Eddie Hearn, Matchroom Sport Chairman
“This is a massive night of boxing at Alexandra Palace, the first time in nearly ten years we’ve been at that excellent venue. This Saturday live on DAZN across the world, two-division World Champion Danny Jacobs will fight John Ryder in an Official Eliminator for the WBA Super-Middleweight championship of the world – what a tremendous fight card.
(Photo Credit: Mark Robinson/Matchroom Boxing)
“We want to welcome Daniel Jacobs, who is a meaningful name to bring over for British boxing, we’ve worked with Danny for a long time now, and it’s not often you see someone with his profile, achievements, and ability grace these shores so a fantastic night for British boxing and between Jacobs and Ryder.
“John Ryder summed it up so well where he said, the loser is done because these two are in pursuit of world championships. This is an official eliminator and an absolute must-win for both guys on Saturday night. So many must-win fights for everyone on the card.”
Keith Connolly, manager of Daniel Jacobs
“When you [Eddie] brought up this fight to us and said it would be in England, we weren’t hesitant at all; we were excited. We jumped at the opportunity and loved the fans here; it’s one of the reasons we came over, Danny and I have been talking for about five years about coming over here to fight because of the fans. We love the country the fans; we’re excited for Saturday night.
“We’re here to prove a point; Danny had a tremendous camp and the best camp he’s had in probably the last 3 or 4 years. Much credit is to Danny and his attitude, but I also want to give credit to Andre Rozier, head trainer, who did a tremendous job at this camp. Anthony Irons, his assistant trainer, another tremendous job Scooter he’s the best conditioning coach in the world. Danny is in tremendous shape, and I expect a huge performance on Saturday, and I think that puts him right back in the mix.”
Charlie Sims, manager of John Ryder
“Credit to Danny for coming over, obviously John’s coming off the back of that big Smith fight; he was unfortunate not to get the decision that night. As we all know, the Super-Middleweight division is now controlled by Canelo, and without getting a World Title shot, we wanted to fight the next best fighter in the division, and Danny Jacobs is that guy.
“It’s a must-win; John wants to go on and win World Titles and Danny Jacobs in the man in the way. John knows he’s got to put in a career-best performance to win, and that’s what he’s planning to do.”
“This was an opportunity for me once I got a list of opponents to choose from, to come to England was one of them, and I jumped right on it. I remember as an amateur I came over here 17/18 years old; I had such an incredible experience. I fought in Liverpool, fought in London, and those memories live with me up until this day.
“I always wanted to create more memories for myself as a professional, and so when I got the opportunity, I jumped right on it because I know the energy and the crowd, the people and fans, just the atmosphere is going to be one to remember. Good or bad point, it all works for me and motivates me; as long as people are cheering, enjoying both of us putting our lives on the line, then I know I’m doing my job. I’m looking forward to Saturday night, I may not have everyone in attendance going for me, but it’s not anything I’m not used to.
“I’m looking forward to an amazing atmosphere, to go from fighting Julio César Chávez Jr in Phoenix with a sold-out crowd to an empty arena where I can hear a pin drop; it’s an awkward situation. Ultimately, it’s up to me to overcome, and it wasn’t the best performance, but I look forward to overriding that last performance with this one.
“John Ryder is a motivated fighter; he understands the risks and tasks at hand; I’m looking forward to doing my job as well. I’m back with my team; I want to take my hats off to all my team members for all the things they do, Andre, Scoot, Mike, Baz, Anthony back at home, all you guys, this has been a tremendous camp and I’ve been back at my happy place. I look forward to showing the world exactly what I’m made of.
“I’m a decorated fighter; one bad performance doesn’t define my career, this whole notion of my career is done if I don’t win; I get that the importance of this fight is to put us back into title contention. My career is far from over; I have a lot more that I want to continue and accomplish; I want to be able to have that hall of fame talk that my trainer and I have always talked about since we laced the first pair of gloves in my first professional fight.
“For me, this is more motivation to know that people think this way, and it’s so cruel and harsh to fighters with one loss; that’s more motivation for me to go inside that ring and to put it all on the line. I understand the importance of this fight and to put me back into a position which I want to create history.”
“It’s a fight I’ve been craving for a long time; I know your [Eddie] ears have been on fire when the phone’s been ringing and Tony’s been on the case but listen, you’ve delivered. It is a massive name in the UK and on my doorstep at Ally Pally; it doesn’t get much bigger than this for me.
“At 33, I’m not ready to retire, I want to kick on and have a few more years in this sport and a few more years of big fights – World Title fights – getting what I deserve out of this sport. I’ve been working tirelessly in the gym with the best strength and conditioner in the world, Dan Lawrence, Tony, and Charlie Sims, been lucky enough to have the likes of Peter Sims and Kevin Mitchell in the gym, just picking their brains and getting their knowledge. It’s a real family affair.
“It feels like a long time coming; COVID messed things up for everyone massively; it’s about putting things right now. It’s been a slow two years, but get back in 2022, a good start to the year and kick on.”
“I’m very grateful for the help from my Mum and Dad; they’ve been fantastic for me. As you’ve said, no matter how many people go into that arena at the Ally pally on Saturday night, when I get into that ring, it’s just me and Gabriel Enguema.
“It’s up to me to do a job; he’s a very experienced opponent that’s been in with some top people. Me and the Tibbs’, Sunny Cannon, have been working on a game plan, and I’ve got to implement that. The fans will be there, and I’m grateful for their support, but at the end of the day, it’s another man in a boxing ring, and I and I’ve got to beat him.
“I’ve been in the ring with some great guys and learning all the time; when I made my pro debut this time last year, I couldn’t have dreamed of being in the position I’m in now. I think that’s testament to the fact I’ve been taking it one fight at a time; I don’t think too far ahead, and the only challenge that concerns me at the minute is on Saturday night getting the win.
“I want to do it in exemplary fashion, and we’ve been working on it; I want to show a bit of control, but I know if I need to go down and get dirty, that’s my bread and butter, so I’m ready to do that as well.
“I enjoyed the ring walk last time, I thought I was going to be nervous, but I enjoyed it; not many boxers get to experience this in their whole career, so why not soak it all in. Getting in the ring, I felt a bit of nerve, but that’s natural and makes me perform better; it’s up to me now that we’re going to get the job done on Saturday night.
“I could have done 4000 tickets easily for this fight. If you’d have given me 4000 at the start, I could’ve easily done that. We’ve got about 2500 in there, and they’re all going to be chanting for the Romford Bull, so I’m going to be ready to go.”
“Thanks very much for the opportunity; it’s great to be part of these significant events and particularly facing an opponent who has such a large following. I’m looking forward to playing an essential role in this fight; I was actually on a Matchroom show before but could not make it, so I’m happy to make up for lost time and put on a good show.
“I’m going in to win, and that’s all.”
“I had a bit of time off, it’s been about ten months, so it’s time to get the ball moving and get myself in a position for a World Title this year. He’s a decent opponent, and he was a good amateur, but he’s in with a different fighter level. No comparison.
“He’s talking about schooling, but he’s going to be taken back to school; I’m going to perform on Saturday night.
“I want to step up my levels, I don’t know if he is a level above, but we’ll have to wait and see on Saturday night. I’ll get past him first, but there are some big fights out there for me this year, get myself in the correct position for a World Title. I’m waiting for these big fights, the Eubank Jr’s, the big fights.
“I believe I’m the number one Middleweight in Britain; I believe by the end of the ear, everyone else will believe it too.”
“This is an excellent opportunity for me, I’ve come here to get a belt, and I’m going to put up a great fight.
“I believe I’ll school him; I’ve got an extensive amateur career, and I will be teaching him something in the ring.”
“This is a fight that I’ve been able to get my teeth into, there are fights that are going to ask questions of myself, and I feel like I’m ready to deliver the answers.
“I’ve watched a lot of her [Guanini] fights at Super-Fly because I think that was when she was at her best she’s been given the same notice as me for this fight. I’m prepared for war too.
“It’s a great place for me to be, and I’m learning outside of the box; they’ve got a great team there with the boys and girls. I’m buzzing to be part of that mix.”
“First and foremost, thanks for the opportunity; I have to say sorry for the last time. When I went away last time, I had a bitter taste in my mouth, and I’m now in professional mode. As Eddie said, I accepted this fight at concise notice, only five days from the war, so I’m thrilled to be given this opportunity.
“Last time when I fought, I lost the opportunity to defend my title, which I thought was a bit of injustice; I’m here now to delete what happened and put those injustices to bed.
“Whenever I step into a ring, it’s all-out war, and I’ll be ready for this, particularly given that there’s a title on the line; God willing, I’ll come away with the title. Last time when I fought Rachel Ball, it was about surviving those ten rounds because I took the fight at short notice, this time as I said I’m coming for war.”
“I’m very excited to be here in London again; first off, I want to give a major shoutout to Danny Jacobs. Coming from the United States, guys like him are people we look up to as the young fighters and next generation. To be able to fight on his undercard, blessed with the opportunity because of the hard work he put in, that’s major for me. I’m so happy to be here and bring that energy to London, just like Jacobs is doing. I want to be where he’s already been.
“I’ve been working; I made a coaching change which was very important for my career. I’m doing everything I need to do on my side to be ready for those opportunities when they come. I’m going to take it one fight at a time.
“Smith, I was looking forward to that; he’s better than his record shows; I watched him and was excited for a firefight with him; I wish him a speedy recovery. I’ve got this guy, Maciel; he’s also a warrior – better than his record. I’m just ready to show that even though he’s okay, he’s good; I’m on a different level and ready for those bigger fights.”
“I’m happy to be back out on this show at Ally Pally; even though it’s only a six-rounder, I’m looking to get some good rounds under my belt. Put on a good performance, and then I can push on to that title fight back in Leeds.
“All of my fights are going to be big performances this year; I just can’t wait to show how good I am; this year in 2022 is really when people will start taking notice as one of the best prospects this country has
“That was one of the reasons for us to do the ten rounds last time, to get the rounds under my belt; you can’t buy that experience. If the stoppage comes, then I’m not going to let it go the distance, I’m going to try and take him out if I can get the rounds under my belt, it’s all good and well, but if I can take him out believe me I will.”
“I was devastated; I didn’t expect to experience that early on in my career, but I stayed on over Christmas, and it was a bitter pill to swallow – after the investment in my camp. Everything happens for a reason; when I look at the positives, it means I can start up this year and build up the momentum, follow through and have a hectic year. I’m just excited.
“I want a hectic year, last year, I could have had three fights in six months, but this year I want to push for maybe six, and I want a title. I think we will look for an international title at the end of the year. I want to move fast, and I think I am ready for eight rounds after this fight, push into tens and get the titles.”
“I’m a 2-0 pro, and I want to make it 3-0; I’m looking to have a busy year this year, looking to push for eight fights. We’re going to get Saturday out of the way first.
“I’m looking to stay here; I’m looking to perform and to show out and bring the best of me on Saturday.”