|Eddie Hearn, Matchroom Sport Chairman:
“Liverpool, good afternoon and welcome. Thank you for an incredible turnout. Coming off the back of a pandemic, it’s a bit like throwing a birthday party and wondering if anyone is going to turn up. Then answer is yes. Look at it, it’s absolutely packed in here. It feels so good to be back at real press conferences, and moving forward to what is quite frankly the biggest night of boxing we’ve ever put on in Liverpool.
“This is the best Saturday night card we’ve put on since I’ve promoted boxing. I can’t thank the fighters enough for taking so many big challenges on this card. This is exactly what we want from boxing. Saturday October 9th, the M&S Bank Arena in Liverpool, live on DAZN all around the world. An incredible night of boxing headlined by the all-Liverpool clash between Liam Smith and Anthony Fowler.
“This fight is a fight that quite frankly two or three months ago I hadn’t thought about. Liam Smith went to Russia, he got robbed of a decision out there in a fight that probably should have taken him on to challenge for a World Title. Anthony Fowler under the tutelage of Shane McGuigan has improved and improved and wants all of the big challenges. Both camps were quite shocked when I suggested it but both camps considered the fight and both camps believe they can win. The card is absolutely fantastic.”
Liam Smith – Liverpool, England – 29-3-1, 16 KOs – fighting Anthony Fowler in a 12 round Super-Welterweight contest:
“Obviously this is a fight that was put towards me and not one I was looking at, I think Anthony’s team were hoping, but once the fight was spoke about and this was the path we were going. I said it’s a fight that I’ll take and it’s a fight that makes me smile, it’s a fight that I’ll be bang up for.
“I’m buzzing to be top of the bill again, on a card like this, against another Liverpool fighter who I can get my teeth into. I’m looking forward to it, a little bit like the Eggington thing, with 10-ounce gloves on, in fight shape with a bit of a crowd. I’ll just show him I’m that little bit of a step ahead and he wasn’t ready for that step up just yet.
“I just think he’s [Anthony] competitive, I think he’s a good fighter for four rounds, but he reverts back to what he does. Once the fight goes past four rounds the fights only going one way.
“Obviously you know how bad Anthony in on social media so imagine me losing to him on social media, I’ve got to live with photos, live with that for the rest of my life. Everything like that got took into consideration, it’s a big fight that makes me smile, a fight that I can get bang up for.
“He’s got a lot to deal with in the next nine weeks, a lot of pressure, the build-up side to the fights. I’ve been in with bigger punches, better fighters, I’ve been in local derbies with my brothers, he’s got a lot to deal with in the coming weeks and it’ll be interested to see.
“I believe I’ll stop him, 100%, I’ll be wary of his power the same I’d be wary of anybody’s power on this table. He’s got 10-ounce gloves on, I’m not deluded, I’ve been in boxing a long time and I think one shot can change the fight with anyone. People are getting a little mixed up, if Anthony loses where does he go? He’s 30.
“My point being is, people are forgetting Anthony is 30, they’re asking why he took this, he didn’t have to. He did have to take this fight, he’s 30. That’s where it lies, he’s not a prospect no more.”
Anthony Fowler – Liverpool, England – 15-1, 12 KOs – fighting Liam Smith in a 12 round Super-Welterweight contest:
“This is a dream come true, I’ve always wanted to be the main event in Liverpool and for this to come true is great. I’m under no illusions I’m up against it, Liam is a top, world class fighter, he’s proven that. But I’m 30 years of age, I can’t sit around and wait for these fights that aren’t getting made so I need to roll the dice. I’m confident, I’m at my peak, my best and I’ll be at my best come fight night.
“I wouldn’t be sitting here if I didn’t think I could win this fight. He’s going to be confident; he’s boxed at a lot higher level, but I’ve done a lot of good stuff behind closed doors. I’ve been sparring World Champions as a kid, so I know what I’m capable of, I just need to perform on the night.
“I’ve had 16 fights and most of them have been quite easy, I haven’t really been tested, I lost that fight early on in my career, but I regrouped, got a new coach and had four fights with four knockouts. I’m on my way up and coming to my peak.
“I’m as big and strong as anyone in the weight, obviously I haven’t got the experience, but I hit as hard as anyone. I’m big, strong and I know what I’m capable of, I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t think I could win.
“That was me watching the likes of Bellew, Price, hoping that it would be me one day. I’m here now and I’m really grateful – I want to give it my all.
“I haven’t had a chance to think about it, I’ve just come out of a fight, I’ve got a baby crying. When I get back to camp, I’ll completely switch into fight mode. I wouldn’t goad him at all, I’ve got a lot of respect for him, he’s been world champion, his brothers have all done amazing. It’s just a fight, it’s a job, boxing isn’t my life it’s my job. This fight is just business, it’s nothing personal.”
Shane McGuigan, trainer and manager of Anthony Fowler:
“This is a huge step up for Anthony, we can’t obviously make any mistakes, Liam Smith in the number one Light-Middleweight in Britain, he’s a former World Champion, he’s been in with Canelo and Munguia. He is the best fighter in the division, but I think it’s an opportunity that Anthony has to take.
“Anthony’s 30 years of age, it’s an opportunity that I believe he’s going to grab with both hands and win. It’s a fantastic fight and I’m really looking forward to it.
“I wouldn’t be taking this fight if I didn’t believe Anthony was going to win. I believe if Liam loses to Anthony Fowler he’s in a difficult place, but that’s why he’s taken it, he’s confident of winning. I believe we’re going to come away with the victory.
“It all goes out the window once that first bell is rang. Fight week is going to be a challenge because it’s something new, the pressure of being the headline, the fight being a local derby as well. He’s sort of had that with Fitzgerald and it’s just another experience but I don’t believe it’s going to hinder his experience.”
Ted Cheeseman – Bermondsey, England – 17-2-1, 10 KOs – defending his British Super-Welterweight Title against Troy Williamson:
This is a really good fight for me, another undefeated fighter, good fighter, to prove myself against. I believe this is my last hurdle before I push on in my career and move past the British level. This is what’s really motivating me, I have to get past this last hurdle to be able to do that – you’ll see the best Ted Cheeseman.
“If you look at my last couple of fights I’m hurting fighters a lot more now, I’m much more mature and I got Metcalf out their last time and he’s a really strong, tough man. With all the experience I’ve picked up and the more I’m learning I think when I get in the ring now, they don’t know what I’m going to do – whether I’m going to fight or box. There’s a plan A, B and C and I believe the experience will take me all the way on this fight.”
Troy Williamson – Darlington, England – 16-0-1, 12 KOs – challenging Ted Cheeseman for the British Super-Welterweight Title:
“It’s going to be a massive fight on a huge platform and one that I’m really excited about.
“The British Title is every British boxers dream to win on turning professional and I’ve got the chance to do that on October 9. I’ve been saying for a lot of years now that I believe I’m the best Super-Welterweight in Britain and I’ve got a chance to prove that on October 9.
“I rate Ted Cheeseman highly, both inside and outside the ring but on October 9 we put friendship aside and it’s down to business.”
Kieron Conway – Northampton, England – 16-2, 3 KOs – fighting James Metcalf in a Super-Welterweight contest:
“This is a massive fight; I’m game and I’ll keep coming. I don’t want to come back to these easy fights. I want these testing fights, the fights at the top of the domestic division. I want prove myself and hopefully James Metcalf brings the very best of him because I’m bringing the best of me.
“When you’re sitting there thinking Cheeseman, Fowler, Fitzgerald, thinking who we can put together, you’d think Kieron Conway, because this is going to be the performance of my life – this is going to be the best of me.
“It was a massive experience to go to Texas, I took a lot from it in and outside the ring, a lot of experience and knowledge came from there. I’m going to showcase that next time out; I look forward to it. It’s going to be a great opportunity, massive show and hopefully a buzzing crowd.”
Luke Willis – Liverpool, England – 10-0, 1 KO – fighting Rylan Charlton in a Lightweight contest:
“I’m here and I couldn’t have asked for a better opponent. I’m just looking forward to getting in there and showing my skills, showing what I’m about.
“He [Ricardo Fernandez] was coming forward; he came to win, and I only had a week’s notice to prepare for that fight. I’ve had 9/10 weeks for this, so you’ll see a lot better Luke Willis come October 9.”
Rylan Charlton – Norwich, England – 6-1-1, 3 KOs – fighting Luke Willis in a Lightweight contest:
“I can’t wait for it; it’s going to be a good fight. Finally dropping down to Lightweight is what I needed to do, I tested it at Welterweight – far too big – but you’ve seen what I did at that weight. I’m going to take over this Lightweight division.
“One thing I’m really looking forward to it having all my fans, everyone from Norwich, all there. I’m looking forward to the fight and roll on the Lightweight division.”
Solomon Dacres – Birmingham, England – 2-0, 1 KO – fighting Kamil Sokolowski in a Heavyweight contest: “Sokolowski is one of the those, he’s a bit of a bogeyman for your up and coming prospects, if you’re not switched on you can become unstuck. For me, I said let’s get him out of the way early, don’t build it up for anything that it isn’t, he’s a decent journeyman but if I’m on my game I should just deal with him the same way.
“The Heavyweight scene, domestically, is leading the charge in the world so if you can get your foot in the door and make a good statement right here in Britain you’re up there with the world’s best – that’s where I want to be myself.
“I just take each fight as it comes, keep stepping up and get to those levels. Hopefully in the next three or fights I’ll be knocking on the door for something at a good level.”