Quotes / Photos: Benn – Van Heerden – press conference

Conor Benn: “People aren’t giving van Heerden a chance here, which surprises me. For people to be saying, ‘why’s he fighting van Heerden?’, that’s a backhanded compliment. They are trying not to show me respect, but really, they are because you wouldn’t have put me in this position two years ago, three years ago, four years ago. So, it doesn’t really matter what people think at the end of the day because progression is real.

“I love challenges. I thrive off of challenges, and so do all fighters. We are all competitive, and we love to compete, and this is a challenge. This is a different challenge that I am prepared for and will overcome with flying passing colors.

“I’m going to go in if I see an opportunity. I’ll take it.

“I knocked out Algieri out as no one else has. I’m going to knock Van Heerden out as no one else has. I believe that passion and hard work can get you anywhere.

“It’s not an emotion; I fight with passion. I work extremely hard, and it isn’t just me working hard. It’s six years of sacrifice to let a moment like this slip between my fingers.”

Chris van Heerden:

“All respect to Conor for giving me this opportunity. I have nothing but respect for him. I am ready for this. I have visualized this moment… I was supposed to fight in the UK a couple of times… It was always a dream and a vision. I have what it takes to be in that top 10. I see it. I didn’t come here for a paycheck. I didn’t come here to get a fight. I came here for my career. I came here to win, get my career back on track, and get back in that top 10. I believe in myself, and I think that I have everything it takes to get right back up there.

“I respect Conor Benn, and I believe he is right up there with the best, and that is why I took this fight. He’s an angry, aggressive fighter. He’s a fighter. I’m a boxer. And I do believe that I have the skill to show that I am a better boxer than Conor. I want to be competitive, and if you talk about boxing, I believe I am a better boxer than Conor, an all-around better fighter.

“I was offered a bunch of other fights, way easier fights. But I believe that Conor is right up there, and I am there to test him and see if he’s legit.

“I wish my dad was here because we spoke about this moment for a long time. I left him for eight years, every birthday, every Christmas, chasing this dream. And then my dad was brutally murdered three years ago. But we did it, and we are here. So, I feel it. This is it.”

Chris Billam-Smith:

“It was a good fight last time, but this allows me to put this to bed and prove my performance can be so much better than it was last time. And I have confirmed that in camp. I will put on a superb performance on Saturday night.

“Now I know how to get around him and get the knockout.”

Tommy McCarthy:

“The last fight was so close, and I’m glad to get the rematch so we can set the record straight and get the win again… He may have to cancel Bournemouth because I am winning this on Saturday night.

“As long as I win on Saturday night, that is all that I’m focused on. I am entirely focused. It is a must-win. And I have to stay concentrated on it.

“He did it the gentlemanly way and gave me a shot (of the rematch) when he didn’t have to provide me with one. There was so much controversy with the first one. Respect is earned, and I don’t have any ill feelings, mainly because our fight was one of the year’s fights.

“As long as we are in the ring throwing shots, I need to be switched on.”

Alycia Baumgardner:

“I’m more than ready. As you know, I love to fight. I stayed in the gym to stay prepared. What builds a fighter are these experienced fighters. I know she’s a fighter, and she’s well-seasoned. It tells me that she’s never been stopped before, so I know what’s important, and I know what I need to do come Saturday night.

“You will see a dominating performance even if it goes the distance, and you will see a seasoned fighter – you know, just a different caliber of who I am. We want the knockout, and the power is absolute.

“I will be undisputed at 130 pounds. I believe it, and I’ve received it. I understand who I am as a fighter. That fight with Mayer is a big fight for women’s boxing, and as we continue to grow the sport, we will continue to build in the sport.”

Edith Soledad Matthysse:

“I’ve accumulated a lot of experience, and it’s imperative in my game. I’ve come here to win, and I’m hoping to clock up a win on Saturday for me and my country, Argentina.

“Saturday, I hope to be leaving here victorious.”

Jack Cullen:

“Last fight was in the bag, but it was. I’ve shaken it off. I’ve gotten over it through Christmas, and I’m back training hard. He wants to knock me out, so it will be a belting fight.

“The game plan is to box and do what I do best. Hopefully, we will get through these flying colors and see a rematch once we get past this, no injuries.”

Vladimir Belujsky:

“I’ve been watching Jack for the last two or three years, and I’ve always fancied his fights. I was hoping to get this fight.

“I know the plan for Saturday night, and I’m looking forward to it.

“All that’s on my mind right now is to knock him out. There’s nothing else I’m going into the ring with. To knock him out and get him out of there.”

Campbell Hatton:

“This weekend is my opportunity to box in front of my friends and family. Since I started the sport, people have been desperate to get behind me, and now is the time.

“We went away to Spain, and there was no pressure on me. It was about going in there and concentrating on the job, relaxing and settling down.”

Jordan Thompson:

“I think he (Gudino) will pose a few different looks… I think I’ve just got to go out there and enjoy myself. And again, I’ll put on another display of artistic violence.

I’m looking forward to getting back out there and putting on a show for the fans.

“I believe in myself. I know what I’m capable of. Those who know me know what I’m capable of. For me, it’s about when the opportunity comes, you’ve got to be ready for it and take it. I’m sure I will be, and when the time comes, it will be special.”

Mario Angel Gudino:

“I’ve been taking up experiences around Europe. I’ve been to Belgium and Norway on my journey here. Come Saturday, and it’s a great opportunity for me to extend that experience and hopefully take away a victory.”

Cyrus Pattinson:

“I know he’s very durable. Since April last year, I’ve not stopped, no longer than a week off from the gym. It’s about building up momentum and getting through every fight. And I think that’s when you’ll see the best Cyrus Pattinson.

“It’s all about getting the rounds in. Going from three rounds straight in Essex, it’s a big jump going to eight… I want to get to that level to start competing for titles.”

Thomas Whittaker-Hart:

“I’m happy that I’m out again, and I can build on the momentum. I want to keep busy and keep fighting… I can push on and keep looking for a title. I want to keep fighting and keep progressing to different levels. I am happy.

“I’m coming to win. I’ve had a lot of experience in the amateur game. I’m used to people commenting on it. You will see more skills. I’m happy about it, and I’m looking forward to the fight and putting on a great performance.”

Luke Evans:

“I’m buzzing to be here… Manchester Arena; it’s what every kid dreams of when you come from Manchester. I’m just from down the road in Salford. I have done a lot of tickets like you said. It’s just a very proud moment for me coming from the small hall scene. This is my opportunity to take on the big stage, and I have to take advantage of that.

“This is what dreams are made of. This is my opportunity, and I’ve got to seize the moment. Most importantly, I’ve just got to enjoy it.

“In boxing, it’s a funny old game. You never know where you’re going to be or where you’ll end up. So, I’ve got to take full advantage of this opportunity.”

James Metcalf:

“It’ll be good to get out again ahead of the big one in Spain next month.

“The best James Metcalf can win this fight.”