The fighters on Saturday’s huge #MTKFightNight bill at the Vale Sports Arena in Cardiff had their last say ahead of the event after taking part in their final press conference on Thursday.
The event is live on ESPN+ in association with Top Rank, and also live on iFL TV, and is headlined by a European flyweight title fight between Commonwealth champion Jay Harris (15-0, 8 KOs) and Angel Moreno (19-3-2, 6 KOs).
There is also a WBO European title fight as Craig Evans (19-2-2, 3 KOs) and Stephen Ormond (27-5, 13 KOs) have a much-anticipated rematch, plus Kieran Gething (8-2-1, 2 KOs) defends his Welsh Area super-lightweight title against Craig Woodruff (7-4, 2 KOs).
The undercard features the likes of Sean McGoldrick, Jacob Robinson, Maredudd Thomas and many more, and they all discussed this weekend’s event during Thursday’s press conference.
Here’s what they had to say….
Jay Harris: “This is the biggest step up I’ve had. As I’ve said in previous interviews, he’s been in with two world champions and a European champion, so he’s no pushover and it will be a big test.
“Everyone has their own opinion about how the fight will go. We watch the videos and take bits from it, but anything can happen on the night so we’ll take each round as it comes.
“The future looks bright but it’s just one fight at a time. This is the new generation of Welsh boxing and it’s is booming at the moment. There is a lot of great talent on this card and I think boxing in this country is really hitting a peak.”
Angel Moreno: “Jay Harris is a name that has come around a few times about fighting in the past. I hope he’s had a good camp and is ready, because we’re ready for whatever he brings to the table.
“I’m very lucky and blessed that everyone in Spain gets behind me and hopefully I can take the belt back to Spain. I’ve enjoyed Cardiff so far and I’m looking forward to exploring it more.”
Craig Evans: “It’s nice to be fighting at home. I’m looking forward to the fight and I obviously know Ormond well. He’s a tough fighter who comes to win, so we’ll see what happens on fight night.
“I fought him in his hometown last time, but there’s only two of us in the ring, so let’s get it on. We’ve both been training hard, so may the best man win.
“If I turn up and give 100%, I know the title will be staying in Wales. Hopefully a win here pushes me towards world level, but let’s just take it one step at a time.”
Stephen Ormond: “I feel good and I’m enjoying boxing again. Craig Evans beat me the last time we met and this is a great opportunity now I’ve got the rematch, so I’m looking forward to it.
“I got beat fair and square in the first fight, but I’ve been training hard and I respect Craig. I’m not looking past this fight and I’m fully focused on getting the job done.”
Kieran Gething: “I’m not overlooking him at all. I think he’s too small for the weight and it will show on the night. We’ve got something set out and if it goes to plan there isn’t a lot to counter it.
“I want to make a statement and prove that I can surpass this level. I’m proud of my Welsh title and I want to defend it again. Whatever comes next, if I put on the show I want to, I know I can perform higher than that level.”
Craig Woodruff: “He’s writing me off. Whoever fights me it won’t be an easy fight. Win or lose I’ll be coming to fight. He comes to fight and I will too. It’s going to be a good fight for the fans to watch. I’ll let my hands do the talking.”
Sean McGoldrick: “I’m part of a great gym and there are lots of good lads there. I’m enjoying being there and learning and gaining some vital experience.
“Every boxer wants to be involved in title fights. First things first it’s Saturday night and that’s got my full attention, and when I’m successful on Saturday I want to challenge for belts.”
Jacob Robinson: “I know I’ve got the power there, but I want to box more and not look for the knockout. In my last fight I looked for it too much and it didn’t come. I need to be patient and get behind the jab a bit more.
“It’s great with my dad being an ex-world champion. There is a lot of weight on my shoulders but I like that pressure. We’ll see me shine a bit more come my next fight.”
Maredudd Thomas: “It’s massive to be fighting in my hometown and it’s an amazing show to be on, so it’s great to have this opportunity. It’s brilliant seeing all of these guys doing it too and it pushes me to know that I can do it.
“There have been some brilliant Welsh fighters and that is massive motivation, plus my trainer Gary Lockett achieved a lot in boxing so that’s another thing to look up too. I’ve got a lot of great people around me.”
Promoter Lee Eaton: “We’re happy to be back in Cardiff. We said we wanted to make a dent in the Welsh boxing market and improve things, and we’re back now with ESPN+ which is massive.
“We’ve got a European title fight for Jay Harris, a WBO European title fight between Craig Evans and Stephen Ormond and a Welsh title fight between Kieran Gething and Craig Woodruff, so it’s good to be back here and I’m excited.
“We’ve got screens all around the venue to watch the Champions League final between Liverpool and Tottenham too, so it’s two sports for the price of one.”
Trainer/Manager Gary Lockett: “For years we’ve been left as an afterthought in Wales and the guys here have always been the nearly men. With the introduction of MTK Global coming in, it’s a thing of the past.
“If any Welsh fighter is there or there abouts, they now get an opportunity to fight for these important titles. It’s an unbelievable prospect for me as a trainer and manager, and MTK Global are making a big move into Wales.
“I manage Jay Harris and we know all about Moreno. We’ve seen some of his fights and we respect him. He’ll be there for 12 rounds and Jay will have to be at his best, but so will Moreno to get anywhere near Jay Harris.”
Also part of this weekend’s star-studded card in Cardiff live on ESPN+ and iFL TV are unbeaten Kazakh kings Zhankosh Turarov and Sultan Zaurbek, while the Champions League final between Liverpool and Tottenham will also be shown at the venue.