|Frank Smith, Matchroom Boxing CEO:|
“Shabaz Masoud has obviously had a lot of time out of the ring but he’s coming back into a proper fight. It’s what we need. We want you to come back into a proper fight, especially in the position he’s in. He’s highly ranked with the WBA not far off challenging for a World Title. As a team everyone believes that’s where he deserves to be and where he should be. I don’t think he’s far off that. He’s got to come through Saturday night. This is the kind of fight he needs after the period of time he’s had out. It would be worthless going back into an eight-round warm up fight. He needs this kind of fight. He’s been in the gym as he said throughout. Obviously the delay was unfortunate but it’s good to get it back on so quickly.”
“I believe everything happens for a reason. When God takes one thing he always gives something better. Now I’m topping the bill in Newcastle. I love fighting in Newcastle, I’ve fought here before so it’s time to go. I’ve got itchy knuckles but I’ve been in the gym for a year since my last fight. Anyone who knows me knows that I’m a true professional. I’m in the gym all the time. I feel like I’ve made a lot of improvements in the year since my last fight. It’s time to show them. I’m my own worst critic. I could have a top performance and still find something wrong with it. My team is like that as well. I’m just looking for perfection all of the time. I’m my own worst critic. Honestly I think he’s a good fighter, I feel like he’s a level above the fighters I’ve fought before but I think i can do a job on him. It’s time to go. I’m not Gary Cully. He’s a good fighter and I like him, but I’m Maverick Masoud. I just feel like I’m levels above. I’m just going to show everyone – especially Sanmartin. I feel like I’m better than him in every aspect.”
“First and foremost I want to thank you once again for this opportunity. My plan is that I’m completely ready and I hope that Masoud is completely ready and recovered from his illness. We have a plan for this fight and I am completely ready to go.
“That won’t affect me in the slightest. I’m a very experienced guy and a very experienced fighter. All of the pressure will be on him on Saturday. I’m completely ready to take this victory and take this belt back to Colombia.
“We’ll wait and see what happens and how the fight develops, if the win can be via knockout then even better. We’re ready to give everything, we’re ready to get the decision if needs be and we’re going to win on Saturday, that’s the plan and I’m taking that title home. I’m sorry Masoud, you’re going to be losing on Saturday.”
“I really enjoyed my professional debut on the Wood vs. Warrington undercard. It was a great experience. It went exactly how I expected it to go. I put on a punch-perfect performance and I’m looking to do the same thing on Saturday night. I’m not sure my little press conference is going to live up to Mark Dickinson’s – that was very exciting. I’ve worked hard my whole life to get to this point so now that I am here I’m going to enjoy it – being under the lights, I love it. Put pressure on me because I feel like I perform under pressure. Having Nigel and Jamie behind me is the main thing, they keep us grounded and get us the right fights at the right time. I’m boxing a tough Colombian on Saturday – he’s got a winning record and he’s never been stopped so I’m looking to put on a big performance and get him out of there. Activity is key. I want to stay active. I feel like the more active I am and the bette the opponents get, the better Cameron Vuong you’ll see. I’m looking forward to getting out on Saturday and then fitting one more in before the end of the year in December.”
“You’re going to see a rejuvenated, refreshed and recharged Calum French. I want to start by thanking Eddie and Frank for keeping the show alive because a few years ago when Lewis Ritson was topping the bill, if he hadn’t of boxed the show would have been finished. Thanks for keeping the show on and giving us the opportunity to box. Massive respect for that. I had a bit of time out with an injury. I’ve done everything right during the rehab. I’ve given myself the best chance of jumping straight back in when the opportunity came and that’s exactly what I’ve done.
“I’d give myself a six out of ten so far in my professional career. I haven’t boxed as well as I can do. Obviously going from boxing at world level as an amateur when people are looking to take your head off, to dropping slightly down the levels to start your pro career just to learn the trade a little bit. I dropped to that level a bit in my first few fights but I’ve got a good game strong opponent on Saturday night. He comes to win and he’s got ambition. I believe you’ll see the best Calum French.”
“I’ll look him straight in the eyes and tell him, ‘you’re not on my level’. This is a young mans sport. You’re an old man. My dad is down there and he’s about the same age as you. When you’re five or six rounds deep and I’m walking you down and I’m giving you a beating you’ll feel like an old man. You will feel like an old man. Look at you, who are you trying to be? You look like Chris Eubank Jr off of Wish you stupid c***. Your best achievement is going to points and losing on points. The only person I’ve got to impress is me – and you’re getting done. This isn’t football, this is a f***ing fight. To be honest I think it’s a about levels rather than experience. I believe I’m levels above him. He’s going to say different. I’m glad he thinks different and I’m glad we’ve got a good fight. Saturday night we’ll find out. Get the win and I’ll have earned my shot at the English Title. That’s what it is all about. Once I have a belt i’ll get more opportunities to keep the ball rolling.”
“You’re a young man and you don’t look as good as this old man, so it’s crazy isn’t it? Physically you’re not as good and mentally you’re not as good. The only person I know how to be like is me and I’m good at being that person. That is it. You can come with all of this young boy stuff, I know you want to impress all of these people, but you’ll get in there on Saturday night and you’ll see what professional boxing is about. Your little achievements in the amateurs and all things like that won’t mean anything. I used to score 50 odd goals a season when I was 18 too. I didn’t do it in the Premier League though. This is professional boxing. Age ain’t nothing! At the end of the day I put myself through the grind and that’s why I look like this bro. I don’t get the opportunities that these young boys have. You think that I came up getting fed opponents like these dudes do? Nah I’ve had to fight. I’ve had to fight for Southern Area Titles just on my seventh fight. Each fight as they come and that’s how I roll with it. I’ve still got a lot of hunger in me.”
“I’m looking forward to it mate, like you say it’s my first ten rounder. I’ve been doing it in the gym multiple times, I know it’s different under the lights but I’m fully confident I can keep the pace and it’s going to be an exciting fight.
“It’s a good job Sunny Edwards isn’t going to fight for you on Saturday I tell you that mate. I’ve got a good support coming up, plenty of the lads and lasses – so I’ll make sure I don’t let them down on Saturday night. It gives me that bit extra motivation in the ring. I know I’ll be able to dig deep in front of them.
“I think he’s going to slow down drastically, I’ll just put a pace on him from the start and we’ll see if he’s still talking that smack after round six. We’ll see.”
“Sunny Edwards has helped me massively outside of the ring. I learn a lot from Sunny Edwards. Everyone knows he’s like God on the mic. He knows how to talk. I’ve learnt a lot from him. He’s a World Champion and he’s one of my closest mates. He’s helped get me here, so yeah man I’m thankful for him. This has come at the right time. I’m confident. I heard Ewan Mackenzie is telling his people to put on a bet for a knockout and he wants 10%. You’ll be making them lose money. If you want to have a proper bet put your money where your mouth is and we’ll put our purses on it, me against you let’s do it! Do you want a deal? Let’s shake on it then! I bet you don’t reach the tenth round. Let’s do this. Less chat let’s do this. He’s going to sleep.”
“I won five National Titles, a GB Title, European Bronze Medal and a couple of tournament wins for England – gold medals. When Owen normally boxes I get way more nervous than when I box myself. I hate it, but I think when I’m in the changing room I won’t be able to see him fight so the nerves shouldn’t be so bad, but I’ll be thinking about him. I’ve been dying to get back in the ring – I’ve been training the full time so I’m more than ready. The last performance was a good performance, I stopped him in the first round but the opponent wasn’t up to much. This opponent for my next fight is a live opponent so I feel like I’m going to be able to showcase my skills more.”
“It was a great debut, everything that I could have asked for, like you said. A great turnout as well, everyone from Essex. To be honest I watched it back a few times, I didn’t think I actually boxed too great. I think Darren and Sunny were giving me a little bit of criticism on the comms, especially Sunny to be honest, but when I was looking at it he was definitely right 100%. I was trying to force the stoppage a little bit too much, loading up a little too much. But listen, that was my debut. I’ve got that out of the way and now all I want to do is focus on my performance and boxing. I’m glad I’m up here as well, out of the way a little bit – it’ll build my profile in Newcastle a little bit as well. I’m looking forward to Saturday night. Boxing comes first, but if the knockout is there I’m going to go for it.”
“I won a National Title and I got on the Great Britain squad. The 67kg weight class got taken out so obviously I thought there’s no better time to turn pro now. I would say I had a very good amateur career. I’m happy to be starting the action on Saturday night because I’ll be looking to put on a big performance and getting another big knockout just like my first fight. I’ll definitely be looking for the knockout. Anyone who watches the amateurs will know that I’ve got a very exciting style and I’ll definitely be showing that on Saturday night.”