WOOD STOPS XU CAN IN 12TH TO SECURE WBA FEATHERWEIGHT WORLD CROWN

12 x 3 mins WBA Featherweight World Title
XU CAN v LEIGH WOOD WTKO12 (2:43)
(Beijing, China) (Nottingham, England)

Leigh Wood stopped Xu Can in the 12th and final round to claim the WBA Featherweight World Title in a big upset at the top of the bill on the first week of Matchroom Fight Camp in Brentwood, Essex, live worldwide on DAZN.

‘Leigh-thal’ created history by becoming only the second ever boxer from Nottingham to become a World Champion – following in the footsteps of former IBF Super-Middleweight World Champion Carl Froch who was watching on from ringside. 

After only competing at British level throughout his career, Wood was thought to be up against it against Can, but it was clear from the opening bell that the powerful Ben Davison-trained puncher belonged on the big stage. As the fight entered the championship rounds, Can tried to put his foot down as he felt his crown slipping, but he would pay for that approach in a memorable last session. A superb right hand dropped the Chinese fighter and after rising to his feet, Wood wasted no time in forcing the stoppage. “It feels good you know, to get the stoppage over the line in a great and high-paced fight, the last round with six weeks’ notice, I couldn’t have done anymore,” Wood told Matchroom afterwards. 
 
“I did say in an interview that I’m going to be catching him clean and it’s not down to me how long the fight lasts, it’s down to him pretty much. I could have sustained that all night. He took some big shots, big heart, credit to him but the accumulation has its effect as well. The shot I finished him with wasn’t as big as the ones I caught him with earlier on, but they took their toll, I caught him and got the stoppage.
 
“I had belief in my power, not only do I have big power, but I know how to get it off, how to set it up and how to mix it up. That’s the biggest factor in working with Ben, Lee Wylie and Barry Smith, they’ve really changed the game for me.
 
“He definitely wasn’t throwing 120 punches a round and that’s down to the game plan. Everyone was saying how are you going to do it, what are going to do, are you going to hit him hard, are going to hold him, it was down to the game plan. Even people watching don’t understand, but that’s a conversation for another day.
 
“Hopefully the younger generations see this and think you know what, he’s done it, World Champion, British, Commonwealth, European, hopefully people decide to go pick up a pair of boxing gloves and start their journey.
 
“Ben and Lee said to me they’ve never been so confident in someone getting the tactics right as much as me going into this fight. I thought that was a big statement, I was doing everything they wanted me to do. I executed it pretty much to perfection and credit to those guys for getting it right – I just do as I’m told, and it works.
 
“I’m easy, redemption with Dickens would be great for myself. Full confidence in Ben getting my tactics right for that fight, I had a bad night that fight, first southpaw I boxed as a pro, I’d like to put that right naturally.
 
“But if there’s bigger fights, I said I wanted the Navarrete fight he’s explosive like me, that’ll be absolute fireworks. People might slate me and say it’s a regular title, let’s fight for the super title, let’s unify – I want big fights.
 
“My career was stalled earlier on. In three years I’ve been British, Commonwealth, WBO European and now World Champion. My best years are definitely to come.”
 
12 x 3 mins European, British and Commonwealth Cruiserweight Titles
TOMMY MCCARTHY v CHRIS BILLAM-SMITH WSD12 (115-114 McCarthy, 115-114 CBS, 116-112 CBS)
(Belfast, Northern Ireland)  (Bournemouth, England)

Chris Billam-Smith withstood a late fightback from Tommy McCarthy to edge out a narrow split points decision to add the British and European Cruiserweight Titles to his Commonwealth Title in an epic battle at the Matchroom HQ. 

Belfast’s McCarthy started and ended the fight impressively but his low output in-between cost him the decision. Both fighters received a scorecard of 115-114, but a 116-112 verdict for Bournemouth’s Billam-Smith was enough to see him to progress to 13-1.

“It’s crazy, as Shane said, it’s been a bit of a tough camp towards the end – I had an injury and I haven’t sparred in 3-4 weeks,” Billam-Smith told Matchroom afterwards. “All that emotion came out, it was an interesting build up the fight, future fights, but I’m over the moon.
 
“It was a good shot, the best shot he landed all fight, I was with it, but it was a good shot, it buzzed me in a way, but I was in control, I could see, I knew I’d been hit but I just had to ride it a bit.
 
“I was really confident, the corner had it closer. In my head I thought I’d won probably eight rounds, but I wasn’t scoring it as I went along – so maybe seven. There was no way he won seven rounds, absolutely no way, that first round he landed one shot. It was a good shot, but I also had him hurt and hit him a lot more – those rounds should really go in my favour.
 
“He was harder to hit clean to be fair to him, but that was my own fault, I was loading up looking for one shot. Shane said that so the jab to the body was key, it was everything. It won me the fight, we watched the Askin fight today and that was the key – props to Shane.
 
“I sent the tweet out and it got him going, he built the fight really well. I played the villain at the beginning and just let him run away with it. All respect to Tommy, he was tougher and better than I thought he was.
 
“I’m so much better than that, I just walked back into the changing rooms and Shane has a massive go at me and said, ‘what was that?’ We know what I’m capable of but then I get too excited in there when I hurt someone. That’s because I’ve only had 14 fights, I’ve got a lot of learning to do but it’s a long process, I’m not the finished article and that’s the sort of fight I need.
 
“I was fit in there, comfortable in there, still ready to work in that last round and go up a gear which is good, but I’ve got to learn to be more articulate with how I go about things.
 
“They all work hard in the gym; I like to do the little 1% that they probably can’t be bothered to do. They work hard, Lawrence runs every morning, everyone’s a grafter in the gym but that comes down to Shane and Josh, they set such a high standard. You’ve got to be world class and act like a professional the whole time in that gym to survive.
 
“There was a group of twelve lads from Bournemouth that I kind of know and they all come up, to see them in crowd and to making the noise they did, it was really special. It’s so good to have fans back and some normality.
 
“I want a show in Bournemouth, I really do. We’ve tried it almost 18 months ago, it would be unbelievable to have a show down there. We’ve got the Bournemouth International Centre which Eddie had booked for last March which he couldn’t get an opponent for. I need a show in Bournemouth, I love my fans, they’ve been superb to me. I’ve been on the road, Riakporhe in London, Glover in Liverpool, here in London, I want to go home.”

4 x 3 mins International Lightweight contest
CAMPBELL HATTON WPTS4 (40-36) v JAKUB LASKOWSKI
(Manchester, England)                            (Siemianowice Slaskie, Poland)

Campbell Hatton extended his unbeaten record to 3-0 with a straight-forward four-round points win over Jakub Laskowski, from Poland. 

The 20-year-old Mancunian, son of former double World Champion Ricky, banked more valuable rounds as he continued his development in the professional ranks. 

“I was happy again really; I thought my defence was a lot better,” Hatton told Matchroom afterwards. “I was a bit more composed again, I think there were a few times where I’d hurt him and probably could have smothered my work fully and not caught him with anything. I managed to control myself a little when he was going. I didn’t quite get the knockout because I was smothering, and he was tricky, but it was exactly what I need. I need the rounds more than I need a stoppage.
 
“He was tricky customer, slippery, doing a bit of switching and some different looks. That’s the perfect fight and it has been matched perfectly for me to learn. There are people out there they could bring in and anyone could hit them and knock them over. That’s not how they’re matching me, we’re getting me people who are going to get the rounds out of me and give me different things to overcome – that’s what he did tonight.
 
“I think I showed some more classy work than I have before, working off my jab. My jab is one of my best shots in the gym and now I’m bringing it into play in the fights now.
 
“The first fight I was saying all week I was dead relaxed, but I had nothing to compare it to. The second fight I was more composed, and I was more composed this fight – next time it’s going to be the same pattern and even better.
 
“This was a different experience, it’s different to anything that I’m probably going to face very often in my career. It was different making the ring walk this time, you feel breezy seeing people tucking into their tea and having a pint. It was weird making my ring walk to that but as soon as the bell went it was just like any other ring and I just got to work.
 
“Gibraltar, the amount of media commitments I had to and how much time was invested into me on the media side, I think that set me up, so I’ve not had to do much really. We’ve got it all out the way in the first one, I’m never going to have to deal with anything like that again, the pressure will always be there but each time I’ll be dealing with it better. I’m dealing with the pressure like it’s not there now.
 
“You see all these opponents, if it was any other kid he was fighting with any other surname, I don’t think he would have been digging in half as much as he did there. They want to make a point, whether it’s to stop me, or just survive – they raise their game a bit when they know it’s me and I’ve got to do the same.”
 
 10 x 3 mins International Super-Welterweight contest 
ANTHONY FOWLER WTKO8 (2:12) v RICO MUELLER
(Liverpool, England)                             (Eberswalde, Germany)

Anthony Fowler was made to work hard for victory as he registered an eighth-round stoppage over late stand-in opponent Rico Mueller – setting up a tasty October 9 domestic clash with Liverpool rival Liam Smith.

The German, who arrived in the UK earlier this week to replace Roberto Garcia following an injury, had plenty of ambition at the start of the fight, but Fowler was always landing the heavy shots and the pressure finally told.

The Liverpudlian, who became a father during the week, has now won six fights in a row since suffering his one and only loss in the pros at the hands of Scott Fitzgerald at The M&S Bank Arena Liverpool back in March 2019.

“My next opponent is a really good fighter, much better than him, but I needed the rounds,” Fowler told DAZN afterwards. “I thought in round two I wobbled him but thought, ‘not today’. My last fight was three rounds and I thought, ‘I need rounds today’, so I stepped back and worked on a few things.
 
“The one thing I haven’t had in my career is rounds, I’ve always blasted my opponents out and haven’t really learnt much. I’m learning plenty in the gym but that’s where it counts, it means nothing in the gym.
 
“I’m from the south of Liverpool, Liam’s (Smith) from the north. It doesn’t bother me, I respect Liam a lot, he’s a really good fighter, ten times better than that lad tonight so I need to be on top of my game. I don’t turn fights down, since day one I’ve boxed anyone, I’ve asked for all these big fights, but it never happened for me.
 
“Even tonight, I wanted to box Roberto Garcia, a good, experienced veteran. Rico Mueller gaveca good fight and I’m happy he replaced Garcia because I said in the ring, ‘thanks for giving it your all’, after six rounds he was six rounds down and he was still trying.
 
“Liam is a much higher level, but I needed the rounds and that’s what I got.”
 
10 x 3 mins IBF International Super-Middleweight Title
AVNI YILDIRIM v JACK CULLEN WU10 (100-90, 98-92, 97-93)
(Istanbul, Turkey)  (Little Lever, England)

Jack Cullen claimed the biggest win of his career by outpointing former World Title challenger Avni Yildirim over ten rounds to earn the IBF International Super-Middleweight Title.

‘Little Lever’s Meat Cleaver’ was in control from the opening bell as he used his long jab to set up further attacks on the Turk who shared the ring with pound-for-pound king Canelo Alvarez back in February. 

Yildirim was looking to get back to winning ways after being stopped in three rounds by the Mexican in Miami but instead suffered the fourth defeat of his career at the hands of the 27-year-old from Lancashire.

Cullen outboxed and outfought ‘Mr Robot’ in front of his vocal support at the Matchroom HQ in Essex – with the final scorecards reading 100-90, 98-92, and 97-93 in favour of the Michael Jennings-trained fighter. 

“I’m absolutely buzzing and listen; we came with a game plan, a couple of rounds in I wasn’t doing what I should have been doing, but I stuck to my game plan and it paid off eventually,” Cullen told Matchroom afterwards. 
 
“I knew he was going to come forward, he’s a tough fighter and he comes to fight – that’s what he did tonight. Like I said with my game plan, using the jab and trying to not get caught with the right hand. I got caught a few times stupidly, but I got back on my boxing and got through the ten rounds.
 
“To be honest with you every fight I’ve seen him in he’s been one paced. It’s me not doing too much, using the jab, and letting him come forward, instead of me getting involved in a scrap – it worked. We stuck to the game plan, it worked, and I’m delighted. 
 
“I’ve been working over and over, every day, it’s starting to pay off. Like I said, you’re going to see a different Jack Cullen and I think you did tonight.
 
“At the end of the day, I’m in this game to fight the best and anything can happen, anything is around the corner. It’s all about being switched on and ready, whoever you get offered you’ve got to take the fight with both hands and go for it.
 
“I have got a brilliant support, a lot of fans that love watching and supporting me. There were only 25 in there tonight, but it sounded like 100, it’s brilliant and I’m going to have a nice little rest – we’ll see. Hopefully Eddie will sign me now!
 
“It’s moving in the right direction, the direction I want it to go. Everyone said Yildirim is going to be a tough opponent and I knew that, but I knew I should be beating fighters like him because of where I want to take my career to.
 
“I will go with flow, who knows, I reckon there will be all sorts of people jumping out the closet wanting to fight me, but we’ll see.”
 
6 x 2 mins Super-Lightweight contest
SANDY RYAN WPTS6 (60-54) v KIRSTIE BAVINGTON
(Derby, England)                         (Pensnett, England)

Former amateur star Sandy Ryan made a winning start to life in the paid ranks as she outclassed Kirstie Bavington over six rounds in the opening bout of Fight Camp. 

The Derby fighter, who is trained by Clifton Mitchell and managed by Paul Ready, was in control throughout and that was reflected on the scorecards as she emerged from the contest a 60-54 winner. 

“It was a very good fight,” Ryan told Matchroom afterwards. “I’m over the moon and I’m so happy. I enjoyed every minute of that, the walk, everything, I’m just made for the pro game.
 
“I took my time; I enjoyed the ring walk – I enjoyed it so much.
 
“I wanted a tough fight, to prove the levels. I showed glimpses of it, there were times where she was a bit messy and holding. The pro game and each fight as it goes on, I’m going to get much better.
 
“Levels, I said that even if I had a bad day, she wasn’t going to beat me. It’s not disrespect to her, but I just know what I’m capable of. Boxing’s my life and I’m going all the way.
 
“I’ve got the right team behind, Matchroom, DAZN, Eddie Hearn, Paul Ready my manager and Clifton my trainer, that’s all I need – that’s my team. I don’t need a big entourage around me, this is all I need and we’re going all the way.”
12 x 3 mins WBA Featherweight World Title
XU CAN v LEIGH WOOD WTKO12 (2:43)
(Beijing, China) (Nottingham, England)

Leigh Wood stopped Xu Can in the 12th and final round to claim the WBA Featherweight World Title in a big upset at the top of the bill on the first week of Matchroom Fight Camp in Brentwood, Essex, live worldwide on DAZN.

‘Leigh-thal’ created history by becoming only the second ever boxer from Nottingham to become a World Champion – following in the footsteps of former IBF Super-Middleweight World Champion Carl Froch who was watching on from ringside. 

After only competing at British level throughout his career, Wood was thought to be up against it against Can, but it was clear from the opening bell that the powerful Ben Davison-trained puncher belonged on the big stage. As the fight entered the championship rounds, Can tried to put his foot down as he felt his crown slipping, but he would pay for that approach in a memorable last session. A superb right hand dropped the Chinese fighter and after rising to his feet, Wood wasted no time in forcing the stoppage. “It feels good you know, to get the stoppage over the line in a great and high-paced fight, the last round with six weeks’ notice, I couldn’t have done anymore,” Wood told Matchroom afterwards. 
 
“I did say in an interview that I’m going to be catching him clean and it’s not down to me how long the fight lasts, it’s down to him pretty much. I could have sustained that all night. He took some big shots, big heart, credit to him but the accumulation has its effect as well. The shot I finished him with wasn’t as big as the ones I caught him with earlier on, but they took their toll, I caught him and got the stoppage.
 
“I had belief in my power, not only do I have big power, but I know how to get it off, how to set it up and how to mix it up. That’s the biggest factor in working with Ben, Lee Wylie and Barry Smith, they’ve really changed the game for me.
 
“He definitely wasn’t throwing 120 punches a round and that’s down to the game plan. Everyone was saying how are you going to do it, what are going to do, are you going to hit him hard, are going to hold him, it was down to the game plan. Even people watching don’t understand, but that’s a conversation for another day.
 
“Hopefully the younger generations see this and think you know what, he’s done it, World Champion, British, Commonwealth, European, hopefully people decide to go pick up a pair of boxing gloves and start their journey.
 
“Ben and Lee said to me they’ve never been so confident in someone getting the tactics right as much as me going into this fight. I thought that was a big statement, I was doing everything they wanted me to do. I executed it pretty much to perfection and credit to those guys for getting it right – I just do as I’m told, and it works.
 
“I’m easy, redemption with Dickens would be great for myself. Full confidence in Ben getting my tactics right for that fight, I had a bad night that fight, first southpaw I boxed as a pro, I’d like to put that right naturally.
 
“But if there’s bigger fights, I said I wanted the Navarrete fight he’s explosive like me, that’ll be absolute fireworks. People might slate me and say it’s a regular title, let’s fight for the super title, let’s unify – I want big fights.
 
“My career was stalled earlier on. In three years I’ve been British, Commonwealth, WBO European and now World Champion. My best years are definitely to come.”
 
12 x 3 mins European, British and Commonwealth Cruiserweight Titles
TOMMY MCCARTHY v CHRIS BILLAM-SMITH WSD12 (115-114 McCarthy, 115-114 CBS, 116-112 CBS)
(Belfast, Northern Ireland)  (Bournemouth, England)

Chris Billam-Smith withstood a late fightback from Tommy McCarthy to edge out a narrow split points decision to add the British and European Cruiserweight Titles to his Commonwealth Title in an epic battle at the Matchroom HQ. 

Belfast’s McCarthy started and ended the fight impressively but his low output in-between cost him the decision. Both fighters received a scorecard of 115-114, but a 116-112 verdict for Bournemouth’s Billam-Smith was enough to see him to progress to 13-1.

“It’s crazy, as Shane said, it’s been a bit of a tough camp towards the end – I had an injury and I haven’t sparred in 3-4 weeks,” Billam-Smith told Matchroom afterwards. “All that emotion came out, it was an interesting build up the fight, future fights, but I’m over the moon.
 
“It was a good shot, the best shot he landed all fight, I was with it, but it was a good shot, it buzzed me in a way, but I was in control, I could see, I knew I’d been hit but I just had to ride it a bit.
 
“I was really confident, the corner had it closer. In my head I thought I’d won probably eight rounds, but I wasn’t scoring it as I went along – so maybe seven. There was no way he won seven rounds, absolutely no way, that first round he landed one shot. It was a good shot, but I also had him hurt and hit him a lot more – those rounds should really go in my favour.
 
“He was harder to hit clean to be fair to him, but that was my own fault, I was loading up looking for one shot. Shane said that so the jab to the body was key, it was everything. It won me the fight, we watched the Askin fight today and that was the key – props to Shane.
 
“I sent the tweet out and it got him going, he built the fight really well. I played the villain at the beginning and just let him run away with it. All respect to Tommy, he was tougher and better than I thought he was.
 
“I’m so much better than that, I just walked back into the changing rooms and Shane has a massive go at me and said, ‘what was that?’ We know what I’m capable of but then I get too excited in there when I hurt someone. That’s because I’ve only had 14 fights, I’ve got a lot of learning to do but it’s a long process, I’m not the finished article and that’s the sort of fight I need.
 
“I was fit in there, comfortable in there, still ready to work in that last round and go up a gear which is good, but I’ve got to learn to be more articulate with how I go about things.
 
“They all work hard in the gym; I like to do the little 1% that they probably can’t be bothered to do. They work hard, Lawrence runs every morning, everyone’s a grafter in the gym but that comes down to Shane and Josh, they set such a high standard. You’ve got to be world class and act like a professional the whole time in that gym to survive.
 
“There was a group of twelve lads from Bournemouth that I kind of know and they all come up, to see them in crowd and to making the noise they did, it was really special. It’s so good to have fans back and some normality.
 
“I want a show in Bournemouth, I really do. We’ve tried it almost 18 months ago, it would be unbelievable to have a show down there. We’ve got the Bournemouth International Centre which Eddie had booked for last March which he couldn’t get an opponent for. I need a show in Bournemouth, I love my fans, they’ve been superb to me. I’ve been on the road, Riakporhe in London, Glover in Liverpool, here in London, I want to go home.”

4 x 3 mins International Lightweight contest
CAMPBELL HATTON WPTS4 (40-36) v JAKUB LASKOWSKI
(Manchester, England)                            (Siemianowice Slaskie, Poland)

Campbell Hatton extended his unbeaten record to 3-0 with a straight-forward four-round points win over Jakub Laskowski, from Poland. 

The 20-year-old Mancunian, son of former double World Champion Ricky, banked more valuable rounds as he continued his development in the professional ranks. 

“I was happy again really; I thought my defence was a lot better,” Hatton told Matchroom afterwards. “I was a bit more composed again, I think there were a few times where I’d hurt him and probably could have smothered my work fully and not caught him with anything. I managed to control myself a little when he was going. I didn’t quite get the knockout because I was smothering, and he was tricky, but it was exactly what I need. I need the rounds more than I need a stoppage.
 
“He was tricky customer, slippery, doing a bit of switching and some different looks. That’s the perfect fight and it has been matched perfectly for me to learn. There are people out there they could bring in and anyone could hit them and knock them over. That’s not how they’re matching me, we’re getting me people who are going to get the rounds out of me and give me different things to overcome – that’s what he did tonight.
 
“I think I showed some more classy work than I have before, working off my jab. My jab is one of my best shots in the gym and now I’m bringing it into play in the fights now.
 
“The first fight I was saying all week I was dead relaxed, but I had nothing to compare it to. The second fight I was more composed, and I was more composed this fight – next time it’s going to be the same pattern and even better.
 
“This was a different experience, it’s different to anything that I’m probably going to face very often in my career. It was different making the ring walk this time, you feel breezy seeing people tucking into their tea and having a pint. It was weird making my ring walk to that but as soon as the bell went it was just like any other ring and I just got to work.
 
“Gibraltar, the amount of media commitments I had to and how much time was invested into me on the media side, I think that set me up, so I’ve not had to do much really. We’ve got it all out the way in the first one, I’m never going to have to deal with anything like that again, the pressure will always be there but each time I’ll be dealing with it better. I’m dealing with the pressure like it’s not there now.
 
“You see all these opponents, if it was any other kid he was fighting with any other surname, I don’t think he would have been digging in half as much as he did there. They want to make a point, whether it’s to stop me, or just survive – they raise their game a bit when they know it’s me and I’ve got to do the same.”
 
 10 x 3 mins International Super-Welterweight contest 
ANTHONY FOWLER WTKO8 (2:12) v RICO MUELLER
(Liverpool, England)                             (Eberswalde, Germany)

Anthony Fowler was made to work hard for victory as he registered an eighth-round stoppage over late stand-in opponent Rico Mueller – setting up a tasty October 9 domestic clash with Liverpool rival Liam Smith.

The German, who arrived in the UK earlier this week to replace Roberto Garcia following an injury, had plenty of ambition at the start of the fight, but Fowler was always landing the heavy shots and the pressure finally told.

The Liverpudlian, who became a father during the week, has now won six fights in a row since suffering his one and only loss in the pros at the hands of Scott Fitzgerald at The M&S Bank Arena Liverpool back in March 2019.

“My next opponent is a really good fighter, much better than him, but I needed the rounds,” Fowler told DAZN afterwards. “I thought in round two I wobbled him but thought, ‘not today’. My last fight was three rounds and I thought, ‘I need rounds today’, so I stepped back and worked on a few things.
 
“The one thing I haven’t had in my career is rounds, I’ve always blasted my opponents out and haven’t really learnt much. I’m learning plenty in the gym but that’s where it counts, it means nothing in the gym.
 
“I’m from the south of Liverpool, Liam’s (Smith) from the north. It doesn’t bother me, I respect Liam a lot, he’s a really good fighter, ten times better than that lad tonight so I need to be on top of my game. I don’t turn fights down, since day one I’ve boxed anyone, I’ve asked for all these big fights, but it never happened for me.
 
“Even tonight, I wanted to box Roberto Garcia, a good, experienced veteran. Rico Mueller gaveca good fight and I’m happy he replaced Garcia because I said in the ring, ‘thanks for giving it your all’, after six rounds he was six rounds down and he was still trying.
 
“Liam is a much higher level, but I needed the rounds and that’s what I got.”
 
10 x 3 mins IBF International Super-Middleweight Title
AVNI YILDIRIM v JACK CULLEN WU10 (100-90, 98-92, 97-93)
(Istanbul, Turkey)  (Little Lever, England)

Jack Cullen claimed the biggest win of his career by outpointing former World Title challenger Avni Yildirim over ten rounds to earn the IBF International Super-Middleweight Title.

‘Little Lever’s Meat Cleaver’ was in control from the opening bell as he used his long jab to set up further attacks on the Turk who shared the ring with pound-for-pound king Canelo Alvarez back in February. 

Yildirim was looking to get back to winning ways after being stopped in three rounds by the Mexican in Miami but instead suffered the fourth defeat of his career at the hands of the 27-year-old from Lancashire.

Cullen outboxed and outfought ‘Mr Robot’ in front of his vocal support at the Matchroom HQ in Essex – with the final scorecards reading 100-90, 98-92, and 97-93 in favour of the Michael Jennings-trained fighter. 

“I’m absolutely buzzing and listen; we came with a game plan, a couple of rounds in I wasn’t doing what I should have been doing, but I stuck to my game plan and it paid off eventually,” Cullen told Matchroom afterwards. 
 
“I knew he was going to come forward, he’s a tough fighter and he comes to fight – that’s what he did tonight. Like I said with my game plan, using the jab and trying to not get caught with the right hand. I got caught a few times stupidly, but I got back on my boxing and got through the ten rounds.
 
“To be honest with you every fight I’ve seen him in he’s been one paced. It’s me not doing too much, using the jab, and letting him come forward, instead of me getting involved in a scrap – it worked. We stuck to the game plan, it worked, and I’m delighted. 
 
“I’ve been working over and over, every day, it’s starting to pay off. Like I said, you’re going to see a different Jack Cullen and I think you did tonight.
 
“At the end of the day, I’m in this game to fight the best and anything can happen, anything is around the corner. It’s all about being switched on and ready, whoever you get offered you’ve got to take the fight with both hands and go for it.
 
“I have got a brilliant support, a lot of fans that love watching and supporting me. There were only 25 in there tonight, but it sounded like 100, it’s brilliant and I’m going to have a nice little rest – we’ll see. Hopefully Eddie will sign me now!
 
“It’s moving in the right direction, the direction I want it to go. Everyone said Yildirim is going to be a tough opponent and I knew that, but I knew I should be beating fighters like him because of where I want to take my career to.
 
“I will go with flow, who knows, I reckon there will be all sorts of people jumping out the closet wanting to fight me, but we’ll see.”
 
6 x 2 mins Super-Lightweight contest
SANDY RYAN WPTS6 (60-54) v KIRSTIE BAVINGTON
(Derby, England)                         (Pensnett, England)

Former amateur star Sandy Ryan made a winning start to life in the paid ranks as she outclassed Kirstie Bavington over six rounds in the opening bout of Fight Camp. 

The Derby fighter, who is trained by Clifton Mitchell and managed by Paul Ready, was in control throughout and that was reflected on the scorecards as she emerged from the contest a 60-54 winner. 

“It was a very good fight,” Ryan told Matchroom afterwards. “I’m over the moon and I’m so happy. I enjoyed every minute of that, the walk, everything, I’m just made for the pro game.
 
“I took my time; I enjoyed the ring walk – I enjoyed it so much.
 
“I wanted a tough fight, to prove the levels. I showed glimpses of it, there were times where she was a bit messy and holding. The pro game and each fight as it goes on, I’m going to get much better.
 
“Levels, I said that even if I had a bad day, she wasn’t going to beat me. It’s not disrespect to her, but I just know what I’m capable of. Boxing’s my life and I’m going all the way.
 
“I’ve got the right team behind, Matchroom, DAZN, Eddie Hearn, Paul Ready my manager and Clifton my trainer, that’s all I need – that’s my team. I don’t need a big entourage around me, this is all I need and we’re going all the way.”
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FIGHT CAMP WEEK 1 WEIGHTS AND RUNNING ORDER

18:15 BST LIVE ON BEFORE THE BELL

6 x 2 mins Super-Lightweight contest

SANDY RYAN 144lbs 7oz v KIRSTIE BAVINGTON 144lbs 3oz
(Derby, England)                  (Pensnett, England)

followed by

19:00 BST LIVE ON DAZN

10 x 3 mins IBF International Super-Middleweight Title
AVNI YILDIRIM 163lbs v JACK CULLEN 163lbs 7oz
(Istanbul, Turkey)           (Little Lever, England)

followed by

10 x 3 mins International Super-Welterweight contest 
ANTHONY FOWLER 155lbs 4oz v RICO MUELLER 156lbs
(Liverpool, England)                       (Eberswalde, Germany)

followed by

4 x 3 mins International Lightweight contest
CAMPBELL HATTON 135lbs 9oz v JAKUB LASKOWSKI 135lbs 8oz
(Manchester, England)                     (Siemianowice Slaskie, Poland)

followed by

12 x 3 mins European, British and Commonwealth Cruiserweight Titles
TOMMY MCCARTHY 199lbs 3oz v CHRIS BILLAM-SMITH 199lbs 5oz
(Belfast, Northern Ireland)              (Bournemouth, England)

followed by

12 x 3 mins WBA Featherweight World Title
XU CAN 125lbs 3oz v LEIGH WOOD 125lbs 5oz
(Beijing, China)          (Nottingham, England)
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FIGHT CAMP WEEK 1 PRESS CONFERENCE QUOTES

Eddie Hearn, Matchroom Sport Chairman:

“Thanks Chris, thanks Darren and thanks to everyone for joining us here as we look outside to Fight Camp. Just two days to go, with the most incredible experience to come for fighters, for fans and for viewers on Saturday night as Fight Camp returns.

“As Chris said, we do have some sad news to bring you, the fact that Conor Benn tested positive for COVID-19 this morning. He will be off the card on Saturday night. That fight will be rescheduled as soon as physically possible and when it is safe to do so.

“Leigh Wood against Xu Can for the WBA World Featherweight Title will main event here on Saturday night. A chance for Leigh Wood to become only the second person from Nottingham to become a World Champion.

“We have a great co-main event – the European, British and Commonwealth Title showdown – Tommy McCarthy against Chris Billam-Smith. Jack Cullen against Avni Yildirim now elevated to that main card as well. Anthony Fowler against Rico Muller. Anthony Fowler, Campbell Hatton, Sandy Ryan – a huge night of boxing to come.”

Adrian Granados:

“It’s just the nature of the world we live in now. It’s unfortunate, Conor and I were very gun-ho about this fight, excited about it, chomping at the bit. It’s the day and age we live in, anything can happen now – this unfortunate disease that’s conquering the world right. I’m upset and frustrated but what can we do.
 
“This says Benn vs. Granados, let’s go. This was the fight that was supposed to happen, Benn’s being talking a lot of stuff. I’ve said some things, but I just wanted to get it on, ready to rumble. It’s unfortunate but I’m hoping for a speedy, 100% recovery for him, no excuses. The 14th August or the 14th September we’ll be 100% ready.”

Xu Can – Beijing, China – 18-2, 3 KOs – defending his WBA Featherweight World Title against Leigh Wood:

“I’m in the best state, I wasn’t able to fight in the last 20 months. I’m fully prepared and looking forward to the fight on Saturday night.
 
“Now I want to focus on this fight, Leigh Wood is a great fighter and I’m taking this really seriously. I will think about the other fighters after Saturday night.
 
“We will show the fans a big show on Saturday night. For the fans, I will take the victory back to my family and country. Nothing can stop me.” 

Pedro Diaz, trainer of Xu Can:

“I’m very happy to be here, thanks for the opportunity in Fight Camp. I think Saturday will be a very good fight, I see this big fight starting fast, Leigh has big power and an experienced corner. However, Xu Can has a great defence against the big power.”

Leigh Wood – Nottingham, England – 24-2, 14 KOs – challenging Xu Can for the WBA Featherweight World Title:

“It’s the thing you dream of stepping into the gym as a kid, fighting for a World title. It’s not going to be good enough to fight for one, I need to win. I’m 100% confident in getting the win across the line on Saturday night. I’ve worked really hard, my testament in being in the gym and staying ready, ticking over, and improving with Ben is the reason I’ve got myself ready in short notice.
 
“My last fight for the British title I only had a short time with Ben, I was working on things and just did as I was told, I just trusted him, and it worked. Now I’ve been back in the gym after that fight, picking things up and now I understand what I’m doing. It’s going to be key for a victory on Saturday night.
 
“After my last fight I was looked at pursuing one of the champions, but there’s so many names at Featherweight – the division is red hot. I can’t look too far ahead; I’ve got to be extremely focused on Saturday because all of that can dissolve into the abyss. I need to be 100% focused on Saturday night, I am, and I truly believe I will win this fight.” 

Ben Davison, trainer of Leigh Wood:
 
“I believe Leigh can do this. We’re very confident, like you said Eddie it’s very random but fortunately Leigh was in the gym – he’s look after himself all year round. He’s very well prepared, this is the best prepared I’ve seen him physically, emotionally, tactically, we’re ready to go.
 
“Leigh’s been in with other good punchers as well, the hardest punchers don’t always become the best fighters, so you need a little bit more than that. But like I said before Leigh is very well prepared, tactically. Anybody that knows Xu knows he’s got phenomenal output and it’s up to us to deal with that. We believe we know what to do to solve it.”
 
“I believe 100% Leigh Wood will become World Champion on Saturday.”

Tommy McCarthy – Belfast, Northern Ireland – 18-2, 9 KOs – fighting Chris Billam-Smith for the European, British and Commonwealth Cruiserweight Titles:

“There’s no real size difference, he’s 6’3 and I’m 6’2½, we’re the same weight so it’s not a major factor. Nothing concerns be about Chris, I’ve got better boxing skills, I’m elusive, I’ve got more experience, all those cards are stacked in my favour. 
 
“Chris is just rolling the dice here, it’s a big mistake to take this fight in this stage of his career. I’ve said it before, he isn’t ready for such a big jump, he hasn’t been fighting at a good level and he’s coming up to my level. I’m going to prove that on Saturday night.
 
“I will fight anyone but to fight Chris Billam-Smith to get the clean sweep and go for a World title after, you couldn’t have picked a better opponent. Some people have World title eliminators against killers, and I’ve got Chris, I couldn’t say no.
 
“Chris is a good fighter but he’s not on my level. That’s not an opinion that’s looking at the facts, he hasn’t got my experience or boxed at my level. Saturday night I’m going to thump him all over the ring.
 
“He’s been saying he’ll KO me; he’s been saying the exact same one-liner in every interview – I think I’ll stop him in the mid to late-rounds – somebody is saying it to him. He is saying what Shane is saying. I’m coming in here to smash him to bits.”

Mark Dunlop
 
“This is the triple crown of British and Irish boxing; we’re delighted that we’re facing Chris for all three belts. Chris seems like a nice guy, but I feel he’s being pushed to say the things he’s saying. At the end of the day, when you get into that ring there’s only going to be one winner and that will be Tommy McCarthy.
 
“I’ve never seen Tommy so dedicated, he hasn’t been out of camp since the last fight and that’s why he’s in incredible shape. He’s chomping at the European level and kicking the door of a World title – he’s number three in the IBF. Tommy’s going for everything, all the belts and World title. That’s why we’re here, not for the money but for the glory.” 
 
Chris Billam-Smith – Bournemouth, England – 12-1, 10 KOs – fighting Tommy McCarthy for the European, British and Commonwealth Cruiserweight Titles:

“It’s been exciting, it’s a fight you can really get up for with everything that’s on the line. The chat and interviews between us have been good and I’m excited for Saturday.
 
“This is the right steps at the right time for me, with the British, Commonwealth and European titles being on the line this is another step on the ladder.
 
“I’ve said it all along, I believe I’ll stop Tommy in the mid to late rounds. That’s what I said at the beginning and that’s what I still believe.” 

Shane McGuigan, trainer of Chris Billam-Smith:
 
“Credit to both guys for taking the fight, it’s a domestic title but they’re both highly ranked by the governing bodies at world level. They could have sat and waited for an opportunity at the top but it’s fantastic, it allows Chris to win the European and British title, while defending his Commonwealth title.
 
“It’s exactly what he’s in this sport for, big fights, domestic fights that we can get up for. It’s a competitive fight, after Riakporhe it’s probably Chris’ hardest fight to date.
 
“I think Tommy’s not the biggest Cruiserweight, he’s very skilful, got good movement, sits back well, is very elusive but I think close mid-range size is going to tell as the fight goes on and I can see Chris stopping him in the later rounds.
 
“This is a massive step for Chris. He wasn’t touted to be the best, he didn’t go to the Olympics, he wasn’t on the national set-up, but we’ve been working together now four years and he’s been progressing gradually. He’s maximised him as an athlete throughout and I think this will be a real defining fight for him and will put him on the world scene.” 

Campbell Hatton – Manchester, England – 2-0 – fighting Jakub Laskowski in a four round Lightweight contest:

“This is a step up, he’s tricky and a tall fighter, it’ll take a big of figuring out – it’ll be a bit awkward. It’ll be a good learning experience for me.
 
“I showed big improvements from my second professional fight to my first, just because of how much more relaxed I was. I showed a lot more composure, kept my shape better just because I was handling my nerves better. It’s getting more and more the norm to me now; I’ll be even more relaxed, and we’ll see even bigger improvement on Saturday.
 
“I’ve always wanted to box at the Manchester Arena which I did last time, but it was empty. I can’t wait to do it with a full crowd, we’re getting back to normal now. My minds on the job this weekend but it’s another motivator to look good on Saturday and move on to the next.”

Jakub Laskowski – Siemianowice Slaskie, Poland – 4-4-1, 2 KOs – fighting Campbell Hatton in a four round Lightweight contest:

“I’m excited for a good fight. Campbell Hatton get ready!”

Anthony Fowler – Liverpool, England – 14-1, 11 KOs – defending his WBA International Super-Welterweight Title against Rico Mueller:

“I was a bit worried on Monday/Tuesday because I wasn’t boxing at all, I had the baby in my hand – I was thinking I better switch on here. I knew as soon as I got back in the gym with Shane and the lads I’d switch back on and I’ve got to. It’s a fight, one shot can change a fight.
 
“I’m back in the gym now, I’m on weight, my life is on the line every fight – I can’t think about the baby. I need to worry about my opponent which I am doing.
 
I left no stone unturned at camp, I’m really focused, I never have an off say. I’m switched on all the time, and I will be on Saturday night. I look at him as a 5’9 orthodox boxer, we prepared for that style. Whatever he does I’ll have an answer for.
 
“If I lose this fight, all the plans go away. I’ve got to win, and I will win.”  

Rico Mueller – Eberswalde, Germany – 28-3-1, 19 KOs – challenging Anthony Fowler for the WBA International Super-Welterweight Title:

“Unfortunately, with Conor Benn it didn’t work out but when I got the call about Fowler, I knew I wanted to take the fight. This is the first time I’ll step up in weight but I’m confident and on Saturday there will be fireworks.” 

Avni Yildirim – Istanbul, Turkey – 21-3, 12 KOs – fighting Jack Cullen for the vacant IBF International Super-Middleweight Title:

“First of all, thanks to Matchroom and my promoter for the great opportunity again. I don’t want to talk too much but I need a great comeback.
 
“After the Canelo fight, I opened a new page, I have a new division, a new target. Hopefully everything will go good.” 

Jack Cullen – Littler Lever, England – 19-2-1, 9 KOs – fighting Avni Yildirim for the vacant IBF International Super-Middleweight Title:

“I’m just grateful that I’m back out there and what an opponent I’m fighting. Yildirim is a tough, strong lad and he’s going to come for it – it’s going to be a great fight.
 
“This is it, if/when I get past him where does it put me. At the end of the day, it’s all about fighting the best and he is what one the best – I appreciate that.
 
“You’re going to see the same Jack Cullen, but I’ve got a lot of stuff we’ve been working on and it’s going to pay off. There’s no reason why I’m not winning this fight.”

Sandy Ryan – Derby, England – Professional Debut – fighting Kirstie Bavington in a six round Super-Lightweight contest:

“Respect to Kirstie for taking the fight, we know she’s going to come to win. Let’s go.
 
“My former GB teammates are out in Tokyo, what a week this is going to be – them securing medals for the country and me making my debut on Saturday. I can’t wait, right in it with 6 rounds, Kirstie coming to win, let’s go.
 
“She [Kirstie] said she’s going to take me to the trenches, so let’s see. I hope she brings that energy Saturday night.” 

Kirstie Bavington – Pensnett, England – 3-1-2, 2 KOs – fighting Sandy Ryan in a six round Super-Lightweight contest:

“I’m excited and ready to go. I’ve been training hard all through lockdown and waiting for this opportunity to come. I’m going to give it all I’ve got and take her to the trenches.” 
 
“I’m just going to enjoy every moment here, enjoy the whole experience and do the best I can – hopefully make people proud at home.”
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GOLDEN BOY HAVE MADE A MISTAKE PICKING ME TO CHALLENGE CAN SAYS WOOD

‘Leigh-thal’ vows to become the UK’s latest World Champion
Leigh Wood believes that Xu Can’s promoter Golden Boy have made a mistake by choosing him as their WBA Featherweight World Champion’s latest defence on the first week of Matchroom Fight Camp in Brentwood, Essex on Saturday July 31, live worldwide on DAZN.

Wood (24-2, 14 KOs), who is trained by Ben Davison alongside Undisputed Super-Lightweight World Champion Josh Taylor, landed the vacant British Featherweight Title last time out at The SSE Arena, Wembley in February by stopping previously unbeaten Doncaster fighter Reece Mould with a brutal knockout in the ninth round.

Can (18-2, 3 KOs), who is recognised by The Ring Magazine as the No.3 Featherweight in the world, won China’s first ever WBA World Title when he defeated Puerto Rico’s defending Champion Jesus Rojas with a unanimous decision at the Toyota Center, Houston, in January 2019. 

‘Monster’ hasn’t boxed since he defended his World Title against Manny Robles III at the Fantasy Springs Resort Casino in Indio, California, way back in January 2019. Nottingham’s Wood believes that he possesses the power to ask Can serious questions as he aims to emulate Carl Froch by becoming the city’s second World Champion. 

“When opportunity knocks you’ve got to be ready,” said Wood. “I’m always in the gym all year round keeping fit, staying on it and living the life. This opportunity has come up and I’ve grabbed it with both hands. 
 
“I’m coming to win. I’m not just coming to fight for a World Title. I don’t want to be remembered as the kid that boxed for a World Title. I want to win the World Title. People can congratulate me on this fight after I win.
 
“I’ve proved that I’m way above domestic level and that my power is too much for these kids. It is a big jump from domestic level to World Title level but I’m confident in my ability and I’m confident in my power. 
 
“Xu Can’s best attribute is his punch volume. He throws a lot of punches. He doesn’t take a good shot. When he gets clipped his head is all over the shop. He’s not boxed anyone that can dig like I can – in my opinion. I’m going to be giving him questions that he’s not answered before. I’m bringing a lot more than what he’s seen before. 
 
“At the same time, he’s going to be doing the same to me. He’s going to be throwing a lot of shots at my head. I’m going to have to be smart and super fit. I’m excited about it and I’m going to rise to the challenge. I’m extremely confident. 
 
“Ben (Davison) doesn’t get it wrong. I don’t think I’ve ever seen him get it wrong. You have to take away a fighter’s best attributes. Can’s best attribute is his volume. I think he’s got the record for the most punches thrown in 12 rounds. We have to take that away from him. 
 
“I’m going to go out there and stick to the game plan, and I believe I’ll get the job done. I’m surprised that him and his team Golden Boy have specifically asked for me. Be careful what you wish for. They’ve made a mistake picking me.”

Can vs. Wood features on a huge night of action as Fight Camp returns with a bang, rising Welterweight star Conor Benn (18-0, 12 KOs) puts his WBA Continental Title on the line against Adrian Grandos (21-8-3, 15 KOs), Tommy McCarthy (18-2, 9 KOs) and Chris Billam-Smith (12-1, 10 KOs) collide in a massive showdown for the European, British and Commonwealth Cruiserweight Titles, former World Title challenger Avni Yildirim (21-3, 12 KOs) aims to bounce back from his loss to pound-for-pound king Canelo Alvarez when he takes on ‘Little Lever’s Meat Cleaver’ Jack Cullen (19-2-1, 9 KOs), Liverpool Super-Welterweight Anthony Fowler (14-1, 11 KOs) promises to build on his huge third-round knockout win over Jorge Fortea, Manchester Lightweight Campbell Hatton (2-0) continues his young journey in the pro ranks against Jakub Laskowski (4-4-1, 2 KOs) and former amateur star Sandy Ryan makes her highly-anticipated professional debut at Super-Lightweight against Kirstie Bavington (3-1-2, 2 KOs).
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WOOD LANDS DREAM WORLD TITLE SHOT AGAINST CAN AT FIGHT CAMP

Leigh-thal’ meets WBA Featherweight Champion on July 31
Xu Can will defend his WBA Featherweight World Title against Leigh Wood on the first week of Matchroom Fight Camp in Brentwood, Essex on Saturday July 31, live worldwide on DAZN.
 
Can (18-2, 3 KOs), who is recognised by The Ring Magazine as the No.3 Featherweight in the world, won China’s first ever WBA World Title when he defeated Puerto Rico’s defending Champion Jesus Rojas with a unanimous decision at the Toyota Center, Houston, in January 2019. 
 
At the age of 24 and 10 months, ‘Monster’ created history by becoming China’s youngest ever World Champion, and just the third from the country to win a World Title, with scores of 117-111, 116-112 and 118-110 over Rjoas, in what was his second appearance as a pro in the U.S.
 
He successfully defended his WBA crown at the first attempt by stopping Japan’s former Super-Bantamweight World Champion Shun Kubo in six rounds in his hometown of Fuzhou in May 2019. Can made the most of his hero’s welcome, flooring Kubo in round five before ending the contest in the next round.
 
Can’s all-action style was on full display in his next Title defence as he threw 1,562 punches on route to inflicting a first loss on Manny Robles III at the Fantasy Springs Resort Casino in Indio, California, impressively outworking and breaking down Robles over 12 rounds to earn a unanimous decision. 
 
Nottingham’s Wood (24-2, 14 KOs) landed the vacant British Featherweight Title last time out at The SSE Arena, Wembley in February by stopping previously unbeaten Doncaster fighter Reece Mould with a brutal knockout in the ninth round.
 
Wood, who is trained by top coach Ben Davison, has only lost twice in his 26-fight career – a sixth round stoppage defeat when challenging Gavin McDonnell for the vacant British Super-Bantamweight Title in just his 12th pro fight and a narrow points loss to eventual MTK Golden contract winner Jazza Dickens last year. 

“I have been idled nearly 20 months without a fight,” said Can. “In the past 5 months in Miami, my coach Pedro Diaz has worked me very hard. This is by far THE best preparation for my Title fights. I feel that I am in an excellent status, physically and mentally. In the next 3 weeks, my goal is to focus on the training and preparation. Leigh Wood is a tough opponent to face and he also has the privileges to fight at home. I must devote 200% of efforts to keep my Title. I can’t wait to see how I turn out on July 31.”

“Opportunities like this don’t always come around, I won’t need another,” said Wood. “I’m going to be World Champion. He’s very good volume puncher, if you let him fight his fight, you’re in for a hard night. I know what I have to do, and I will be exchanging on my terms.”

Elsewhere, WBA Bantamweight World Champion Shannon Courtenay (7-1, 3 KOs) will now put her World Title on the line for the first time against the USA’s Jamie Mitchell (6-0-2, 4 KOs) on Fight Camp Week 3 on Saturday August 14. 
 
Can vs. Wood is part of a huge night of boxing as Fight Camp returns with a bang, Welterweight star Conor Benn (18-0, 12 KOs) puts his WBA Continental Title on the line against Mexico’s Adrian Grandos (21-8-3, 15 KOs) following his sensational first round KO win over Samuel Vargas, Tommy McCarthy (18-2, 9 KOs) and Chris Billam-Smith (12-1, 10 KOs) collide in a huge showdown for the European, British and Commonwealth Cruiserweight Titles, former World Title challenger Avni Yildrim (21-3, 12 KOs) aims to bounce back from his loss to pound-for-pound king Canelo Alvarez when he takes on ‘Little Lever’s Meat Cleaver’ Jack Cullen (19-2-1, 9 KOs), Liverpool Super-Welterweight Anthony Fowler (14-1, 11 KOs) promises to build on his huge third-round knockout win over Jorge Fortea when he takes on Roberto Garcia (44-5, 27 KOs), Manchester Lightweight Campbell Hatton (2-0) continues his young journey in the pro ranks and former amateur star Sandy Ryan makes her highly-anticipated professional debut at Super-Lightweight.
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