The press conference for Saturday night’s bumper show at the Copper Box Arena took place at the BT Sport studios.
The venue is just a stone’s throw from the ring and the headline fighters joined promoter Frank Warren to exchange some final messages ahead of the weigh-in on Friday.
Frank was flanked by top of the bill fighters Hamzah Sheeraz and Francisco Torres, who fight for the WBC Silver middleweight title, plus Lennox Clark and Mark Heffron, who are set to do battle for the British, Commonwealth and IBF Intercontinental titles.
Earlier, Frank introduced new signing Pierce O’Leary, along with Dennis McCann and James Beech jr, who fight for the vacant WBC International Silver featherweight title, plus WBC Silver featherweight champion Nick Ball, who defends against Nathanael Kakololo.
Here’s what the protagonists had to say:
“Lennox against Mark will be a war and they are two fighters who, when they get in the ring, they give it their all, they really do. I think this is going to be a bit of a cracker. It is one of those fights where the winner will go on, it won’t be the end for the loser, but the winner will move on quickly. It is about making a statement on the night, they have both got great win-rates and, with the experience they have got between them, this is going to be something a little bit special. It will be a real cracker.
“The boxing writers say Hamzah is the best young boxer of the year and now in this fight he can move from being a prospect to another level. In Francisco he has got a tough Argentinean and they are tough guys who come to fight. I think we will get a good yardstick to see how far he’s come in his career. For me he has done everything absolutely right, he is a credit to boxing and the sport and he is a consummate professional. He invests in himself and his future from him and I genuinely feel he is one of the best young prospects in the country and I hope, after this weekend, that everybody looks at him as a guy who can win a world title. I believe he is capable of doing it.”
“I am feeling great, camp has been great and I am in good spirits fighting at 160, my second fight at it and we have got a good opponent in front of us and we are ready to go. Me and my team got back in the gym after the Bradley Skeete fight and went back to basics. Then we made it happen and made it happen quite easily in my next fight against Jez Smith, but that is all past me now. I’ve got Francisco on Saturday night and I am looking forward to getting in there with somebody who will ask me a few questions and test me in certain ways. There is nothing we are not prepared for. He can do whatever he wants, he can come forward, box on the back foot, he can fly for all I care. Me and my team have prepared to the best of my ability and done everything in my power to make sure that on Saturday night I put on a performance, not just for myself, but because of me headlining for the first time. I’ve definitely got to come and put on a show.”
“I am very happy to be here and I am very ready for this fight. I am a boxer and this is my shot at the title, so that is why I accepted the fight. I am convinced that I won the fight against Jose Benevidez that the judges scored a draw, so now we have to dance for something new. Hamzah is a very good fighter and I am very happy to have him as an opponent.”
“I’d like to say a massive thank you to Frank for this massive opportunity and I am really looking forward to it. I’ve said it time and time again, I think Lennox is a very good fighter and, coming from his background of him as an unlicensed fighter, he has done really good to win the British and Commonwealth. I rank him right up with Denzel Bentley and Liam Williams and I think he is a big, strong fighter. He will bring the best out of me. It is definitely now or never but I feel like I am more than ready for this opportunity and on Saturday night we will see. Joe Gallagher has been working me extra hard and has got me 110% ready with big, strong sparring partners brought in. When I land I will definitely hurt him.”
“I’ve been out, unluckily, with injury but I am back now fit and ready to go. I’ve prepared very well and very hard for 12 rounds and I am looking forward to Saturday night. I am coming into this fight as a challenger to relaunch myself and get right back in there. Mark is a good, tough fighter and I believe our fight has got the makings of a fight of the year. I’ve got the beating of him, I am fit, I’m strong and I am starving for success and want to get back on track. I am going to give it my all and I believe me at 110% smokes Mark Heffron. You are touching down there on Joe Gallagher, but he has had more coaches than anyone in boxing so there is going to be no gain there.”
“Listen, I am ready to rock. Give me a couple of packets of Haribos and I will fight right now. I’ve been training very hard for the last 16 weeks and rounds is not an issue for me at all. I’ve done 200 rounds of sparring against world champions, European champions and I have been putting all my sparring partners over. Not even on purpose and with 14-16oz gloves on. Saturday night will be the best you have ever seen Dennis McCann. I am very, very confident that I will put him over on Saturday. There are levels to this game and I believe I will definitely be a future world champion and he is in my way right now. He has won a few Area titles, but if he brings them with him on Saturday I will call the police and get him arrested. He can’t be bringing them out.”
James Beech Jr.
“I’ve just got to be better than I was against Brad Foster and Chris Bourke and then just do what I do. Dennis is a good lad, I don’t think he is as good as the hype he’s had around him, but I’ve just got to do what I do. For this one I have trained harder than ever before and I’ve got the experience from those two fights that I will be taking into this one. This is Dennis’ step up and he has never done the 10 rounds before so I’ve got to take him into the deep waters. I do not think the hype around him is justified, not after his last two or three fights of him. He has got a big step up this Saturday and I think he will be found out. I’ve got to bully the bully and that is what I’ll be doing. I will hit him back for a start, I ain’t no flyweight who is coming up and fat, I am coming down in weight and I will be bigger than him.”
“I am feeling good and thanks to Frank for getting me back out so soon. I am ready to go now and can’t wait. It has all been good and I’ve been getting a load of attention and new supporters, but life hasn’t changed for me and I will stay with the hard work and being focused. I will push on for bigger and better things now. I don’t want to look at him on YouTube, I want to look at him in real life and I will find out everything about him on Saturday night. I’ve got nothing really to say to him. No talking and all action, as always.”
“I am feeling good and I am feeling at home. I used to see him fight and I have seen him struggling but, for me, he is a good customer for me. He is a small boy and I just want to tell him that every champion was once to contend. I hung up my WBA African belt at home and I have come to challenge for the WBC. I am here to win and become WBC champion. Champions stay ready and I am ready for him. I am ready for anything at any time.”
“I am feeling great, this is a massive opportunity for me so I am taking it all in. It is fantastic to see all the cameras here and this is something I have never done before. I am really loving it. My knockouts before haven’t been on BT Sport so nobody has seen them, but on Saturday night everyone will be able to see it all around the world. I am a nine-times national champion who has fought all over Europe and I am here to win titles and it is only a matter of time now. I do believe I will become a world champion in multiple weight classes.”