Anthony Joshua MBE and Scott Quigg are ready to light up The O2 after weighing in for their epic battles with Emanuele Leo and Yoandris Salinas tomorrow night live on Sky Sports. Olympic Gold medallist Joshua makes his pro debut against Leo just a stones’ throw from the venue of his London 2012 heroics, while unbeaten Bury star Quigg tackles the Cuban Salinas for the WBA Super Bantamweight title.
For the Heavyweight hope Joshua, the 23 year old called tomorrow’s fight the “first piece of the puzzle” as he begins his journey in the paid ranks, and he is excited by the resurgence of the division.
“It’s a bit more glitz and glamour now,” said Joshua, who weighed 16st 6 ½ lbs, with Leo scaling 16st 6 ¾ lbs. “This is just chilled show time. I’ve just got to think I’m here to entertain. It’s no pressure. I want to embrace it.
“The Heavyweight scene in the UK is beginning to build. Not so long ago it was just David Price but now David Haye and Tyson Fury are ready to go in February and Dereck Chisora came back looking good last week and of course Price is looking to get back into the saddle soon as well.
“It’s great because these guys are going to be around for some time and they are potential fights for me one day down the line, I’d love to be in the mix with them but I got a long way to go to get there. We’ll gauge my progress as I keep fighting, keep winning, keep learning in the gym and we’ll see what I am ready for fight-by-fight.”
Quigg was elevated to champion status ahead of his clash with Salinas, but after tipping the scales three ounces lighter than Salinas at 8st 9lbs 9oz, the 24 year old says he is approaching Saturday’s battle as a challenger.
“On paper I’m World champion but I don’t want to be given the title,” said Quigg. “I have worked too hard from since I was a kid not to achieve my dreams the way I want to, and that is by winning the title in the ring against a world class opponent. If it’s just handed to you, you don’t deserve it and on paper I am World champion but as far as I am concerned I don’t feel like I am a World champ until my hand is raised tomorrow.”
Quigg also insists the week extension from the original date on the postponed David Haye vs. Tyson Fury bill in Manchester on September 28 will have no bearing on either fighter tomorrow night.
“You train to peak not just for the day but for the actual time you are going to be in the ring, that’s how meticulous Joe and I are, but we sat down after the cancellation and sorted that out and it’s been fine,” said Quigg. “He knew he was going to be flying over anyway so I’m not thinking that this will have affected him, I’m expecting the best Salinas to come into the ring and I think that my best beats his best tomorrow.”
Joshua and Quigg are part of an action packed night in Greenwich, with Joshua’s fellow Gold medal winner Luke Campbell in his second pro fight taking on Neil Hepper, Lee Selby defending his British and Commonwealth Featherweight titles against unbeaten Ryan Walsh, Lightweight World title challenger Kevin Mitchell meets Marco Lopez for the vacant IBF Inter-Continental title.
Danny Connor defends his Southern Area Light-Welterweight title against fellow Carshalton man Tony Owen, Prizefighter champion Wadi Camacho faces Tony Conquest in an eliminator for the British Cruiserweight title and there’s a debut at that weight for Joshua’s cousin Ben Ileyemi.
Tickets for Anthony Joshua’s debut ‘Carpe Diem’ are on sale now priced £40, £60 and £100 are available on 08448 24 48 24 and The O2’s ticketing agent – www.AXS.com.
RUNNING ORDER WITH WEIGHTS (where available – times are subject to change)
5.35pm 4 x 3 mins Welterweight Contest
GEORGE MICHAEL CARMAN v JAY MORRIS
(Slough) (Isle of Wight)
LIVE ON THE RED BUTTON FROM 6pm
6pm 6 x 3 mins Welterweight Contest
GLENN FOOT (10st 12lbs 6oz) v JOHN BRENNAN (10st 12lbs 2oz)
6.30pm 4 x 3 mins Cruiserweight Contest
BEN ILEYEMI (14st 2lbs 12oz) v STANISLAVS MAKARENKO (13st 13lbs 4oz)
6.50pm 10 x 3 mins Southern Area Light-Welterweight Championship
DANNY CONNOR (9st 13lbs 11oz) v TONY OWEN (9st 12lbs 11oz)
7.35pm 10 x 3 mins Eliminator for British Cruiserweight Championship
WADI CAMACHO (14st 1lb 14oz) v TONY CONQUEST (14st 1lb 10oz)
(Canning Town) (Romford)
LIVE FLOAT 6 x 3 mins Lightweight Contest
LUKE CAMPBELL (9st 8lbs 13oz) v NEIL HEPPER (9st 9lbs 5oz)
LIVE ON SKY SPORTS FROM 8.30pm
12 x 3 mins British and Commonwealth Featherweight Championship
LEE SELBY (8st 13lbs 3oz) v RYAN WALSH (8st 13lbs 13oz)
12 x 3 mins Vacant IBF Inter-Continental Lightweight Championship
KEVIN MITCHELL (9st 9lbs) v MARCO LOPEZ (9st 8lbs 3oz)
12 x 3 mins WBA World Super-Bantamweight Championship
SCOTT QUIGG (8st 9lbs 9oz) v YOANDRIS SALINAS (8st 9lbs 12oz)
6 x 3 mins Heavyweight Contest
ANTHONY JOSHUA (16st 6 ¾ lbs) v EMANUELE LEO (16st 6 ½ lbs)