The final press conference took place today ahead of Josh Warrington’s (27-0) IBF world featherweight title defence against Carl Frampton (26-1) at Manchester Arena on Saturday night (22nd December) live on BT Sport Box Office. Frampton spoke about being written off by many, who claim he is over the hill now, despite many key figures from boxing predicting him to win.
Also on the bill Mark Heffron (21-0) and Liam Williams (18-2-1) meet for the vacant British middleweight crown, Martin Murray risks his WBC silver middleweight title against former WBA champion Hassan N’Dam, unbeaten heavyweight Nathan Gorman (14-0) defends his WBC international silver belt against Razvan Cojanu (16-4) and Belfast’s Michael Conlan (9-0) fights in England in the first time and meets Jason Cunningham (24-5).
Making his debut on the bill will be the younger brother of Tyson Fury, a 19-year-old light-heavyweight.
Here are a selection of quotes from the final press conference:
“Josh v Carl is the best fight boxing has at the minute and this is the card of the year. It feels like we have been waiting forever since we announced it, but this potential fight of the year is here. Few can pick a winner and I can’t pick a winner. It is a great fight for a reason. Everyone is excited and it will be a fantastic night."
“Carl has seen his a*se a bit with some stuff I have read but there are tensions when the fight gets close. I have been preparing for Carl at his prime and that excites me to graft my backside off. I have gained confidence and momentum from beating Lee Selby and I will find new levels this weekend. People say I should have had a steady defence, but I want the best and after this I’ll go to the States and fight Oscar Valdez.
“I’m excited, relaxed and looking forward to a good tough fight. My nature is laid back and I will be until the ring walk. There is an edge and tension as it gets closer, but there is respect between us. I got a text message from a good friend and he said’ ‘total respect, but no fear’ and that is what this is. I believe I am better than ever because I was beating Leo Santa Cruz and Scott Quigg when I wasn’t enjoying boxing. I believe he is a very good fighter, but I beat any featherweight in the world on my day. The ambition is there more than ever because I have been written off. The fire is burning in me and people will see in a dog fight that I am not over the hill.
“I am a lot happier in myself and comfortable. There is no stone unturned and that is why I am happier. I am going to be British champion again on Saturday night. I was offered this fight and took it in one second. I am a lot more confident in my ability and can win a world title. I can fight and box. I have better all round ability. Mark is knocking people out but they have been crap opponents and just wanted the money. I am coming to win and can see fear in his eyes. Heffron is a bully.”
“He is talking crap and I am gonna knock him out. I am 100 per-cent the better all round fighter. Other than Liam Smith, who has he fought? He is gonna get his head punched in. I learnt from his Smith fights that he is a sh*tbag and a quitter. I’m gonna smash his nose all over his face. It’s a step up, but one of the easiest fights of my career.”
“I know I am in the latter stages of my career but I have that buzz back and feel the best I have ever been. N’Dam is a tough fighter, fought world class fighters and will bring it on Saturday. It has taken me two and a half years to get back to a fight like this and I want to win in style. I’m one loss from retirement so I need to keep winning, but these fights I treat like a world title.”
“We are not here to trash talk because boxing is a sport. I am working hard to take his belt and I will work hard to keep it. Martin is tough, world class and this is a hard fight, but I am going to enjoy it. I haven’t boxed in more than a year, but it was my decision not to fight because I wanted a new team and direction. I want go to super-middleweight and fight Chris Eubank Jr.”
“Razvan is very tough, fought at a big level and I will need my A game. I was due to fight Alex Leapai and Razvan is a lot different. He is a lot better than Leapai. I am well prepared.”
“Nathan is a different style to Daniel Dubois who I was due to fight last week. I have advantages over Nathan like my reach. I was a big fan of Nathan’s trainer Ricky Hatton so I better watch for the body shots. If I do what we’ve been doing in the gym we’ll be flying.
“Jason is tough, had experience, won two Commonwealth titles, but it is nothing I haven’t seen before. I have faced plenty of southpaws, know how to face them and I haven’t taken him lightly. I would love him to take me to the trenches and if he does, game over.
“I am excited by this opportunity and I didn’t think twice to take this fight. I respect Michael’s amateur achievements and if he is the real deal we’ll take him to the trenches. There is no pressure and I am just enjoying the moment.
“I am blessed to be in this position and know I wouldn’t be here without Tyson, but these opportunities I have to take with both hands. Tyson has been to the pit of hell and come back to the top of the hill. The world knows he is the real WBC world heavyweight champion. I have the Fury name, and that brings pressure but I have learned to live with it. I’m trying to do my own thing. If I achieve half of what Tyson has done I’ll be pleased because he is the greatest fighting man I’ve ever seen.
Josh Warrington defends his IBF World Featherweight title against Carl Frampton exclusively live on BT Sport Box Office, Saturday 22 December. Watch for just £19.95, for more info visit www.bt.com/sportboxoffice