Matchroom Boxing today hosted their first press conference since lockdown begun, as Sam Eggington and Ted Cheeseman, plus a full undercard addressed the media ahead of Saturday, August 2nd's Week 1 of Matchroom Fight Camp in Essex, live on Sky Sports in the UK and DAZN in the US.
Here's what promoter Eddie Hearn and his selection of fighters had to say:
"It's been four or five months since I've done an actual live press conference. I'm used to doing them on ZOOM, but we are back! Fight Camp begins this Saturday, live on Sky Sports in the UK and live on DAZN across America as well. We've heard all of the puns, 'it's Matchroom Square Gardens, it's Weekend at Hearnies', whatever you want to call it. But the truth is, what an opportunity for these fighters and what an opportunity for our sport.
"I've seen other people come back, studios, empty casinos, great, and we credit them. We are different. We wanted to make a bang. We wanted to make an impact. We wanted to show you how great the sport of boxing is. This time you are going to hear everything. You're going to hear pin drops around the house and the grounds of Matchroom HQ. You're going to hear the punches land to the rib cage. You're going to hear the fighters wincing in agony. You're going to hear the fighters talking to each other, the referees instructions and you're going to hear the dialogue between the corner teams when it gets really tough.
"The world has changed in the last few months, and it may have changed forever. Maybe it has changed our sport forever. We're back and what an opportunity for these guys. Maybe this is going to be what it's like for the next couple of weeks, maybe it's going to happen for the next couple of months. What I do know is Fight Camp has changed the dynamics of boxing. The pandemic has changed the dynamics of boxing because now fighters are stepping up quicker. They are realising they have to take their opportunity.
"The younger fighters coming through are realising they have to step up, particularly against British talents. Here we have two guys in Jordan Gill and Reece Bellotti who were probably due to have six round fights to come back and get their careers back on track. We spoke to both individuals and we said 'this is a chance for Fight Camp to explode, do you want to be a part of it?' They both grabbed the opportunity. Ten rounds in the Featherweight division. It's two guys who I like a lot. We've come to a position in boxing where we're now going to see this a lot. Putting our fighters in together in fights that we feel are going to give value for money for fans and broadcasters."
Sam Eggington (28-6, 17 KOs), Stourbridge
Defending his IBF International Super-Welterweight Title against Ted Cheeseman
"Italy was a great adventure for me. I went over there with a chip on my shoulder thinking I had to get it done and get it done right to get me back to where I needed to be. We done that, came home and this is what's next. I'm excited. As soon as I heard about these back garden brawls I rang Jon [Pegg] and said 'we need to be a part of this'. I'm over the moon to be headlining the first one. It's a good fight and it's one that I believe I can win and look good in. It has all of the makings for a good night. You can lose and come back, history points to that. We've had big nights and we've had bad nights. They don't define me. I'm still learning and I'm getting better. I'm getting bigger and stronger. I feel good, the weight has gone well and the training has gone well."
Ted Cheeseman (15-2-1, 9 KOs), Bermondsey
Challenging Sam Eggington for the IBF International Super-Welterweight Title
"If you stay determined and keep on pushing forwards you'll be rewarded with the opportunities that you need. This is a big opportunity for me to refresh my career and push on. You look at Sam and you know what you get with him. I'm still young and I'm still a baby. I'm 24 but I'm maturing all of the time and over the past 18 months I've been learning a lot. I've had a lot of time to work on things. I'm making sure everything is perfect. Sam was a massive Welterweight but he isn't as dominant at Light-Middle."
James Tennyson (26-3, 22 KOs), Belfast
Fighting Gavin Gwynne for the vacant British Lightweight Title
"You could say this is my first big tough fight up at Lightweight. Gavin Gwynne is a tough durable lad. He gave a real good account of himself against Joe Cordina. I'm expecting a tough night. The guy works hard. I've seen some of his interviews and he's very confident about getting the win so I'm excited about this one. I need to be smart about my work. I need to stick to the game plan that me and my team have set out. I can't go in there just relying on my power. Doing drastic weight cuts was killing me off. I was weak to the body and it showed. No I've moved up I'm a lot stronger and I'll show that on fight night."
Gavin Gwynne (12-1, 2 KOs), Treharris
Fighting James Tennyson for the vacant British Lightweight Title
"It's a life-changing opportunity for myself so I'm going to take it with both hands. He's a massive puncher, it doesn't matter if he's at Lightweight or Super-Feather. He's a massive puncher. You see the people he's been in with and knocking over in two or three rounds. That speaks for itself so I'm definitely going to be wary of that. I've got to stick to the game plan during the fight. He's been stopped before and I'm going to try and stop him again."
Fabio Wardley (8-0, 7 KOs), Ipswich
Fighting Simon Vallily for the vacant English Heavyweight Title
"On Saturday it's the big test. Like everyone has been saying, it's the coming out party, the announcement, the real test to get rid of some of those question marks people have about me. I expect Simon to bring the heat full force. He says this is the best shape that he's been in and he's been able to train properly with the lockdown. He's fully focused on the gym and his training. Hopefully on Saturday night I get the best Simon Vallily. Hopefully I'll then get the credit for taking on a real competitor and getting the win."
Simon Vallily (17-2-1, 7 KOs), Middlesbrough
Fighting Fabio Wardley for the vacant English Heavyweight Title
"I don't think he's man enough to grow a real moustache is he. It doesn't suit him. It's a great chance and a great opportunity. I'm in great shape for it. I've applied myself properly. I'm focused and I've trained well. I've train hard. I've trained properly and I've done it all right. Fabio possess some talent, I'm not going to sit here and say he doesn't. He's fast and he's athletic but the best Simon Vallily beats the best Fabio Wardley. We haven't see the best Simon Vallily, I'm sick of going on about it. I think he might be expecting the Simon Vallily from the Craig Glover fight. He's managed by Dillian Whyte, wow. I haven't lost no sleep over him."
Dalton Smith (5-0, 4 KOs), Sheffield
Fighting Nathan Bennett in an eight round Super-Lightweight contest
"This is my first real test and it's one I feel very comfortable heading into. We've got to thank Eddie for setting this up and creating a big occasion. It's time to get to business now and we're here for one reason and that's to fight. It's my first step up and I'm very confident. This is the first time that I've done a full ten week professional camp. Last year is was very stop and start. I was very active last year. To have a durable opponent in Nathan Bennett drives you on in training and makes you train hard. You know you've got to be 100% and I know Nathan is going to be coming in 100%."
Nathan Bennett (9-1, 2 KOs), Liverpool
Fighting Dalton Smith in an eight round Super-Lightweight contest
"It's an opportunity that I was looking for. When this lockdown came about I was meant to be fighting for the Central Area Title on the 6th of June. I'd boxed on the 14th of March and Dalton boxed on the 7th. Steve Wood phoned me and asked what I thought of Dalton Smith and I said 'if you can make the fight, make the fight'. I believe in myself against anybody. At 140lbs I'll give anyone a fight. Trust me on that one. On Saturday night I'm going to prove that. I can do the eight rounds on my head easy. We'll find out on Saturday what the fight is going to start like."
Jordan Gill (24-1, 7 KOs), Chatteris
Fighting Reece Bellotti in a 10 round Featherweight contest
"It's a huge opportunity for me and I'm glad to be a part of it. It's part of history and it's something we might not ever see again. Thanks for having me and I'm glad you like the barnet. It's going to have to go at some point but we'll see how it goes. It's a fight that I'm looking forward to. When Dave rang and told me I was going to be fighting behind closed doors, he said my show was the first one cancelled so I had the first opportunity to come back, the name that was put to me first was Reece Bellotti and I said yes. No problem. It's going to be a good fight and I think everyone is looking forward to it."
Reece Bellotti (14-3, 12 KOs), Watford
Fighting Jordan Gill in a 10 round Featherweight contest
"I didn't perform to my best in Italy. It kind of is what it is. You don't look back too much on it with excuses and things like that. It is what it is on the night. I got the offer for Jordan Gill and I thought it was a great fight for me to propel myself back up to where I want to be. Everyone has got their opinions on this fight. They say I carry power, I wouldn't say that Jordan doesn't punch hard just because his record doesn't show it. It doesn't mean he doesn't punch hard. On his performances he definitely looks technically better than me, but on the night we could both turn up with different game plans. I'm going to leave everything in there on the night."
All Gill vs Bellotti articles HERE