By: Jack Dutton (@jd_boxing)
On Saturday night at The O2 Arena, Eddie Hearn’s Matchroom Sport get their calendar year underway with their first show of 2015. Despite having heavyweight sensation Anthony Joshua removed from the bill due to injury, today’s final press conference certainly whetted the appetite for fight night and all that was present was left with no doubt but to expect an entertaining night of boxing.
The bill dubbed “Capital Punishment” is now topped by popular East London fighter Kevin Mitchell, who’s fighting in a final eliminator for the WBC lightweight world title against Mexico’s Daniel Estrada. Mitchell was last out at Wembley Stadium, on the undercard of Froch-Groves 2, and is expecting a tough fight against Estrada who fought for the WBC strap last time out, suffering a defeat to 9th round stoppage to Omar Figueroa.
John Ryder in the co-feature fight on the bill and has had a change of opponent in recent weeks but is now up against Argentinean fighter Billi Godoy, who brings with him an interesting record to ensure Ryder certainly won’t have it easy and all his own way on Saturday night. With wins over Jorge Sebastian Heiland and Carlos Baldomir, albeit a rather old one, he enters the ring with arguably a more impressive record than currently held by Ryder himself, in terms of who each of them have faced. However, John Ryder will be looking to prove he is capable of going to the next level and can do so with an impressive win against the fighter from Santa Fe, Argentina.
Further down the bill comes two incredibly exciting fights between four of the most popular light welterweights across the UK and everybody is looking forward to seeing who comes out on top in each respective fight. I am told there has been over a 1,000 tickets sold between the two fighters for each fight, so the atmosphere during these fights is certainly one not to be missed.
Firstly we have John Wayne Hibbert facing Tyler Goodjohn for the WBC international light welterweight title. After a resurgence in his career from an impressive win against Ricky Boylan, Goodjohn will be looking to maintain the turnaround in his career. “I’ve come a long way in my career, I’m now fighting for the WBC international title. Saturday can’t come quick enough.”
However in his way is the holder of the belt, Essex fighter, John Wayne Hibbert who’s on the back of a four fight unbeaten streak and was last out on the same bill as Goodjohn’s last fight. Although there seems to have been a bit of needle between the two fighter’s on social media Hibbert stated “I’ve got respect for Tyler and he’s got respect for me. I’m not predicting anything. I’m just going into win.”
Eddie Hearn, is expecting a close fight between the two and cannot pick a winner and the promoter of both fighters said this about the fight: ” I’m a big believer that sometimes it not necessarily the result but the fights that you’re in and that’s why I think in this fight he [Goodjohn] probably goes in as slight favourite because Hibbert hasn’t been in those types of fights before. Hibbert expects to win and might be the favourite, generally, but for me Tyler’s boxed at the MEN, boxed at the O2 before, I know Hibbert boxed at the O2 last time but I just feel like he’s [Goodjohn] been in those bigger fights that might make the difference.”
Alongside this fight, in the same weight class, Tommy Martin and Ricky Boylan face off for the English title and is just as close as the previous fight mentioned. Tommy Martin comes to the ring at just twenty years of age with an unbeaten record of 10-0 and the confidence he exudes for such a young fighter is impressive to say the least. He told the media today “boxing is about levels. I’ve got to turn up on the night and I’ve got to show I’m on a different level to him [Boylan].”
Boylan is also impressed by the young fighter and acknowledges that at the stage of The Gun’s career it was a fight he didn’t necessarily have to take, and noted “credit to him [Martin] there. He’s taken a fight that he didn’t have to.” Boylan himself is coming back from a loss last time out to previously mentioned Tyler Goodjohn but promises to bring a new fighting style to the ring, having now had a full camp with Jamie Moore who he teamed up with just two weeks before his last fight.
“It’s nice to hear everyone saying I’m a different fighter now and you’ll see it on Saturday night” was what Boylan declared at today’s press conference.
Eddie Hearn, who happens to promote both fighters in this fight also, is yet again finding it difficult to pick between his two fighters and stated, “I think Martin’s going to do the smart work but Boylan’s going to be stronger, so again its one of those where absolutely anything could happen in that fight.”
Meanwhile, Charlie Edwards and Isaac Chamberlain are on the bill and both make their debut, and Hearn stresses they should both enjoy the experience. “Just relax, how many times do you get to debut at an arena like that so just enjoy it.” However he went on to say “You’ve got to learn every time you get in the ring.” Which is something I’m sure both fighters will be looking to do on Saturday night.
Ben Hall, Lee Markham and Ohara Davies also feature on the bill. Hall faces Ryan Toms in a six round fight at light middleweight, Markham is up against super middleweight fighter Lewis Van Poetsch in another six round contest whilst Lee Gibbons stands in the way of Hackney’s lightweight fighter,Davies.by