BUATSI STOPS BOLOTNIKS IN WBA LIGHT-HEAVYWEIGHT WORLD TITLE ELIMINATOR

12 x 3 mins WBA Light-Heavyweight World Title Eliminator
JOSHUA BUATSI WTKO11 (2:08) v RICARDS BOLOTNIKS                
(Croydon, England)                           (Riga, Latvia)

Joshua Buatsi continued his march towards a World Title shot with a stunning 11th round knockout win over Ricards Bolotniks in their WBA Light-Heavyweight World Title Eliminator on the third and final week of Matchroom Fight Camp in Brentwood, Essex live worldwide on DAZN.

Last year’s MTK Global Golden Contract winner represented the biggest test of Buatsi’s career, but the Croydon man passed the test impressively as he maintained his unbeaten record, progressing to 15-0 (13 KOs). 

“Most importantly I have to thank God for the victory, different fighters have different things that work for them, I made it clear to you lot that that’s what works for me,” Buatsi told DAZN. “In my changing room I don’t need to hear anything, don’t tell me what I did in camp, tell me Josh is written in the bible. That’s what gears me up when I walk down there, what’s written in the bible.
 
“I’m grateful man, Bolotniks big credit to him he pushed me. I think he said Josh hasn’t been past seven rounds before so after seven we’ll see. I was there until 11 and landed a good shot. I worked every round, but I want to congratulate him – he’s a good champion.
 
“When I sat down, I said, ‘Buatsi who told you to empty the tank, you’ve got six left?’ but I’ve worked hard. You see in camp the sparring is hard man, big credit to my sparring partners they know who they are. I do a hard six run then a fresh one gets in so into the second half I said I’ve been here: I’ve done it before I’ve been here many times in camp.
 
“I’ve got a great team, I’ve got a promoter that believes in me, he’s been pushing for fights like this because he knows I can do it. Tonight, I went out there and showed people I can do it, we just build from here.
 
“We all make sacrifices, I don’t want to single myself out, everyone sacrifices to be where they want to be in life. For me, yeah, I sacrificed, I’m always away from my family and I truly miss them but most importantly I want to get to the top. I feel like I’m in the right team with the right people, I’ve got a great promoter who gives me the opportunities I need. I’ll keep sacrificing.”

10 x 3 mins International Lightweight Contest
JOE CORDINA WKO1 (0:53) v JOSHUAH HERNANDEZ 
(Cardiff, Wales)                          (Chicago, USA)

Joe Cordina blew away Chicago’s Joshuah Hernandez inside the opening round to progress to 13-0 (8 KOs) and continue his pursuit of a World Title opportunity. 

‘The Welsh Wizard’ was intent on causing damage from the opening bell, landing hurtful shots early on before dropping Hernandez with a stunning right hand that he never recovered from. 

“Chris Colbert went eight rounds with Hernandez and what I watched of it, it was quite a tough fight for him,” Cordina told Matchroom. “I watched that fight and a couple others of Hernadez and me and Tony came up with a game plan. We were going through in the changing rooms, and it came off a peach.
 
“I had to prove a point, I said in an interview earlier in the week that I don’t take criticism from people I wouldn’t go to for advice. I don’t really value many people’s opinions so yeah, it’s one of those things, you’re going to get people criticizing and it’s whether you take it onboard or not. A lot of people didn’t take into consideration that I’d been out the ring for 16 months, had an operation of my hand, we proved the point tonight and got him out of there early on.
 
“I always look to just get the win, box, if the knockout is there, I’ll take it. As soon as he threw his first jab, I knew he wasn’t going to catch me with that, my sharpness of feet and head movement would get me out of trouble. I started putting my lead hand downstairs and whipping the right hand over the top and I caught him the first time, I knew he was a little bit wobbly. I didn’t want to rush in and try and get him out of there straight away, I knew if I could catch him twice with it there’s going to be a third time and I did exactly that. We got him out of there in great fashion.
 
“I was watching Fight Camp last year and there was no crowd, but even when there wasn’t a crowd it felt like there was a massive atmosphere. When I saw the first Fight Camp week at home, I thought, ‘oh my god I’m fighting there in two weeks, it’s going to be amazing’. I’m glad that I’m able to tick it of my list now. 
 
“Eddie watched me in York Hall in 2009 and said, ‘you’re going to be a World Champion’. It’s nice to hear that but I’ve got to keep improving, keep pushing on and proving him right. I know I’ve got the ability to be a World Champion very soon, but I’ve just got to keep winning. I’ve got the ability to mix it with any of them, it’s just about taking those steps up the ladder to become a World Champion and that’s what I plan on doing. Maybe have two weeks at home, go back to the gym and see what I want to do with Tony.
 
“I know people say it but if you speak to my S&C coach and Tony this was probably one of the best camps I’ve ever had. That’s with the boxing, plus my S&C, everything just came together. Don’t get me wrong I had to be at home for my new-born son but everything’s coming together now. I’m glad I got the win tonight in great fashion and now it’s time to build on it.” 

10 x 3 mins WBO Global Welterweight Title
MICHAEL MCKINSON WUD10 (99-91, 99-91, 98-92) v PRZEMYSLAW RUNOWSKI
(Portsmouth, England)                                                    (Slupsk, Poland)

Michael McKinson avoided a potential banana skin in Przemyslaw Runowski as he outpointed the brave Pole after ten rounds of skilful boxing from the Portsmouth man.

‘The Problem’, now 21-0 (2 KOs), dominated on the cards to maintain his unbeaten record and retain his WBO Global Welterweight Title. 

“I’m happy, that was easier than I thought it would be, I didn’t really get out of first gear,” McKinson told Matchroom. “I visibly hurt him a few times, but I boxed to instructions and got the win. To be fair I didn’t think he won a round against me, but he was a tough guy. Him and his team were very confident beforehand, I liked the energy they brought all week, but I just had to show I was a level above, and I was a few levels above – I’m happy.
 
“They keep giving me harder opposition, they keep telling me it’s a step up and I’m making it look easier and easier. What people forget is I’m learning every day on the job as well; I’m developing and who knows where I can be in a year or twos time. I’m in a position where a lot of boxers dream of being in, all I can do it stay focused, keep learning and keep working my way to the top.
 
“First time on the A side you know, not many people can say they’ve boxed in Gibraltar and not many people can say they’ve boxed in Eddie’s back garden and done both this year. I can’t moan or complain, I’m really happy and blessed.
 
“2021 and my career has just started, 21-0 and making it look easy. I really want to keep stepping up, keep challenging myself, keep having more and more tests. I’m still learning but I’m learning quick and finding it easy now. I want opponents that will make me step through the gears, a few times I hurt him there like I can punch, I don’t need to, I boxed to instructions. I didn’t really get out of first gear.
 
“I believe I’m the best 147 pounder in the country. I like Conor, I get on well with him, but if he can’t get them two guys the Brooks or the Khans, I’m always here. I’ll fight whoever they give me, I’ve never turned down a fight and that’s a fact – I don’t plan on turning down fights. I really do believe in myself, and I believe in my development as well. I’m going to be going to the top I promise you.
 
“I’m really happy for Liam Taylor because he never really gets a fair ranking and he’s a good fighter so I’m happy he’s got that opportunity. I’m not far behind, I’d like the winner, but I’ll fight whoever makes sense and whoever my management team want to get me next – the answer is always yes. That guy there I just beat took Josh Taylor to points on short notice, he had a full camp against me, his team were so confident talking to me in the hotel.
 
“Like I said, I make their confidence fade round by round, they don’t call me ‘The Problem’ for no reason. I will carry on being a problem as I step through the levels as the opposition gets better, trust me.
 
“Josh Kelly has got a lot of ability, he’s a skilful fighter, I like Josh – even after the Avanesyan defeat I still think he’s a top fighter. Florian Marku talks a lot doesn’t he, he didn’t know who I was a few months ago on social media on an interview, he said he didn’t know who I was. At least they’re talking about me now, let him prove himself because I don’t think he’s proved himself at a decent level yet, not saying he’s not a good fighter, but he does need to prove himself as a fighter to be respected. Good luck to all of them, I wish nothing but the best for all my rivals, you know I’m here and I’ll fight anybody.
  
“Even when we go back to proper arenas and stuff, wait till we get hundreds and hundreds of Portsmouth fans loud and proud. I’ve got great support and it’s always growing; I know there’s a lot of people that didn’t come today but when they’re allowed everyone will see the Portsmouth fans.” 

6 x 3 mins International Super-Bantamweight Contest 
HOPEY PRICE WPTS6 (58-55) v CLAUDIO GRANDE
(Leeds, England)                          (Massa, Italy)

Hopey Price continued his ring education with a solid six round points win over Claudio Grande. The 21-year-old from Leeds was in control throughout and his dominance showed in the final round when he floored the Italian with the last punch of the fight. Grande made it to his feet but was defeated 58-55 on the referee’s card.

Price’s fifth win in the pro ranks sets up a showdown with Leeds rival Zahid Hussain (16-1, 2 KOs) on the huge Mauricio Lara vs. Josh Warrington 2 show at the Emerald Headingley Stadium on September 4.

“It was a good performance, considering I had six months outside the ring, which for a young prospect like me isn’t ideal,” Price told Matchroom. “You can spar as much as you want but it’s not the same feeling as when you’re under the lights. Now looking forward, I’ve got Leeds in three weeks, that’s put me in very good stead – you’ll see the best of me in three weeks’ time.
 
“I remember Dave [Coldwell] shouting at me finish strong, finish strong, and he was just coming in – what we’ve been working on in the gym – I felt like I was catching him with that shot all fight and he just walked onto it lovely at the end and he was gone.
 
“I’m not fighting these journeyman and people with losing records, that’s a proper fight, he’s 5-0, three knockouts, I’m sure he wanted to be a star over there in Italy. He was coming to win and was defeated, I put a stop to that and gave him his first loss.
 
“You began to see it, it’s been coming slowly but surely, now over the next year or so you’ll see the best of me.
 
“I feel like I’m developing more as a fighter under Dave and more as a man – big thanks to Danny Wilson at Boxing Science, he’s making me a lot stronger, and I think you saw it there in the last ten seconds. I’m not just a young kid that people can walk through.
 
“I want to go right to the top. I don’t want to be a World Champion; I want to be a pound-for-pound star and Dave’s the man to take me there. I’ll keep listening, learning, developing and I promise you I will get there one day.
 
“I think fighting in Leeds on September 4 shows the confidence and ability – and the confidence my team has in me – to take a fight like that three weeks before and coming through with flying colours, no injuries. I’m ready to go in my hometown in front of 20,00 fans, I’ll steal the show there 100%.
 
“I’m ready for Zahid Hussain, 100%, I was ready for it back in September and the magic man didn’t turn up. So, we’ll see this time if he comes and if he does, I promise Hopey Price will come out the victor.
 
“I said it from my second pro fight, I believe there are levels to boxing and my boxing brain is one of the best in Britain. I believe I’m levels above Zahid Hussain.”

10 x 3 mins vacant WBC International Bantamweight Title
KASH FAROOQ WUD10 (100-90, 100-90, 100-91) v LUIS GERARDO CASTILLO
(Glasgow, Scotland)                                                   (Jiqulipilco, Mexico)

Kash Farooq showed off his wide repertoire of skills to get the better of Luis Gerardo Castillo and pick up the vacant WBC International Bantamweight Title.

The Mexican fighter never stopped coming forward but he had no answer for Farooq’s frequent bursts. Scores from the ringside judges were 100-90 x 2, and 100-91. 

“I boxed to the game plan, that was it, you want to get in there and always entertain but I followed the game plan that was it,” Farooq told Matchroom. “I listened to my trainer, and he just told me to box, you couldn’t get any footage of him, so I didn’t know what he was about, I adapted on the night and did what I had to do.
 
“I showed tonight the other side of me that can box as well. He’s not world class but it’s a different side of my boxing that I showed, he was tough and game. We didn’t know what we were up against.
 
“If you let anybody hit you, they can punch, he had a bit of sting to his punches, but the name of the game is hit and don’t get hit and that’s what I did in this fight.
 
“He [Gerardo] can’t speak and can’t hear so it’s something different, people were saying he’s come to win, and this was going to change his life, these types of boys want to win but he was up against me so – I wanted to win as much as he did.
 
“These boys are coming from nothing, some of them grew up in poverty and it’s a different lifestyle in Mexico – they fight for a living to make their lives better. It’s either me or him and it wasn’t going to be me today.
 
“It was another learning fight for me, and I’ll progress again, it’s something I picked up – for me it’s just about developing and getting better. This is just another clinical performance by me.
 
“My job is just to fight, and they tell me what route they’re going to go through. If I had a choice I’d fight [McGregor] but it’s down to them and they’ll make the right decision for me.
 
“He wants to fight just like I do but he’s got managers telling him what the best options are like I do as well. The next few weeks my managers are going to sit down with Eddie and discuss what the best options are and what route to go down – if it’s that one next then I’m more than happy to take it.
 
“It is a big fight for Scotland, me and Lee can sell out the SSE Hydro, if it’s the right time and it has a good build me, we can do it. It’s just me and him boxing each other.
 
“For me I’ll take a few days off but it’s back to training. When I’ll really take some time off is when I call it a day and retire. Now I’ve still got levels to progress, go back to the gym and work on things, it’s a lifestyle in boxing and it a short career, you don’t know when retirement is coming. For me I’m going to put everything into boxing for the next few years of my life.”

10 x 3 mins vacant WBA Continental Featherweight Title
RAYMOND FORD WTKO3 (0:39) v REECE BELLOTTI
(New Jersey, USA)                          (Watford, England)

Raymond Ford earned his first title in the pro ranks by stopping Reece Bellotti in three rounds to capture the vacant WBA Continental Featherweight crown.

The New Jersey youngster promised to steal the show ahead of his second fight in the UK and went some way to backing up his pre fight prediction by turning in a savage performance. 

The 22-year-old demonstrated why he is regarded as one of the hottest prospects in US boxing as he took out Watford’s Bellotti with a quality attack in the third. 

“In the third round I was going to start to box and slow it down because I was throwing too many fast, hard shots to hurt him early,” Ford told Matchroom. “My team told me to settle down because we had ten rounds to go and then he came on and ran into the shot. I knew if I didn’t get him out of there when I had him hurt, he was just going to be a tough guy and keep coming forward. When I hit my shot, I had to get him out of there.
 
“It feels great, one of my dreams that came true, the real dream and goal is to get to these World Championship titles.
 
“I knew that he [Bellotti] was kind of the bully and everything so I wanted to beat the bully in the fight. I heard a lot about his power, guys saying his power was up there at the top, I just wanted to show I can be a bigger bully and that’s what I did.
 
“I said yesterday that I was going to handle the pressure. I was just starting to warm up and settle in but the more the fight would have went, the more you would have seen me relaxed and be sharper. I was getting hit by some dumb shots but that was because I was warming up and getting a feel of everything – being back after five months.
 
“I love it in the UK, all week people have been showing me love so I want to come back and fight here again. I want to be one the greatest to ever do it, not just in my division, I just want to be the best and go down as a legend.
 
“It’s important to be patient but I feel like I have the skills and I was blessed with the talents I have where I can fight these top guys at a young age. I want to keep stepping up and get these tougher fights.”

8 x 3 mins International Lightweight Contest
ZELFA BARRETT WRTD4 v VIOREL SIMION
(Manchester, England)         (Lehliu Gară, Romania)

Zelfa Barrett stopped Romania’s Viorel Simion in four rounds to potentially set up a rematch with Kiko Martinez later this year. The Manchester man dominated from the opening bell, forcing Simion back with hurtful shots that were landing at will. 

“It was good to get back out there, a long layoff since February, an active fighter is a god fighter,” Barrett told Matchroom. “As you guys know, my mum passed away in June, so we’ve had a lot going on. I wanted to just go in there and tear him apart, professionally, but they put the reigns on me. Sometimes I was eager to go and wanted to unload on him, but my uncle is the greatest coach, I just listened to what he was saying. He was taking punishment and he didn’t continue the fight. I was putting more pressure on and letting my hands go.
 
“It’s a thing of believing in yourself, I know I’ve got the punch power and when you hit correct it hurts anybody. We were working on it with the body pad before we came out and the shots just landed, and he went down. The right body shot would hurt any man, so it was about following what I’ve been practicing in the changing rooms – good performance after a long layoff.
 
“There are some good fighters on this card, I believe I’m one of the best fighters in Britain aside your World Champions, I believe it and I believe in myself otherwise I wouldn’t be here. That fight had to finish like that, if it went 8 rounds, I’d have to be questioning myself as a fighter that’s going to be world champion.
 
“He wasn’t able to continue, he quit, no disrespect to him but he quit. Making a man quit is better than any knockout because his brain hasn’t shut down, the ref hasn’t jumped in, he’s physically quit. Good little fight, good little stoppage.
 
“I’m doing it for myself because I want to be a successful man, that’s all I want to be, believe in God and God will make that happen. I’ve got more motivation, my beautiful daughter Amelia and my beautiful mum on me, my brother, and my cousin Wayne, I’ve got three angels watching me. Onto the next one now and thanks to everyone for watching.
 
“It was better than nothing, I would love to be on about 8 o’clock just looking out, it just brings something out of a fighter that you didn’t think you had. I don’t know, I just love it, you can’t buy that, that feeling that you get, that’s when I’ve had my best performances when there are crowds, and I can feel their energy.
 
“I’d love that fight [Kiko] in Manchester, I respect Kiko as a person, he’s a cool guy. He believed he won, I know I won, the judges thought I won. We can run it again because I want to, not because anyone else wants to, but because I want to. We can run that again and I’ll look good doing it.
 
“I’ve just got to keep doing what I’m doing, don’t get me wrong the European Titles out there I’d love to get, because you know you’re ready for that jump. We can’t cherry pick, Eddie’s a man who gives you opportunities and you’ve got to be ready. I’d love a shot at the European, but now I’m just going to rest, spend time with my beautiful daughter. Daddy’s a champ and I’m her champ, on to the next.”
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FIGHT CAMP WEEK 3 WEIGHTS AND RUNNING ORDER

17:30 BST LIVE ON BEFORE THE BELL AND FIRST FIGHT

8 x 3 mins International Lightweight Contest

ZELFA BARRETT 1361/lbs v VIOREL SIMION 1393/lbs
(Manchester, England)             (Lehliu Gară, Romania)
 
followed by

10 x 3 mins vacant WBA Continental Featherweight Title
RAYMOND FORD 126lbs v REECE BELLOTTI 1251/lbs
(New Jersey, USA)              (Watford, England)

followed by

19:00 BST LIVE ON DAZN

10 x 3 mins vacant WBC International Bantamweight Title
KASH FAROOQ 1171/lbs v LUIS GERARDO CASTILLO 1161/lbs
(Glasgow, Scotland)              (Jiqulipilco, Mexico)

followed by

6 x 3 mins International Super-Bantamweight Contest 
HOPEY PRICE 1233/lbs v CLAUDIO GRANDE 1211/lbs
(Leeds, England)                 (Massa, Italy)

followed by

10 x 3 mins WBO Global Welterweight Title
MICHAEL MCKINSON 1461/lbs v PRZEMYSLAW RUNOWSKI 1461/lbs
(Portsmouth, England)                    (Slupsk, Poland)

followed by

10 x 3 mins International Lightweight Contest
JOE CORDINA 134lbs v JOSHUA HERNANDEZ 1323/lbs
(Cardiff, Wales)               (Chicago, USA)

followed by

12 x 3 mins WBA Light-Heavyweight World Title Eliminator
JOSHUA BUATSI 1743/lbs v RICARDS BOLOTNIKS 1741/lbs                  
(Croydon, England)                 (Riga, Latvia)
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FIGHT CAMP WEEK 3 PRESS CONFERENCE QUOTES

Eddie Hearn, Matchroom Sport Chairman:

“Well good afternoon, the final week of Fight Camp this Saturday live and exclusively on DAZN around the world as we close out with a tremendous card with some of the biggest names and stars in world boxing headlined by an incredible fight. Joshua Buatsi against Ricards Bolotniks in what is a WBA Light-Heavyweight World Title Eliminator. A tremendous card.” 

Joshua Buatsi – Croydon, England – 14-0, 12 KOs – fighting Ricards Bolotniks in a WBA Light-Heavyweight World Title Eliminator:

“This is it, Eddie. This is the fight. You’ve been eager to make it happen from early on and when this was offered to my team we said yeah straight away. It’s a good fight, the ring outside looks good, I’m looking forward to it.
 
“That’s good for me, I’ve said it before we can go into there to box, with a strategy, but sometimes you’re going to have to fight, sometimes the tactics will go out the window and it’s man against main. We’ll see what happens and how it goes, but I’ll be prepared, I’ve covered all aspects, I’m ready.
 
“It will be a good gauge to see where I’m at, I think a good performance from my myself with give you the green light to get the belt. Either way I’ll be prepared.”
 
Ricards Bolotniks – Riga, Latvia – 18-5-1, 8 KOs – fighting Joshua Buatsi in a WBA Light-Heavyweight World Title Eliminator:“I wanted this fight straight after the Golden Contract, and now I’m here and I’m so happy. I’m ready for Saturday, and I am only here for the victory.“Buatsi is a big star here and a good boxer. He’s strong and tough, and I want a street fight with him. In Latvia I was always fighting on the street. Boxing is more professional, but I want a war and I’m sure me and Buatsi will have a massive fight.“I’m focused on Saturday, but after this of course I want the World Title. I have the perfect team around me, and this is the right time.”Joe Cordina – Cardiff, Wales – 12-0, 7 KOs – fighting Joshuah Hernandez in ten round International Lightweight contest: 
 
“We were scheduled to fight at the end of August in LA, obviously that didn’t happen, the opportunity came up to fight here at Fight Camp and I haven’t fought here yet. It’s something I wanted to tick off my list, so I jumped at it with both hands, Tony and I both said 100%. We had a list of opponents and wanted to pick the hardest. Joshuah Hernandez is 10-3 but those three loses are little blips. He’s a tough opponent and I’m looking forward to it.
 
“As we’ve said in previous press conference and since I started boxing, my aim is to be a World Champion and that’s what I plan on doing. Obviously Joshuah Hernandez is in my way and he’s trying to stop me, I just need to get through Saturday night and if I’m going to go on, challenge and win World Titles I’ve got to beat people like Joshuah. He’s a very good opponent and his record doing show how good he is.
 
“The cycle before us like Kal Yafai four years on he went on to win a World Title, same as Callum Smith. This time around the boys and girls have finished the Olympics and now it’s our time – don’t get me wrong I’m a couple of fights away but we’re in touching distance. I’m there, I can see it, feel it, and I just want to get closer and closer. Saturday night I need to beat Joshuah Hernandez to get that little bit closer to my dream which is to become a World Champion.”

Joshuah Hernandez – New Jersey, USA – 10-3, 8 KOs – fighting Joe Cordina in ten round International Lightweight contest: 

“I stay ready, I stay prepared, in the gym working on my mental and physical strengths. I feel ready to go, the past is the past, my record isn’t pretty, but it is what it is. If you do your research, the only person to beat me is Chris Colbert, I should be 12-1. It is what it is, I’m here to prove a point.
 
“God doesn’t make mistakes, I’m a man of faith and coming off work I’m a schoolteacher. Once the school year ended, normally I pick up a job for summer, but I just felt like a had a blessing coming my way. I spoke to my family and said I’m not going to work this summer, I’m going to focus on the sport, focus on boxing and here we are. I’m blessed and I’m ready.”

Michael McKinson – Portsmouth, England – 20-0, 2 KOs – defending his WBO Global Welterweight Title against Przemyslaw Runowski:“It feels different being the A-side, there is a lot more pressure, but I enjoy that. He’s a tough opponent, but it’s a solid test for me. Runowski is on form, and him and his team are confident, but what I do best is ruin that confidence. Round by round it will fade.“I’m focused on Runowski and not thinking about anybody else, so I’ll get the job done in style and then move on. He has the type of style to make me look good. I’m excited to put on a good display of boxing. “I do well under pressure, and proved that last time out. There is more pressure on me with me being the favourite and it’s new territory for me. It’s a great occasion on a big show, and I know I’ll perform, that’s all that matters.”Przemyslaw Runowski – Slupsk, Poland – 19-1, 5 KOs – challenging Michael McKinson for the WBO Global Welterweight Title:

“I am ready for this big fight. I have trained very hard and have had a two month camp with very good sparring. I’m ready to showcase my skills on Saturday, and I’m very confident I will win.”

Hopey Price – Leeds, England – 4-0, 1 KO – fighting Claudio Grande in a six round Super-Bantamweight contest:

“It’s good to be back here at Fight Camp, there’s a bit more of an atmosphere this time. Two fights scheduled within four weeks, but let’s got it twisted most prospects wouldn’t have taken this fight knowing I’ve got a ten-rounder in my hometown of Leeds in only three weeks’ time, but these are the fights I want. Italian prospect, 5-0, three knockouts, all I’m concentrating on is Saturday night and doing a good job.
 
“I’m fully focused on Saturday night, Headingley is in the back of my mind, I’ll just get the job done first on Saturday night and we’ll look towards Leeds after that.
 
“It’s what I wanted, to step up faster, if anything it’s been a bit of a blessing in disguise because I’ve had more time to work in the gym and more time to spar top quality fighters. Kid Galahad won the World Title last week, I’ve done numerous rounds with him during lockdown, I feel it’s brought me on a lot more as a fighter rather than 3 or 4 more fights against these lower opposition fighters. I’m ready to fight these unbeaten guys, step up and look good doing so.”

Claudio Grande – Massa, Italy – 5-0, 3 KOs – fighting Hopey Price in a six round Super-Bantamweight contest:

“I’m grateful for the opportunity, I came here to win, and I can’t wait for Saturday.
 
“I will take this opportunity on Saturday to show my skill and I’m grateful once agaisnt for the fight.”

Kash Farooq – Glasgow, Scotland – 15-1, 6 KOs – fighting Luis Gerardo Castillo for the vacant WBC International Bantamweight Title:

“I’ve been training really hard for this fight, and I know he’s going to bring a good Saturday, but I’m prepared for whatever he brings and I’m going to do anything win and pick up another title.
 
“In my last fight I got dragged into it a little bit, but you want to win the easiest way possible and that’s what I’m going to do Saturday night. I went back into the gym and worked on the mistakes I made last fight. This fight I’m going to do whatever I can do win, trying to win the easiest way possible, if that means going to the bell then I will.
 
“I’m fully focused on Saturday night; I’ve been like that since my amateur career. Since my first fight I’ve taken it one fight at a time because in boxing you don’t know where you can after you next fight. For me, Saturday night is all I’m thinking about, I don’t care what happens after that.”

Adalberto Sanchez, trainer of Luis Gerardo Castillo:

“Thanks for having us, we think that each fight is different, we’re putting our record and the losses behind us, we’re prepared to win. Luis wants the belt, he’s confident in his work and that he’s going to win. He wants to make history in the ring not because of his condition but because he wants to put up a good fight.
 
“We have great communication; we have to have it outside the gym as well in order to create these signs and this language. Sometimes it’s complicated and sometimes we get desperate when giving instructions, strategy, and motivation with the physical situation we’re in. We improve our communication every day and we’re confident that we won’t have to worry about communication in the ring – Luis’ talent will show with everything he’s learnt over the years, and we’ll have everything we need to win the belt.
 
“We’re very confident in winning and the work we’ve done, you mentioned Lara and our camps actually coincided with this fight. As Mexicans, as warriors, we always put everything in the ring to bring a good, no one going to regret watching – it’s going to be a great fight and we’re confident of winning.”

Raymond Ford – New Jersey, USA – 8-0-1, 4 KOs – fighting Reece Bellotti for the vacant WBA Continental Featherweight Title: 

“My last fight was a great learning experience, I fought another undefeated prospect, but what people don’t know is I took that fight on short notice and on top of that I recently had a daughter – I had to take a week off during my camp. My team was trying to get me to pull out of the fight, but I was telling them even on my worst day he couldn’t beat, and that was true.
 
“I feel like I won the fight easily but that’s in the past now, we’re here with Reece Bellotti so my full focus is on him.
 
“I feel like Reece Bellotti somewhat resembles Perez so that was another reason I wanted to take this, to show people that I can handle pressure easily. I know he’s going to be there, be tough, and that’s what I’m looking for.
 
“I’m very excited about this being my first title, I was definitely watching the Olympics supporting Team USA, Davis, Johnson, Jones, Torres – shoutout to all of them, they did their thing in the Olympics. Hopefully we can all sun it up and do the same thing we did in the amateurs in the pro game.”

Reece Bellotti – Watford, England – 14-4, 12 KOs – fighting Raymond Ford for the vacant WBA Continental Featherweight Title:

“I’m back again, it’s good to back, back with fans will be a little bit different – a bit of an atmosphere. It’s a good fight and I’m looking forward to it, I can’t wait to get back to winning ways.”
 
“Probably more than ever, like you say, I’ve been in these types of fights. People that have beaten me are good fighters, they’re going on to do really good things so I’m at that level where I now need to push on, get a win and propel myself to bigger fights.”
 
“You can always rely on power, you have to have a different game plan, work on different strategies to get to these fighters. You can’t just thing oh I’ll go in and bomb them out, it’s not always the case – hopefully we see that Saturday night. We’ve been working, getting great sparring, that’ll show Saturday night.”  

Zelfa Barrett – Manchester, England – 9-5-2, 1 KO – fighting Viorel Simion in an eight round International Lightweight contest:

“I was working hard, originally fighting a Mexican in Mexico, but you’ve done your magic Eddie and now I’m here. I appreciate the chance, thank you.
 
“My mum was my best friend; she’d want me to fight and not be bumming around and feeling sorry for myself. I appreciate you getting me out and keeping my mind active.
 
“I want it for myself, I know I won the fight, but I can perform better than that. We’ve changed a few things in the background so we’re ready for this guy – it won’t go twelve rounds. I know for a fact it won’t go twelve rounds so beat this guy Saturday, back in the gym and Kiko in Manchester. Then I’m ready for these big boys, the World Title Eliminators or European. I just to want to beat Kiko, I’ll be ready then.
 
“We all started at the bottom, amateur days coming up, Lindon is my brother – it’s nice to have him here we’re both shining together. It’s a ripple effect, put on a good performance Saturday night and it’s onwards and upwards.”
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ANY VULNERABILITY FROM BOLOTNIKS AND I’LL TAKE HIM OUT SAYS BUATSI

‘JB’ steps up at Fight Camp
Joshua Buatsi has vowed to pass his first big test in style as he faces Ricards Bolotniksat the third and final weekend of Fight Camp this Saturday August 14, live worldwide on DAZN
 
Buatsi (14-0 12 KOs) puts his WBA International Light-Heavyweight Title on the line in a fight that could catapult the winner into a World Title fight before the end of the year, with both fighters highly ranked across the governing bodies.
 
Fans and pundits have been waiting patiently for the 2016 Olympic bronze medal man to be tested after cruising to 14-0 and putting his opponents away in style, the latest being a huge KO of the year candidate win over Daniel Dos Santos in May in Manchester, a stunning right hook in the fourth round flooring the unbeaten Frenchman in Buatsi’s first fight with new trainer Virgil Hunter.
 
Bolotniks is in great form himself having won the MTK Golden Contract in December after wins over Steven Ward, Hosea Burton and Serge Michel, and the Latvian has been bullish in his belief that he will stop Buatsi’s rise.
 
The likeable Londoner has never involved himself in a war of words before a fight, but the switch will be flicked when he steps between the ropes and promises to come through his sternest test with flying colours.

“People have been asking for me to step up and here we are,” said Buatsi. “I know what I have got to do, if it gets tough, I still know what I need to do. I’ve covered all bases in camp, so I am ready, so tune in and you’ll see.
 
“It’s part of the game and I understand it and it’s a compliment that people want to see me in with better competition. It’s natural for people to want to see and that’s what is next in line, so it’s down to me to handle it.

“I saw him box in the Golden Contract final, but it was just one round and a bit of him against Hosea Burton, and that’s it. I’ve always said that it’s about improving myself as a fighter and covering all angles and aspects of myself and once I do that, I feel that I can do that with anyone put int front of me.
 
“I’m looking forward to a lot, it’s been a while since I’ve boxed in front of fans so that’s going to be great, it’s the main event against a good opponent, we’re both ranked highly, we’ve both got winning streaks and believe we’ll win. I’ll be there for every round and if I sense any vulnerability from Bolotniks it’s game over, I’ll take him out. 

“It’s boxing, outside the ring you be cool, be calm, be nice, but inside the ring, you handle business. When I fight, I must put it all on the line because people say, ‘Joshua Buatsi is a nice guy’, but if I boxed in a nice way, people wouldn’t care. If you are a big character that’s loud and trash talks, the performance doesn’t matter as much in a way, but I am not like that, so I am aware my performances must do that talking.

“We were aiming for three fights this year, May, August, and the winter. So, the stakes are high, but I will go in with whomever the team puts in front of me, that’s for them, as long as I prepare I’m good, because when you step in the ring there’s no turning back. This is a very dangerous sport, so you have to make sure you are on it.”

Buatsi vs. Bolotniks tops a huge night of action, Joe Cordina (12-0, 7 KOs) returns in a ten round Lightweight clash with Joshuah Hernandez (10-3, 8 KOs), Portsmouth’s Michael McKinson (20-0, 2 KOs) defends his WBO Welterweight Title against Przemyslaw Runowski (19-1, 5 KOs), Hopey Price (4-0, 1 KO) meets Claudio Grande (5-0, 3 KOs) in a six round Super-Bantamweight contest, Glasgow’s Kash Farooq (15-1, 6 KOs) clashes with Luis Gerardo Castillo (28-2, 18 KOs) for the WBC International Bantamweight Title, the USA’s Raymond Ford (8-0-1, 4 KOs) meets Watford’s Reece Bellotti (14-4, 12 KOs) for the vacant WBA Continental Featherweight Title and Manchester Super-Featherweight Zelfa Barrett (25-1, 15 KOs) joins the card as a late addition. 
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I’VE WANTED THIS FIGHT FOR A LONG TIME SAYS BOLOTNIKS

‘The Lion’ ready to hand Buatsi first loss
Ricards Bolotniks is ready to strike gold again as he steps into the lion’s den and takes on Joshua Buatsi in a massive fight for the Light-Heavyweight division at Matchroom Fight Camp in Brentwood, Essex this Saturday August 14. 
 
Bolotniks (18-5-1, 8 KOs) has done things the hard way after a less than spectacular start to his career, losing three and drawing one of his first eight fights after turning pro in August 2013. 
 
The Latvian was not deterred by those setbacks and two further defeats and burst into the reckoning for major titles in a big way by winning the MTK Golden Contract tournament at the end of 2020.
 
The 31-year-old was considered an outsider for the tournament but destroyed the unbeaten Steven Ward inside the opening round of their quarter-final in December 2019 at York Hall, before widely outpointing Hosea Burton in the semi-final in his Riga backyard in September.
 
That set up a final with Germany’s Serge Michel that ‘The Lion’ dominated and put an exclamation mark on his win with a stoppage at the death, winning the coveted contract and firmly cementing his place as a real threat at 175lbs. 
 
Buatsi has roared to 14-0 as a pro and only two fighters have heard the final bell against the 2016 Olympic bronze medal man, but Bolotniks is full of confidence that he’ll hand a first pro defeat to the Londoner and continue his remarkable journey to World Title honours.
 
“I’ve wanted this fight for a long time, and I’ve always thought that we would fight so all my training over the last six months has been for this man,” said Bolotniks. “It’s going to be a hard fight and a long fight but I’ve done the 12 rounds before and he hasn’t yet, I think that I can beat him over the full distance but I want it to be a street fight, a boxing match, I want to show everything that I have got so that I can go back to the dressing room afterwards and say ‘yes, we did it’, I want that feeling.
 
“I’ve had three fights cancelled in 2021, but then boom, here comes the Buatsi fight. So, I am happy now, it’s a massive fight for me and I hope that after I win this fight there will be more this year, but the focus is only on this one. 
 
“Every fighter gets better the more fights that they have, he’s improved but so have I. I only fight for my family, for my country and my coach – and money! But I am not the kind of guy to say that I don’t fight for money, just belts – I need to buy food and to pay for the house, petrol for the car, clothes for me wife – so of course the money is important. But my family believe in me so much and that drives me on so much.
 
“I only think about Joshua, so I don’t want to think about the future. I am well ranked in the governing bodies so of course I look at the champions and the belts, and my wife likes the WBC belt, she wants me to win that! But we need to do our job on Saturday night and then the future will sort itself out. 
 
“Latvian’s are made for boxing because we are big strong people and we’re proud, so we put it all on the line when we get chances to prove ourselves. I wanted to box because I watched Mairis Briedis on TV and now I am training alongside him, it’s amazing.”
 
Buatsi vs. Bolotniks tops a huge night of action, Joe Cordina (12-0, 7 KOs) returns in a ten round Lightweight clash with Joshuah Hernandez (10-3, 8 KOs), Portsmouth’s Michael McKinson (20-0, 2 KOs) defends his WBO Welterweight Title against Przemyslaw Runowski (19-1, 5 KOs), Hopey Price (4-0, 1 KO) meets Claudio Grande (5-0, 3 KOs) in a six round Super-Bantamweight contest, Glasgow’s Kash Farooq (15-1, 6 KOs) clashes with Luis Gerardo Castillo (28-2, 18 KOs) for the WBC International Bantamweight Title, the USA’s Raymond Ford (8-0-1, 4 KOs) meets Watford’s Reece Bellotti (14-4, 12 KOs) for the vacant WBA Continental Featherweight Title and Manchester Super-Featherweight Zelfa Barrett (25-1, 15 KOs) joins the card as a late addition. 
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BUATSI VICIOUSLY KNOCKS OUT DOS SANTOS

10 x 3 mins WBA International Light-Heavyweight Title
JOSHUA BUATSI WKO4 (2:44) v DANIEL BLENDA DOS SANTOS
(Croydon, England)                       (Pont-Sainte-Maxence, France)

Joshua Buatsi viciously knocked out Daniel Blenda Dos Santos in four rounds to retain his WBA International Light-Heavyweight Title at the AO Arena, Manchester, live on Sky Sports in the UK and on DAZN in the US and more than 200 countries and territories.The former Olympian won the battle of undefeated 175lbs contenders with a brutal overhand right which slumped his rival to the canvas two minutes and 44 seconds into the fourth session. Buatsi had veteran trainer Virgil Hunter in his corner for the first time and the resounding result puts him on a collision course with the division’s best.“I hope he’s okay,” Buatsi told Matchroom. “We’ve seen this happen to many fighters. You box someone they say you’re levels above and it’s a banana skin situation. I’m glad I handled it. The most important thing is I hope he’s okay. We’ve seen these type of fighters come and cause upsets recently and I was adamant it wasn’t going to happen to me. I’m glad it went well.

“I remain optimistic all of the time in the moves that I make and this is one of them. We will have a week or so off and then we’re back in the gym to keep building. Going in we had little footage of him. Usually you can watch who you’re going to fight to get a feel. He looked very good in the one bit of footage we had of him. I had to learn round by round what he was like.

“Virgil gave me the perfect instructions and I followed them. I haven’t got here by being given it. The little that I’ve earnt, I had to work hard for it. I thank god for everything that we’ve got but I work hard for it. When I step in that ring it’s a dog mentality. This is a fight. I’m here to take everything. We’re here to win but we’re not here to hurt anyone. The time that we’re in the ring, yes, we want to win, and we want to entertain. We’re not here to hurt anyone in the long-term.”

12 x 3 mins vacant European Super-Middleweight Title
LERRONE RICHARDS WUD12 (120-108, 120-108, 119-109) v GIOVANNI DE CAROLIS
(New Malden, England)                                                               (Viterbo, Italy)The skilful Lerrone Richards comprehensively out-boxed Italy’s Giovanni De Carolis to claim the vacant European Super-Middleweight Title.Richards, who had previously won British and Commonwealth honours, ran rings around De Carolis to secure a unanimous decision.De Carolis, a former WBA World Champion, could not lay a glove on Richards who is now unbeaten in 15.”I said I was going to conquer Europe, and I’ve done it,” Richards told Matchroom. “I’m very pleased and I’m very happy. I wanted this so bad to complete the collection. British, Commonwealth and now the European Super-Middleweight Champion. I’m very happy.

“It’s all of the drilling and all of the work in the gym. I’d like to thank my team – Dave Coldwell, Danny Wilson and my nutritionist Lee for getting me in the best shape possible for this fight. I’m going to be very difficult to beat. I said this from the start. It’s all about the skills, and I have them in abundance. I showcased a little bit of that tonight.

“There were points in the fight where I decided to sit in the pocket and work with him. I could have gone up the gears a little bit more tonight. I felt like what I was doing was enough. My team are very happy with my performance.

“I started from the bottom and worked my way up – I backed myself. There’s something to learn at every level. We’ll see what the team says the best options are for me. The next step now is fringe world level.”

12 x 3 mins European Super-Bantamweight Title 
GAMAL YAFAI v JASON CUNNINGHAM WUD12 (115-110, 114-111, 114-111)
(Birmingham, England)    (Doncaster, England)Jason Cunningham upset Gamal Yafai by knocking him down three times to surprisingly claim his European Super-Bantamweight Title via unanimous decision.

Yafai was down in the second, fourth and sixth rounds and spent the rest of the fight desperately trying to salvage his belt, but to no avail.“We’re buzzing,” said Cunningham. “We’re from a little town called Doncaster. We’ve got a British, European and World Champion – that’s some doing that. In at three weeks’ notice – I won my second Commonwealth Title at three weeks’ notice. They tried catching me out tonight, I don’t care what anyone says – that’s what they’ve done. 

“I’ve stayed prepared, stayed disciplined and dedicated. This is what happens when you stick to it. I was in this venue last time I had a big fight against Michael Conlan. I pushed Michael Conlan hard. I had to grit in late on tonight – he hurt me a few times to the body. I’ll never quit. It’s my boxing ability that sets me above the rest. I’m an awkward tall southpaw.

“I said I knew I had the tools to do it. I said I’d have done a better job if I had more notice but to be fair, I dropped him three times and it was quite comfortable really. I knew to keep calm and carry on what I was doing. I stuck to it and this is my reward. I made a lot of people in Doncaster a lot of money tonight.

“I showed my class, I was levels above him in terms of boxing ability. Usually you get a good ten weeks’ notice for a European Title fight – it was the biggest fight of my life. I’ve been out of the ring since February last year. Tonight was just my night, I knew I was all wrong for him.”

12 x 3 mins European Cruiserweight Title
TOMMY MCCARTHY WKO6 (2:09) v ALEXANDRU JUR
(Belfast, Northern Ireland)                  (Oradea, Romania)

Tommy McCarthy successfully defended his European Cruiserweight Title for the first time by stopping Alexandru Jur in the sixth round, twice flooring him with body shots.

‘Mac Attack’ is now set to face Bournemouth’s Commonwealth Champion Chris Billam-Smith at Matchroom’s next Fight Camp instalment this summer. 

“I’m delighted,” McCarthy told Matchroom. “I got a few rounds in and a stoppage. I got everything that I wanted. We prepared for Jur to give me a good test. I don’t think he expected me to come out the way that I did. It threw him off a bit. I can’t complain.

“I thought it was all over after the first knockdown. Feinted to the head, left hook to the body and he went over. He went into survival mode after that. It was the same again with the next one. I’ve been working hard with my team all through camp. We’ve been doing all sorts of drills. We’ve been working on being explosive. The S and C training was all focused on me being explosive. I’m a hard puncher.

“Everything was perfect this camp – no injuries. I was driving them shots through him, it was great. The pandemic has been great for me, I’ve kept my head down, stayed in the gym and worked on my whole game. I hope everybody is buzzing back home in Belfast.

“I’ve got no problem fighting Chris Billam-Smith, it’s easy work. If this is the hurdle that I have to jump over for a World Title fight, then so be it. Chris Billam-Smith, stop Tweeting about me, stop talking about me – we’ll see you at Fight Camp.”

10 x 3 mins vacant English Super-Lightweight Title
DALTON SMITH WTKO6 (2:44) v LEE APPLEYARD
(Sheffield, England)                      (Rotherham, England)Dalton Smith claimed the vacant English Super-Lightweight Title by dominating Lee Appleyard and forcing a sixth-round stoppage.The referee stepped in with Appleyard still on his feet when Smith’s onslaught became too much, progressing the 24-year-old’s record to 8-0 (7 KO’s).“I’ve got my first professional Title,” said Smith. “I’ve dreamt about this since I was a little boy. I’m English Champion! It’s the starting block for me. When the fight first got announced, I thought, ‘it’s just an English Title’, but now I’ve got it it’s like, ‘wow, I’m a professional Champion now’. It feels good.

“All credit to Lee – he’s one tough kid. I was prepared for a fast-paced ten rounds tonight, but he was just taking a few too many shots in there. I’m good friends with Lee out of the ring. When you go in there it’s just business. I could see his face was getting bust up pretty bad. I kind of felt sorry for him in a way. I’ve got respect for him. I knew eventually the shots would come and I knew he wasn’t going to last long.

“I’m happy with my performance. You want to win in style. The knockouts are good. We want to win but we don’t want anyone to come out of there hurt. People forget that was my eighth pro fight there. Lee is an experienced guy and he’s been in with some top kids. He’s been those championship rounds.

“I’m taking my time, I’m 24. I’ve got one shot at boxing; I want to make sure that I do it right. I’m not in there with no mugs – they’re real contenders. That was a good step up and I proved what I’m about. I’m not a championship round fighter yet. Kay Prosper just boxed for the European Title – they’re the type of fights that I want. I want to get those championship rounds in, I’m in a tough division. Maybe I’ll get over to the States in my next fight, get a bit of experience over there. I’d love to do that.”

6 x 3 mins International Heavyweight contest
SOLOMON DACRES WPTS6 (60-54) v MLADEN MANEV
(Birmingham, England)                          (Sofia, Bulgaria)

Birmingham Heavyweight Solomon Dacres won his first professional fight on points by battering Bulgaria’s Mladen Manev for six rounds.

The former Team GB standout, who has shared sparring with the likes of Unified Heavyweight World Champion Anthony Joshua and European Champion Joe Joyce, completely dominated Manev, earning a 60-54 decision from the referee. 

“It was good to get six rounds under my belt,” Dacres told Matchroom. “I know a lot of people like to get the big Heavyweights that get them out of there in one round, but you don’t learn much from that. I got to show my skills. I didn’t just go for all power. I’ve got plenty more in the tank, so it was good to get the rounds in.

“I showed my hand speed at times. I showed I can box. I didn’t rush it. I’ve varied the power up. It’s all building up. We’re training to be a twelve-round fighter, not just a one or two round knockout artist. You don’t gain much from getting someone that is going to fall over after a round. Six tough rounds, I got to go through the gears, show a bit of what I’m about and learn a little bit as well.

“I was pretty relaxed to be honest. I’ve had plenty of amateur fights. I know that I prepared very hard. It felt good to get in there. Hard work is at the route of it all. If you put that hard work and dedication in, the sky is the limit. I’ll keep putting my head down in the gym and performing in the ring.”

4 x 2 mins International Super-Welterweight contest
ELLIS HOPKINS WPTS4 (40-36) v BORISLAVA GORANOVA
(Leicestershire, England)               (Sofia, Bulgaria)
 
Leicestershire’s Ellis Hopkins made a winning to start to life in the professional ranks, comfortably outpointing Bulgaria’s seasoned veteran Borislava 40-36 in the opening bout of the night. 

Hopkins, 20, is the first female professional boxer from the traveller community and hopes to inspire a new generation of girls to follow in her footsteps. 

“It was a good performance, I got going in the last two rounds,” Hopkins told Matchroom. “I’m just glad to get the first one out of the way, and on such a big platform. I couldn’t be more thankful to Matchroom and MTK for giving me the opportunity.

“She was tough, you can tell she’s experienced by the way she knew how to hold on every time I caught her. Becoming the first ever female from the travelling community to turn professional is a very big achievement and I hope I can inspire more young girls to do the same.

“It’s the perfect time to turn over, women’s boxing is going from strength to strength at the moment. I just want to get as many fights under my belt as I can this year and next year we’ll push for Titles.”
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BUATSI VS. DOS SANTOS WEIGHTS AND RUNNING ORDER

17:15 LIVE ON SKY SPORTS FACEBOOK

4 x 2 mins International Super-Welterweight contest
ELLIS HOPKINS 11st 0lbs 8ozv BORISLAVA GORANOVA 11st 2lbs 10oz
(Leicestershire, England)            (Sofia, Bulgaria)

Followed by

18:00 LIVE ON SKY SPORTS/DAZN

6 x 3 mins International Heavyweight contest
SOLOMON DACRES 15st 12lbs 11ozv MLADEN MANEV 16st 9lbs 0oz
(Birmingham, England)                          (Sofia, Bulgaria)

Followed by

10 x 3 mins vacant English Super-Lightweight Title
DALTON SMITH 9st 13lbs 9oz v LEE APPLEYARD 9st 13lbs 11oz
(Sheffield, England)                     (Rotherham, England)

Followed by

12 x 3 mins European Cruiserweight Title
TOMMY MCCARTHY 14st 3lbs 4oz v ALEXANDRU JUR 14st 2lbs 7oz
(Belfast, Northern Ireland)                 (Oradea, Romania)

Followed by

12 x 3 mins European Super-Bantamweight Title 
GAMAL YAFAI 8st 9lbs 10oz v JASON CUNNINGHAM 8st 9lbs 8oz
(Birmingham, England)             (Doncaster, England)

Followed by

12 x 3 mins vacant European Super-Middleweight Title
LERRONE RICHARDS 11st 12lbs 10oz v GIOVANNI DE CAROLIS 11st 13lbs 4oz
(New Malden, England)                             (Viterbo, Italy)

Followed by

10 x 3 mins WBA International Light-Heavyweight Title
JOSHUA BUATSI 12st 6lbs 0ozv DANIEL BLENDA DOS SANTOS 12st 4lbs 12oz
(Croydon, England)                       (Pont-Sainte-Maxence, France)

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BUATSI VS. DOS SANTOS + UNDERCARD PRESS CONFERENCE QUOTES

Eddie Hearn, Chairman of Matchroom Sport:

“We’re back in Manchester, hopefully the final event behind closed doors. Last Saturday, I’m not getting bored of telling you 73,000 fans were in the unbelievable AT&T Stadium in Dallas, Texas for the huge Canelo vs. Billy Joe Saunders fight. This will be the last time we’re behind closed doors. It’s been fun, the bubbles have been great, they’ve thrown up some unbelievable upsets and great fights as well. We will keep the bubble moving forward, but you will be allowed out – so good news for the fighters!”

Joshua Buatsi – Croydon, England – 13-0, 11 KOs – defending his WBA International Light-Heavyweight Title against Daniel Blenda Dos Santos:

“I’m ready to fight. The thing is there may be a target on me Eddie, but I’m really from the bottom so the build-up is great but that’s not my mentality. I started from nothing as well, moved from Ghana to England, I’ve also come from nothing. I always tell people when I fight, I’ve got nothing to lose, I’m gaining everything and when I go in there the mentally is different. I’ll be there to fight to, I’m there to fight and protect the little that I have.

“I keep laughing when I say this, prior to a fight you say you’re willing to do anything, but when it was time in the ring when that happened, I had to show up for it and I felt I gave a good account and got the win. Saturday night I’ll be there to do whatever it takes to win because I’m in here to fight. We’ll see how it goes.

“I think if you ask anyone, and they don’t say it, they must be thinking differently. You’re Eddie Hearn right, you’re sitting here, and I think you feel like you’ve signed the best Light-Heavyweight in the country – that speak for itself. For the others, they’re doing well, I’m doing what I’m doing and hopefully one day we can all get in and fight to see. For now, my man next door is who I’ve got to deal with, that’s what I’m concentrating on.

“It’s been good having Virgil on board, amazing, I said I could have 100 coaches in my corner but when that bell rings it’s just you. Nevertheless, having this man here added to the team, we’ll see how to goes – it’ll be good.”

Virgil Hunter, trainer of Joshua Buatsi:

“I’m back here in the UK, a place I like to think of as home. I’ve been exposed to some of the UK’s greatest fighters that I’ve had a chance to meet as well as work with. Joshua Buatsi is no exception to that, I think he’s a major talent, I think he has a tremendous upside, I’m hoping I can do everything to cultivate that and turn him into a World Champion.

“I think Joshua will apply some of the thing we worked on and show Saturday night that he’s been a good student.

“Anytime that you have the opportunity to fight a medallist from the Olympics, that medal has a bullseye on his back. He’s going to get a hungry opponent, that opponent is going to be dead serious because he knows it can change the trajectory of his career. We don’t have much footage on Dos Santos, but we take him serious on what we have seen, that he is a good fighter and to be taken serious, that’s how we’re approaching the fight.”

Daniel Blenda Dos Santos – Pont-Sainte-Maxence, France – 15-0, 8 KOs – challenging Joshua Buatsi for his WBA International Light-Heavyweight Title:

“This is the opportunity of my life; we know Joshua is a great champion and for me it’s a great opportunity – I appreciate the chance of being here.

“Boxing saved my life, a guy like me is supposed to be in jail or dead. Thank God I had the opportunity to leave prison, make a real change in my life and become a professional fighter. I changed 100% of my life, my city, everything, now all this work and dedication I’m in this place right now. I have to enjoy the moment.

“I have to be the best version of myself to beat Joshua Buatsi. That’s what I’m going to try Saturday night.” 

Lerrone Richards – New Malden, England – 14-0, 3 KOs – fighting Giovanni De Carolis for the vacant European Super-Middleweight Title:

“Like I’ve always said, I want to conquer Europe and being the European Champion has always been a big thing for me – ticking everyone single box. I won the British, Commonwealth, European is the next step and I’m very excited for this fight.

“He [Giovanni De Carolis] brings a lot of pedigree, he’s very experienced and a very good fighter. But this is a fight I believe I’m going win and win very well.

“This division is very sexy and I’m glad to be a part of it. I can’t wait to win this European Title and step on to bigger and better things.”

Giovanni De Carolis – Viterbo, Italy – 28-9-1, 13 KOs – fighting Lerrone Richards for the vacant European Super-Middleweight Title: 

“I’m proud to represent my country here, I’m happy. Two years of inactivity for me is bad but this is the situation and for me there isn’t any problem. I’m ready for Saturday and I’m happy to fight.

“I am happy because when I fight out of my country my heart in the ring is stronger. I would like the people to see my boxing.”

Gamal Yafai – Brimingham, England – 18-1, 10 KOs – defending his European Super-Bantamweight Title against Jason Cunningham:

“I had a horrible two years, but it was good to go to Italy and win the European Title. It’s good to back home defending it in the UK.

“I thought to myself this isn’t the end of me, I knew I was going to come back, win the European Title and go onto big things. That’s what I plan on doing and we start on Saturday night.

“He wanted the opportunity and I’ll give him the opportunity. The best man will win and I’m by far the best man, I’ll show that on Saturday night.” 

Jason Cunningham – Doncaster, England – 28-6, 6 KOs – challenging Gamal Yafai for the European Super-Bantamweight Title:

“Massive opportunity, another Yafai as well. Like I said, we were begging for the opportunity, I always stay ready. I kind of had an idea it was happening, I had to be prepared, be ready, I am. You’re going to see the best Jason Cunningham Saturday night, I’m ready for him and take that title.

“I got offered a few fights during the lockdown but I’m so glad I was patient because this is the opportunity I wanted. This is the biggest fight to date; this is my World Title fight. I’ve got all this experience, I’ve took my setbacks, I’ve come back, I’ve had plenty of success as well. They’ve all put me in good stead, there’s no starting again from here so everything is going into Saturday night. I’m very confident, I’ll be expecting the best Gamal Yafai but you should expect the best Jason Cunningham as well.”

Tommy McCarthy – Belfast, Northern Ireland – 17-2, 8 KOs – defending his European Cruiserweight Title against Alexandru Jur:

“I’ve been saying all week I’m expecting a tough test, as you say he’s got all the experience and boxed at the championship level for some time. He looks in good shape, it seems like he’s had a good camp and he seems like he wants to do his talking in the ring so I’m even more nervous.

“I was prepared for a tough fight but when I saw him [Bilal Laggoune] at the weigh-in he looked like he hadn’t trained properly so I kind of switched off a little bit. When it came to fight night, he was ready to go so he pushed me. There are no easy fights when you’re fighting for the European Title, at the time he was number seven in the world. It was a big win for me, a big confidence boost and I’m delighted I came out the winner.

“There’s so much potential for a massive future ahead of me, I need to put all of that in the back of my mind. James Tennyson, were from the same place, everything was set up for him to go onto bigger and better things but it didn’t go his way. That’s made me switch on even more, put anything past this out of my mind because this is going to be a tough fight on Saturday, and I can’t afford any slip ups.”

Alexandru Jur – Oradea, Romania – 19-4, 7 KO– challenging Tommy McCarthy for the European Cruiserweight Title:

“I’m already ready for the fight, I’m in good form. It’s a big opportunity for me.”

Dalton Smith – Sheffield, England – 7-0, 6 KOs – fighting Lee Appleyard for the vacant English Super-Lightweight Title:

“It’s starting to get exciting. When the fight fell through before I knew we were going to get it back on because it was a fight I wanted. It’s a fight I know I’m going to look good in, Lee and I have sparred before so I’m glad we could get it back on.

“When I win, I can turn round and say there’s no excuses, they’ve had a full camp. I’ve got a 100% prepared Lee Appleyard and that’s what I want – that’s what will bring the best out of me. 

“People forgot the World Series of Boxing, even though it’s not championship rounds. I’ve been in there with tough guys – the Kazakhs and Russians. Experience for me is the championship rounds, I’m confident in that and I believe Lee will take me to those rounds and that’s what I need.

“When it comes to pressure, there’s no pressure for me in this fight because each fight I take will be a step up – there’s always going to be pressure there. There’s more pressure on Lee’s shoulders because where does he really go after this fight. This is his World Title shot, this is where he can push on.”

Lee Appleyard – Rotherham, England – 16-5-1, 5 KOs – fighting Dalton Smith for the vacant English Super-Lightweight Title:

“This is a massive opportunity, it’s a pleasure to share the ring with Dalton. He’s one of the biggest prospects but we took the fight on three weeks’ notice last time and believed we were going to win. We’ve had nine weeks now and we have no doubt.

“It’s a hard fight, everyone’s writing me off, the bookies are writing me off. There’s no pressure on me whatsoever, all the pressure is on Dalton, and we’ll see how he deals with it on the night. When the fight goes into the later rounds, that’s where I’ve been and what I known, and I’ll come into my own.

“When I boxed for the Commonwealth, that was only three and a half weeks’ notice and I think that made the difference on the results on the night because I didn’t have time to properly prepare. It was a bit of a blessing getting Covid, having nine weeks preparation and getting sponsors behind me.

“I’m in the best shape I’ve ever been in and I’m coming to win on Saturday night, there’s no doubt about it, Dalton’s got a tough night ahead of him.

“You can’t buy experience, there’s nothing between us, he’s a respectful lad and I’m respectful to him. It’s a pleasure to share the ring with him but I know what doors this can open; I want those doors open and keep moving on – fighting for the British Title. Respect to Dalton for taking the fight, this probably wouldn’t be happening if we weren’t in the COVID situation. This is a cracking fight for the fans, they’re in for a treat.”

Solomon Dacres – Birmingham, England – Professional Debut – fighting Mladen Manev in a six round Heavyweight contest:

“It’s long overdue, I thought I was going to get out March 20th on the Okolie card. Long delays, I’ve been training overtime for the fight – I’ve had about three training camps worth of training just for this one fight. It’s all in the bank and I’m ready to let it all go Saturday.

“I don’t have to go too slowly; I can build myself up because I’ve got more experience so I can take little steps quicker than other fighters. Sam Jones and my coach will pick opponents where I’m being tested and improve all the time. We won’t go at a snail’s pace and look to pick things up in the next twelve months.

“All that experience, guys that have been then and done. Joshua, Joyce, Dubois, sparring those guys they’re 15/20 fights into their professional careers and well established. I’m sparring, gaining confidence, and knowing my own level. I haven’t had my first fight yet, but it gives you confidence seeing them fighting on big titles and gives me confidence knowing that I’m going to go forward and what I can do.

“It’s been a long time since there’s been a Heavyweight from Birmingham, and we haven’t never had a World Champion in the Heavyweight division. Hopefully I can emulate that and get the city behind me. We need to get that support in Birmingham and get behind me.” 

Mladen Manev – Sofia, Bulgaria – 3-8, 3 KOs – fighting Solomon Dacres in a six round Heavyweight contest:

“I’m ready to fight, I’m ready for a boxing match Saturday. I feel very good to be here in Manchester, it’s a nice city. I’m ready.” 

Ellis Hopkins – Leicestershire, England – Professional Debut – fighting Borislava Goranova in a four round Super-Welterweight contest:

“It’s a massive time to come into female boxing, the last few years female boxing has gone from strength to strength and I’m excited to be a part of it and make my debut this weekend.

“Everyone looks up to Katie Taylor, you can’t get better than that, she’s won everything and done everything. The likes of Terry Harper and Natasha Jonas, they’re all big inspirations as well.

“I can box, I can fight, so whatever happens on the night happens on the night, we’ll see.”

Borislava Goranova – Sofia, Bulgaria – 11-64-4 – fighting Ellis Hopkins in a four round Super-Welterweight contest:

“I’m happy to see Ellis, I’m happy to be here and I feel strong. I’ll show you my boxing on Saturday night.”

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BUATSI EXCITED BY VIRGIL HUNTER LINK-UP

‘JB’ clashes with unbeaten Dos Santos this Saturday
Joshua Buatsi says he is excited to showcase his improvements under new trainer Virgil Hunter when he defends his WBA International Light-Heavyweight Title against unbeaten Frenchman Daniel Blenda Dos Santos at the AO Arena, Manchester this Saturday May 15, live on Sky Sports in the UK and on DAZN in the US and more than 200 countries and territories.

Croydon’s Buatsi (13-0, 11 KOs) came through the toughest test of his career as he stopped brave Croatian Marko Calic in seven brutal rounds to retain his WBA ranking belt in the main event at the Marshall Arena in Milton Keynes last October.

The 28-year-old has since travelled to San Francisco in the US to team up with renowned coach Hunter, who guided the career of pound-for-pound star Andre Ward – and former Olympian ‘JB’ is confident the move will strengthen his pursuit of a World Title fight. 

“In my last fight I found out that if I have to dig deep because it’s not going my way, I’m capable of doing it,” said Buatsi. “That’s in the bank now. Before that fight I thought it was in the bank, I was convinced it was in the bank, but I’d never been tested. Now that I have been tested and I had to show a bit of guts, I know it’s there.

“I met Virgil Hunter at the first Joshua vs. Ruiz fight in New York in 2019. I went over to him to introduce myself and he told me he knew who I was. I told him I was going to come and train with him one day, and he said the door to his gym was open whenever I was ready. After my last fight in October I said, ‘I’m out of here’. I’ve come out here to learn more and add things to my game. 

“It’s totally different living out here. It’s great, it’s nice and the views are amazing, I’ve never seen anything like it, but I’m here just for boxing. The main goal is purely to come out here to gain experience and learn as much as I can. It’s going really well so far. 

“I wasn’t really watching a lot of professional boxing in the amateurs. I started to watch it when I was about 17 or 18. I came across Andre Ward and started watching his fights, listening out for what he was being told in the corner and stuff like that. I knew then Virgil was a good trainer. I said at the time I’d love to be trained by Virgil, but I didn’t ever think in a million years I’d be in the States training with him. 

“Sometimes in the corner, it’s not really even boxing advice that he’s giving me, it’s just something totally different. It’s linked to boxing, so I’ll do it and I’ll be like, ‘cool, that worked’. It’s a whole different spin and approach from him but I’m really enjoying it. 

“As always, I look to go in there, and I look to handle business. I don’t really go too much into reading about opponents and their previous fights, because how they boxed someone else is not how they’re going to box me. I’ll be there listening to the instructions that Virgil is going to give me. I’m very excited. I’m looking forward to showing people what I’ve been learning out here. 

“Ultimately, I’m fighting to win. However it looks, my primary goal is to always win. We’ll be stepping up. Whoever they put in front of me, I’ll look to get rid of them and to keep building and learning. I’ve got older heads around me to guide what I’m doing. You have to consider what they’ve got to say because they’ve been there and done it. Buatsi vs. Dos Santos tops a huge night of boxing in Manchester,three European Title fights feature on the bill with Gamal Yafai (18-1, 10 KOs) defending his Super-Bantamweight Title for the first time against Jason Cunningham (28-6, 6 KOs), Tommy McCarthy (17-2, 18 KOs) defending his Cruiserweight crown against Romania’s Alexandru Jur (19-4, 7 KOs) and Lerrone Richards (14-0, 3 KOs) taking on Italy’s Giovanni De Carolis (28-9-1, 13 KOs) for the vacant Super-Middleweight strap, Dalton Smith (7-0, 6 KOs) takes on Lee Appleyard (16-5-1, 5 KOs) for the vacant English Super-Lightweight Title after their February clash fell through at short notice, Birmingham Heavyweight Solomon Dacres makes his professional debut and Ellis Hopkins makes history when she becomes the first female from the traveller community to turn professional.
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BUATSI MEETS DOS SANTOS ON MAY 15

‘JB’ takes on unbeaten contender in Manchester
Joshua Buatsi continues his push for a World Title fight when he faces Daniel Blenda Dos Santos, a fellow unbeaten contender, for the WBA International Light-Heavyweight Title at the AO, Arena Manchester on Saturday May 15, live on Sky Sports in the UK andon DAZN in the US and more than 200 countries and territories.The explosive 178lbs contender, one of Britain’s hottest talents, stopped Marko Calic in October to continue his destructive rise up the rankings and has since travelled to America to team up with new trainer Virgil Hunter, who guided the career of pound-for-pound star Andre Ward. 

France’s Dos Santos is undefeated in 15 fights, with eight of his wins coming inside the distance, and the 30-year-old from Pont-Sainte-Maxence has been more active than Buatsi in recent months, fighting twice in 2021 and earning a first round stoppage last time out. 

“I’ve got an unbeaten opponent, that makes him ambitious,” said Buatsi. “Obviously it’s the first fight under Virgil, so it’s should be interesting. I’m looking forward to showing what I’ve been working on with Virgil. He’s going to want to hold onto his undefeated record, as I am. When that’s at stake you really dig deep.”It’s mainly the style that I like. Each of his fighters translate it differently. The public haven’t seen how good I can be, or I will be. I want to unlock the potential that I have got. This addition to the team will 100 per cent bring the best out of me.”Buatsi vs. Dos Santos is part of a huge night of boxing in Manchester, Terri Harper (11-0-1, 6 KOs) attempts to add Hyun-Mi Choi’s (18-0-1, 4 KOs) WBA belt to her WBC and IBO World Titles as she battles for supremacy at 130lbs, there is also a triple-header of European Title fights with Gamal Yafai (18-1, 10 KOs) defending his Super-Bantamweight Title for the first time against Jason Cunningham (28-6, 6 KOs), Tommy McCarthy (17-2, 18 KOs) defending his Cruiserweight crown against Romania’s Alexandru Jur (19-4, 7 KOs) and Lerrone Richards (14-0, 3 KOs) taking on Italy’s Giovanni De Carolis (28-9-1, 13 KOs) for the vacant Super-Middleweight strap, Dalton Smith (7-0, 6 KOs) also takes on Lee Appleyard (16-5-1, 5 KOs) for the vacant English Super-Lightweight Title after their February clash fell through at short notice.
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