Eddie Hearn, Matchroom Boxing Managing Director:
“Welcome welcome and what an honour it is to be sitting here in Madison Square Garden in the theatre, where I’ve only managed to get to the theatre, in terms of promoting. I’ve promoted at this great venue right here, twice, Danny Jacobs winning the IBF Middleweight World championship, also Demetrius Andrade defending his World title in January, but now we upgrade to the big daddy, the Mecca of boxing at Madison Square Garden – the big arena.
“You will see one of the great atmospheres in this country for boxing on Saturday night. Around 8,000 Brits are coming here to sing Sweet Caroline, to drink your bars dry and to show you how to create an amazing atmosphere. There’s just a few hundred tickets left now, we will have a complete sellout on Saturday night at Madison Square Garden. If you haven’t got your tickets, you need to get them very quickly.
We needed to produce an undercard that we could all remember. I’m so excited, I can’t even imagine how excited these people are to get the chance to box there in, for some of them, career-defining fights. As always, it will be streamed live on DAZN in America and for the UK fans Sky Sports Box Office. What a night you have got in store.”
Adam Smith, Head of Sky Sports Boxing:
“It’s another special sporting weekend ahead. What a special arena this is, the most famous in the world. AJ is here lighting up New York with posters everywhere, I thought the workout at Brookfield Place was fantastic yesterday down in the financial district. There’s a real buzz around the city and it’s an honour to be here again and it’s magnificent to have so much talent on display on Saturday night.
“Tommy Coyle is bouncing around like a little boy, he’s so happy to be here. It’s a fantastic story, the boy from Hull who’s come all the way here to New York and tackling Chris Algieri, a great talker and a great fighter himself. What a way to get things started, I’m really looking forward to seeing two of our great hopes Joshua Buatsi and Josh Kelly in action, I believe both of them are going the whole way. It’s wonderful having Katie Taylor attempting to become the undisputed champion and saving the toughest until last in the WBC Champion Delfine Persoon, that is going to be some fight and some test for Katie.
“Callum Smith the leading Super-Middleweight after that terrific display in the World Super Series against George Groves. It is time to get Callum back on our screens, it has been a long time but we’re really looking forward to getting him going again and he’s got a tough challenge in Hassan N’Dam, who I’ve known a long time. What an opportunity they’ve all got on the big stage before the big boys go to work. Enjoy it everybody. It’s going to be a super event on Sky Sports Box Office on Saturday.”
Callum Smith – Liverpool, England – 25-0, 18 KOs – defending his WBA World ‘Super’, WBC Diamond and Ring Magazine Super-Middleweight titles against Hassan N’Dam:
“I feel good, I feel excited. This is a new chapter of my career. Everything previously was the journey to become a World Champion and now I’ve achieve that let’s see what more I can achieve.
“There’s no better place to start my journey as a World Champion than Madison Square Garden. It’s such an iconic fight venue with a lot of history. To add my name to a lot of the Brits that have boxed here over the years is going to be special for myself.
“I’m excited and I’m looking forward to putting in a big performance. I’ve been out a little longer than I would have liked to be but I want to make up for lost time. I want to get back and remind people how good I am.
“There is talk of massive names to fight in the future but to secure them fights I’ve got to win this weekend. Big fights excite me and motivate me. I want to maximise my potential and achieve as much as I can. All of that starts on Saturday.
“Hassan is a good fighter, very experienced, a former World Champion himself and only the better fighters have beat him. I believe I am the best Super-Middleweight in the world and if that’s true I should beat Hassan, and beat him well, looking good doing it.”
Hassan N’Dam – Monte Carlo, Monaco – 37-3, 21 KOs – challenging Callum Smith for the WBA World ‘Super’, WBC Diamond and Ring Magazine Super-Middleweight titles:
“Hello everyone. First of all I would like to thank Eddie Hearn. Thanks to my team for all of the work they do for me. Thanks to my wife and thanks to everyone for being here this morning for this press conference.
“My trainer told me: ‘You tell me everyday you want to face the best in the world. Why do you need to think about this? You have an opportunity to fight on a big card at Madison Square Garden. Make your dream come true!’
“He has something that I want. I want to be ‘Super’ champion.
“This is my first time at this level at Super-Middleweight so I don’t know how I’m going to feel. But I feel good right now. I think I have experience for this kind of match and this event. Madison Square Garden is somewhere that everyone dreams of fighting at. My experience will be very important to this match.”
Katie Taylor – Bray, Ireland – 13-0, 6 KOs – fighting Delfine Persoon for the Women’s Undisputed Lightweight Championship of the World:
“The minute I turned professional I wanted to become the undisputed champion, this was always my goal. I nearly pinch myself that I have this opportunity at the Mecca of boxing Madison Square Garden, it can’t get any bigger than this. I’m ready to make history and I’m ready to perform on Saturday night. This is what I’ve always wanted.
“Delfine Persoon is a fantastic champion and this is exactly what boxing needs, it’s champion against champion, the best vs. the best. This isn’t just what women’s boxing needs, this is what boxing needs. I’m definitely expecting the toughest test of my career but I do feel prepared for this challenge. I’ve had a really tough training camp over the last two months preparing for this fight.
“We’re both here to make history for our nations, we’re both here to perform and it’s going to make for a very exciting fight. This is by far the biggest night of my career, this is the pinnacle of boxing to have all five belts, the Ring Magazine belt is up for grabs as well, this is what every fighter dreams of. I understand how big this fight is and the magnitude of this event. This is why I box, these are the fights that I always wanted and I’m ready to make history.”
Delfine Persoon – Roeselare, Belgium – 43-1, 18 KOs – fighting Katie Taylor for the Women’s Undisputed Lightweight Championship of the World:
“Belgium is a small country, I think New York is bigger than Belgium! Boxing as a sport in Belgium is not recognised so I’m the first boxer that can make history for the Belgian boxing sport. For me it’s very exciting.
“I think I will be the first Belgium boxer that can take all of the belts. I like it, its my passion. I want to do everything for it. I never thought I’d have the chance, we are ready and we go for it.
“Im expecting a tough fight, she has a lot more experience in amateur fighting, there was no national team for me in Belgium so it was no possible for me to go to World or European championships.
“Katie Taylor is an Olympic champion. I can compete with an Olympic champion and hopefully beat an Olympic champion.”
“I want to do everything in my boxing career and now I have the chance to do this.”
Josh Kelly – Sunderland, England – 9-0, 6 KOs – defending his WBA International Welterweight title against Ray Robinson:
“I feel blessed to be here and to get a chance to perform on a World stage like this is truly a blessing. Not many kids from Sunderland get this chance so I’m taking it with both hands. I’ve worked hard and I feel I’m ready for this step up. I know Ray couldn’t be here today because of family problems, family first and I wish him all the best with that.
“I’m here now and I’m ready to put a performance on on Saturday. I really can’t wait to get in there and dance underneath those lights. It’s a bit surreal but I’m excited, I’m going to enjoy it, I’m going to take it all in and I want to perform – that’s the main thing. I can’t wait.
“The last fight he had was against Kavaliauskas and he was ranked highly. He was a tough opponent for Ray and a lot of people thought he won that fight. This is a big step up. Ray Robinson will give me a test. There won’t be any room for complacency in there on Saturday and I’m going to get the job done and come away with the W, sit back and watch the rest of the card and hopefully the rest of the British fighters do the same.”
Joshua Buatsi – Croydon, England – 10-0, 8 KOs – defending his WBA International Light-Heavyweight title against Marco Antonio Periban:
“This is a good opportunity. Like you said, Periban is a well-known Mexican fighter. He’s going to come and bring experience to the table. People are curious and everyone is intrigued to see what is going to happen so it’s up to me to go out there and put on a good show. I was hoping he would be here because I haven’t seen him but we’ll see each other face-to-face at the weigh-in and Saturday night it happens.
“I think anyway it comes man. I’ve prepared to do ten rounds, if it goes the distance cool, if I sense any vulnerabilities or any opportunities there I’ll be there to take them. If it goes the distance cool, if it doesn’t then happy days.
“It was good being in Miami. It was the first time I’ve been in the US overall so it was a good experience seeing how Joshua does things leading up to a fight like this. As always I’m observing and seeing how things are done so one day when I’m in that position I can do the same thing.”
Chris Algieri – New York, USA – 23-3, 8 KOs – defending his WBO International Super-Lightweight title against Tommy Coyle:
“I just want to first of all thank Eddie Hearn and Matchroom Boxing for putting on this amazing event and to my promoter Joe Deguardia from Star Boxing, as well as Sky Sports which it is going to be great to be exposed to a whole new fanbase out there. Also to DAZN which is the premier platform for all things boxing now, and a bunch of other things as well. I think it really is the way of the future in terms of where we are right now where networks are starting to fall and apps are starting to become the major thing.
“This fight is a huge opportunity. This is exactly why I came back to the sport. I want to be a World Champion, this fight puts me back in that position so I’ve got to go out there and not only win, but look impressive and angle myself for another World title run. This is why I am here. I’m feeling great, this training camp has been fantastic. I have an opponent in Tommy Coyle that gets me excited to go out there. I really think it’s going to be a fantastic fight. Make sure you tune in.
“There’s been a lot of talk about a lot of the stuff that I have been doing outside of the ring but I want to go back to everybody talking about what I do inside the ring so on Saturday night I’m looking forward to putting on a great show and coming out with the victory and moving forward.
Joe Deguardia, promoter of Chris Algieri:
“Its a pleasure to be here, this is something really special this fight between Tommy and Chris. I don’t know if it’s going to be the battle of the mics or the battle of the ring, because both of them are great speakers. Chris Algieri’s history is something special, we are as a team pleased to be here Eddie, thank you. DAZN are taking over boxing, it’s the perfect place to watch and be sure to tune in early on DAZN because this is going to be on early. It’s going to be a great fight leading into the World Championship here at Madison Square Garden, the Mecca of boxing. It’s always spectacular to be fighting at MSG, there’s no place in the World like it. I’m really looking forward to this fight between Tommy and Chris.
“Chris has been something special behind and outside the ring, between his interviews, between what he’s done as a nutritionist working with all of the fighters. Inside the ring he has been something special as well. I know Chris is hungry to get his title back, he’s never lost at 140lbs and Tommy is standing in the way. Eddie has it right, the winner of this fight probably fights for the championship of the World next.”
Tommy Coyle – Hull, England – 25-4, 12 KOs – challenging Chris Algieri for the WBO International Super-Lightweight title:
“I never in my wildest dreams thought I would be fighting at the Mecca of boxing which is Madison Square Garden. I’m so so excited but it’s a huge huge opportunity for me to go on and do something which I probably thought would never happen in my career.
“With opportunity comes pressure, but without pressure you don’t get diamonds and I genuinely think Saturday night I’m going to go in there and shine like a diamond. I think it’s the right time for me, I’ve improved as a fighter, I’m really coming into my own now and I’m just mega excited. I keep laughing to myself, waiting for someone to tell me that it’s a prank. I’m usually pulling the pranks but it’s happening, I’m here and it’s going off.
“100% this is a very winnable fight. It’s a great fight. Chris Algieri is a fantastic fighter, he’s a better dresser, he dresses fantastic – I like his style. I really really think this is a fight for me where I can really look good. I’m not going to have to go and find him, I just think the styles will gel fantastically and I know I’ve got too much inside.”
Souleymane Cissokho – Bagnolet, France – 8-0, 6 KOs – fighting Vladimir Hernandez in a eight round Super-Welterweight contest:
“Thanks Matchroom, thanks Eddie, thanks everybody. I’m very happy to be here. It’s a very great fight card. I had a great training camp and I can’t wait to show you all who I am. Thanks.”