Below is a selection of quotes from today’s Josh Warrington vs. Luis Alberto Lopez + undercard Press Conference ahead their IBF Featherweight World Title clash on a huge night of action of the First Direct Arena in Leeds this Saturday December 10, shown live worldwide on DAZN.
Eddie Hearn, Matchroom Sport Chairman:
“Good afternoon everyone and welcome to Leeds. After a rollercoaster year of Taylor-Serrano at Madison Square Garden, Leigh Wood against Michael Conlan one of the fights of the year, Canelo against Bivol, Canelo against GGG, AJ against Usyk, last week Chocolatito against Estrada – all around the world, it ends on Saturday night in Leeds with an unbelievable night of boxing. Josh Warrington, the IBF Featherweight World Champion, makes his mandatory defence against Luis Alberto Lopez. It’s a World Championship double-header – all-Australian female fight on the card as well, a tremendous fight for the IBF Bantamweight World Title – Ebanie Bridges against Shannon O’Connell. So much more to come. This is a night with a difference, not only is it the elite atmosphere of the Leeds faithful, but it’s England vs. France. We’re kicking off around 2pm in the arena on Before The Bell. 7pm we break for England vs. France, and then 9pm we kickstart again with Felix Cash, Ebanie Bridges and Josh Warrington. This is going to be a wild day of sporting drama. We cannot wait.”
“It’s a very tough fight. Before we get going, I’d like to say thank you for the appreciation from the boys at the front – it’s nice to get a thank you for the opportunities that they’re getting. That’s all I’ve ever wanted to do – put Leeds boxing on the map and give these younger fighters opportunities. So I do appreciate that lads. Moving onto Luis, he’s full on confidence isn’t he. He’s like a kid on whizz walking around like Ric Flair. He’s going to be full of confidence. He’s blasted out a few guys over in the States and in Mexico but I’m not them guys.
“I’ve been in this position all throughout my career. I wasn’t meant to get this position. I wasn’t meant to win a European Title, I wasn’t meant to get a World Title. I’ve always been an underdog. Any fight at this level is always going to be a hard fight because he’s got himself into mandatory position. He’s beaten some decent guys along the way but I just don’t think he’s mixed in the same level that I’ve been in with. He’s certainly not had a fight like me.
“He’s coming into the Lion’s Den. They can’t be in the ring with me, but it’s a f***ing hell of an atmosphere! I feed off that energy. Once I walk out into that arena I’m a man possessed and do what I have to do to keep hold of that belt. I’ve been around haven’t I. A lot of these young fighters are going to be full of confidence. They’re going to be excited. I think they forget, sometimes my name doesn’t get the respect it deserves. I’m not asking for it but I’ve been in with challengers all throughout my career. I’ve just got to concentrate on what I do best and I believe it will be enough to get me a win on Saturday night.”
Luis Alberto Lopez:
“Thanks for the opportunity. It’s great to be here once again, and this time to be facing a champion. I always come here as a warrior for war and I won’t be going home without that World Title. I come full of capabilities, full of confidence in my preparation. I come to do what I always do, turn fights on their head and beat opponents when I’m not expected to do so. I’ll be winning this title. I’m coming for the knockout, that’s what I’ve come for. He shouldn’t believe what he sees on the videos. I’m a completely different proposition when I’m in the ring and that’s what I’m coming to do, I’m coming to win.”
“Sticks and stones can break your bones, but words can never hurt you. She can say whatever she wants. I’ve been hearing it for years. It’s boring. It just bored me to be honest. All that matters is what happens in the ring on Saturday night. That’s when she’ll find out how serious I take this sport. I think Shannon O’Connell is my hardest fight and I’m taking it very seriously. I’m not underestimating her at all. I know that she’s a great fighter and I know that she’s going to come and bring it. She wants it. I’ve done everything that I need to do in the gym with Mark and Jimmy. I’m very confident in my skills, my mind and what I can do. I just know that belt is going to stay with me and it’s my destiny to continue to be a World Champion. I have faith in myself and in my team.”
“I’m really happy that we’re finally here. It’s been a long time coming, a lot of dodging and trying to get around the fight but we’re here now and there’s no hiding. I don’t have a fake bone in my body. Everything I’ve said I’ve meant. Everyone you see on TV, do you like them? You don’t have to like everyone that you’ve met. She’s making herself a public figure and she’s putting herself out there to be judged. That’s just what happens. I’ve got morals. 100%, I’ve got everything it takes to become World Champion. She’s got nothing over me.”
“It’s been a long time coming so let’s hope that Saturday night actually happens this time. I’ll go in there on Saturday, get the ringrust off and then we’re going to have some big fights in 2023. I’ll get my hands on a World Title. It was tough to be honest with you – at one stage I was like, ‘f***k this’. I stayed in the gym and stayed focused and we’ve got out again before the year is over. We’ll make up for lost time next year by getting some big fights. I’ve got a job to do on Saturday night, I’ll get Neves out of the way and then we’ll get some big fights. Ammo Williams wants it. He’s got a big mouth. I’ll happily shut it for him.”
“I’m not overlooking him at all. We’ve seen he’s just come off a good win. He’s travelled all the way over and he sounds very confident but I’m confident as well. I believe I’m going to win and that belt is not going anywhere. I’m not taking my eye off the ball. I’m not going to overlook him. I’ve taken the fight very seriously. Everything that has been asked of me I’ve done. I’m just looking forward to the fight now.”
“I want to thank you for inviting me here – DAZN Boxing, Matchroom and especially JJ for taking this fight, because he didn’t have to. Thank you to my team for getting me here. Trust me, I’ve got it from here. I plan on taking this show over. This fight is going to be like a main event, with Josh Warrington and Luis Alberto Lopez as my undercard. I’m going to show you guys that I’m not going home without that strap. They have no idea. I’m one of the best Junior Middleweights in the world. I will show that come Saturday night. They don’t know that yet, but we’ve got two days guys.”
“Obviously I’ve had a year out due to having quite a big injury – two operations. At one point I was told I’d never box again. To be back on the big stage straight away – I’m buzzing and I feel like I’m home to be honest. I’m not going to be ignorant and talk about World Titles just yet because I’ve got to get through Saturday and Gemma Ruegg is a good fighter. I know for a fact that 2023 is going to be a very big year for me and I’m just going to keep myself to myself. Let’s just get Saturday out of the way. I think it’s going to be an explosive fight. The styles will gel, just like mine and Ebanie’s did. It’ll be very explosive from start to finish. I don’t mind who wins. In an ideal world I’d get my WBA World Title back, Ebanie has her World Title and then we’d unify in another massive fight and a big pay day for the both of us. The first fight was a great fight and the second one would be even bigger. Let’s just see what Saturday brings first.”
“It’s the final box to tick before a big 2023. I think this is my last 8 rounder. I’m looking to put on another statement performance on Saturday night and then I’m coming for all of the titles in the Super-Bantamweight division in 2023. I wanted to be boxing for a title this time but obviously we had a bit of activity and whatever else. Get this one out of the way and the in 2023 I’m definitely coming for those belts. I think I’m the best Super-Bantamweight in Britain – 100%. Josh has paved the way for us in Leeds. When he goes, who’s next? I believe it’s me. I believe I’m the next one to carry the flag for boxing in Leeds.”
“I’m delighted to be back finishing the year on a high. I’ve had four fights this year, and ideally I’d like to get a stoppage so it’s four out of four. That would be happy days. I’m ready to put on a clinical fan friendly performance. As much as I’m learning in the ring professionally, I’m learning just as much in the camps. I’ve been sparring Avanesyan, Troy Williamson, did a few rounds with Pat (McCormack) and Mark (Dickinson) the other week. I’m learning as I go. I’m delighted. I’m only 20 and with how I’ve been performing in the gym and in the ring I think I’m one of the best, if not the best, prospects you’ve got at the moment.”
“I’m just trying to get as much experience as I can in the ring and I’m just really looking forward to putting a performance on on Saturday. I’m just really enjoying keeping active. Obviously I had an injury at the start of this year so I was a bit inactive but I’m just looking forward to keeping active.”
“I was fortunate enough to be on in March as well when Josh won his World Title back. The experience is what you’d imagine – it’s the best stage to be on. I’m just proud to be a part of it again. I’m looking forward to putting another great performance on as well.”
“I can’t wait for it. I’ve done over 500 tickets for Saturday so I’m looking forward to putting a good performance on. I can’t wait.”