Eddie Hearn’s venture into America under his Matchroom Boxing USA banner on DAZN is being spearheaded by the established likes of Daniel Jacobs, Demetrius Andrade and Devin Haney, who returns to the fray against two-weight world champion Yuriorkis Gamboa on Saturday.
On the undercard of Haney’s WBC Lightweight title defence in Hollywood is a Featherweight prospect aiming to become a major player on the DAZN scene.
Raymond ‘Savage’ Ford is making strides, collecting six successive wins as a professional, having earnt a promotional contract after reaching out to Hearn on Instagram.
Ford has admirably turned his life around, following a troubled childhood growing up in Camden, New Jersey.
The 21-year-old was given multiple school expulsions and spent time in a juvenile detention centre in Philadelphia, as a result of continuous street fighting.
However, ‘Savage’ channelled his aggressive tendencies in the ring, focusing on his career and swiftly established himself as a standout US amateur, becoming a National Golden Gloves champion and just missing out on a spot at the now-postponed 2020 Olympics.
Ford displayed his slick boxing skills to see off Eric Manriquez by unanimous decision in the streets of Tulsa in August, but the southpaw has merited his ‘Savage’ alias, taking out two of his last four opponents in the opening round.
On Saturday, Ford faces what looks to be a step-up in durable Mexican, Rafael Reyes, the first opponent he has tackled with a winning record, despite losing his last five bouts.
And ‘Savage’ is confident of putting in a destructive display and bringing up his third stoppage.
“I know that he’s a pressure fighter,” Ford told the media on Wednesday.
“He can’t take body shots. He’s a tough fighter, as long as you allow him to be tough, but as long as you touch him, he’s going to fall down.”
Ford has lofty ambitions of taking on the elite names in the 126lbs division in time, pointing out IBF champion Josh Warrington and newly-crowned WBO holder Emanuel Navarrete as future targets.
“I think Josh [Warrington] is a good fighter,” Ford added.
“He’s got to be a good fighter to become a world champion, you can’t say he’s not a good fighter.
“I would love to fight him, because he’s got a good fanbase and I know that the fans over there in the UK support him and I think he would be a good fight for me.”
Ford has learnt in craft on the big stage, featuring on Haney’s undercard against Zaur Abdullaev last September at Madison Square Garden, as well as in the gym, sparring some of the top fighters on the American scene.
’Savage’ has gained vital experience sparring former WBO Featherweight world champion, Shakur Stevenson, stablemate and former IBF Super Featherweight holder, Tevin Farmer and most recently unified Lightweight world champion, Teofimo Lopez ahead of his victory over Vasiliy Lomachenko last month.
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And Ford highlights Stevenson as his toughest sparring partner, but says he is able to hold his own.
“Shakur is basically like me, we’re basically the same kind of fighters,” Ford continued.
“He’s real smart just like me, got great defence, so it’s kind of like a chess match in there.
“You both have to think in there. Nobody is giving nobody a free shot. You’ve got to work for everything whilst you’re in there.
“So, Shakur is definitely one of the guys who makes me think the most in there and I have to be on my A-Game.”
The future is looking bright for Ford, who at just 21-years-old is aiming to be apart of the growing array of the aforementioned US talent, who have quickly established themselves as some of the leading talents in the sport at their tender ages.
‘Savage’ already has Ryan Garcia’s younger brother, Sean in his sights, appearing to be on a collision course with his fellow, unbeaten compatriot.
A remarkable turnaround for Ford, who a decade ago had no direction for his fighting, but is now in sanctioned bouts with a goal in mind and a role model to his peers.
Watch the full interview with Raymond Ford below: