|17:10 BST LIVE ON BEFORE THE BELL|
6 x 2 mins International Super-Featherweight contest
RAVEN CHAPMAN 9st 3lbs 1oz v KARINA KOPINKSA 9st 2oz
(High Wycombe, England) (Dabrowa Gornicza, Poland)
4 x 3 mins International Light-Heavyweight contest
KHALID AYUB 12st 4lbs 3oz v STANKO JERMELIC 12st 3lbs 7oz
(Sheffield, England) (Split, Croatia)
4 x 2 mins International Featherweight contest
STEVI LEVY 8st 12lbs 7oz v POLINA GOLUBEVA 8st 13lbs 8oz
(Kings Lynn, England) (Narva, Estonia)
4 x 3 mins Bantamweight contest
WILLIAM CAWLEY 8st 6lbs v STEPHEN JACKSON 8st 7lbs
(Oldham, England) (Chorlton-cum-Hardy, England)
19:00 BST LIVE ON DAZN
10 x 3 mins vacant Central Area Welterweight Title
JAMES FLINT 10st 5lbs 8oz v DOM HUNT 10st 5lbs 3oz
(Doncaster, England) (Wakefield, England)
8 x 3 mins Super-Featherweight contest
DONTE DIXON 9st 8lbs 1oz v JORDAN MCCORRY 9st 5lbs 5oz
(Sheffield, England) (Cambuslang, Scotland)
12 x 3 mins European Cruiserweight Title
CHRIS BILLAM-SMITH 14st 3lbs 1oz v DYLAN BREGEON 14st 1lb 8oz
(Bournemouth, England) (Nantes, France)
10 x 2 mins WBC and IBO Super-Featherweight World Titles
TERRI HARPER 9st 3lbs 6oz v ALYCIA BAUMGARDNER 9st 3lbs 8oz
(Denaby Main, England) (Michigan, USA)
12 x 3 mins IBF Featherweight World Title
KID GALAHAD 8st 13lbs 8oz v KIKO MARTINEZ 8st 13lbs 5oz
(Sheffield, England) (Alicante, Spain)
|Eddie Hearn, Matchroom Sport Chairman:|
“It great to be back in Sheffield, this is a tremendous fighting city and it’s been almost two years since we’ve been here for a major fight. Terri Harper and Kid Galahad boxed on that card and now we return with both of them in big fights.
“Kid Galahad had grinded for many years, a product of Brendan Ingle’s great Ingle Gym, now gets the chance to headline in Sheffield at the Sheffield Arena defending his IBF World Title. I know this is a very proud moment for himself and the Ingle Gym.
“Terri Harper who sits on the verge of a mega fight with Mikaela Mayer for the Undisputed Championship has a very, very tough fight against America’s Alycia Baumgardner – some tremendous action of the card. Chris Billam-Smith defending his European Title against Dylan Bregeon, Donte Dixon, one of the best prospects in the country, and so much other talent to be displayed on Saturday night live and exclusive on DAZN worldwide.”
“It’s took me a long time to get here, and I just can’t wait. Kiko mentioning Garcia and Joshua, mentally I’m different from those guys. Never in my career have I ever underestimated any fighter, on Saturday night trust me he’ll be wishing he never took this fight.
“Some of the names you [Eddie] gave me, I think Kiko was the best from all of them because he’s a former World Champion. He’s been at this level for 15 years, name me another fighter who’s been at the world level, or just below it, for 15 years, there hasn’t been. I believe I’m a different kettle of fish to him and on Saturday night I’m not going to take it easy on him, I’m going to seriously hurt him.
“Forget those unification fights for now, it’s all about Kiko Martinez on Saturday night, going in there and doing a job on him. I’m not looking to just go in there and win, he’s had some bad decisions in the past against Barrett and Warrington, so I know he’s going to come and not try leave it to the judge’s hands – that’s what I’m going to do. I’m not going to leave it to the judges’ hands, I’m going to go in there and seriously hurt him.
“All the razzmatazz and that I don’t really let it get to me I’m just focused on the fight. All the media stuff, the ring walk and people shouting your name, when I get to the venue I’m tunnel vision and ready to seriously hurt someone. I’m focused on what I’ve got to do, all that other stuff doesn’t really bother me, I’m here to win and stay champion for a long time.”
“First and foremost, it’s been two years of incredibly hard work, I haven’t had a day off in that time or any holiday – for my family or myself. It’s been constant hard work to get this opportunity so thank you for this opportunity to fight for this World Title.
“There have been many surprises recently in boxing, look at some of the surprises, Joshua vs. Usyk, we have situations where champions aren’t respecting their defences and their rivals. If Galahad doesn’t do the same and respect this fight, he’s going to get a big shock on Saturday night.
“I think you’ve seen the results of Spanish boxing learning from their errors over the years. We’re in a really good position at the moment and doing well.
“It’s been a long year; I had a tough time after the operations but here we are back on the main stage, and it feels like we haven’t been away. Even though I haven’t boxed for a year I’ve been in the gym non-stop, I had two weeks out to recover from the operation but since that I’ve been in the gym working, developing myself as a fighter not just physically but mentally. I’ve excited to get back out Saturday night and show everybody the improvements I’ve made, I’m not the same fighter I was a year ago and I’m ready to put on a show.
“Working with Danny over at Boxing Science, just the numbers that I’m hitting and PB’s I’m doing I know. Working with Andrew we’ve had time to enjoy ourselves in the gym and try new things, it’s just clicked. I’ve enjoyed myself and enjoyed training, I’m a completely different fighter, mentally, it’s always been the biggest thing. I lack self-believe and confidence, so I’ve been doing my own work outside the gym to take my mindset to the next level – here I am ready to go.
“I’ve never shied away from a tough fight since I turned professional with Andrew. He’d give me the choice of a couple of girls, and I would always say give me the toughest fight. That’s not just for me but for the fans as well, I’ve fought girls with winning records, former World Champions, reigning World Champions, that’s the reason why we chose Alycia. She’s a tough and respectable opponent, I want to be out there Saturday night making a statement and showing everyone I’m back.
“I know what I’ve got ahead of me on Saturday night, I’m not overlooking Alycia, but this is a steppingstone in my journey and career. I want to go on and push on to have a big 2022 and hopefully get a unification against Choi, push on for an Undisputed against Mayer.”
“My confidence is at an all-time high, I’ve been preparing for this moment for a very long time in my career and being in boxing for twenty years – this moment everybody dreams of. Here I am, well prepared and ready to give a great fight Saturday night. I’m ready to showcase what women’s boxing has been doing and give a different look on what a lot of boxing fans haven’t seen from me and from a women’s boxing perspective.
“It is a very dangerous fight for Terri, I pose a big threat, again just the experience I have with over 100 amateur fights and many former World Champion’s training camps. I’ve been prepared for these moments, just to go out there Saturday night to really do what I do best and get the win – I will become a two-time World Champion come Saturday night.
“Like I said, my confidence is at 100, there’s levels to this game and I believe I’ve been on that level, but I haven’t been given the opportunity to showcase that. Now on Saturday I’ll be able to show the many levels of boxing of what I have to offer to the sport and what I have to show Terri Harper Saturday night. She hasn’t been in the ring with somebody like me, I’m definitely going to show her and punish her every round.”
“It’s an honour to be Commonwealth, British and European Champion, I’m looking forward to defending the European Title on Saturday night. Last time out wasn’t my best performance, so I’m really looking to put on a clinical performance this time out.
“To lose by two rounds in Italy against an Italian, most people take that as a win, so I see him as unbeaten. He’s tall, awkward, he throws a lot of shots and moves well so we’re very aware of the dangers in this fight and on the same note as long as I perform to the best of my ability, I know I’ll come out on top on Saturday.
“The next twelve months is huge for me, and it’s fights like this I’ve got to perform in and keep progressing and doing the work we’ve done in the gym since the last fight. I’m ranked in the top seven in every governing body so I’m looking to push on, keep climbing those rankings until I get my opportunity – when it comes, I’ll be ready.”
“This is a big opportunity for me of course, I’m very pleased to have this chance at the title. Looking over the recent history there’s only been five French champions at European level so come Saturday I’ll put on a good show and hopefully I’ll be the sixth.
“It was a tough defeat to take against Turchi I have to say, obviously I respect the decision, it can happen in any boxer’s career that some decisions don’t go your way. I’m here to put on a great show, with Chris Billam-Smith I’m sure we’re both going to express ourselves and put on a good show for everybody.”
“I’m looking forward to it, it’s a nice little step up but obviously skills pay the bills, I should pass. It’s been eleven months, my last fight was on Billy’s undercard, I’m just looking forward to getting back out there I’ve got itchy knuckles man.
“Look good on Saturday and we move on from there but just got to get it out of the way. I’ve got to go in there, do my job, look good while doing it and sky’s the limit.”
“I’ve worked really hard throughout camp, mentally and physically I’m ready to face the best Dom Hunt. Hopefully he can return the favour, all the ingredients are there, it’s set to be a great fight.
“It’s like our World Title shot really, coming off the small hall shows to this and such a big platform, I’m really grateful to be here.”
“This is why we’re in boxing for opportunities like this so thank you to everyone for making this possible, it’s down to me now to go in and do the best I can and put on a show Saturday night.
“There’s no extra nerves because when I got into boxing, I didn’t set any targets or anything, I’m just in this because I love boxing. I don’t need to do it, but I do because I love it, that’s why I get up so early and do all the hard work because I want to do it. Saturday night is just an opportunity I never thought I’d get, I know it’s a hard fight, James is a really good fighter and I’ve just got to match that and do the best I can on Saturday.”
“I just can’t for Saturday, obviously training alongside Terri for our fights on Saturday has just been massive experience – money can’t buy that. I know I’m more than prepared Saturday night, get the ball rolling again and get my second fight out the way.
“I had my debut only six weeks ago so it’s nice to get straight back out there, six-week training camp and back in the ring, hopefully I can stay busy going forward as well.
“I think on Saturday night if I can go out there and get the stoppage that makes a big statement, I’m more than capable of doing that as well. I’ve got the power, I got the stoppage in my first fight, I’m not going to go out there and look for it. It’s just going to happen with what I work with my coach, the way we do things, it’ll just come when I break my opponent down, I’m sure I’ll work my way to that stoppage.”
“It’s a massive opportunity for myself, all of my family is from Sheffield so it’s good for them to come down and watch me. I’m just ready to put on a mature performance, I’m only 19 but I want everybody to know that I’ve got a good skill set and I’m ready to go do the business on Saturday.”
“I can’t wait, it’s unbelievable to be boxing alongside World Champions and other great fighters. I can’t wait to get the ball rolling Saturday night.
“If it was up to me, I’d be asking to fight for the British Title in my second fight, that’s why I’ve got the best management team, to pick the correct fights for me and move forward in my career.”
“I cannot tell you how grateful I am for you having me here, it’s the dream. I train so hard; most people dream of being a World Champion, but I just dream of being on a Matchroom show. My ultimate goal is a Commonwealth Title, I’m living the dream, on Saturday I’m going to prove I can actually fight as good as I can talk.
“I spent a lot of years on my own, now I’m so busy and I’m always around people, I’ve got my little boy, my team, I work in the gym. I love it, I’m busy, we all had a lot of time in lockdown, you can’t complain when you’re busy can you.”
|IBF Featherweight ruler meets Martinez whilst ‘Belter’ defends WBC & IBO straps against Baumgardner|
|Kid Galahad will make the maiden defence of his IBF Featherweight World Title against former World Champion Kiko Martinez on the same night that WBC and IBO Super-Featherweight ruler Terri Harper returns to put her belts on the line against the USA’s Alycia Baumgardner, exclusively on DAZN worldwide – excluding Australia and New Zealand.|
The World Title double-header lands at the Utilita Arena Sheffield on Saturday November 13 and is supported by a stellar undercard that features Chris Billam-Smith (13-1, 10 KOs) making the first defence of his European Cruiserweight Title, Leeds Super-Bantamweight talent Hopey Price (6-0, 2 KOs), James Flint (9-0-1, 2 KOs) battling Dom Hunt (7-0, 1 KO) for the Central Area Welterweight Title, Donte Dixon (5-0, 3 KO) squaring off with Jordan McCorry (19-7-1, 4 KOs) in an eight-round Super-Featherweight contest, Raven Chapman (1-0, 1 KO), Sheffield Light-Heavyweight Khalid Ayub (1-0) and Oldham debutant William Cawley.
Sheffield’s Galahad (28-1, 17 KOs) turned in a superb performance as he clinically stopped Liverpool’s Jazza Dickens in eleven rounds to claim the vacant IBF crown at Matchroom HQ in Brentwood, Essex back in August – fulfilling his life-long dream of becoming a World Champion.
The Dominic Ingle-trained 31-year-old is targeting supremacy at 126lbs, and has already called for unification fights with the likes of WBC ruler Gary Russell Jr. and WBO Champion Emanuel Navarrete, but must first get past former IBF Super-Bantamweight Champion Martinez (42-10-2, 29 KOs).
Spain’s Martinez is relishing the opportunity to become a two-weight World Champion after suffering a controversial loss at the hands of Manchester’s Zelfa Barrett at The SSE Arena, Wembley earlier this year, and the 35-year-old is well known on these shores having shared the ring with multiple World Champions.
Harper (11-0-1, 6 KOs) looked sensational as she stopped Norway’s Katharina Thanderz in nine rounds to retain her WBC and IBO 130lbs crowns last time out in November 2020 on the undercard of Katie Taylor’s win over Miriam Gutierrez in London.
The Denaby favourite was set to defend her World Titles in a unification clash with South Korea’s undefeated WBA World Champion Hyun-Mi Choi in May before sustaining a hand injury that has kept her side-lined for a number of months, but will now look to get her career back on track against Baumgardner (10-1, 6 KOs)in Sheffield.
“I am beyond excited for this,” said Galahad. “It will give me a great sense of pride to be making my first World Title defence right here in Sheffield, the city where my boxing journey began with the legend Brendan Ingle.
“Brendan told me way back when I was 14 years old that if I stuck with it, I would be a World Champion one day – so this will be a special moment for me, and it will be dedicated to Brendan and Alma Ingle. To make my maiden World Title defence right here in front of the incredible people of Sheffield, my family and my fans will be a very special moment.
“Kiko is a former World Champion and has been in with multiple other World Champions so he has a huge amount of experience. He is a very tough man and never shy’s away during a fight. You’re always going to be in for a hard night’s work with Kiko who will be pushing, pressuring and punching all night long.
“We saw how sharp and hungry he looked against Zelfa Barrett recently so with this being his chance to become World Champion again, I’m expecting an even hungrier and sharper version and I will be preparing for exactly that, with no stones left unturned!”
“The UK is like my second home, I felt robbed against Zelfa Barrett, but all the fans know who the real winner was,” said Martinez. “I hope that this time the judges will be fair with me. Galahad is a very good boxer and I respect him, but I am very confident in my abilities. I am excited with this opportunity. To become a World Champion in a second weight division is my goal.”
“I am very excited to be back out on November 13 and continuing the journey,” said Harper. “It has been a tough year out with the injury, but we have been constantly working in the gym and I feel so much more focused mentally. I couldn’t think of a better return than at Sheffield Arena back in front of the home crowd where I last boxed before lockdown.”
“I hope Terri Harper understands that when you step in the ring with me, I’m throwing bombs,” said Baumgardner. “Terri will feel every punch I throw. My punches are thrown with evil intent and I intend to hurt her, and to become ‘The New’. My time is now, and everyone will know who ‘The Bomb’ is. Don’t let a pretty face fool you. On November 13 I can’t wait to show the world that god has blessed me with talent and I intend to show what happens when talent meets opportunity and my fist meets Terri Harper’s face.”
“After a fantastic performance at Fight Camp, Kid Galahad is back defending his IBF Featherweight World Title for the first time,” said Ed Breeze, EVP Rights at DAZN. “It doesn’t get much better than a maiden title defence in your hometown, against a former World Champion in Kiko Martinez. Terri Harper also returns to the ring after a year out, putting her WBC and IBO Super-Featherweight Titles on the line. This is certainly not one to miss, live on DAZN around the world.”
Tickets are priced £40, £60, £100 and £200 (VIP).
Fight Pass members can purchase tickets now via StubHub (www.stubhub.co.uk). General Sale tickets are available from midday on Thursday October 14 via StubHub (www.stubhub.co.uk) and the Utilita Arena Sheffield (www.utilitaarenasheffield.co.uk).
|12 x 3 mins vacant IBF Featherweight World Title|
KID GALAHAD WRTD11 v JAZZA DICKENS
(Sheffield, England) (Liverpool, England)
Kid Galahad’s dream of becoming World Champion was finally realised as he produced a stunning effort to defeat Jazza Dickens and claim the IBF Featherweight crown at the top of the bill on Matchroom Fight Camp Week 2 in Brentwood, Essex, live worldwide on DAZN.
The Sheffield man (28-1, 17 KOs) had been denied the IBF title in a split decision defeat to Josh Warrington in 2019, but he captured the vacant belt after gradually breaking down the stubborn resistance of Dickens, who was pulled out by his corner before the final session started.
“I’ve been waiting 19 years for this and it’s finally here, I’ve finally got it – IBF Champion of the World,” Galahad told DAZN. “Not a little bit, the whole world. This doesn’t say regular champion, this says World Champion. People can think what they want. I come to fight. I’m a full time professional, I don’t take no days off. Jazza Dickens will become a World Champion 100%. Without a doubt, he’ll become a World Champion. I’m just over the moon.
“Thank you Eddie Hearn. If it weren’t for Eddie Hearn I wouldn’t be in this position right now. Thank you to DAZN. I’m just over the moon man. Brendan Ingle told me that I’m going to win everything from Super-Bantamweight up to Lightweight. Nobody believed me and everyone doubted me when I said I’d become Word Champion. Before I met Brendan, I would have probably been locked up in jail. He was the only person that gave me hope. If it wasn’t for boxing, Eddie Hearn, DAZN, Brendan Ingle, my mum I’d probably be locked up or dead.
“Naseem Hamed, I met him at the local mosque. I said to him, ‘Naz, I want to be a World Champion like you’. He told me if I wanted to become a World Champion I needed to go and find Brendan Ingle at the St Thomas’ Boxing Club. The rest is history. I went and met Brendan and that’s it.
“Every single day two busses. 45 minutes. I used to get up at 5.45 to get in for 6.45. Every single day from the age of 12-years-old. When I was 15 I moved out of my area. Brendan told me I’d end up locked up or dead if I stayed in that area. I lived in a crappy house at the bottom of the road with about five other boxers. There were rats and everything. I used to have a mattress on the floor. I lived there from the age of 15 until I was 20 and I got enough money to get my own house.
“My mum is over there somewhere. She’s over the moon. We’ve come from nothing. Hopefully I make a few quid out of this and get her a nice house, and get out of the area. I’m going to dominate the division. I always told Eddie I was going to dominate this division. I will make sure that I clean up this division. Nobody is going to beat me. I just beat the guy who beat Leigh Wood. This says IBF Champion of the whole World. This is not a regular title.”
10 x 3 mins English Heavyweight Title
FABIO WARDLEY WTKO1 (2:30) v NICK WEBB
(Ipswich, England) (Surrey, England)
Fast-rising Ipswich prospect Fabio Wardley wasted no time as he blasted out Nick Webb inside the opening round to retain his English Heavyweight Title and improve his unblemished record to 12-0 (11 KOs).
Surrey fighter Webb made a decent start to the fight, catching Wardley with some punishing shots, but a brief moment of carelessness allowed Wardley to make his impact. The 26-year-old hurt Webb and once he realised that, he unloaded a barrage of hurtful shots forcing the referee to halt the fight.
“It was a big one for me because this was a good test,” Wardley told Matchroom. “He was coming off a good win and we had to just make a bit of an impact, make a bit of a statement. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t the cleanest performance but sometimes you’ve just got to grit these ones out and get it done. I proved the difference. I proved that I can take a shot and keep moving like I proved against Molina. You can hit me and I’ll still come back at you with full force. He caught me a few times but it doesn’t faze me, I keep moving and I’ll move to take you out.
“I wasn’t going to let him off the hook. That’s something that we’ve been building on, that killer instinct – to notice and pay attention to when you’ve got someone going. I think in my last few fights I’ve been getting that going. When I hit someone and I see that little chink in their armour, I’m going in and I’m getting the kill.
“I respect every fighter that’s ever stepped in the ring because it’s a dangerous sport and anything can happen. I had to do what I did to get Nick in the ring in the first place because I’ve been chasing Nick for a year. I had to switch up my approach and go for the more aggressive stance and call him out and call him a few names. It’s all for the love of the sport at the end of the day. I respect everyone that gets in there.
“I think I’ve made the most out of every opportunity that’s been put in front of me. I’ve never said no to an opportunity that Ed has given me. I’m becoming increasingly more difficult to match because me, Dill and the team, we don’t say no. If you want to meet me in the ring I’m happy to go there, let’s go. It feels like a dream, it feels like a weird rollercoaster and I’m just running with it. I’m just loving what I’m doing and I’m staying focused.
“I’ve won the English and I’ve defended it; I think that’s me done with it now. Moving forwards for the British, Commonwealth, European – those types of belts are what I’ve got my eyes set on next and obviously Joe (Joyce) is holding onto them. He’s going to be moving on, he’s trying to move to that world level and he’s going to want to drop them sooner or later. I’ll be there ready and waiting.”
8 x 3 mins International Heavyweight contest
ALEN BABIC WRTD5 v MARK BENNETT
(Zagreb, Croatia) (Dunsville, England)
Alen Babic’s destructive form continued as he forced Mark Bennett to retire after the fifth round.
‘The Savage’ had to endure a couple of rocky moments in the early rounds but his relentlessness saw him get on top after the second session. It was all one way traffic after that and after enduring a torrid fifth stanza, Bennett’s corner did the right thing and pulled their man out.
“I feel great,” Babic told DAZN. “Thank you for having me, it was a very very tough fight. I didn’t expect that – I’ve got to say that. All kudos to him. He’s a very very tough warrior, a legit warrior. I threw maybe 100 power punches at his head, and I have knockout punches, so it was a very tough and competitive fight. I thank him for that.
“Left, right and I was like, ‘fall, it’s your time to fall’, but he just didn’t want to fall. He really caught me with a few ones. He didn’t catch me flush because I always bob and weave but he’s a very tough man and I respect him.
“This guy was 30kg heavier than me and you saw what happened, he wasn’t stronger in that ring. I can do everything. I’m here to represent the little people who can’t do nothing. I am just little like them – the smallest Heavyweight alive! You can do it if I can do it, I’m nothing special. I just put my mind to it. If you put your mind to it, there’s nothing you can’t do.”
4 x 3 mins Heavyweight contest
JOHNNY FISHER WTKO2 (1:08) v DANNY WHITAKER
(Romford, England) (Silsden, England)
Johnny Fisher was far too powerful for Danny Whitaker as he progressed to 3-0 in front of his father who was watching on from ringside.
A dominant second round saw ‘The Romford Bull’ drop Whitaker twice before the fight was stopped before any more damage could be done.
“It felt fantastic, especially in front of some of my supporters here,” Fisher told Matchroom. “In the future we’ll get a lot more in. It was great to have that little taste of what the future can hold. Respect to Danny Whitaker, a great man and a great opponent. I’m ready for the next step. I feel like I prepared better for this fight than any of my previous fights – especially with Mark being back. I’ve got a great assistant trainer in Steve Andrews. We’ve got a long way to go but I’m in a good place.
“My mum and dad are here, and my brothers are here. It’s brilliant. My little sister is at home. We’re going to have a nice Chinese now and celebrate. I think it’s the confidence that you can take from knowing that you have prepared well. Lennox Lewis sent me a message before my debut, ‘the more I prepare, the less I worry’, and that was testament to the work that we’ve been doing in the gym.
“I’ve definitely calmed down from the second fight. I think it’s different when you’ve got someone with a winning record in there. I’ve got a long long way to go to calm myself down and box on the back foot, but I know I can box on the back foot because I’ve showed it before in sparring. Doing it in the ring is another thing and that’s why we have a process. I’m only 22-years-old and I’ve got to build. You’ve got to stay humble and you’ve got to stay ready.
“We all know in our area about Mark Tibbs and his dad and how great they are. It’s not just that he’s my boxing trainer, we’re good friends and we get on really well. He said to me once that it’s like we’ve known each other forever and it is. It’s brilliant to be working with someone who is such a legend in the sport. Boxing is a very brutal sport and it can end at any time for anyone, especially at Heavyweight. You’ve got to have respect for all of your opponents. You’ve got to be ready for anything, and the best way to be is to be honest.”
8 x 2 mins International Bantamweight contest
EBANIE BRIDGES WTKO3 (1:22) v BEC CONNOLLY
(New South Wales, Australia) (Swindon, England)
Popular Australian Ebanie Bridges returned to winning ways by stopping Bec Connolly in three rounds.
Bridges found a superb right hand to floor the Swindon fighter and when a further attack followed once Connolly was back on her feet, the referee made a sensible intervention.
“To be back here in the UK, and to win and get my hand raised is amazing,” Bridges told DAZN. “Las time I was unlucky, although I still got a good reception. It was good to get in here and get my hand raised for my fans. I had a few people here supporting me so shout out to everyone that came. I saw you there with your Aussie flags and I appreciate you. It feels great.
“Winning is what it’s all about. It’s all good having the fanbase and the social media presence but if you’re not winning it can only go so far. Winning is important. It feels good. She was more difficult in the sense she was holding and a bit rough on the inside. That was new for me. I’m not used to people holding.
“I thought I would finish it in the later rounds. I knew I would break her down. I was just aiming for her body for the first few rounds because I wanted to break her body down so I could open her up to the head, and that’s exactly what we did. That’s what our plan was.
“By the third round I already had her hands dropping from going to the body and then that’s why that right hand was landing. That’s the one that stopped it. Obviously I want the rematch with ‘Shanny’. That’s what everyone wants, not just me. I know I want it, the fans want it, I’m pretty sure Eddie Hearn wants it. The only one that doesn’t want it is her.
“Hopefully she wants it, but then again she’s on her journey and I’ve got to focus on mine. I don’t hold my breath. The ball is in her court, and if she doesn’t take it, I suppose it looks a bit like she’s running.
“To all my fans and everyone that supported me tonight – I hope you enjoyed it. I love being back in the UK and I love being on DAZN. It’s a great platform as well with Eddie Hearn and Matchroom so a big thank you to them. This is just the comeback.”
8 x 3 mins International Super-Featherweight contest
AQIB FIAZ WPTS8 (77-76) v KEVIN BALDOSPINO
(Oldham, England) (Miranda de Ebro, Spain)
Oldham prospect Aqib Fiaz advanced his record to 7-0 as he defeated Spain’s Kevin Baldospino on points. The 21-year-old was made to work hard and that was reflected in the 77-76 scorecard.
“I’m just glad to be back after such a long layoff,” Fiaz told Matchroom. “It’s good to get back in there and get the win. It wasn’t my best performance, but I got the win most importantly. It was emotional to get back in there, especially here as well. It meant a lot to me. I had to come in and do my job no matter what.
“It wasn’t my best performance. We’re going to go away and look at the mistakes I made, then we’ll definitely work on them and be better next time. Even going into the last round, I felt I did enough to win. It was probably the right decision yeah. He was a tough man. I hurt him a couple of times and he stuck in there and dug in. Credit to him.
“I expected to be better than that, and I definitely am better than that. I need to be better than that. The fight didn’t go the way I wanted to. It’s about learning, and I feel like that’s a good learning fight. I’m definitely better than that, I just need activity. The more time I’m in the ring, the better I’ll be.
“I’ve had a lot going on, and my team have had my back. They’re like father figures to me. They’ve been there for me when I’ve been at my lowest. I’m here today because of them. Ten months is probably the longest layoff that I’ve ever had in my amateur career and pro. It’s good to be back, but let’s be back soon.”