NEW YORK, May 29, 2019 – Ahead of Anthony Joshua’s U.S. debut against Mexican Challenger Andy Ruiz, Jr. on Saturday night, the undercard fighters took the stage in a press conference to discuss their preparation and predictions.
The stacked card will feature undefeated WBA Super Middleweight World Champion Callum Smith (25-0, 18 KOs) who will make his first title defense against former Middleweight World Champion Hassan N’Dam (37-3, 21 KOs). Earlier in the evening, Katie Taylor (13-0, 6 KOs) will face Delfine Persoon (43-1, 18 KOs) to crown the undisputed World Female Lightweight Champion. Taylor owns the IBF, WBA and WBO titles, while Persoon holds the WBC strap.
Former World Champion Chris Algieri (23-3, 8 KOs) returns as he takes on Tommy Coyle (25-4, 12 KOs) for the vacant WBO International Super Lightweight Title, Joshua Buatsi (10-0, 8 KOs) makes his U.S. debut against Marco Antonio Periban (25-4-1, 16 KOs), and Josh Kelly (9-0, 6 KOs) faces off against Ray Robinson (24-3-1, 12 KOs).
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“Oh yeah I feel good. I’m excited, this is a new chapter in my career. I always dreamed to be a world champion and see what I can achieve. There’s no better place than Madison Square Garden with a lot of history, and add my name with other fighters that have been here.
“There were other shows mentioned, but the the minute Madison Square Garden was mentioned and the AJ show, it was a major platform I wanted to take advantage of. To secure the best fights I have to win and maximize my potential and I look forward to doing that Saturday night.
“Yeah he’s a good fighter and he has very good experience. A former world champion and I believe I’m the best middleweight in the world and if that’s true I’ll be able to beat Hassan, and beat him well and look good doing it.”
“They called me to fight Callum Smith and I had to think a little bit because we have a good relationship with him and his brother. I saw him grow up in this sport, he helped me, and I helped him. My trainer told me every day you want to face the best in the world, why would you think about it. You have an opportunity to fight at Madison Square Garden and make your dream come true. We will put this friendship out and fight Callum Smith because he has something I want and that’s to be a champion, too. It will be a great fight, don’t miss it.
“This is my first time in this division. I don’t know how I will feel. I don’t think I will be slow. I have the experience. Fighting at Madison Square Garden is everyone’s dream to fight there. Yes, my experience will be my very first point in this match.”
“Since I turned professional I wanted to be undisputed champion. I pinch myself that I have this opportunity at Madison Square Garden. It can’t get better than this and I’m ready to perform. I’m excited for this.”
“Delfine is a champion and this exactly what boxing needs, the best versus the best, and I expect the toughest challenge of my career. We’re here to make history for our countries and it will be a very exciting fight.
“This the biggest night of my career. It’s the pinnacle of boxing to have all five belts. This is exactly what every fighter dreams of, I understand the magnitude, this is why I box, and I’m ready to make history.”
“Belgium is a small country. New York is bigger than Belgium. Boxing in Belgium is not recognized, so I can be the first to be recognized and make history in Belgium. I can put it on the map. If I can go to the fight and win the fight I’ll be the first Belgium to be an undisputed boxer to make history. It’s my passion and I will do everything for it. We were looking for this fight for two years, thought we may never get the chance, and now I get this fight and now we go for it.
“I expect a tough fight. She has a lot more fights in the amateurs. I only had one year in the amateurs because in Belgium boxing is not very big. For me I didn’t get a chance to go to Olympics and Katie Taylor is an Olympic champion, so now I can compete against the world champion and beat the Olympic champion. Everyone knows world champion is great but Olympic champion is great too. I know I can compete for an Olympic champion and for me that’s important, and I have the courage to do this.”
“I feel blessed to be here and get a chance to perform on a world stage. Not many kids form Sutherland get this chance. I’m ready to for this step up. I know he couldn’t be here cause of family problems, and wish him all the best with that. I’m ready to put on a performance on Saturday and dance underneath those lights. I’m excited, I’ll enjoy it, and I’m going to perform.”
“Good evening and good morning. This is a good opportunity. He’s a great Mexican fighter and brings experience to the table. Everyone is curious to see what happens and it’s up to me to put on a show. Haven’t seen him but I’ll see him Friday at the weigh-in.”
“I’ve prepared to go ten rounds and if it goes the distance, cool. If I sense any vulnerabilities or opportunities there I’ll take it. As always I want to entertain people, so if goes the distance or it doesn’t, happy days.
“It was a good experience, good to be in Miami, it was my first time being the U.S. overall. It was good to see how AJ does things leading up to a fight like this. Finishing off camp in Miami and then coming to New York to add the final touches. It was a good experience for myself and can come back and do the same thing.”
“I never in my wildest dreams think I’d be fighting at MSG, I’m so excited. This is an opportunity for me to do something that I’ve never done in my career. Without pressure you don’t get diamonds and Saturday night I’ll go in there and get the diamond. I’ve improved as a fighter and growing into my own. I feel like this is a prank, but I’m here and it’s going off.
“100% very winnable fight, it’s a great fight. Algieri is a great fighter and better dresser. This is a fight for me and where I can look good. I won’t have to go find him and I think styles will gel fantastically.”
“This is huge opportunity and this is exactly why I came back to the sport. I want to be a world champion. I need to go out there and be impressive for another title run. I feel great and this training camp has been fantastic. I have an opponent in Tommy Coyle that gets me excited. There’s a lot of talk on what I’ve been doing outside the ring but I want to go back to talking about what I do inside the ring. So Saturday night I look forward to putting on a great show, and coming out with a victory and move forward.
“Tommy Coyle is blood and guts guy and trains really hard. Give it his all when he fights and that’s exactly what I need to get up and train hard and give me a great foil for a great performance on a great card.”