“This is a huge show and a huge night of boxing on November 2 at one of our favourite arenas, the Manchester Arena live on Sky Sports in the UK and DAZN in the US. I want to thank all the fighters for coming here today for the press conference, I know we have got just under seven weeks to go so you guys are in camp, particularly thank you to Christina for coming over from Athens and Brian from America, Katie has come over from Connecticut and Anthony Crolla for walking here! It’s a special night of boxing, Adam Smith actually said to me on the way up that this is probably three of the nicest people in boxing in Joshua Buatsi, Anthony Crolla and Katie Taylor. They are an honour to represent, three very different fights for those three on the card, Katie Taylor of course now one of the biggest stars in world boxing – the unified Lightweight Champion of the World. We remember that great fight against Delfine Persoon on June 1 at Madison Square Garden and I think every moment for Katie Taylor now is about creating history and a legacy for herself. She moves up a weight class to try and become a two-weight World Champion against the WBO Super-Lightweight Champion Christina Linardatou in what I think is one of the toughest tests for her to date. Christine has been fantastic to date, she is a true champion and has a huge following in Greece as well. This is a very dangerous fight.
“For Anthony Crolla, this is the last dance and Manchester has been incredible to Anthony Crolla and Anthony Crolla has been incredible to Manchester. When you look back at what this young man has achieved in his career and when you look back to those night in the arena, John Murray, the draw against Darleys Perez he was robbed in, the rematch where he knocks him out to win the WBA World title, Barroso who stopped Kevin Mitchell and no one gave Crolla a chance in that fight and Crolla knocked him out at the arena. Both fights against Jorge Linares and the fight with Ricky Burns. He has given us incredible fights and special nights and it will be an emotional moment for him and the city when he takes that final ring walk on November 2. For Joshua Buatsi we take that inevitable step from those learning fights to the real fights. We have confirmation from the WBA that this is an official eliminator for the World title against Blake Caparello, this is what we have been talking about between the level he has been boxing at the moment and the Dmitry Bivol’s of this world, this is right in the middle to show us exactly where he is. Blake Caparello is extremely tough and is on a great run of wins, a clever southpaw who has only ever lost to the elite of the division. We have seen him going the distance many times with big punchers and this is a great test for Joshua Buatsi on November 2.
“One of my favourite fights of the night is Felix Cash against Jack Cullen and these two, young Middleweights are outstanding fighters. Felix Cash has for a long time been thought as of one of the rising stars of the division, captured the Commonwealth title, the WBC International Silver title. He had a few delays recently with injury but this is a perfect fight for him to show us how good he is against Jack Cullen who showed us how good he is against John Harding Jr when he defended his English Middleweight title. Crazy support from Little Lever and there is going to be probably thousands coming on November 2. This fight is really going to show us who is going to go on and dominate at domestic level in the division. There is loads more on the card including Qais Ashfaq and Gamal Yafai and plenty of others on the card beneath that.”
Adam Smith, Head of Sky Sports Boxing:
“We are right in the middle now of a very powerful period in boxing, not only in this country but around the world. The schedule that we have got coming up for the Autumn/Winter is probably the best I have seen in maybe five or six years and this particular show we have talked long and hard about Eddie and I over a number of weeks and it has actually come together, it’s fantastic. I am so excited to have Katie, Joshua and Anthony in Manchester on November 2 on prime time on Sky Sports and it is fantastic for our customers.
“I agree with you Eddie, I think that the clash between Jack Cullen and Felix Cash is a terrific one to kickstart what I think will be a terrific night. All of these cards that we are now putting on are brilliant and great value for money. This is a special one for us to have Katie Taylor back fighting back on UK and Irish time-zone. We have covered her from the very beginning of her career, she was the best amateur who has ever lived and I was excited at the beginning of that pro journey when Eddie signed her and it’s just getting better and better each and every fight. She is a wonderful ambassador outside of the ring and dynamite inside. Look at what she has achieved so far, the unified Lightweight champion and now she moves up in weight for a very tough test against Christina Linardatou who is great fighter in her own right and I think the weight will be really interesting to see if Katie can solve that, I know she has been training hard in Connecticut as always. It’s brilliant for us to be showing Katie as the leading women’s fighter on the planet and as we show a lot more of women’s sport on Sky so it’s great to have Katie here.
“To add to that we have also got Joshua Buatsi on the card who is probably the rising star out of all of our prospects. I think that this is the right fight at the right time for JB who continues to improve and impress us and I thought the way he finished last time out was brilliant. He will be ready for a World title fight within 12-18 months, whenever the team believe the time is right. I think that Joshua Buatsi will not only become a World Champion but will become a World Champion for a long time. He is such a nice guy like Eddie said, the three of them Katie, Joshua and Anthony Crolla. Big soft spot for Anthony Crolla as does everybody in Manchester, what a ride we have had with him. As Eddie has just mentioned all the great fights, the ups, the downs, the real problems that he has had to endure, winning that World title and going onto fight 24 rounds with Linares and then fight Lomachenko. This is Anthony’s last fight, this is the swansong so come out and support him because after that he can come and do some more work on my side of the ring. He is an absolute pleasure to have covered and he will have a great career in the future I have no doubts. I am really excited about this night, back in Manchester at the famous arena, bring on November 2.”
Katie Taylor – Bray, Ireland – 14-0, 6 KOs – challenging Christina Linardatou for the WBO Super-Lightweight World title:
“This is a huge opportunity for me to become a two-weight World Champion as a history maker for me and my country. I’m very, very aware of the challenge that Christina brings. I do believe that she’s the best 140lbs in the division and I cannot wait for a very, very exciting fight.
“It’s a new challenge moving up in weight, I’ve worked very hard in the gym to build up. You’ll see the very best of me and I’ll need to be on my game because I think Linardatou is the number one at 140lbs.
“I’m excited to fight in the UK, I love it, and the support I’ve got has been outstanding, I’m so grateful for that. It’s my first time in the ring as undisputed Lightweight champ so it’s going to be a special night. I only take one fight at a time and my focus is completely on this one.
“It’s going to be a huge 12 months for me, but I have to get past Christina first. She brings a lot to the table and I’m very aware of the challenge. It brings a new challenge moving up in weight, but I’ve been working very hard in the gym I feel like I’m getting stronger each time.”
Christina Linardatou – Athens, Greece – 12-1, 6 KOs – defending her WBO Super-Lightweight World title against Katie Taylor:
“It’s going to be a great match. I’ve been expecting this match for a long time but under different conditions. But at any rate, I’ll go ahead with this match. Both Katie and I come from lower categories and I managed to enter 140 because I didn’t have chance to fight for titles, I always have boxed away from home and if Katie wants my title she has to get it off me.
“I’m so happy, these fights must happen. People need good fights to make women’s boxing grow. I believe I’m the best fighter at 140lbs. I’m not afraid of losing my belt. I’m getting in the ring to give my best like I always do.”
Anthony Crolla – Manchester, England – 34-7-3, 13 KOs – taking part in a Lightweight contest:
“It’s the last one, and if it weren’t going to be Manchester I probably wouldn’t of had another one. I genuinely believe I can compete at world level for another year or two, but I bang on about it and you hear me say it, you stay in boxing too long and it takes more from you than you take from boxing and I don’t want to be that guy. It’s going to be tough walking away and it will take a bit of getting used to but I’ll stay involved in the sport and deal with it the best I can. Now I’m just buzzing to be back in the gym.
“November 2nd it’s back to where it all started, the arena that has so many memories for me. Boxing has been good to me, it’s taken me to some very special places and made life easier for myself and my family so I’m very thankful, but I’ve got to be sensible. I can’t fight on emotions, I’ve got to go out there and do a job. I can be emotional after.
“The win is so important, I don’t want a six rounder for the ego. So if people are going to spend their hard earned money it should be a real fight. It’s a great card, and it’s going to be a great night in Manchester and I’m happy to be apart of it, and I’m very thankful to be here one last time.”
Joshua Buatsi – Croydon, England – 12-0, 10 KOs – fighting Blake Caparello in an eliminator for the WBA Light-Heavyweight World title:
“Every fight is important to me, I don’t take them lightly. I concentrate and I think about things over and over for hours so I will be doing the same for this fight, so come November 2 I will be in there ready to fight and to win. Like Cash says, you have win at all costs and do anything to win so that’s what I will be aiming to do. I think that he is going to try and hang in there and he will believe in his own punching power. He has been on a long winning run but there’s two men in that ring. When I am in there I am there to win, outside of the ring I am a cool, calm guy but in there you have to be a savage and I am very good at being that. When I get in there I will do what I need to do to win. I just hope the Manchester fans embrace and welcome me, I’m looking forward to it.”
Felix Cash – Wokingham, England – 11-0, 7 KOs – defending his Commonwealth Middleweight title against Jack Cullen:
“This is the perfect fight for me to come back and show everybody how good I am. He is tall and he is awkward but I do believe he has never been in with a man or a fighter like me of my calibre. No disrespect to him but he has been chinned before and I plan on doing the same, he is a decent fighter but there is levels in boxing and I believe that I am levels above him.
“It’s always been real, every fight you get in to it doesn’t matter if you’re a favourite to win it is the same mentality, win at all costs. That is what I intend to do, this is boxing and I have been fighting since I was a child so it’s noting new to me. It doesn’t matter what stage it is or how many fans he has got, it’s only going to be me and him inbetween them four ropes and I’m going to show him that there is levels.”
Jack Cullen – Little Lever, England – 17-1, 8 KOs – challenging Felix Cash for his Commonwealth Middleweight title:
“It’s a big opportunity for me and this is the fight that I want against Felix Cash for the Commonwealth title. I am really looking forward to it, training is going well and everything is bang on. Felix Cash is a tough, strong lad so I’m expecting a good fight. There will be more support than we saw for me in Liverpool for this fight and my fans are mad, it’s going to be a good show. These are the fights that I want so I am looking forward to it.”