Dalton Smith and Jose Zepeda Final Press Conference ahead of WBC International Super Lightweight Title fight on Saturday night. 21 March 2024 Picture By Mark Robinson Matchroom Boxing
Eddie Hearn, Matchroom Sport Chairman:

“All we ever want as fight fans is a competitive fight card and we’ve got that on Saturday. Five fights on the TV card live on DAZN, every one of them arguably a 50-50 match-up. We’ve got a brilliant World championship fight between two of Britain’s biggest stars in female boxing as Sandy Ryan defending her WBO World title against Terri Harper who is looking to become a three-time, three-weight World champion. We have some great domestic clashes and a stunning main event between one of what I believe the future stars of not just British boxing but the world in Dalton Smith against one of the most dangerous fighters at 140lbs in Jose Zepeda. This is a huge step-up for Dalton Smith, live and exclusive worldwide on DAZN as they establish themselves as the global home of boxing.”

Alfie Sharman, VP DAZN:

“It’s great to be surrounded by these outstanding fighters and a great undercard. There’s lots of chat around Dalton and deservedly so, he’s a great prospect destined for the world stage for sure, but Saturday presents one of his toughest fights to date. Jose Zepeda is a World-level fighter and I wish the best of luck to both men. As Eddie said, DAZN are in an amazing run at the moment, Devin Haney vs. Ryan Garcia, Canelo vs. Jaime Munguia, Tyson Fury vs. Oleksandr Usyk and Josh Taylor vs. Jack Catterall, plus so many other great fights every week. We’re so busy and we’re proud to be delivering this unmatched scheduled to our customers and sports fans all around the world. I’ve said many times recently, but I’ll say it again because it’s true, it’s a wonderful time to be a boxing fan and it’s great for us at DAZN to be at the heart of it.”

Dalton Smith:

“We haven’t looked at Jose as a sliding fighter, he’s only lost at World level, none of those losses have been on the way down. That’s why we took this fight and we’ve prepared for the best of Jose; he’s only interested in the biggest fights so his career is on the line in this fight and it’s a Step-up for me and the opportunity to propel my career onto the World level. 

“It’s a jump in class but you’ve seen the level that I’ve progressed through, I’ve been ready for that level for probably two fights now, so this is the perfect time for me now to propel myself and chase those bigger things. I’m confident, I’ve had one of the best camps of my career, so the fans are in for a treat in this fight.

“He’s a massive puncher, but so am I. It’s going to be one hell of a fight. I believe I’ve got the better boxing brain but, in any fight, you go into, you’ve got to be switched on, you cannot switch off as that’s how you lose in boxing, switching off for a second. So, I am switched on for 12 rounds, looking for the biggest performance so far in my career and I can’t wait to show you all.

“The WBC is one of my favourite belts and one I’ve always looked towards, it’s a big opportunity for me to move my career along and we’re pushing closer to a World title, so I can’t wait.”

Jose Zepeda:

“I am in great shape. I’ve been here before when I fought for the World championship in 2017 against Terry Flanagan. That was a bad experience, but I was happy when they told me about this fight, and thank you to Dalton’s team for the opportunity, I’m glad to take it and all I’m looking for in this fight is the fourth opportunity for a World title. Dalton is a young fighter stepping up because he wants to see if he’s at the top level, and I guess we’re going to have to see on Saturday. There’s no need to talk a lot, everyone that knows my career knows I give it my all inside the ring, so I will do the same on Saturday and I’m happy to be here and enjoying every moment.

“Everyone finds out when they step up a level. I remember when I fought Jose Ramirez, it was the first time that I boxed at the top level and in the first round, as soon as I threw the jab, I knew that I was in there on another level. I think he’s going to find out soon and I give him and his team props for jumping this high and if he believes it, well, we’re going to see on Saturday. 

“At this point in my career, I am only looking for big fights; a World title or another big fight, and if I lose this fight, I won’t get that. So, I have said that if I lose this fight, you might not see me in boxing anymore, but what I haven’t said with all honesty, this is the best camp in my entire career at 34 years old because I want to win and I want that fourth World title opportunity. There’s no need for a lot of talking, I’ve seen one of his fights, the styles are going to clash and it’s going to be an exciting fight.”

Sandy Ryan:

“I’m ready. The sacrifices, the new team, going across the pond so far away from home. Harper said yesterday that this might be the best time to catch me because I might be unsettled, if she thinks that she’s very wrong and that just shows the different mindsets that I can do this and I don’t believe that she could, she needs Stefy to hold her hand throughout the training camp. So, I got a little insight there, but I do respect her as a fighter, she does know that, but she is trying to take what’s mine and I can’t let that happen. I’ve big fights ahead if we win on Saturday, big paydays, so I can’t let her take food off my table.

“I believe I can stop her, and I believe deep down she knows that as well. If she wants to sit on the back foot, I’ll take it to her. I do what I need to do to win the fight. She’s a great fighter and I respect her, but respectfully, there will be no respect in the ring. I will dog walk her if I must to get this win, so whatever it takes believe me I have no doubt in my mind that I am going to be victorious on Saturday. 

“The sparring is kind of irrelevant, but fighters know that when you’re sparring, you do have an insight. It is different on fight night, but you do know, and deep down she knows. I don’t know about the deep waters, Harper, I don’t know when she says she’s going to take me to deep waters, explain that, come on. I was a bit shocked, but we’ll see.”

Terri Harper:

“A massive thank you to Sandy, she’s come off the controversial draw with Jessica McCaskill and she’s given me this opportunity. The carrot has been dangled in front of me and I’ve done everything I can in this camp to be in the best shape physically and mentally to go out there on Saturday night and do what I need to do to come it victorious and be a three-weight champion. 

“Even when I used to make 9st 4oz, when I got down to 10st 7oz in training, I was always having my best performances in sparring and on the pads. This camp, I’ve been able to hold at 10st 7oz just feel comfortable and really enjoy my training and not be food-focused, just focus on the one job that I am here to do. 

“I feel like in this camp I’ve had a lightbulb moment where something has just clicked. I know everyone says it, but I really have been having the best spars of my career. As an athlete I always get myself in the best physical shape possible but one thing I’ve always neglected from the beginning of my career is the mental side of things. I keep joking that I’ve read four books and it’s completely changed my life, just how I view my boxing career and my personal life. I feel like I am a much more positive person to be around, and I’ve got a lot more self-belief and I’m quietly confident that I am going to get the job done on Saturday night and I’m very confident that it will be a career-best performance. 

“I remember when Stefy told me we had some sparring with Sandy I thought ‘oh my god’. Obviously, I used to look up at Sandy as this superhuman, but I can remember the first time I got in the ring with her, I think that’s when it really clicked that I am a great fighter, and I can hold my own against the top-level fighters. I came away from those spars with so much confidence, that was a couple of years back now, I’ve been in the gym, improving constantly and I’m just excited to get back in there at this new weight and take this opportunity that’s in front of me and get a good win for everyone that’s coming to support me.

“She’s taken the deep waters comment a lot deeper than what it is. I am her toughest opponent to date and I’m going to make her answer a lot of questions in that ring, that’s all. The fact it’s triggered her so much, that little comment, that screams as insecure. The fact you’ve gone onto socials to get that reassurance at all times, you just need to focus on your training and yourself, and just chill out because it’s not that deep.”

Ishmael Davis:

“I respect Troy. He’s my boy. But for 12 rounds we’re going to go to war, and I just feel that I am a better boxer and it’s going to be a sick fight. You need to put a KO bonus up because there’s going to be one, I tell you. From the sparring, like he said, it’s been nothing but fireworks, people would pay to watch them, but it’s a long time since we sparred and I haven’t left the gym, so I am looking to put on a good show and prove my worth. 

“Boxing is not just about engine; you need a brain as well and that’s what I’ll be using on Saturday. I’ve got the engine anyway, that’s standard, every boxer should be fit and I’m always in the gym, so if we need to go into deep waters, I’ll be ready to go into deep waters for 12 rounds.

“There’s only one winner and that’s me.”

Troy Williamson:

“Fireworks. I respect Ishmael, I respect his team, we’re very similar people I think outside the ring, we’re family men and we train hard and dedicate our lives to the sport. On Saturday night we put friendship aside and get down to business. 

“I’ve lost twice in 23 fights to two elite fighters in Josh Kelly and Caoimhin Agyarko. Due to no fault of my own I’ve picked up injuries which is unfortunate but we’re in a professional sport where that happens. Last time out I was boxing well, momentum was going my way, it felt like he was very uncomfortable in there but my shoulder subluxed in round five. I’ve never publicly mentioned it because I don’t think I need to, but that fight should have been won, so I take a lot of confidence from that because I felt great, felt fit and strong but was unlucky on the night. We’re here again and I’ll feel fit and strong again, and I’ll be on the road again to becoming a two-time British champion.

“I’ve proven that I can go to the deep waters, he hasn’t yet. Going off the sparring, I know he’s a warrior like me. Everyone is in for a treat, it’s going to be a great fight, I know how tough he is, how slick he is, but I believe the best of me beats the best of him and I’ll show that on Saturday night.”

Campbell Hatton:

“We’ve had the learning fights; it’s fight 15 now and I think it’s the perfect time. It’s a fight I’m more than ready for, I’ve prepared well, it’s my first title fight and any fighter in this position would say that you get that little more out of yourself. It’s been a grueling few weeks and on Saturday night it’s all going to be worth it.

“I think it’ll bring their bets out of me; I’m expecting a good fight, we’ve got a good clash of styles where I think we are both going to come to have it. I think it could be the fight of the night, and I’m expecting a tough fight, I’ve prepared for a tough fight, but I think it will bring out the best version of Campbell Hatton.

“This is what we want and what we expect. He’s coming in as the champion, I wouldn’t expect anything lees and I hope he comes into the ring with the same energy.”

James Flint:

“I’ve known about this fight for a long time. Campbell says he knows he’s in for a hard fight and I’m glad you do mate, because I am going to give you the hardest night of your life, from start to finish, I’ll be there. I’m ready for it.

“I’m not going to throw him under the bus, criticism in boxing is hard enough, but on Saturday night I will prove the critics right. People are forgetting that I’m the champion and I’m here through hard work, dedication, and determination. He may have had the silver spoon because of who his Dad is, but I haven’t, I’ve been force fed with a shovel and I’m here to prove what I can do.

“I’m not going to sell over 400 tickets to come and roll over. I’m here to fight and I am here to stay – and still.”

Nico Leivars:

“I’m looking forward to it. With it being an eliminator for the English title there’s a carrot being dangled, but I can’t overlook Saturday night. I’ve got a job to do with a good opponent in front of me, but we’ve prepared well in the gym and we’re ready for anything.

“I’m more than ready for the ten rounds. We’ve been doing the rounds in the gym, sparring 12 rounds on some days, so we’re ready for ten if it needs to come to that.”

Piotr Mirga:

“I’ve set myself the goal to win the English title this year and the first step is on Saturday and I can’t wait.  I’m ready for Saturday and I’m just going to get the job done.”

Leli Buttigieg:

“I’m ready for fight number three, I’m staying active, smashing it in the gym, sparring well, so the fights to keep me progressing is what I need.

“I’m on a row – 2-0, it was good to get the four rounds in last time, we’re stepping up to six rounds and you’ll see an even better version of me, and we’ll break this guy down on Saturday.”

Connan Murray:

“It’s amazing to get this opportunity. You rang up and said that you were looking for a good-looking, bald-headed lad to fight on the show but you couldn’t find anyone so here I am!

“Everyone has been training really hard and smashing it in the gym, so we’re looking forward to getting three wins for the Stefy Bull gym.”

Liam Cameron:

“I’ve done about 200 tickets on two weeks’ notice, so I am just buzzing to be here to be honest. I’ve been training hard so let’s get the KO.

“I want the British title at Super-Middleweight. I’ll fight anyone. I’ll just keep chipping away and see where it takes me.”
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