By Terence Dooley
Matchroom and Sauerland turned up in Liverpool today to announce a June 26 show at the city’s Echo Arena. David Price, who is signed to Sauerland Promotions, will appear on the bill—the 31-year-old's first appearance in his hometown since a brace of defeats to Tony Thompson in 2013.
It’s a good job the show’s not called “Lift off” as a faulty lift left Tony Bellew, David Price, Callum Smith and Rocky Fielding stuck between floors for a few anxious minutes and led to a slight delay.
After taking the dais, Price spoke about his appearance on the show. “It’s great to be back—it’s been a long time coming,” stated Price, 19-2 (16). “What happened two-years ago is in the past—I accept it. I’m looking forward to giving the city belief in me again. I want to give them belief they can have a heavyweight champion.”
He added: “It looks like we about to enter a golden time for heavyweight boxing in UK. There’s big fights to be made—they will involve me.”
“This city needs David and it’s great to have him back,” stated Tony Bellew, who will also appear on the card, both men's opponents are TBA. “We need to all get behind him.”
“My last fight in Liverpool didn’t go as planned but that’s ancient history now,” said Price (all further quotes were taken from Matchroom press releases).
“It’s behind me and I’ve moved on. I’m in a better place now than I was two years ago, and on June 26 people will see a much-improved fighter. The one-punch knockout artist is still there but now I’m a more polished boxer. I’m more relaxed and I’m enjoying my time in the ring. I’ve been working tirelessly in the gym, and I’m relishing the chance to get back under the bright lights and back fighting in front of my home fans at the Echo Arena.”
Bellew, 23-2-1 (14), has not fought since his revenge win over Nathan Cleverly back in October. The 32-year-old has been filming for the movie Creed, but "The Bomber" stressed that his main focus is boxing.
“Some say this fight is a step back, but this is the longest I’ve had out the ring—I’ve missed boxing so much. I still love fighting and there is no better feeling than fight night and punching someone in the face.”
“It is great to have Tony Bellew back,” added Hearn. “With our strong relationship with Sauerland we are looking to make Bellew against [Yoan] Hernandez later in 2015.”
Popular local Super middleweights Callum Smith, 16-0 (12), and Rocky Fielding, 20-0 (11), will both take big strides towards world title contention when they meet Christopher Rebrasse and Brian Vera respectively. A brace of wins for the duo would give Hearn plenty of options for two of his 168lbers.
“It's a massive fight for Callum Smith against Christopher Rebrasse for the WBC Silver Super Middleweight strap,” stated Hearn. “Victory will put him in a final eliminator to become the mandatory challenger for the winner of Badou Jack vs. George Groves for the WBC title. Rocky Fielding faces a massive step up against Bryan Vera who has mixed with many of the top boys at 160lbs and 168lbs. Rocky is ranked across all the governing bodies and victory on June 26th would put him with in touching distance of a World title shot.”
Rebrasse, 23-3-3 (6), went the distance in a losing EBU title defence against George Groves last year; he is expected to be Smith’s toughest test to date and the 25-year-old contender believes the challenge will ring out the best in him.
“He's going to be the best that I have boxed in the pros,” said Smith. “He's only lost three times and they have all been on points, he gave George Groves a really tough fight and I don't think that the scorecards reflected how close the fight was. He's big for the weight and it's a really competitive fight for me and it will be interesting to see what level I am at after the fight—I think it's the perfect fight at the perfect time.”
Vera, 23-9 (14), holds a win over current WBO middleweight titlist Andy Lee; he has twice taken Julio Cesar Chavez the distance, with many arguing that he deserved the nod when they first met. “Vera is a big step-up for me,” admitted Fielding, 27. “He has some great wins on his record and he's tested some really big names, so for me to get a win over him on my record would be a great statement.”
The show will also swell the coffers of the Hillsborough Family Support Group, 96p from every ticket sold will go to the organisation—96 football fans lost their lives at Hillsborough Stadium in Sheffield when the disaster occurred back in 1989.
“It’s a great gesture and it’s something close to everyone’s heart in the city,” said Price. “It’s the first time Tony and I have boxed on a bill together, Tony’s a big blue and I’m a big red, but we get behind each other and I hope the money goes some way to helping the families who are currently going through the trauma of the inquests into the tragedy.”
“We’re reds and blues but we wanted to do this for the amazing families and show our support for their fight for justice,” added Bellew. “When it comes to football in the city we’re very divided, but the city unites in boxing and we are united over justice for the 96—we’re just doing a small part to help as much as we can.”
TBA was unavailable for comment at the time of writing.
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