Duffield and Azeez Meet In All-London Clash at The O2!
(May 8th) Charlie Duffield and Dan Azeez will meet in an all-London clash for the Southern Area Light-Heavyweight title on the undercard of Dillian Whyte’s Heavyweight showdown with unbeaten Colombian Oscar Rivas at The O2 in London on July 20, live on Sky Sports Box Office.
Canning Town’s Duffield (7-1, 6 KOs) bounced back from a first career defeat in 2016 with four straight victories and the heavy-handed Mark Tibbs fighter is delighted to be fighting for his first professional title as he looks to climb the domestic ladder at 175lbs.
Lewisham’s Azeez (8-0, 5 KOs) has earned his first title shot with eight straight wins since turning over in 2017 and the former amateur standout is promising to deliver a memorable performance in his first opportunity on the big stage.
“I’m really looking forward to this one,” said Duffield. “It’s a really big platform on Sky Sports Box Office and a great opportunity for me to showcase what I’m really about. It’s going to be a cracking fight on July 20, I’m preparing for a war. Mark Tibbs has got the best out of me and he’s pushed me to my limits – that’s what I need in a trainer. I’ve got to say a massive thank you to Dillian Whyte for helping me get this opportunity, he’s been like a big brother to me.
“This is massive for me. I’ve always told people that these four rounders are no good for me because I only start warming up in the second and third rounds. I’m a pretty slow starter and I come on strong in the later rounds. I haven’t been able to showcase that yet but this is a championship fight and I’m going to get my head down and train hard. Under the guidance of Mark I think I can go all the way.
“I’ve seen lots of Azeez and he’s very good. He’s kept really busy which should stand him in good stead for our fight. I never underestimate my opponents but I’m going to let my hands do the talking. When I catch people cleanly with those 10oz gloves they don’t get up. Nobody has seen the best of my yet but they will on July 20.”
“I’m happy to get my first title shot,” said Azeez. “It’s a pleasure to have it on a huge Matchroom Boxing show. I’ve got to thank MTK Global for sorting it out for me. I’ve worked hard to get into this position with some good performances and I’ve stayed very active. The fashion of my wins has made a lot of noise and put me in this position to be mandatory for the Southern Area title.
“Charlie Duffield is a big opponent. He’s very strong and he’s a big puncher. He’s won the majority of his fights by TKO so I know he’s dangerous. My current trainer used to train Charlie as an amateur, so he’ll know a lot about him. I’m expecting the best Charlie Duffield to turn up on July 20 so I’ve got to train hard and just keep on doing what I’m doing. I’m sure that will be enough to get my hand raised on the night.”
Duffield and Azeez clash on a huge night of boxing in the Capital.
Main event sees Dillian Whyte (25-1, 8 KOs) take on Oscar Rivas (26-0, 18 KOs) for the number one Heavyweight spot in the WBC; Dave Allen (17-4-2, 14 KOs) and David Price (24-6, 19 KOs) collide in a huge domestic Heavyweight showdown and undefeated Cruiserweights Richard Riakporhe (9-0, 8 KOs) and Chris Billam-Smith (8-0, 7 KOs) face each other for the WBA Inter-Continental title, with more exciting undercard additions to be announced soon.
Tickets for Whyte vs. Rivas are priced £40, £60, £80, £100, £150, £200, £300, £500 and £1,000 VIP.
Tickets are available to purchase for O2 Priority customers on Tuesday 23 April at midday via The O2 (www.theo2.co.uk) and go on sale to Fight Pass members on Wednesday 24 April at midday via StubHub (www.stubhub.co.uk)
About Matchroom Boxing
After the success of snooker in the 1980s, Matchroom Sport moved into boxing with two small hall shows followed by Frank Bruno v Joe Bugner at Tottenham Hotspur’s ground – the biggest boxing event of 1987. That launched the company into the boxing big-time, a position it has maintained ever since.
Through the 1990s Matchroom Sport’s boxing roster featured many of the biggest names in the sport including Lennox Lewis, Nigel Benn, Chris Eubank, Steve Collins and Naseem Hamed, all in world title fights and it continues to work with some of the biggest names in UK boxing including Audley Harrison, the 2000 Olympic Super-Heavyweight gold medalist.
Over the years, Matchroom Sport has built up long-standing relationships with broadcasters around the world and with the advent of the Prizefighter phenomenon, the company’s boxing division has never been in a stronger position.
From fantastic six round scraps between the sport’s journeymen, up to multi-million-dollar World Championship contests featuring the above fighters, the Pro Box series has it all. Each show is packed with the very best in boxing action in a series that encompasses almost 25 years of Matchroom Sport’s commitment to bringing the highest quality to the global television market.
Richard Riakporhe Meets Chris Billam-Smith July 20th!
(May 3rd) Richard Riakporhe will make the second defence of his WBA Inter-Continental Cruiserweight title against Chris Billam-Smith on the undercard of Dillian Whyte’s crunch Heavyweight clash with Oscar Rivas at The O2 in London on July 20, live on Sky Sports Box Office.
Riakporhe (9-0, 8KOs) displayed destructive punch power as he halted Belfast’s highly-touted Tommy McCarthy in four rounds last time out at the East of England Arena in Peterborough in March and the Londoner knows that a win over unbeaten Billam-Smith will keep him in contention for a clash with current British Champion Lawrence Okolie.
Billam-Smith (8-0, 7KOs) also holds a perfect record since turning professional in 2017 and Bournemouth fighter keeps busy on next Friday’s JD NXTGEN show at the Motorpoint Arena Nottingham before turning his attention to Riakporhe.
Known as ‘The Gentleman’, Billam-Smith has honed his skills under trainer Shane McGuigan and the 28-year-old is determined to announce himself on the big stage by taking out Riakporhe in style on his first ever PPV event.
“I’m so excited,” said Riakporhe. “I just can’t wait to get in there and get to work. I’ve got tons of potential and fight after fight I’m learning new things. I’ve taken on these big tests, I came into all these fights as the underdog, and my resume is looking quite impressive so far. This is pretty much the beginning and it’s just a matter of time before people realise that I’m the truth.
“I think Chris Billam-Smith is a good fighter, it’s just that there’s levels and I just feel that I’m on another level. He brings good boxing skill, he’s got a good coach in his corner, but once that bell rings he’s going to understand that there’s different levels of fighting. I don’t think he has been up against an opponent like me.
“All my fights and history shows that I have abnormal power and that’s likely to bring issue when we fight for sure, but we’re not only going to rely on that. We’re going to outbox him and beat him in every single department.
“I bring a lot of power and the fans love to see the knockouts. I bring those knockouts as you can see from my last eight fights and I’m going to continue to bring excitement to the fans. I think Lawrence will be watching closely and I believe once I carry on getting the wins, our paths are very likely to cross. It’s going to be a hell of a fight in the future.”
“I believe it’s going to be an exciting fight for the fans,” said Billam-Smith. “You only have to look at our records to see that we both carry knockout power and the ability to end fights at any time. Isaac Chamberlain didn’t want to know so we moved on swiftly and secured a better fight with Riakporhe, I’m not letting anyone stall my career.
“I think I’ll outbox him early on and I believe I’ll take him out when I get the chance – I don’t expect this to go the full ten rounds. I believe that I’ll take him out anywhere between four and six rounds. He’s a good scalp for me at this stage of my career as his record looks great on paper and he can obviously punch a bit. There’s definitely weaknesses there which I plan to exploit.
“This will be the first title that I’ve boxed for as a professional and it’s important to get it under my belt in order to progress. I want to pick up as many belts as I can and move up the rankings quickly. It’s the perfect platform for me with it being on Sky Sports Box Office and at such a great arena that I’ve been to many times as a fan over the years. I’m excited to bring a big fanbase with me and start the show with a bang.”
“Richard is on a good run now and he’s got a lot of confidence behind him,” said Dillian Whyte, manager of Riakporhe. “The people he’s fighting and beating, I believe his resume is a lot better than Lawrence Okolie so far. If he defeats Billam-Smith in good fashion, which I believe he will do, then he should be looking to fight the likes of Lawrence Okolie by the end of the year.
“Billam-Smith is a good boxer, he’s undefeated, he’ll be confident, but Richard carries a lot of power, he’s on a roll and I think he can stop Billam-Smith in six or seven rounds. With Richard, it’s all about the people he has around him, and the mindset that those people give him. He’s ready to defeat most of these guys in the Cruiserweight division worldwide.”
“It’s a great fight and these type of fights don’t happen very often,” said Barry McGuigan MBE, manager of Billam-Smith. “Most of the guys that are coming up through the ranks are always conscious of the guys that are on a similar level to them with similar records but invariably they avoid each other, certainly in the early stages of their career. It’s great to see these two young guys meeting on July 20.
“Riakporhe is definitely known for his punching power and I know that his manager Dillian Whyte thinks Riakporhe can take Billam-Smith out but I disagree with that completely. Of all of the guys that we’ve had through the gym, I don’t think anyone had made the improvements that Billam-Smith has made. He’s got great boxing skills and he can bang. He places his shots really well. It’s not an easy fight, there’s no question about it, but I think he will have too much for Riakporhe – he’s too versatile. It’s as simple as that.”
Whyte vs Rivas & Allen vs Price Opening Presser!
Allen and Price
Collide In Huge Domestic Showdown at The O2!
(April 28th) Dave Allen will face David Price in a huge domestic Heavyweight showdown on the undercard of Dillian Whyte’s clash with unbeaten rival Oscar Rivas at The O2 in London on July 20, LIVE on Sky Sports Box Office.
Allen (17-4-2, 14KOs) stopped former WBA World Champion Lucas Browne in three rounds at the Greenwich venue last weekend, flooring the Australian with a crunching body shot to claim a stunning victory in his first ever main event fight.
‘White Rhino’ has taken his career to new heights after four straight stoppage wins and the hugely-popular Doncaster man believes that another win over Liverpudlian Price could earn him a shot at one of the top ten Heavyweights in the World.
Price (24-6, 19KOs) returned to winning ways with a TKO victory over Hatfield’s Tom Little last December and then recorded a win over Kash Ali at The M&S Bank Arena in Liverpool after being bit twice during a controversial fight that ended in Ali’s disqualification.
The former British and Commonwealth Champion is determined to prove that he still has plenty left in the tank and is all too aware that nothing less than a win on July 20 will suffice as he looks to throw his name into the Heavyweight World mix once more.
“This is the fight that I’ve wanted for years,” said Allen. “I wanted it three years ago but it probably wasn’t the right fight for me at the time. Now it’s the right time for me and it’s the biggest domestic fight out there. There may be other fighters out there that are better than us but I think me and Pricey have two of the biggest fanbases in the UK.
“We’re both really exciting fighters and we can both punch, either of us could end it with one shot. It’s a great fight and one that I’m really excited to be involved in. This won’t go past four rounds. I’m going to try and outbox him and I’m going to try and take him out with one shot as early as possible. I want to beat him in the first two or three rounds while he’s still fresh and at his best. His game plan will be to try and knock me out within the first few rounds so the fans will love it.
“A win over Price would put me one fight away from a World title shot. It puts me in the shop window for the Joseph Parkers and Alexander Povetkins of this World. On the back of three victories then Lucas Browne and David Price I believe that I’m ready for a top ten Heavyweight and that for me is a final eliminator for a World title fight.”
“It’s a great fight and it’s come at a good time for the both of us,” said Price. “It’s a fight that will capture a lot of people’s interest. Dave Allen has got a good following and I’ve got a good following myself. It’s going to be an interesting night that’s for sure.
“Dave is a durable fighter and he’s on a good winning streak. His last fight was a great win so he’ll be coming into this one with his tail up but I’ve won my last two fights as well. It’s going to be explosive. It’s two big punchers and it might be a matter of who lands first.
“Dave is known for his toughness so it won’t be a good idea for me to go out there and try to land a big one early. It’s about me trying to use my attributes to my advantage. It’s two completely different types of fighters and two different sized men. I’m a lot bigger than Dave Allen, that can be a good thing or a bad thing.
“It’s a massive fight. I think me and Dave Allen have been slated to fight a couple of times in the past and it hasn’t happened for whatever reason but this time there’s big upsides for the winner. There’s a hell of a lot on the line which makes for an intriguing fight.”
“This is a big domestic clash and a complete 50-50 Heavyweight match up,” said Eddie Hearn. “Dave Allen’s story has touched sports fans all over the country and he returns to The O2 after his epic KO of Lucas Browne. We all know David Price inside out – a huge puncher but also vulnerable at times, he is coming off two solid wins and wants another major Worldwide name in the division. I have no idea who will get the job done but I cannot wait to see it unfold on a huge night at The O2. Don’t blink!”
Whyte Faces Rivas in London Showdown!
(April 21st) Dillian Whyte will face Oscar Rivas for the number one Heavyweight spot in the WBC at The O2 in London on Saturday July 20, live on Sky Sports Box Office.
Whyte (25-1 18KOs) holds the number one slot with the WBC and puts that on the line as the hard-hitting ‘Body Snatcher’ continues to blast his path to a World title shot. The Brixton banger put Derek Chisora away in devastating style in his last outing, the pair thrilling the Greenwich crowd in their rematch in December – before icing Del Boy in the 11th round.
The 31-year-old Briton will be gunning for a tenth straight win against Rivas, with wins over Joseph Parker, Robert Helenius and Lucas Browne sandwiched between his two wins over Chisora. Whyte has become a must-watch fighter since rocking old foe Anthony Joshua in their battle at The O2 in December 2012, and yet again takes on a high-risk challenge as he cements his spot as the leading Heavyweight contender in the world.
Rivas (26-0 18KOs) is yet another dangerous customer for Whyte to risk his number one rankings with, and the Colombian comes into the bout on the back of his biggest win in the paid ranks. Rivas travelled to Turning Stone Resort Casino in Verona, NY in January and KO’d former World title challenger Bryant Jennings in the final round of their clash, underlining his dangerous potential to World titlists and fellow contenders, with ‘Kaboom’ ranked at number ten with the WBC, seven in the IBF and a lofty five with both the WBA and WBO.
The Canadian-based 31 year old carried an impressive amateur record into the paid ranks, beating Kubrat Pulev in the 2008 Olympic Games a year after landing silver in the Pan-American games – and with 18 KOs in 26 fights since turning over, July 20 promises to be an explosive war between two in-form big-punchers, with huge stakes on the line.
“I am very happy to be fighting again at The O2 in July,” said Whyte. “Oscar Rivas is undefeated and ranked in the top 10 across the board of all the governing bodies. He has been one of the most avoided heavyweight fighters in the last few years.
“His KO victory over Bryant Jennings sent shockwaves through the division and Tyson Fury just turned down ESPN/Top Rank’s offer to fight him. I am over the moon that he has accepted the fight. He has a great amateur and professional record, including a win over Kubrat Pulev.
“I am more than happy to carry on fighting top 10 fighters like Rivas until I get my well-earned shot at Deontay Wilder or Anthony Joshua.
“I can’t wait until July 20 to fight again at The O2 which is one of the best venues in the world for boxing.”
‘‘I have waited for this opportunity for a very long time,” said Rivas. “Dillian Whyte is an excellent boxer, a World class fighter and the number one contender. He deserve all my respect for his accomplishments and I am grateful for the opportunity he is giving me.
“This is exactly the kind of challenge I was hoping to get. I am undefeated, I am planning to keep my perfect record after July 20 in my quest to get the ultimate opportunity to become World champion.”
“This is a great fight with both men coming off explosive late knockouts,” said promoter Eddie Hearn. “Rivas is undefeated and looking to take Dillian’s number one spot but as we know, The O2 has become a fortress for him of late and this is set to be another war. We are planning a huge night of boxing on July 20 with a monster card topped by the brilliant heavyweight headliner.”
“First I would like to thank Eddie Hearn and Matchroom Boxing who made a proposal impossible to turn down,” said Yvon Michel, President of Groupe Yvon Michel. “Oscar Rivas was willing to step up and face Anthony Joshua for June in New York and representations were made.
“It might not be his turn now but instead he is extremely happy, to be earning an eventual World title opportunity, by proving he is the best amongst the contenders against the outstanding Dillian Whyte. On July 20 a new star will be born!”
Adam Smith, Head of Sky Sports Boxing, said: “Dillian Whyte is risking it all again as he battles the dangerous Oscar Rivas at The O2, which has become a happy hunting ground for ‘The Body Snatcher.’
“Dillian has already delivered exciting wins over Joseph Parker and Derek Chisora at the same venue, but he could have his hands full against Rivas, the unbeaten Colombian with his own world ambitions.
“Expect another enthralling showdown when Whyte returns in the summer, and we expect to have a stacked card before a sizzling main event.”