TIMES ARE LOCAL
18:00 DOORS OPEN
18:40 LIVE ON BEFORE THE BELL
6 x 3 mins International Lightweight contest
FAHAD AL BLOUSHI 60.8kg v IRAKLI SHARIASHVILI 61.1kg
(Dubai, UAE) (Rustavi, Georgia)
6 x 3 mins International Lightweight contest
CAMPBELL HATTON 63.25kg v DENIS BARTOS 62.45kg
(Hyde, England) (Rakovnik, Czech Republic)
8 x 3 mins International Lightweight contest
AQIB FIAZ 61.3kg v DIEGO VALTIERRA 60.0kg
(Oldham, England) (Algortal, Spain)
8 x 3 mins International Bantamweight contest
SULTAN AL NUAIMI 53.5kg v SOHAIB HAQUE 53.5kg
(Dubai, UAE) (Calcutta, India)
21:30 LIVE ON DAZN
10 x 3 mins International Bantamweight contest
KHALID YAFAI 54.75kg v JERALD PACLAR 53.35kg
(Birmingham, England) (Cebu City, Philippines)
4 x 3 mins International Super-Lightweight contest
MAJID AL NAQBI 62.45kg v JOHN LAWRENCE ORDONIO 63.0kg
(Dubai, UAE) (San Fernando City, Philippines)
10 x 3 mins WBC International Flyweight Title
GALAL YAFAI 50.75kg v GOHAN RODRIGUEZ GARCIA 50.35kg
(Birmingham, England) (Gomez Palacio, Mexico)
12 x 3 mins vacant IBF Super-Featherweight World Title
SHAVKATDZHON RAKHIMOV 58.95kg v ZELFA BARRETT 58.95 kg
(Bokhtar, Tajikistan) (Manchester, England)
10 x 2 mins Undisputed Super-Lightweight World Titles
CHANTELLE CAMERON 63.3kg v JESSICA MCCASKILL 63.25kg
(Northampton, England) (Chicago, USA)
12 x 3 mins WBA Light-Heavyweight World Title
DMITRY BIVOL 79.25kg v GILBERTO ZURDO RAMIREZ 79.20kg
(Tokmak, Krygyzstan) (Mazatlan, Mexico)
Eddie Hearn, Matchroom Sport Chairman:
“Hello and welcome back to the main event press conference. This Saturday night at the Etihad Arena live on DAZN around the world, we have one of the best fights in boxing. The beginning of the Champion Series, the start of a new era of boxing here in Abu Dhabi with Matchroom Boxing and the DCT.
“It’s quite incredible to think that when the WBA ordered this fight, it was just eight weeks ago that we concluded this deal. The work that has gone in to fight week, the work that has gone into preparation of this fight, this is just the start of a long-term relationship between Matchroom and DCT to change the face of boxing here.
“From grass roots, inspiring the younger generation to participate in the great sport of boxing, to developing the amateur scene, World Champions, Olympic Champions from this region. Opportunities for professional fighters to flourish on the global scene. Bringing some of the best fight nights, the best fighters here to Abu Dhabi.
“In my opinion this will become one of premier destinations for boxing and I can’t thank the DCT, everybody in Abu Dhabi enough for their help and support. We’re going to have an incredible crowd on Saturday night at the Emirates Arena, an incredible atmosphere and we cannot wait to get underway.”
Dmitry Bivol, WBA Light-Heavyweight World Champion:
“Hello everybody. I want to say first of all, thank you to the Abu Dhabi government, the Department of Culture and Tourism for this opportunity for me to introduce boxing to Abu Dhabi. Thank you to Eddie, Gilberto Ramirez and his team – everyone who is involved in this fight. Thank you to my team.
“I really had a big dream to win this belt and I don’t want to leave it. I will fight for this and I want to keep it. I want more. I feel I have something inside of me which I need to realise so I can be happy at the end of my career.
“What about this camp? I had it in three locations, I had a great camp everywhere. The last location was Abu Dhabi. I have been here since September 27th. I feel like I had everything that I needed for training. When I thought about resting, I had everything for resting here. When I met people in the gym or the mall everyone was really happy. People have been very welcoming to me and my team. People are welcoming to every tourist here. It’s good.
“I’m looking forward to Saturday night. I believe it will be an exciting fight. Abu Dhabi will make more boxing fights and maybe boxing will be the main sport in Abu Dhabi. I hope it will be because this is my favourite sport in the world. I want to be everywhere, and people know the sport. It’s great. Thank you everyone.
“When people tell me that I have achieved everything it’s like they pour water on my fire. I try to only think about my dream, to realise my full potential. I try to be hungry and angry every time and be focused on training and my opponents. I try to think about how this Saturday night will be the hardest fight of my career. It makes me more focused on the night.”
Vadim Kornilov, manager of Dmitry Bivol:
“Any fighter has to go through a very long road to get to the top. As a team, it has been part of our strategy to make sure that we look at the end goal, and we don’t look at every point along the way. It’s kind of having a vision of what is at the end.
“I appreciate that you guys have always been there for us. Basically, most of Dmitry’s career, Matchroom, Eddie Hearn, Frank Smith have been a big part of this and the entire team. World of Boxing, RCC Boxing, Main Event, there has been many promoters and entities involved and it has always been our view that we all work as a team and we all try to get to the end point.
“Dmitry and I just spoke about this a couple of days ago, this is probably going to be the first fight where Dmitry has most of the arena backing him and rooting for him. This is the new level that he has got to from the last fight, and I think it adds a lot of responsibility. We’ve been thinking about that and making sure that doesn’t affect him in any way.
“We also wanted to mention that we’ve been here for a month now and Abu Dhabi feels like home. Everything that has been done for us, we don’t want to leave. It’s been very welcoming. It’s a pleasure being here and having camp here. Everything ran very smoothly, and I appreciate that very much.
“I want to thank Gilberto Ramirez, Oscar De La Hoya and his team. This fight has been cooking up some time. Back and forth conversations and talk and press. This Saturday night hopefully the fireworks will come for Abu Dhabi and everybody involved. I really hope it will be an exciting fight.”
Gilberto Zurdo Ramirez, challenger:
“I really believe that I can become a two-time World Champion on Saturday. I want to say thank you to Oscar and to everyone for being here. To my team and all of the press and media – thank you. I’d like to thank Dmitry and his team for making the fight happen.
“It’s exciting for me to come from Mexico and be here in Abu Dhabi. It’s the same weather, I feel like I’m at home. I’ve been training hard for this fight and I will take the belt this Saturday that’s for sure. 44 tried, 44 fell. I hope that the people enjoy the fight because this is the type of fight that fans like to see in boxing.
“Right now I just see it as becoming a two-time World Champion, I don’t see it like me becoming a boxing star. My goal is to become a two-time World Champion, continue to build my legacy and eventually to become a legend. That’s my goal. I want to do that for all of my fans out there.”
Oscar De La Hoya, Golden Boy Promotions:
“First of all, thank you very much to Saleh Mohammed. I greatly appreciate the opportunity and for having us here in Abu Dhabi. Abu Dhabi, Matchroom Boxing, DAZN – we appreciate your support and your platform which is bringing the global sport, the sport that we all love to a huge audience.
“Two gladiators, the best at 175lbs, live from Abu Dhabi – it doesn’t get any better than this. Zurdo Ramirez took the hard road, the long road. He had to fight two eliminators to get to this position. Zurdo Ramirez is a fighter who is undefeated, a fighter who is hungry, a fighter who is going to show you exactly what Mexican boxing is all about here in Abu Dhabi. That’s why everyone should be excited.
“Against a fighter in Bivol who is excellent. I love Bivol, his style is bar none one of the best in the business. I believe that Bivol coming off a tremendous win against Canelo, another Mexican superstar, in his last fight was a tremendous showing. He did a great job. But I do have to say that Zurdo Ramirez is no Canelo. Zurdo Ramirez is a fighter who punches in bunches, a fighter who is big and strong and heavy and southpaw. He is going to be very active.
“This is the opportunity of a lifetime for Zurdo Ramirez. This is the opportunity of a lifetime for boxing to be on the big stage and show the world what Abu Dhabi is, show the world what big-time boxing is, and to show the world that, yes, promoters can come together and stage the big fights.
“I was pretty active last night on social media, but for a reason, because we need these big fights to happen. I’m very proud of Bivol, I’m very proud of Zurdo Ramirez for fighting each other, for showing the world and the fans across the world that fighters are not afraid of each other. Fighters are willing to fight the very best. It’s the people behind the scene that must stand up and show up and make sure that we get fans the best fights possible. Thank you DAZN again. Thank you Abu Dhabi, and thank you Eddie Hearn.”
“Firstly, thank you for making this fight. I’ve been wanting to do it for a long time. What a place Abu Dhabi is. It’s unbelievable. Me and my team are all having a great time. Jessica, you think you’re going to hurt me? When I land on your chin, your face is going to drop. I’m telling you now. You’ll see. Anyway, talk is cheap. I’ve done all of my hard work, I’m enjoying this week and I’m enjoying this moment. Bring on Saturday and shutting her up.”
“I’m very excited about the opportunity, it’s definitely a dream come true. Once you get to that level, obviously you start thinking, ‘okay what’s the next biggest thing?’. For right now, being in Abu Dhabi is such a pleasure, everybody has been so nice and we’ve had such an amazing talk. When you talk about the fight itself, I have to say, Chantelle you really don’t understand what you’ve got yourself into on Saturday. The last girl I fought, she begged her coach to stop the fight. She argued with her coach after three rounds because she thought she was going to die. She wanted to go home to her kids. Now I’m moving down in weight I hope you don’t think I’m not going to bring that power. It’s coming on Saturday. Like the gentleman said on the end – this is the hurt game and I’m very good at my job. I take this very seriously.”
“Hello everybody. All glory to Allah. Thank you to my team. We are ready. 100%. We come here to take the belt. First of all, want to demonstrate myself at the top level. Respect to my opponent. I’m just trying to perform to the best I can. I’m the top of this weigh and I’m still there.”
“No doubt. I do believe I’ll become a World Champion. I’m in the ring with a great fighter. Rakhimov is a good fighter. I’ve studied him. He’s got good trainers behind him but I believe in myself. I’ve been in the gym. This is the moment I’ve been waiting for all of my life. Every single tool in my box is going to come out. I’m cool and I’m ready. It’s going to happen, and I’m ready to become a World Champion.
“Timing is everything in life. It’s just funny how it happened. Obviously with Joe and his hand injury, he got stripped and I’m next up. When I was thinking about the real side of boxing, I was thinking ‘hmmm I could be a World Champion next year or later on, Joe will fight Rakhimov and I’ll get the winner – there might be a unification fight so I might have to wait again’. It’s just come at the right time. Like I say, I’ve been in the gym. I’ve been training and I’m ready. My time is now.
“He’s a very good fighter. I respect him as a fighter. He won the IBO World Title. I keep saying it, he’s a good fighter – but I believe in myself This level is about belief. It’s not about anything else, and I believe in myself. I truly believe I’ll be a World Champion, I believe it.”
“Thanks for putting me on such a great show, I really appreciate it. It’s brilliant to be on such a big show in Abu Dhabi – it’s a great place. I’m with my brother Kal and all of these other great fighters. I’ve got a tough fight on Saturday but I’m hoping to get through that and just move forward.
“I’m professional, I don’t want to look past this guy on Saturday. It’s meant to be a step up, but it’s only a step up if I make it difficult for myself. Sometimes I think I’m not sure if you’re putting the pressure on me or you think I’m actually that good! I don’ t know if it’s a compliment or not. I’ve just got to keep winning, keep looking good and maybe I can fight the other guys in the future.”
Gohan Rodriguez Garcia:
“First of all I’d like to say thank you to everyone for being here and for the opportunity. I am going to get into the ring and give everything I have. The winners will be the public because they will see a good fight because I will give everything I have.
“It makes me very happy to hear some of the names Eddie Hearn is suggesting for me to fight next should I beat Galal Yafai on Saturday. That’s the opportunity that every fighter would be looking for so I hope that on Saturday I get the result that I have been working for.”
Majid Al Naqib:
“Thank you Eddie. I want to thank Matchroom, Frank and all of the guys around this great event. Thank you guys for having me, DCT, my coach – I love you and thank you for everything you have done for me. Honestly, I can’t wait for Saturday night. I want to show these gentlemen what I’ve got! It’s the hurt business Eddie, you know that. I’ve been here a long time. 7 years I’ve been hustling and it’s time to show what I have. I’ve got nothing to say. I just want to enjoy the moment, I want to fight and I want to give it all on Saturday night.”
“It’s been a long time but I’m glad and happy. I can’t wait for Saturday night. Two-weight World Champion, and I know you’re the man to make it happen. But Saturday night I’ve got to get this business done. It’s massive for us as an Arab family. It’s a pleasure to be here, and I wouldn’t mind fighting here again. I’ve been loving it so far. Abu Dhabi has been great to us this week. I just can’t wait for Saturday.
“Thank you for the opportunity Eddie. I’ve been preparing for this fight for six months and I’m ready to put on a performance on Saturday night. Jerwin Ancajas has been a sparring partner of mine and it has helped me prepare fully for this fight.”
“I’ve had a smile on my face all week. I’m having it off here. I can’t believe I’m here. I didn’t believe I’d be here until Monday. I’ve got quite a few people coming over as well. Thank you Eddie for the opportunity. I’m just ready to put on a show on Saturday. I cannot wait to go.
“I posted a photo the other day of me and Zelfa sparring six years ago and it was exactly to the day yesterday. I was talking to Pat, and we were talking about how people never show you where they come from. They always show you where they are and what they’re going. I take nothing for granted. God has been kind. We’re here and I’m just ready to go on Saturday. It’s going to be a big night for all of us.”
“It’s like a little holiday for us. Obviously the mind is on the job when we’re training and when we’ve got the gloves on. On fight night the mind will be well and truly on the job. For staying relaxed and keeping a cool head for the fight week we couldn’t have it much better. We’ve been sat around the pool, and me and Matt (Hatton) need the sun! It’s been great for us and I’m just looking forward to putting in a relaxed performance on Saturday as well.
“We’ve been seeing improvements, and again it’s been because I’ve been more relaxed, but I’ve still reverted back to going into tear-up mode a little bit and trying to do a little bit too much. I can’t keep saying we’re seeing glimpses and it’s coming and then anything other than a relaxed performance from start to finish this week won’t be good enough. I’ve got a good opponent who is going to be aggressive and help me show off more of a skillful side of my game which I’ve not shown as much as I’d like to yet.”
Fahad Al Bloushi:
“Thank you everyone for coming through. Thank you to Eddie for putting me on this amazing platform. I’m just really excited to be on such a big platform and to perform at a big stage, not just any stage but at the Etihad Arena with Matchroom. I’m excited to showcase my talent to the people of the UAE. This is a big dream come true for me so I just want to thank you all for the opportunity. I think that’s what we need – we just need a couple of names to be boxing at a high level and to perform at a high level stage. I want to be that person. It’s a good opportunity for kids to look up to us and say, ‘I want to be like that fighter’. It might inspire them to go to a boxing gym and learn to what to do. Hopefully I can become like that one day.”