“This is it. This is the final week of Fight Camp. It has been just the most remarkable project we’ve ever been involved with. The return of big time boxing. We’ve had a wonderful three weeks. Some of the fights of the year. This week is really the first major card, the first major names to return to the sport of boxing since the pandemic, since lockdown has been over. It’s a thrilling fight card. Five fights on the card with Sky Sports Box office in the UK and DAZN in the US. Every single fight is a pick’em fight. Whyte is in fantastic condition. The scariest thing about Povetkin is his level all the time – from when he fought Joshua, Hunter, Price – I have not seen him deviate. Not even the tone of his voice. He is a machine! He is programmed to destroy. He will do everything in his power to do that. There is no quit in him, no backing down. If the machine gets broken down, you can’t conduct the task. That’s what Whyte will do.”
Dillian Whyte – Brixton, England – 27-1, 18 KOs – fighting Alexander Povetkin for the Interim WBC Heavyweight World Title and WBC Diamond Title:
“I had two fights last year but my mind wasn’t right. I put weight on. For my last fight I was nearly 20st. I got myself in shape slowly. I knew who I was fighting, and what it would take. I got into shape. The story of my life is pressure. I’ve been under pressure my entire life. This is just another puzzle. There is more pressure because of the future, but that’s in the future.
“I’m fighting a consummate professional so I’m not bothered about Tyson Fury. I’m bothered about Povetkin. Povetkin is the most technical fighter I’ve fought. He has beaten a lot of top guys. He’s an Olympic gold medallist. He’s only lost two fights. When the bell goes it doesn’t matter if there’s 100,000 people there or 100 people. You are zoned in.
“When I’m in shape, you’ve got problems, because I can do what I like to do. I don’t mind blowing up because I can recover, go again. Whatever he wants to do, I’m cool with it. I don’t like to make predictions. He is very experienced and can look after himself. He’s a tough guy. But listen, if I land early? It is night night early. But he can do the same, as well.
“I deal with pressure well. I could have taken an easier fight. These are the fights you need to grow. This guy has seen everything, probably 20 guys like me. To beat him, I will bank his experience. This motivates me. I will have to think more than I normally do. It gives me an extra edge.
“I’m ready for chaos and violence. I am focused on Povetkin. I will try to hurt him from the first bell. It will be war – that’s what he does. The great thing is that we both do similar things. It’s up to me to do things to make the fight in my favour, and I am capable of that. He is more experienced but I know how to fight, which isn’t something anyone can teach.”
Alexander Povetkin – Russia – 35-2-1, 24 KOs – fighting Dillian Whyte for the Interim WBC Heavyweight World Title and WBC Diamond Title:
“First of all I would like to thank Eddie for doing this event during a pandemic. I’m very happy to be here. Thanks to Dillian also for taking this fight. Hopefully it will be a great fight in the Heavyweight division. I have taken responsibility to train for this fight, understanding how serious it is. You have to take Dillian seriously. I don’t like to make predictions – but it will be fireworks…”
Katie Taylor – Bray, Ireland – 15-0, 6 KOs – defending her WBC, WBA, IBF, WBO and Ring Magazine Lightweight World Titles against Delfine Persoon:
“I’m very very excited. I’ve said it before, this is why I’m in the sport of boxing, to be involved in fights like this. This is a legacy building fight for me and Delfine. We’re both in this sport to prove that we are the best. You have two fighters here that absolutely believe that they are going to win. We both think we’re going to win. That’s what makes this such a fantastic fight. I want to be involved in the biggest fights and that’s why I wanted this rematch. I want to prove that I am the best. There will be criticism whether I win or lose. This is why I’m in boxing – to be the best. I want to be known as the pound for pound No 1. No crowd, all the belts on the line? This is the purest form of boxing you will ever see. I’m prepared for whatever comes my way on Saturday. May the best boxer win.
Delfine Persoon – Roeselare, Belgium – 44-2, 18 KOs – challenging Katie Taylor for the WBC, WBA, IBF, WBO and Ring Magazine Lightweight World Titles:
“It’s up to me to prove that I also deserve the Titles. In New York, for us, it was not the correct decision. Everybody thinks [I won the first fight with Taylor]. It’s good there is a rematch. We will see who is the best fighter. We didn’t think [Taylor would grant a rematch]. We were very surprised Katie is taking this risk. For her, it is a big risk. If she loses, it isn’t good for her career.
“A war? This is boxing. Punch, punch back. It is not a war. Grabbing and holding is not boxing. Boxing offensively, jabbing and working, is the way to box. I respect her style. I must prove my style, like I did in New York, but even better. But I like to box in front. Boxing with my heart can be a problem, sometimes I forget to use my [brain]. I must not give her time to hold me. Don’t give her the time.
“I could see I am bigger than her. I have to start the fight faster than last time, with a higher tempo. But I can’t change the whole thing. My way of boxing is with pressure. I can box also on the back foot but, a lot of the time, my opponents don’t pressure me. But I can do it. I spar with guys in Belgium who are stronger than me. They give me problems and I find solutions. Against a girl, I always feel stronger because I train with men.
Luther Clay – Bracknell, England – 13-1, 5 KOs – defending his WBO Global welterweight Title against Chris Kongo:
“He’s probably quite powerful, I guess. I don’t know. We’ll see. I know Chris is a good boxer and everyone rates him and everything. I’m interested to test myself and see it it’s really real. He has the reputation and the clout. That’s what I want. Chris Kongo is saying he’s going to knock me out and I’m saying okay, come with it. I haven’t been to the well yet. I feel like I’ve been cruising. If he wants to take me there then I’m interested. If he’s the man to take me there I look forward to it. I want to dig deep and see what I’ve got in me too. I’m maybe too chilled right now. I don’t feel the pressure now but maybe I will on the night. I’m just ready to go.”
Chris Kongo – Bermonsdey, England – 11-0, 6 KOs – challenging Luther Clay for the WBO Global Welterweight Title:
“I just want to thank you (Eddie Hearn) and Dillian Whyte for getting me on this platform. I believe this is my time to shine, to show what everyone has been talking about. I’m ready and raring to go. This fight won’t last. Someone is going down and I’m sure it ain’t me. I’m going to go in there and be the usual Chris Kongo. When I’m myself, everything just flows naturally in the ring. When I’m thinking, I make sure I listen to my coaches in the corner. That’s the main thing for me. I see him as a quality opponent. He’s got a few good fundamentals. On the night, I believe he is very limited in certain things he does. I don’t think he has any type of good fishing quality that you need as an elite fighter Speed kills. When I show my speed, everything will come off. You will see him on the floor, guaranteed. I don’t think I’ll let this go the distance. Everyone I’ve ever had hurt in a fight, they’ve never seen the last bell.”
Alen Babic – Zagreb, Croatia – 3-0, 3 KOs – fighting Shawndell Winters in an eight round Heavyweight contest:
“My game-plan is to knock you out! It’s not about Shawndell, it’s about everyone. You are only known for losing to Joseph Parker. You’re known for losing to Parker! You are a stepping stone. I will never lose to you, never! I’m going to knock you the f*** out, that’s what I’m going to do. What is this, a cartoon or something? I don’t understand you because you are stupid. We’re not the same, I’m not known for losing to guys. You don’t know what the smoke is but you’re going to see it. I’ve fought top amateurs. I’ve fought champions. Let’s go outside right now, let’s go right now! Shut your mouth. I will shut your mouth, first round. You’ll see. You’re slow, you’re easy. I am ready as ever. If I lost to Shawndell Winters I’d quit boxing. I’m in the best shape. You’re just a stepping stone for me. I’m going to knock you out. I’m never going to lose to you. Never.”
Shawndell Winters – Illinois, USA – 13-3, 12 KOs – fighting Alen Babic in an eight round Heavyweight contest:
“I got the call about this fight. I will fight King Kong or Godzilla. The Joseph Parker fight? I wasn’t 100%. Babic will get a rude awakening. The reality is that I like to fight – that’s what I’m known for in Chicago. I was an 180lbs amateur beating up World champions in the gym in Chicago. I’ve got more knockouts than Babic has had fights! It will definitely be about the experience.My skills are certified. He thinks he will beat me but that ain’t gonna happen.
“He ain’t the first person in the gym or on the streets to say he’s gonna knock me out. I’m still alive! Am I mad? No, he’s supposed to say that. They made a good mistake bringing me over here because it will propel me. When I beat him, when I show him how to fight, he will understand. I was 3-0 with three KOs once. I’m 13-3 now. I was where he was, I understand. I’m known for bringing the smoke! You’ve fought three cab drivers and never been hit by a punch.
“I wanted him to feel me. We ain’t gonna be in this room all day, we can go outside! That’s my vibe. The integrity, the moral compass I have? If I say to a man ‘I will knock him out’ then when I see him, that’s my energy. He plans on coming forwards. That’s what I love. He’s a kickboxer, an MMA fighter. All he can do is come forwards. He doesn’t know anything about establishing a jab.”
Jack Cullen – Little Lever, England – 18-2, 9 KOs – fighting Zak Chelli in a ten round Super-Middleweight contest:
“It’s definitely an important fight for my career. I can’t be getting beat anymore. Moving up to the wait I’m feeling bigger, better and stronger. The stuff that we have been working on is great. I don’t just have to make weight, make weight, make weight. We’ve been practicing stuff, working on stuff. This is my time to shine. Everyone says it’s going to be a good fight. I think it’s going to be a good fight. Zak Chelli thinks it’s going to be a good fight. I’ve not been in a boring fight yet. I’m looking forward to it. You’re going to be hearing your coach in the corner a lot more. Your fans aren’t going to be egging you on. You’ll stick to your game plan and get the job done.”
Zak Chelli – Fulham, England – 7-1, 3 KOs – fighting Jack Cullen in a ten round Super-Middleweight contest:
“I’m looking forward to it and I’m really grateful for this opportunity. I’ve been training for the last eleven months since my last fight so my camp has been eleven months long and I’m ready for it now. Jack likes to come forward, I like to throw punches, so it’s going to be a great clash. I’m only 22, turning 23 in four months time. As a 22-year-old I’ve already fought for the Southern Area Title. I was supposed to fight for the English Super-Middleweight Title but coronavirus took that away. I’m only 22, if this fight goes well I could fight for the British Title, the guy I’ve already beat (Umar Sadiq) is fighting for the British Title. It’s going well for me. My work rate has improved a lot since my last fight. I’m much more of a fighter than a boxer now. Expect fireworks, expect a spectacular fight.”