“It’s always great to be in Liverpool and even better when we’re bringing World Championship boxing to the city and even better when you’ve got one of your own defending his World Championship. It’s also not just any one of your own, the number one in the division, Callum Smith – the reigning WBA, WBC Diamond and Ring Magazine Super-Middleweight Champion of the World.
“I am delighted to confirm his opponent, his mandatory challenger John Ryder, of course on one of the hottest spells in the division right now. Stoppages, four of them on the bounce against Jamie Cox, Patrick Nielsen, Andrey Sirotkin and Bilal Akkawy on the Canelo card recently in Las Vegas. He’s on a great run of form, and it is so good to have a domestic fight for the World Championship like I said, I was talking to Callum about the top 15 and looking at voluntary defences and sometimes it’s difficult when you have achieved what he’s achieved to really get your teeth into one of those, and I know that you lot want to see a good fight. You want to see someone who is coming to fight, coming to win and achieve their dream of becoming a World Champion and Callum Smith knows that this is a very real test and challenge and he’s dealing with his mandatory at the right time.
“We talk about the Anfield fight and there is a lot of people on this card, who will be part of that Anfield dream if you like. Talks with Liverpool FC are ongoing about a fight in May, and I know that Callum Smith and John Ryder aren’t thinking about this, but as a city, there is a massive opportunity. I think that everybody on this card, from the Scouse side who wins then they’re going to be coming along for the ride at Anfield as well. John Ryder has different ideas; he’s here to gatecrash that party and here to become World Champion and win those three belts. This is a great main event on November 23, live on Sky Sports and DAZN.
“Adam Smith is delighted with this fight. For Sky Sports to have a big domestic World Championship fight on Saturday night Fight Night is very important for Sky, us and Callum Smith who is coming back from boxing on the road, in the WBSS, winning the titles in Saudi Arabia and defending them at Madison Square Garden, now getting the chance to defend his World Championships in Liverpool and I think that you guys are going to get behind him. Tickets go on sale to Fight Pass members today at 2 pm and general sale tomorrow.
“As usual, we are focusing on the city and making sure that we have all the best fighters from Liverpool on the card. This is going to be a great fight; we look forward to a great night in this great city on November 23 at the M&S Bank Arena, great undercard as well with plenty more to be added moving forward.”
Callum Smith – Liverpool, England – 26-0, 19 KOs – defending his WBA World, WBC Diamond and Ring Magazine Super-Middleweight titles against John Ryder:
“It’s good to be back in Liverpool. I said that when I turned professional, I was good enough to win a World title and bring it home to the city, and this is my chance to perform in front of my own fans. I thought that winning a World title was the top of the mountain, but when I won it, I realised it wasn’t. There is a lot more boxes I want to tick, Madison Square Garden was one, defending my World title in Liverpool is definitely one, and there is talk of a massive 2020 for me. All of that disappears if I slip up on November 23 so I am fully motivated. I worked hard to become a World Champion, and I am going to work even harder to keep it – That all starts on November 23.
“Every fight in my career has been a must-win from my debut until now, I’ve always thought that if I want to get to where I want to be, then I can’t lose. I need to keep winning and see how good I am by challenging myself against the biggest names in the division and the best names in boxing and I can’t go on and do that if I lose against John Ryder. He is a good fighter on a good run of form but so am I, I am number one in the world for a reason, and the best version of me beats every Super-Middleweight on the planet, and that includes John Ryder.
“People always talk about 175, and it is an option, I would love to be a two-weight World Champion. I want to stay in boxing to achieve as much as I can and becoming a two-weight World Champion is something that I would like to do. I want to clear up at Super-Middle and unify the division and become undisputed. I am massive for the weight, but I have got a great team and a great nutritionist, and I am very dedicated. I do the weight well, and my last few performances show that I can do the weight well and as long as that’s the case, I will keep winning and clean up the division.
“There is massive fights out there; I am in a division where there is four undefeated World Champions, and I believe that I am the best. If you have got a belt at my weight, then you’re part of my plans, and they’re the fights that I want. They’re the fights that motivate me but like I said before, I am fully focused on November 23 and John Ryder, and I don’t just want to win, I want to win well and put on a big performance.”
John Ryder – Islington, England – 28-4, 16 KOs – challenger Callum Smith for the WBA World, WBC Diamond and Ring Magazine Super-Middleweight titles:
“The Akkawy fight was a box ticked, it’s a dream to fight in Vegas on such a prestigious card, but this is the real dream now, a World title fight. I have got a great team around me, Tony is working hard on my boxing, and I just believe that I am in the best place possible mentally and physically. I have worked hard; I have had four hard fights and beat the number one in Patrick Nielsen. It has taken me longer than expected to get here, but I am here now, and this is a fight that I believe I can win. He is a great champion, he beat a great champion to win the belts, and he is the world number one – I want to test myself against the best.”
Charlie Sims, Manager of John Ryder:
“This is a huge moment for John Ryder. It’s an extremely proud moment for me being part of John’s team. Anyone who knows John’s career knows that he’s had all-time lows. There’s been times in John’s career where we didn’t know where he was going to go. This is by far, not only the biggest fight John could get, but this is challenging for the number one spot in the Super-Middleweight division, and I think the run of form that John’s on, he’ll be walking into this fight believing that he’s going to win on November 23, so we look forward to that fight.”
David Price – Liverpool, England – 25-6, 20 KO’s – defending his WBA Continental Heavyweight title:
“I am just enjoying the sport again; I think the Dave Allen fight was the first fight in years that I actually felt like I’d won. Even though I had won, I was analysing after it saying it wasn’t good enough and maybe being a bit too hard on myself but that one was a performance. I ticked a lot of boxes that fight, and I’ve never really used proving people wrong as a motivation, but that felt good, and I was like this is f*****g great! I want people to keep doubting me, but initially, after the fight, I thought I can get a big fight now and cash out but after a week or so, I realised its not the time to cash out yet.
“If I can play my cards right and continue to perform, I can go further, and it adds to the story, which is already quite interesting. I’ve had ups and downs and interesting things happening to me, and you could write a book about it. I am just so happy that I have got the opportunity again to fight on a Matchroom show on Sky. The people seem to be getting behind me again, and I just want to build on it and move onwards and upwards.
“It is only now when my confidence is up that I can truly recognise it was down. Everything is just flowing and feeling easier because I’m enjoying it, and my confidence is back up. When I think back to the Povetkin fight my confidence wasn’t there and I was more just hopeful of winning, now I will be getting in the ring and believing that I’m going to do a job.”
Craig Glover – Liverpool, England – 10-2, 8 KO’s – facing Chris Billam-Smith in a Cruiserweight contest:
“I sort of echo what Chris says. Stylistically me and Chris is a really good fight. That spar we had, you can’t take too much from it, but I think everyone that watched it was like ‘wow’. It’s a must-win fight for the both of us, so it’s all on the line. I think it’s going to gel and potentially be fight of the night. The only thing that matters is me winning this fight. There’s big fights out there, but this is the only fight that I’m thinking of. This is the fight that I’ve got to win.”
Chris Billam-Smith – Bournemouth, England – 9-1, 8 KO’s – facing Chris Craig Glover in a Cruiserweight contest:
“Thanks for having me on the show. I’m looking forward to it. I boxed in the M&S Bank Arena as an amateur in the ABA’s, so I’m familiar with the place and the city as well. Last time was a great experience; it was a good fight, one we thought that we won. We felt comfortable when the final bell went. That’s obviously a rematch that I’d like in the future. First off I’m fighting Craig, we’ve sparred before, and Craig is a great lad, but this is business, and it can only be a cracking fight, I’m certain of that. We only sparred the once, but it was a close spar, it was a good spar and a good one to watch. I knew then that we would meet at some point in the future. It’s a cracking fight, and we’re both exciting to watch with come-forward styles. I believe that it will be an absolute barnburner.”
Anthony Fowler – Liverpool, England – 10-1, 8 KO’s – taking part in a Super-Welterweight contest:
“It’s great to be boxing in Liverpool. It’s my third fight of the year. I’m very grateful to have the chance to box in front of my home crowd, which is great. I want to keep winning and get that rematch to make things right and then move onto bigger and better things. There’s no point in me fighting at catch weights when I’m not going to move up. I need to make 154, make it well, get used to it and then when I get the rematch eventually, I’ll be ready at the weight. I never lost that fight because of the weight, I’d love to make excuses, but I lost it because of my own mental state. I’ve learnt my lesson from looking past people and being over confident and every fight now I’m treating as a World title fight. On November 23, I’ll be ready for anything. I’m hoping Fitzgerald comes through his fight with Cheeseman, I’ll be gutted if he loses but, either way, I don’t really care, I’m not bothered by the belt I just want the rematch.”
Tom Farrell – Liverpool, England – 16-2, 5 KO’s – facing Sean Dodd in a Super-Lightweight contest:
“I thought I was going to be earmarked for this show any way, to be honest. I had my eye on a decent fight to get the ball rolling and get me back in contention for 2020. I think Masher was the last person that I had on my mind. Like you said there, we are good mates, and there isn’t going to be any animosity between us, we’re not going to be calling each-other all sorts, we’ll leave that to anyone else who wants to have a go.
“We’ll definitely be putting on a good show for the fans. I think there will be loads of us there. As you said, I always have a good crowd behind me, and the Birkenhead faithful are always there for Masher. I’m one of the most liked lads in Liverpool fighting against one of the most liked lads in the UK in Masher Dodd. We’ll get in the ring on the night and put on a good fight for the fans. It’s a fight that we both had to take really. I’m coming off a defeat in March, six months ago. I just want to get active again and get the ball rolling. I want to get a good win to get the rust off and then it’s full steam ahead to November 23.
“I think this is Masher’s last chance, he’s a bit older than me. I think he tried to blag Steve Wood before and say he’s only 31, but he’s not he’s 35. I’ll be 30 on November 23, so I want to be celebrating that night with all of my family and friends. It’s going to be a massive night, and I’ve had plenty of big nights. Our careers have run sort of like parallel at the same sort of time, but I think I’ll have enough experience and enough quality on the night to come out and springboard myself back into contention and get my career back on a good path. The last 12 months have been a bit difficult for me, and my career has stalled a little bit, so this is a big chance for me to push on and get a title.”
Thomas Whittaker Hart – Liverpool, England – 2-0, 1 KO – taking part in a Light-Heavyweight contest:
“I’m looking forward to fighting in Newcastle, I’ve just got to get the job done there and then hopefully come back here and do my first six rounder, put things together and hopefully get another knockout victory. I’ve got a lot of experience behind me from my time with Team GB, so I’m not really worried about how fast I move. I’m just taking it all in and enjoying it at the minute.”