with it. I can live with it, no problem. I’m ready for the top dogs – Shawn Porter, Adrien Broner? Forget the word prospect, I ain’t a prospect no more.”
10 x 2 mins WBO Middleweight World Title
SAVANNAH MARSHALL WKO3 (1:11) v MARIA LINDBERG
(Hartlepool, England) (Malmo, Sweden)
Savannah Marshall became the first woman to stop Maria Lindberg in 29 fights as she retained her WBO Middleweight World Title with a third round KO.
The defending champion was far too powerful for her Swedish challenger, who stepped in as a late replacement for Femke Hermans.
A powerful right hand dumped Lindberg heavily to the canvas in the second round, with the bell preventing Marshall from finishing the fight.
It was a brief reprieve as Marshall’s stinging right toppled Lindberg again and she wisely stayed down for the count in the third.
“To be honest, I really didn’t think it would pan out like that,” said Marshall. “Maria is one tough woman. She keeps herself in shape all year round. She’d never been stopped in 27-fights. I thought I was in for a bit of a tough night’s work.
“Once I started finding my range with the jab then the backhand just found its way home and I don’t think she could handle the power. She just said there she’s never been dropped in 23 years! I’m quite proud of that.
“On Sunday, I didn’t even think I was going to fight, and then they brought Maria in. It kind of rocked the boat a bit. A quick change of tactics and we got the job done. She’s been in with some good girls, Christina Hammer, she’s boxed for numerous World Titles. She wanted mine, but she’s not getting it. I’m truly grateful to Maria for stepping up. Big thanks to her.
“I’ve heard whispers we’re going back to Newcastle in July, hopefully with crowds. I’d love to box for the IBF Title which is vacant. I feel good at this weight, I’m a big Middleweight. Me against Shields is the only fight at the bigger weights. It has to happen really. There’s nowhere else for her to go. She needs me just as much as I need her.”
10 x 2 mins vacant WBA Bantamweight World Title
SHANNON COURTENAY WUD10 (97-94, 98-92, 98-92) v EBANIE BRIDGES
(Watford, England) (New South Wales, Australia)
Shannon Courtenay was crowned the new WBA Bantamweight World Champion after defeating Australia’s Ebanie Bridges on points following a punishing battle.
The pair were embroiled in a heated build-up but it was the Watford fighter who had the final word, becoming Britain’s latest World Champion by securing a unanimous decision with scores of 97-94, 98-92 and 98-92.
“Amazing. I don’t want to cry. Amazing,” said Courtenay. “I feel like my jab won me the fight to be honest. My conditioning, my attrition, all of the hard work. My two coaches Charlie and H kill me on a daily basis. They kill me in the gym. I hate them for it, but it bloody paid off. My nice jab, my fitness and my conditioning won me that fight.
“I have to give credit to her because that was a bloody good fight. She was tougher than I thought she’d be. I knew if I stuck to my boxing I’d win. I had to keep listening to Charlie – he kept saying, ‘box, box, box’. When I was getting into a war it was stupid of me. The jab won me the fight.
“There was respect before I got in the ring because anybody that gets in the ring deserves respect. I now have more respect for her. When it was a shootout that was my own stupidity. I’ve come a long way. I’ve said it all week. Tonight is proof that anyone can turn their life around.
“I’m a different person to who I was back then. I’m a World Champion baby! I’m wearing this belt everywhere. This is such a proud moment for me. This is such a good example to young girls that you can turn your life around. I can’t put it into words.”
10 x 3 mins WBC International Silver Bantamweight Title
ALEXANDER ESPINOZA v KASH FAROOQ WUD10 (97-93, 97-95, 97-94)
(Managua, Nicaragua) (Glasgow, Scotland)
Glasgow talent Kash Farooq completed a stylish points victory over Nicaragua’sAlexander Espinoza to secure the WBC International Silver Bantamweight Title.
‘The Untouchable’ displayed his superior ring skills against the tough 28-year-old, receiving a unanimous decision with scores of 97-93, 97-95 and 97-94.
“I’m over the moon with the performance,” Farooq told Sky Sports. “I knew it was going to be a tough fight. I came as an underdog, he was the champion. He took some really heavy shots and he kept coming and coming.
“When you’re a champion you don’t want to give your belt up. He just wanted to win. That’s why he came here. I wasn’t going to be denied. It’s a lot of hard work in the gym. Practice, practice and practice. It’s second nature because I’ve been working on this for such a long time. I can see the punches coming.”
6 x 3 mins International Heavyweight contest
NICK CAMPBELL WTKO2 (0:41) v PETR FROHLICH
(Glasgow, Scotland) (Most, Czech Republic)
Rugby player turned Heavyweight boxer Nick Campbell got his professional career off to a flyer by taking out Petr Frohlich in two rounds.
The 31-year-old from Glasgow displayed his strength and power as he unloaded a succession of thudding body shots in the opening round.
Frohlich crumpled to the canvas after clubbing shots at the start of the second and referee Robert Williams mercifully waved it off following another flurry of punches from ‘The Glasgow Warrior’.
“I like to try and stay humble, I expected to get rid of that guy to be honest with you,” said Campbell. “I know he’s not been knocked out many times in his losses and he’s tough. He took some shots there. I’m pleased with how it went. I put him down once and then the referee jumped in and stopped it.
“In my opinion it was the dream debut. Making my debut on a stage like that after everything that happened in the past year is something that I’d have never of dreamed of. I’m just buzzing to be here and to be talking to you. I’m happy with my performance. I went in there and I had a high work rate. I was just trying to display the things we’d been working on in the gym.
“I can’t thank my team enough for all of the hard work they’ve put into me. They’re the best team around in my opinion. All of the people that have been singing my praises, that was for you, so thank you. I’m a bit older than most people that make their debut, but I feel young. Every fight that I have is a step further than people thought I could go. I’m just here to prove people wrong and work hard.”
4 x 3 mins International Light-Heavyweight contest
JOHN HEDGES WPTS4 (40-36) v STANKO JERMELIC
(Takeley, England) (Split, Croatia)
John Hedges moved to 2-0 with a shutout points win over Croatia’s Stanko Jermelic in the opening bout of the night.
In his first fight at Light-Heavyweight, the 18-year-old from Takeley put a difficult professional debut behind him with a calm and collected performance.
“I’m so happy,” said Hedges. “I needed that after the start I had. I’m with a new team now and it just shows what we’ve been working on in the gym. I’d like to thank my team for helping me to get that win. I feel really good.
“After that debut I didn’t feel like I deserved to be on TV this time. This is what I needed to move forward. People must look at me and think I’m a bit of a fleshy Light-Heavyweight. That’s just the body type I have. I feel so much better at this weight. I feel strong and I’m only going to get better as the journey continues.
“That still wasn’t my best, but it was an improvement from last time. I’ll be ready to go again next time with an even better performance. Nobody is going to remember these first few fights. I’m hoping to be like Conor Benn and headlining my own shows in the future.”
|18:20 LIVE ON SKY SPORTS FACEBOOK
4 x 3 mins International Light-Heavyweight contest
JOHN HEDGES 12st 9lbs 2oz v STANKO JERMELIC 12st 6lbs 6oz
(Takeley, England) (Split, Croatia)
19:00 LIVE ON SKY SPORTS & DAZN
6 x 3 mins International Heavyweight contest
NICK CAMPBELL 17st 10lbs 13oz v PETR FROHLICH 16st 2lbs 10oz
(Glasgow, Scotland) (Most, Czech Republic)
10 x 3 mins WBC International Silver Bantamweight Title
ALEXANDER ESPINOZA 8st 5lbs 8oz v KASH FAROOQ 8st 5lbs 0oz
(Managua, Nicaragua) (Glasgow, Scotland)
10 x 2 mins vacant WBA Bantamweight World Title
SHANNON COURTENAY 8st 5lbs 14oz v EBANIE BRIDGES 8st 5lbs 0oz
(Watford, England) (New South Wales, Australia)
10 x 2 mins WBO Middleweight World Title
SAVANNAH MARSHALL 11st 5lbs 10oz v MARIA LINDBERG 11st 0lbs 2oz
(Hartlepool, England) (Malmo, Sweden)
12 x 3 mins WBA Continental Welterweight Title
CONOR BENN 10st 6lbs 12oz v SAMUEL VARGAS 10st 6lbs 10oz
(Essex, England) (Bogota, Colombia)
“We’re here back in London after a whirlwind global tour that continues. Two weeks ago we were in sunny Gibraltar for an incredible event with Dillian Whyte against Alexander Povetkin. Last weekend in Uzbekistan for a thrilling night with over 10,000 people in attendance for the homecoming heroes.
“Back in London now for a huge card live on Sky Sports in the UK and on DAZN around the world. Conor Benn returns against the fantastic Samuel Vargas in what should be a thrilling fight. Two women’s World Title fights on the card as well, Savannah Marshall against Maria Lindberg and of course Shannon Courtenay against Ebanie Bridges for the vacant WBA Bantamweight World Title.
“Next week we have the WBO Middleweight World Championship in Miami between Demetrius Andrade and Liam Williams. Then we’re in Barcelona, two Brits going for the European Championships and then the huge card on May 1st of course – Chisora vs. Parker and Katie Taylor vs. Tasha Jonas, Chris Eubank Jr against Marcus Morrison, Dmitry Bivol against Craig Richards, Scott Fitzgerald and Campbell Hatton on the card.
“Then there’s the small matter of 70,000 people at the fantastic Dallas Cowboys Stadium for Canelo against Billy Joe Saunders. Then we’re back in the UK for a May 15th show that will be announced next week. Just a little few things coming up for you.”
Conor Benn – Essex, England – 17-0, 11 KOs – defending his WBA Continental Welterweight Title against Samuel Vargas:
“This is definitely one for the fans. I’m chomping at the bit; this is a fight I’ve been calling for a long time now and this is another fight where I can show my levels and experience.
“You can judge me on my last performance, or the performance before that, but I’m always evolving and learning from previous fights and the mistakes I’ve made. This is the sort of fight where I really do show what I’m capable of.
“We don’t know the ceiling to my career, we don’t know where the limit is because I came into the game raw and naive. I’m learning and I plan on displaying all of that come Saturday night.
“If you watch Vargas’ fights he comes in and he brings it but so do I. Of course, he’s tested at a higher level and got more experience than me, but everyone I fight moving forward is going to have experience on me, I’ll always go into the fight the less experienced fighter because of my lack of amateur background, because I’m only 24.
“People will question that, it’s my job to prove them wrong, it’s my job to get in there and do a number on him Saturday night. It’s going to be my hardest nights work, I know what he brings, he’s a tough South American who loves to fight and fights with his heart on his sleeve. You’ve got to give him credit where it’s deserved.
“I keep getting asked now about other fights, I made the mistake once in my career looking past opponents and look what happened – I hit the deck twice and it turned out to be my hardest nights work in my career. I’m fully focused on Vargas; I know what he brings and he’s in there to win and show me how it’s done.
“I’ve been training hard for this fight; I’ve been working hard and visualising this fight and I’m ready to go. Whatever he brings, I’ll match it – it’s going to be a shootout at some stage of this fight.
“Every time we’ve said it’s a test I’ve passed with flying colours. With Koivula people were writing me off again, saying he’s too experienced, and then what happened. I stepped up again against Sebastian Formella and what happened. I rise to the occasion and I will rise to the occasion, I will make sure I match it.
“Tony’s trained me harder than ever for this camp. He’s really pushed me; I don’t often say I need a break, but I needed a few this camp. When you’re talking about sacrifices try four years, not being with family – that’s really hard.
“My little son now, we only had a few days off when he was born to spend time with him, so your mind and emotions are still on the fight. Even when I’m holding him, I’m thinking about the fight. Twitching in my sleep about the fight. It’s going to be nice after this to sit down and emotionally relax with my new family.”
Samuel Vargas – Bogota, Colombia – 31-6-2, 14 KOs – challenging Conor Benn for his WBA Continental Welterweight Title:
“I’m blessed, I’m happy and had a good training camp. I feel like everything has fallen into place for me to have a great show Saturday night. I’ve put my heart and soul into this training camp, working with Bones Adams. I’ve lots of rounds in the gym and I’m really excited to be here. The moment is here, it’s time.
“I don’t really compare, I was 24 once, I was young once upon a time and when I look at myself then and now, I just laugh. I just think I bring too much into the ring for him.
“It’s kind of sad we don’t have fans in the venue, I was looking forward to having a lot of fans there because it would’ve beee a great energy, you need that. The fans in London have a lot of love and support which I’m thankful for.
“This is a fan friendly fight, he fights, I fight my ass off. I fight for my family, for everything I have, for the desire to win and become better at life and boxing, there’s so many motives I have to fight for.
“I never make no excuses, even in my loses, I always work my ass off in training camp. This fight in particular, I haven’t seen my family or Lee in two months. Everybody keeps telling me how focused and driven I am because it’s all I’ve done, there’s nothing else to do but box, study, know my enemy and do my job.”
Savannah Marshall – Hartlepool, England – 9-0, 7 KOs – defending her WBO Middleweight World Title against Maria Lindberg:
“If anything, this is a tougher fight than the original fight we had. Maria is very experienced, tough and been in with some of the best in the world – Christian Hammer twice. I’m expecting a tough fight come Saturday.
“I’ve had a twelve-week camp, so I’ve prepared for everything. Whatever Maria brings I’m more than confident I’ve got the answer for.
“I think it’s every boxers dream of being the Undisputed Champion and I do believe that is the biggest fight in female boxing, but I can’t look past Maria at the moment.”
Maria Lindberg – Malmo, Sweden – 19-6-2, 10 KOs – challenging Savannah Marshall for her WBO Middleweight World Title:
“Unfortunately, this was so sudden, and I didn’t have much time but I’m more or less always in training. I’m prepared, this is a new experience for me as I’ve never taken a fight like this with such short notice. There’s a first time for everything, I’m excited and looking forward to Saturday.
“I’m more experienced as a professional, I think I have three times more fights than Savannah and many Title fights. I’ve fought some really good fights, so the experience is definitely on my side. I have my style and I know how I’m fighting, that’s the way I’m going to make it hard for her on Saturday.”
Shannon Courtenay – Watford, England – 6-1, 3 KOs – fighting Ebanie Bridges for the vacant WBA Bantamweight World Title:
“This is more than just a fight, this is an opportunity for me to change my entire life, my family’s life. This is the reason I got into boxing and I’m excited to achieve my dream Saturday night.
“We have very different opinions when it comes to fighting. She talks more about the weigh-in, all I care about is the fight – I’m a fight fan. This to me is a World Title, why are we not talking about the fact this is a world title fight. This is a fantastic fight.
“She’s an exciting fighter, she’s aggressive and comes forward, I’m aggressive and I come forward. Our styles are going to mix, so let’s talk about the fight, there’s nothing else to discuss.
“I’m just excited to fight. I can understand why she’s saying she wants to get more eyes on the sport, but I want to get more viewers for the correct reasons. Katie Taylor didn’t work her backside off to pave the way for women like Ebanie and I to talk about underwear.
“I’ve got a 14-year-old sister, my coaches have daughters, my god-daughter, I want to be a good role model and show them hard work and motivation gets you here. Not flaunting your body.
“I’ve got a cool, calm and collected head. We’ve had a game plan since day one of this fight, I’ve got the best team behind me keeping me nice and calm. My game plan is my game plan, we’ve stuck to it in sparring, and it’s worked beautifully – it’ll work even better on Saturday.
“This fight isn’t my Everest; this is just the start for me. Win the World Title, join the likes of Savannah Marshall, Katie Taylor, Terri Harper and another British woman to hold a World Title. I want to bring another World Title to Britain; we saw it with Lawrence Okolie a few weeks ago and I want to be the next one.”
Ebanie Bridges – New South Wales, Australia – 6-0, 2 KOs – fighting Shannon Courtenay for the vacant WBA Bantamweight World Title:
“This same way I’ve got noticed is the same way I’m getting this fight noticed. I feel like women’s boxing needs more eyes on the sport, we need to do whatever we can. I truly believe that the reason this fight has got so much talk about it is because of me, because of the different approach. I think that’s what’s helping getting eyes on the sport, getting talk on the sport and building it.
“What does matter is what happens in the ring, that’s all that matters. If we can get as many people as possible to watch the fight, then Shannon and I can show to more diverse number of viewers that women can fight. That’s my goal, get the views and once the people are watching Shannon and I are going to put on a show.
“I’ve been fighting and into martial arts since I was five, I haven’t been a boxing fan for just five or six years, I was boxing fan well before I started in the sport. For me, the boxing part is very important to me, but I feel like we need to get more views on women’s boxing and I’m willing to do whatever it takes to get that.
“I think me winning this World Title will show people you don’t have to be like everybody else to achieve these goals. That’s what I’m going for.
“I’m savage, I want to go in there and f**k this shit up. I’m not here to play around, I’m here to get the job done. I don’t play around in boxing, when I fight, I’m there to hurt you. I might look the way I look, but I can’t wait to get in the ring and show people how I fight. The more people I can get to tune in to watch the Bomber, I couldn’t have asked for a better platform, I’m going to do whatever I can.
“We both have the power to knock people out, so a knockout or stoppage is very possible. It’ll come down to our conditioning and heart to see if it goes the ten rounds. If it does go the ten rounds, it’ll be a very exciting ten rounds.
“I truly believe if I win this fight on Saturday night, I’ll become a superstar. If Shannon wins it she’s still Shannon, she still has to beat Rachel Ball. She’s a World Champion but I just think it’s different. I’m very excited to be that person and to be a new face and character in women’s boxing.”
Alexander Espinoza – Managua, Nicaragua – 20-2-2, 8 KOs – defending his WBC International Silver Bantamweight Title against Kash Farooq:
“We know there are some great champions from Nicaragua, and you’ll see another one Saturday night.
“I believe very much in myself and I’m looking forward to retaining my International crown. I believe I can beat anyone at world level and go on to win a World Title myself.”
Kash Farooq – Glasgow, Scotland – 14-1, 6 KOs – challenging Alexander Espinoza for his WBC International Silver Bantamweight Title:
“I’m been preparing for this fight; I know what to expect on the night and I’m really confident I’ll put in a good performance and get the win. He’s going to bring it.
“I was pleased but there’s always room for improvement. I went back, took a couple of days off and went right back to the gym. I trained right through Christmas, New Year and my birthday. It was a good performance, but I want to improve every fight, I want to get better, and this is another fight where I’m going to showcase my skills and look good.
“I think he [Alexander] will be there all night, but that’s going to make me look even better. It’s going to give me opportunities I didn’t get last fight. Expect a good performance off me but never say never he may surprise me.”
John Hedges – Takeley, England – 1-0 – fighting Stanko Jermelic in a four-round International Light-Heavyweight contest:
“It was a hard debut but looking back on it now and I couldn’t have asked for a better one. It’s prepared me for what’s to come in the future. Taking a southpaw one a couple days’ notice was probably something I shouldn’t have done, but I’m glad I did, we got the win, and we push on now for my second fight and I’m looking to shine.
“I’ve trained hard, I’ve had some class sparring and sparred some great names – British Champions all at Light-Heavyweight. I’ve trained hard, been around some good boys and putting everything in, Mark’s been away but I had a few weeks with him.
“Me, Steven Andrews, Mark Tibbs, Jimmy Tibbs and Ian have all been down there doing the job, putting the work in and making sure I can have a good performance this time.
“It’s a proper Essex gym, we’re having it down there – it’s lively. I can’t knock it, it’s a proper gym and I’m enjoying it down there. I’m enjoying being in good company and training hard.
“I’m trying to take the pressure off myself, I don’t want to swallow on it. I’m ready to go, I’ve put the work in, and this is the fun part. I want to prove to people what I know I can be and what I’ve done before – I’m ready to go now.
Stanko Jermelic – Split, Croatia – 0-5 – fighting John Hedges in a four-round International Light-Heavyweight contest:
“I’ve had good training camp; I feel like I’m ready to face John. I’ve watched John’s previous fight and I’m ready to fight on Saturday.”
Nick Campbell – Glasgow, Scotland – Professional Debut – fighting Petr Frohlich in a six-round International Heavyweight contest:
“I suppose you do need to be mad to get into boxing, but I love it. I’ve loved the sport since a young age, so it just felt like the right thing for me to do at the time – give up rugby and go to boxing.
“Here we are, no better stage to make your debut and I’m buzzing for it I can’t wait.
“Scotland is famous for their lighter weights; we’ve got Josh Taylor and Kash Farooq who is fighting with me on this card at the weekend but there’s never really been a good Heavyweight. There’s a void there, one that I want to fill.
“My rugby background is going to help me with this, with the pressure. I’m taking it in my stride, using the pressure to perform, put on a show Saturday night and show that I’m here to make a statement.
“I got into this four years ago, I went through the amateur set up and been down Sheffield sparring guys in the GB squad. I’ve been over the world the Scotland, always testing myself and see how I went.
“As far as I’m concerned, the only way is up and anybody who doubts me is just more fuel to my fire.
Petr Frohlich – Most, Czech Republic – 2-30-1, 1 KO – fighting Nick Campbell in a six-round International Heavyweight contest:
“I’m so pleased and grateful for this opportunity to fight here in London, particularly given the current climate. I’m going to give my best and show what a quality boxer I am.”