Participants wenth through the final press conference at The City Ground ahead of Friday’s JD NXTGEN action at the Motorpoint Arena Nottingham.
The even is shown live on Sky Sports in the UK and DAZN in the US.
Here’s what they had to say:
Promoter Eddie Hearn:
“I’ve been looking to return to Nottingham for years and now we have the perfect chance to do it with Leigh Wood and a great line up of talent. It’s been nearly 7 years since that unforgettable night when Carl Froch dethroned Lucien Bute and we hope we can now put Nottingham back on the map as a more regular stop within the boxing calendar.
“We’ve been looking for a headline act to come back here with and the JD NXTGEN series gives the young fighters the opportunity to come out and headline shows. Leigh Wood has always had a strong following, he’s sold a huge amount of tickets and we’re going to have a great crowd in there on Friday.
“It’s a chance for Nottingham to have a resurgence in boxing and to have a resurgence as a city you need a local lad who can fight and who can win titles, and can go on potentially to fight for a World title. He’s got a really tough fight on Friday, it’s Nottingham against Manchester in Ryan Doyle, a former Commonwealth Champion. He’s here to win and we’re going to find out a lot about Leigh Wood.”
Raymond Ford – New Jersey, USA – 1-0 – fighting Aleksandrs Birkenbergs in a four round Super-Featherweight contest:
“I’m grateful to have the opportunity to come over here and perform for you guys in the UK. My pro debut was in Philadelphia, basically my home town. I had fun doing it. I’m trying to make this performance a whole lot better than my first performance. I just want to give thanks to God because without him none of this would be possible. I want to give thanks to my team, my mum, my uncle and a bunch of people that are behind me. I’m thankful and I’m ready to put on a great show for you guys.
“We know there’s a big fanbase over here. Boxing over here is like NFL football in the US so a lot of guys in the US definitely want to come over here to the UK and fight.”
Brad Daws – Carlton, Nottinghamshire – 3-0 – fighting Zigards Krauklis in a four round Featherweight contest:
“I’m really looking forward to boxing on this show. I’ve been watching Leigh Wood since I was a kid and it’s a massive honour to be on his undercard. It’s a massive undercard to be on. I used to go and watch Froch when I was a kid. I’m really looking forward to it. ”
Terri Harper – Denaby, Yorkshire – 6-0, 3 KOs – fighting Claudia Andrea Lopez in a ten round Lightweight contest:
“I think I’m showing what I’m here to do. I don’t want to be playing around. I want to be winning those World titles. I’m coming off a strong win against Nina Bradley back in March for the WBC International title. I experienced my first ten rounds and I got through it successfully. I’m going again Friday against Claudia Lopez, a tough opponent. So I’m going to take what I learnt back in March into the ring with me on Friday and hopefully come away successfully once again.
“I do feel like Lightweight is the right weight for me but while I’m young and can make Super-Featherweight I don’t see why not to move down in weight to win more titles. Katie Taylor and the like are making big movements for women’s boxing and she’s a big inspiration.”
Fabio Wardley – Ipswich, Suffolk – 6-0, 5 KOs – fighting Dennis Lewandowski in a six round Heavyweight contest:
“The opponent I’ve got on Friday is a good tough durable guy. That’s what me and my team have been looking for. We’ve been looking for someone who’s going to come and challenge me. My first few fights on Matchroom bills were good announcement fights, good to show off a small portion of my skillset. Yes I’ve got heavy hands and I can get people out of there early, I can put combinations together and things but now I want a test. I want someone that’s going to stand in front of me and and I’m going to hit them hard and they’ll keep on coming. I want that and I need that kind of testing. I need those questions answered within myself. I’m just looking forward to a good fight.
“It was my second time being out in Ukraine with Usyk and his team. I went over there for the first time in October of last year. Going out there for a second time was cool, it was just as good. Him and his whole team are all very nice, they’re all engaging and want to look after you and make sure that you’re settled in. You can’t get that type of sparring anywhere else in the World. You have to be so switched on. He’s such a thinker while he’s in the ring. There’s so many little things I can take away from his camp. I’ve been there a couple of times now and I’m comfortable with him and his team. It’s all knowledge and information that I can take home with me.”
Charles Frankham – Crowthorne, Bracknell Forest – fighting Tzemal Xouseinoglou in a found round Super-Featherweight contest on his professional debut:
“I can’t wait for my debut. Obviously I had a little issue with my boxing license but it’s been and long and hard camp and I’m ready to put on a show now on Friday night. It was a great win for John Ryder over the weekend, he looked unbelievable. The gym is buzzing at the minute so we’re all thriving off each other so it’s a great gym to be in.”
Dalton Smith – Sheffield, Yorkshire – fighting Luka Leskovic in a found round Super-Lightweight contest on his professional debut:
“I’m excited for my debut. It’s finally here now. It was a long process turning over. It’s been a good training camp and that’s all done now, I can concentrate on what I’m here to actually do and that’s fight on Friday. I’m very excited for it. This is a whole new challenge but like you say with the Olympic qualifications and stuff you put s much into it and it becomes a big part of your life but once you turn professional that’s all in the past and you kind of forget about it. It’s about focusing ahead and thinking about what’s in the future.
“I’ve got a good fanbase coming up and like you say it’s just about staying active. You learn a lot from staying active. As long as I stay active and fight regularly then I can see myself propelling quickly.”
Dave Coldwell, trainer of Jordan Gill:
“The key for Jordan at this stage of his career is to get the right fights for his development. I’m not in any particular rush to launch him into the elite World level, although he’s had 23 fights, the first 16 of those were just against guys that came in just to survive and not to win. Since we took on Jason Cunningham every fight from then has been a test for him and a step up for him. The things that we work on in the gym, he’s been performing in fights, and that’s the key about Jordan Gill – he’s somebody that you can work on and try things with. You can add things to his game. Devin Haney is seen as one of the World’s biggest prospects and a future star, Tinoco have him a good fight on short notice. Haney is a big puncher at Lightweight, he showed how tough he is. I’ve got nothing but massive respect for Tinoco and I know this is a threat and a dangerous fight for Jordan. These are the kind of fights that are going to develop him.”
Enrique Tinoco – Tijuana, Mexico – 17-5-4, 12 KOs – challenging Jordan Gill for the WBA International Featherweight title:
“Good afternoon. Thank you for this great opportunity. I feel very comfortable and very strong. I had a tremendous camp, I had little bit more time than usual. A lot of the time I only have two week’s notice, sometimes even less. I feel very strong and comfortable.
“It was a great experience boxing Devin Haney. I had no excuses and I lost the fight. He’s a tremendous athlete, as you all know he’s one of best right now, very clever. I had a week’s notice and I just went there and did my best.
“Let’s give the fight a tremendous fight. Let’s not run, let’s not box, let’s just give the fans a fight in the Mexican style, let’s stand there and trade punches and let’s put on a great fight for the fans.
Jordan Gill – Chatteris, Cambridgeshire – 23-0, 7 KOs – defending his WBA International Featherweight title against Enrique Tinoco:
“100 per cent I’ll be ready, if not sooner, as quick as you want to move me, I’m here to fight. This is why we’ve chosen such a tough opponent. I need those rounds, I need to be put under pressure. I need all these different experiences in the ring and I’m sure on Friday night Tinoco is going to ask a lot of questions from me.
“We’ve trained hard, it’s been an intense training camp, a short one and I’m glad to be here and back out again so quickly.
“That’s what he wants (me to fight like a Mexican), that’s what he’s going to get, but Dave’s just leaned over and said if I do ‘he’s going to kill me’ so I might have two fights on my hands on Friday night.
“But whatever is in front of me, I’ll deal with it. I’m looking to a good fight. I’m sure he’ll come and bring it and so will I. No matter what, whether we have a Mexican war for 12 rounds or box and move, or if I run around the ring like a chicken, everybody will be leaving that arena entertained.”
Ryan Doyle – Gorton, Lancashire – 17-3-1, 9 KOs – challenging Leigh Wood for the Commonwealth Featherweight title:
“I feel like I belong at this level now. I’ve shown it. I had the greatest night of my career beating Reece Bellotti and the worst losing to Jordan Gill but I believe I belong at this level and it’s where I want to stay. I’ve got a bit more experience than him and I’ve stayed more active than him. He’s a good fighter and he’s been around the game the same length of time as myself. He’s just not had the opportunities but come Friday I’m sure he’ll bring his best and the best man will win.
“I’ve had a great training camp. Everything has gone well. I’ve made some small adjustments. Everyone wrote me off for the Bellotti fight but I trained hard fo ritz’s and got the win. I’m in a similar position with this fight where people are writing me off again but every time I turn up I give an exciting fight and that’s what I’m in this business for.”
Leigh Wood – Gedling, Nottinghamshire – 21-1, 11 KOs – defending his Commonwealth Featherweight title against Ryan Doyle:
“I’m so excited. I have to keep calming myself down a bit, I’m getting too excited. I know I’m in a hard fight. Nobody has seen the best of me. I’ve not even been tested at Featherweight. There’s a reason I’ve not done 12 rounds yet, because I punch like f*ck. I’m in a good place mentally, physically. I’ve never had this momentum fight by fight. All of the hard work I’m putting in in the gym and pouring my heart into is paying off. I’m getting the fights to show what I can do as well.
“I’m going to come out on Friday and light up the arena. I want everyone to have a good night and I want to bring more of these shows back to Nottingham. I’m not a young kid. I’ve got experience in the game. I’m coming to please the crowd but I’m going to be sensible and smart. No doubt it’s going to be a career-best performance from myself. Ryan is established at this level but I want to go way past this level. On Friday Im going to prove it. I’m going to come out and box out of my skin. It’s going to be special.”