Compiled By: William Holmes
The following is the Boxing Insider notebook for the week of May 14th to May 21st; covering the comings and goings in the sport of boxing that you might have missed.
Smith to Defend WBA, WBC, and Ring Magazine Belts Against Hassan N’Dam
Callum Smith will defend his WBA World ‘Super’, WBC Diamond and Ring Magazine Super-Middleweight belts against Hassan N’Dam on the blockbuster Anthony Joshua OBE vs. Andy Ruiz Jr. World title bill at Madison Square Garden in New York on June 1, live on DAZN in the US and Sky Sports Box Office in the UK.
‘Mundo’ (25-0, 18 KOs) captured the WBA World title and was crowned World Boxing Super Series champion following a stunning seventh round knockout victory over British rival George Groves in Saudi Arabia last September – a win that also saw the Liverpudlian claim the vacant Ring Championship. Smith puts those titles on the line for the first time against former Middleweight World ruler N’Dam in his second appearance as a professional in the US.
N’Dam (37-3, 21 KOs) has operated at World level since landing the WBA Interim Middleweight World title against Avtandil Khurtsidze in 2010. He defended that title twice before losing on points to Peter Quillin with the WBO Middleweight crown at stake. A landslide win over Curtis Steven qualified the Frenchman for a shot at the IBF title in 2015 – an explosive contest with David Lemieux followed with the Canadian coming out on top on the score cards.
In 2017 N’Dam took on London 2012 Olympic gold medallist Ryota Murata for the vacant WBA regular World title, which he won via a split decision. The pair rematched five months later, again on Japanese soil, where N’Dam was forced into retirement in the seventh round. He most recently defeated four-time World title challenger Martin Murray by a 12 round majority decision in December.
“I’ve had a good camp and I’m looking forward to walking to the ring as a World Champion for the first time in my career,” said Smith. “I worked so hard to get where I am and now the task is to keep hold of my titles and target those big fights. To have my first defence at Madison Square Garden is going to be special and it’s another box ticked for me personally. People call it the Mecca of Boxing and I’ve always seen it as a venue that I’d love to fight at one day. The minute that there was a chance of it happening I pushed to make sure that I could be part of this show.
“N’Dam is a good fighter and he’s a former World Champion. He’s only lost to three top fighters and he’s got some great wins on his record. I had him over in England to help me prepare for George Groves so we know each other well. He’s a good mover, has good footwork and can move around the ring pretty well. Experience is on his side and he’s an awkward guy to face. Saying that, he’s definitely a fighter that I should beat and get rid of if I’m on my game.
“I believe that I’m improving all of the time – I’ve even improved since winning the World title. I believe that I’m the best Super-Middleweight in the World. There’s a few fighters in my division who probably disagree with that and rightly so. If I am the best on the planet then I should be able to get rid of Hassan N’Dam and look good doing it.”
“I am confident I will create a big surprise in New York,” said N’Dam. “It is a true privilege for me to be given the chance to fight at Madison Square Garden for the first time in my life. At this stage of my career this is a beautiful opportunity for me to be able to change division and fight for both the WBA World and WBC Diamond titles.
“I am so pleased and proud for this opportunity to be offered to me and I would like to add that even though the challenge is a big one, this does not affect my focus and my determination. Callum Smith is an excellent boxer with many qualities. As he is tall he can impose his own boxing style on most of his opponents. I have much respect for him both as a boxer and a person. I believe it will be a very tactical fight.
“Being able to say that once in my life I have fought at MSG will be a great pride. Besides, I have the experience of boxing on big shows as I have participated in many and in front of thousands of people. I have always defended my titles abroad and I am used to pressure and know how to handle it.”
“This is a huge platform and one that Callum fully deserves,” said promoter Eddie Hearn. “He has established himself as the number one 168 pounder in the World and will prove it at the Mecca of boxing on June 1. N’Dam always brings the action and I believe this will be a high level fight with plenty of fire. The mega fights await Callum and he can’t afford to slip up here, I know him and Joe Gallagher have prepared diligently for this challenge and he will be sending out a statement live on Sky Sports Box Office and DAZN.”
Rocky Fielding’s Homecoming on July 12th
Former world champion Rocky Fielding will make his return to action on the #MTKFightNight in Liverpool on July 12.
Fielding, who is back for the first time since losing his WBA world super-middleweight crown to Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez at Madison Square Garden back in December, will feature live on ESPN+ and iFL TV.
As he prepares to head back for the familiar turf of the Eventim Olympia, ‘Rocky from Stocky’ is brimming with anticipation.
Fielding said: “I’m absolutely buzzing to be back. There’s no place like home and the Olympia is really where my career started – I won Prizefighter there and then the English and British titles there too.
“I’ve been very impressed with the #MTKFightNight series. They’ve been on virtually every weekend and they look great. It’s important to keep getting these up-and-coming fighters exposure.
“It’s great to be back fighting in front of my home fans. I look at the top names in the division and I believe I’m still up there.
“I’m looking forward to training alongside my good mate Martin Murray for this one. The last time we were on a bill together, we both won titles so it’ll be special for us both.”
Already confirmed for the card is an IBF European title clash between Jazza Dickens and Nathaniel May.
Further news of fights and fighters on the card will be forthcoming in due course.
AIBA Remains Confident After Meeting with IOC Inquiry Committee
An eight-person strong delegation, led by Interim President Dr. Mohamed Moustahsane met today with the IOC ad-hoc inquiry committee.
During the meeting, a number of areas were discussed including AIBA’s significant progress in regards to finance, governance and refereeing and judging. AIBA provided the committee with insights into its complete transformation of the organisation, explaining the improvements made and assessment tools put in place that will ensure the continued positive work that has been done to rebuild all areas of the organisation. In addition, the AIBA team further responded to the last outstanding points raised by the committee.
Dr. Mohamed Moustahsane, AIBA President said: “We had a very productive meeting with the IOC inquiry committee today and we remain confident that Mr. Lalovic and his team will be able to positively report back to the IOC Executive Board in a few days’ time. We have done everything in our power to work with the IOC and all of our Olympic Partners, and we remain optimistic about the future of Olympic Boxing and AIBA’s ability safeguard this great sport.”
Devin Haney Media Workout Quotes
Highly touted undefeated lightweight contender, Devin “The Dream” Haney (21-0, 13 KOs), who is scheduled to face Antonio Moran (24-3, 17 KOs) at the MGM National Harbor in Oxon Hill, Maryland on May 25, held a media workout yesterday at City Boxing Gym in Las Vegas.
The 10-round main event will air live on DAZN in the US and Sky Sports in the UK as Haney is set to make his Matchroom Boxing USA debut. Tickets priced $40, $80, $150 and $250 (plus fees) are on sale now at ticketmaster.com.
Here is what Haney and his father and trainer Bill Haney had to say:
On his recent training camp:
“This has been a really good training camp. We started camp in the Bay Area training with Victor Conte and sparring Amir Khan. I was able to get some elite work with not only him but Mike Dallas as well. So, I started off strong in the beginning of camp, and when I moved camp back to Las Vegas, I was sharp. I just wrapped up my final sparring session before we leave for Maryland. I’ve put the work in, and my body feels great. “I’m ready to go.”
On facing Antonio Moran:
“Moran is a very tall fighter who brings a lot experience to the ring. I know he’ll be at his very best. He’s had two months to prepare for me. I’m prepared as well for anything that he’s going to bring to on fight night. The fans watching are in for a treat.”
On making his Matchroom Boxing USA and DAZN main event debut:
“I can’t wait to showcase my talent on DAZN and show my partners at Matchroom they made the right choice. I will prove I’m an elite fighter and I can rise to the competition. Making my DAZN main event debut in the DMV area is very special, I get the chance to fight in front of some great fight fans. I’m going to put on a great show. I have no doubt in my mind that I’m elevating the sport of boxing with Matchroom and DAZN by my side. We are changing the game. May 25th the world will bear witness.
BILL HANEY, Devin’s Father and Trainer
On his relationship with his son Devin Haney:
“Me and Devin have always had a great relationship. We respect each other and understand where the other is coming from. We have a plan and we are on the same page. He’s had a great camp and fans can expect to see a fighter that’s ready for a World Title.
On the recent signing with Matchroom Boxing USA:
“Signing a Co-promotional agreement with Matchroom Boxing has been a blessing. Eddie Hearn is someone I have a lot of respect for. All the sacrifices DHP made as a team paid off when we inked this deal. Now it’s time to show the world who the next superstar in boxing is. Together with Matchroom and DAZN no one will stop us.”
On how his son matches up with Antonio Moran:
“This is not an easy fight stylistically because Moran is so tall, I believe he is listed at 6’0. That’s a little freaky for a lightweight. Needless to say this is the type of fight he needs. We want to show the world that Devin can make adjustments with any fighter out there. Antonio Moran has faced some very good fighters, but the world will see Devin is on a different level.
Tickets on Sale for Andrade vs. Sulecki
Tickets for the homecoming WBO World Middleweight title defense of Demetrius Andrade are on presale NOW as he puts his belt on the line against Maciej Sulecki at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center in Providence, Rhode Island on Saturday June 29, live on DAZN in the US and on Sky Sports in the UK.
Andrade (27-0 17 KOs) makes the second defense of his crown in his first ever fight in his Providence backyard, with the two-weight World king landing the belt in Boston with an emphatic points win over Walter Kautondokwa in October and then stopping Artur Akavov in the final round of their January clash in New York.
The former WBO Junior-Middleweight ruler holds a powerful position in the star-studded 160lbs division as one of two World champions after Canelo Alvarez defeated Daniel Jacobs to add his IBF crown to the WBA and WBC belts he owns – meaning ‘Boo Boo’ is hunting an undisputed fight with the Mexican superstar.
Sulecki (28-1 11 KOs) will want to gatecrash those plans and the all-action Pole promises to deliver a war on June 29. The 30 year old challenger comes into the bout on the back of a thrilling clash with Gabriel Rosado in March, pocketing the WBO International belt after flooring the hometown favorite in the second and eighth rounds but then hitting the deck twice himself in the ninth.
The pair will come face-to-face at a press conference at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center next Wednesday and fans can get their hands on tickets NOW – with tickets starting at just $28 (including fees).
Fans can visit: https://www1.ticketmaster.com/matchroom-boxing-usa/event/010056AAED7788D1 and enter the code MBUSA to access presale tickets.
Tickets go on general sale at 10am on Wednesday May 22.