Hopey Price: “I’m A Level Above Phillips”

Hopey Price says his vast experience in the amateurs will help him get the win against Jonny Phillips in their six round Featherweight clash at Matchroom Fight Camp in Brentwood, Essex, on Friday August 7, live on Sky Sports in the UK and DAZN in the US.

The slick southpaw, trained and managed by Dave Coldwell, landed gold at the 2018 European Youth Championships and 2018 Youth Olympics; becoming the first boxer from Great Britain to win gold at a Youth Olympic Games.

He signed promotional terms with Eddie Hearn and Matchroom Boxing in October 2019 before making his eagerly-anticipated professional debut on the undercard of Anthony Crolla’s farewell fight at Manchester Arena, outpointing Joe Sanchez.

In his next fight he landed a spot on the undercard of the blockbuster Andy Ruiz vs. Anthony Joshua 2 World Title show in Diriyah, Saudi Arabia, where he scored an impressive third round TKO over Tanzania’s Swede Mohamed.

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‘Drago’ jumped at the opportunity to be involved in another historic event at the Matchroom HQ this weekend where he faces a big step-up in opponent against Phillips, but the 20-year-old says he is more than ready for the test.

“I’ve had itchy knuckles for weeks,” said Price. “I was scheduled to fight in April and when that all fell through we all got put into lockdown. When I was allowed to get back in the gym with Dave it was full steam ahead, we got the date and now I’m ready to fight!

“I need to keep doing what I’m doing in this fight. What Dave has seen in the gym he has been happy with. For me, by fight night all the pressure is off and I can get down to business. I am super confident, Jonny has boxed some good names but you will see the level I’m at on Friday night.

“There is levels to boxing and I think I am a level above him. My performance on Friday will open people’s eyes. People say amateur and pro boxing is different but when you have been all around the world and boxed top kids, people don’t realise how much experience that gives you. For me, it’s about staying relaxed and winning.”

Price vs. Phillips lands on Week 2 of Matchroom Camp, main event sees Terri Harper (10-0, 5 KOs) defend her WBC and IBO Super-Featherweight World Titles against Natasha Jonas (9-1, 7 KOs) in an historic clash, Bournemouth’s Chris Billam-Smith (10-1, 9 KOs) defends his Commonwealth Cruiserweight Title against undefeated Cardiff man Nathan Thorley (14-0, 6 KOs), Liverpool Super-Welterweight Anthony Fowler (12-1, 9 KOs) gets his second outing of the year against Adam Harper (9-1) and Oldham prospect Aqib Fiaz (5-0) steps up against Birmingham’s former Midlands Area Champion Kane Baker.

Dalton Smith: I’ve got new goals to achieve

Dalton Smith, Sheffield’s most successful amateur boxer of all time, only has eyes for the future as he prepares to take the biggest step up in his pro career to date when he fights Liverpool’s Nathan Bennett over eight rounds in Brentwood, Essex on Saturday August 1, live on Sky Sports in the UK and DAZN in the US.

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In a glittering amateur career, Smith established himself as one of the very best fighters in the country, winning medals at the Junior European Championships and youth Commonwealth Games, as well as representing Team GB around the World and taking on the very best amateurs on the planet in the World Series of Boxing.

Since swapping his Team GB vest for the paid ranks with Eddie’s Hearn’s Matchroom Boxing in March 2019, Smith has emerged as one of the most exciting prospects in the UK, winning all five of his bouts in impressive fashion and stopping all but one opponent inside the distance.

‘Thunder’s’ successful switch from the amateurs is all the more compelling given he had four operations on his hands before even starting his professional adventure, and the gifted 23-year-old says his hands are feeling stronger than ever as he looks to move 6-0 this weekend.

“In the amateurs, I had a lot of hand injuries towards the back of my career and I’ve got the scars to show for it,” said Smith. “I’ve had two operations on my right hand and I had to have a tendon repaired on my left hand. You can see why I say the gloves and the hand wraps have a big impact on the amateurs on fighter’s hands. I’d be going to tournaments, throwing punches but holding back.

“It was like a mental thing where I’d had all of that time off with injuries and operations, I just didn’t want to go through all of that again. You just have to overcome that and have trust in yourself. They’ve been fine ever since. Now I’ve turned professional I get the pro wrap, the gloves are shaped better and I’ve not had not any hand trouble whatsoever.”

Trained by his father Grant at the Steel City Gym in Sheffield alongside former WBC Flyweight World Champion Charlie Edwards and his brother Sunny, Smith has settled well into life as a professional fighter and hopes to replicate his outstanding amateur achievements in the pro game.

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“My dad got a trophy cabinet for me to keep all of my medals and trophies together. I used to come back from a tournament and my dad would stack my medals in there. The trophies go back to when I was eleven when I first started competing. It’s nice to look back on my past achievements. It’s something to show your kids when you get older.

“I won National Titles all the way up to the Seniors. Just before I turned professional, I won the Senior ABA’s. I had a good amateur career so it’s nice to see all of my medals and look back on them but I’m in the professional game now and I’ve got new goals to achieve. I’ll have to get a new trophy cabinet now to stick the belts in. The amateurs are passed me now and success in the professional game is my new goal.”

Smith vs. Bennett lands on Week 1 of Matchroom Fight Camp, top of the bill sees Sam Eggington (28-6, 17 KOs) put his IBF International Super-Welterweight Title on the line against Ted Cheeseman (15-2-1, 9 KOs), Belfast’s big-hitting James Tennyson (26-3, 22 KOs) takes on Cardiff’s Gavin Gwynne (12-1, 2 KOs) for the vacant British Lightweight Title, fast-rising Ipswich Heavyweight Fabio Wardley (8-0, 7 KOs) steps up to take on Middlesbrough’s Simon Vallily (17-2-1, 7 KOs) for the vacant English belt and Chatteris talent Jordan Gill (24-1, 7 KOs) meets Watford’s Reece Bellotti (14-3, 12 KOs) in an electric Featherweight battle.