Ohara Davies surprised everybody in attendance as he declared himself a new man and apologised for his past actions ahead of Friday's massive #GoldenContract super-lightweight quarter-finals at York Hall.
Eight of the best 140lb fighters take part in the tournament, shown live on Sky Sports in association with Matchroom Boxing, and on ESPN+ in association with Top Rank.
The draw took place on Tuesday, with Kieran Gething taking on Lewis Benson, Mohamed Mimoune facing Darren Surtees, Mikey Sakyi going up against Tyrone McKenna, and Logan Yoon fighting Ohara Davies.
There was expected to be plenty of bad blood at the final press conference, but Davies shocked the world by instead revealing his new nice guy persona.
Here's what they all had to say at the final press conference...
Ohara Davies: "I want to be humble. I feel like my trash talking and arrogance is a thing of the past. I feel new and improved and positive with a great mindset. I woke up this morning and feel happy.
"Life is great. I apologise to Darren McKenna, Darren Surtees and everybody else. This is the new and improved Ohara. The fans will have to find somebody else to hate. I'm going to be a good person, and I love all of the boxers and fans."
Logan Yoon: "To clear up some stuff, we never posted any footage of me fighting, and that was a strategic move for my career so nobody can study me and my style.
"It's all respect between me and Ohara. It will be a good fight, and I couldn't have asked for anything else. I believe he's the best competitor in the tournament, so this is the best challenge for me."
Mikey Sakyi: "This is where I belong. I've been waiting a long time to get to this stage. I've been through hardships to get here. I know deep down that I'm ready and I'm grateful to be on this stage.
"Everyone here is capable of winning, it will come down to who holds their composure the best on the night, and I'm a composed guy.
"I've always been confident in my power. McKenna likes an exciting fight and so do I. You can tell by the way he dresses he's an exciting man. There is respect here, and you don't get to 19-1 by not doing your job. I'm here to show I can do a good job, so hopefully we'll meet together in the middle and get cracking."
Tyrone McKenna: "Sakyi says he wants an exciting fight and he'll come into the middle of the ring, that's where I'll be going so it sounds like we'll have a war. That's great as I've been itching to have a war.
"Hopefully we can excite the fans. I've got a lot of people coming over from my home country to watch me and I want to put on a good show. I've got my mind on Mikey Sakyi, I'm not focused on Ohara, I'm focused on Friday."
Mohamed Mimoune: "With regards to my choice to fight Darren Surtees, it was a strategic decision made with my coach. He's a tough fighter and has good punching power, so I like the challenge.
"Boxing is good in France. That motivates me to try and get into world title contention. Especially given the fact that I was in camp recently with world champion Nordine Oubaali. It makes me want to reach that level again."
Darren Surtees: "I'm not just a puncher. When I get in there I can box. I boxed at an elite level in the amateurs, so I'll prove on the night I have those skills.
"There was the incident with Ohara yesterday, but that's over and done with. I'm focusing on Mimoune, he's the best in the tournament on paper, so it's up to me to beat him."
Kieran Gething: "It will be life-changing for anybody who wins this tournament, and I sincerely believe it will be me. At the beginning of last month I was meant to be on an undercard of a show in Cardiff, then onto the undercard of this, and then a week out I'm in the main draw, so I'm enjoying every second of it.
"Lewis is a good fighter and he was one that I'd been targeting and asked for months prior. We've spoke about having fights ourselves, and I'm confident going into it. This seems to me like the perfect build up fight for me."
Lewis Benson: "When he called my name I was buzzing to be picked. He must have thought I was the weak link on that side of the draw so it gave me an added incentive to go in there and do my job.
"Scottish boxing is flying at the moment. I'm really confident I can do well in this competition. It's one fight at a time but I'm ready."
Scotland’s ‘Kid Caramel’ (12-2, 2 KOs) was selected first on Tuesday’s draw and will face Welsh champion Kieran Gething (9-2-1, 2 KOs) on Friday night at York Hall; live on Sky Sports in the UK in association with Matchroom Boxing and on ESPN+ in the US in association with Top Rank.
With the wind in the sails of Scottish boxing, Benson is ruling out defeat to ‘Kiwi’ after Wednesday’s entertaining press conference.
Benson said: “I’m glad Kieran has picked me. He’s a nice kid but I fancy this fight. I know he can’t beat me and I’ll show everyone that on Friday night.
“It’s pretty simple – I’m going to bring my A-game and he’s going to bring his A-game and I’m more than confident I’ll have too much in the tank for him.
“I’ve fancied this tournament since the beginning and then when the favourite pulled out, it gave me even more incentive.
“I believe I can beat all these British guys comfortably. I’ve been sizing them all up – including the Frenchman and the American – and I’m in a very good place. I’m confident.
“Training has been going very well in the lead-up to this tournament and I feel I’m in the right position at the right time here.”
Joining Benson vs. Gething in the quarter-final line-up is Logan Yoon vs. Ohara Davies, Mikey Sakyi vs. Tyrone McKenna and Mohamed Mimoune vs. Darren Surtees.
New British boxing star Alex Dilmaghani can’t wait for his first fight of 2020 and is confident he will win a World title after his riveting shoot-out with Francisco Fonseca last Saturday night at the York Hall.
The home of London boxing, that has featured many of the legends and epic fight nights of British boxing, served up another classic as modern-day warriors Dilmaghani and Fonseca went to war for the fans in the iconic hall and for the viewers on Channel 5 in the UK and around the world on YouTube.
They were scheduled to meet in September in Bolton but minutes before the ring walks were due to start, Fonseca was withdrawn by the BBBofC because of sickness. Promoter Mick Hennessy envisioned a barnstormer and potential Fight of the Year candidate back then and it proved to be right with both fighters delivering on the night.
Rescheduled for London and with the Vacant IBO World Super-Featherweight title on the line, the pair went straight into battle from the opening bell, setting a frenetic pace and fought at a blistering intensity around the middle of the ring from the first bell that remained throughout the whole of the action-packed contest.
The pair exchanged a high-volume of hurtful body-punches mixed with fast, hard, combinations and it was hard to separate them early on. Crayford’s classy Dilmaghani appeared to have the quicker hands, higher work-rate, better foot movement and defence by taking the punches on his arms and gloves, but Nicaraguan hardman Fonseca seemed to have the heavier hands and harder punches and was continually pushing forward.
In the ninth round a clash of heads resulted in Dilmaghani getting a bad cut above his left eye that his corner - with cuts man Kerry Kayes - did a superb job to stop it from getting worse and see their man get through to the final bell.
When the scores were read out at the end of the contest, Pawel Kardyni and Roberto Ramirez Jr both had a draw at 114-114, while British judge Howard Foster had it 115-114 to Fonseca.
Whilst Dilmaghani was disappointed not to have been given the nod by the judges’ and not have the IBO title in his possession, he was pleased with his performance and the exciting nature of the fight and believes it will only increase his value.
“I thought I won the fight,” Said Dilmaghani. “It was a very close fight, definitely before I got the cut in the ninth round I felt that I had won everything, overall I had it 8-4 or 7-5 in my favour,”
“It was a great fight and Fonseca was really up for it and gave it everything he had, so I take off my hat to him. It was a war and I felt that I proved that I’ve got the qualities of a great fighter, I’ve got a World class chin and showed I’ve got plenty of heart where people may have doubted it, I think everyone knows that now,”
“I thought that I could’ve boxed more and that is my only regret, but as it turned out I had to ‘war’ it out with him. The fans in the York Hall and viewers on Channel 5 and YouTube certainly got treated to a great fight,”
“I didn’t think Fonseca would last at that pace set from the first bell and I wanted to stop him by grinding him down, that was the game plane, but I couldn’t see out of my left eye from the ninth because of the cut,”
“I’ve got to let my cut heal and have a rest over Christmas, but I’ll be ready to go early next year for whatever my promoter Mick Hennessy has lined up. There’s an option to go down to featherweight, which I can make easily, and campaign there and I’m planned to fight four times next year. One of those will be for a World title and I’m confident that I will become World Champion. My name has certainly increased in awareness now and I’m all set for a big year ahead. I can’t wait.”
Hennessy was thrilled with the pulsating, all-action, fight and felt that his man had done enough to win, whilst surprised with the draw, he believes that the excitement of the fight has increased the Dilmaghani brand and put him in a great position to start 2020.
Hennessy said, “That fight to me is definitely the Fight of the Year, it was one of boxing’s night of nights and an absolutely awe-inspiring contest. Whilst it was called a draw by the judges’, the winner that night was the sport of boxing and Channel 5 for hosting such an incredible fight and the fans and the viewers were treated to a real barnstormer,”
“People think I was crazy about the things I was saying before hand about Alex, but I knew what he could do and he just needed a big fight to show what I was saying and the Fonseca fight was the one to bring it out of him. Now you can see why he’s avoided like the plague by his rivals out there,”
“Looking at the fight with a balanced view, I scored it 7-5 to Alex and the cut from the head clash in the ninth affected him as it impaired his vision. I believe that Alex had the better defence and was taking the majority of punches on his arms, gloves and elbows. That’s not taking away from Fonseca who proved himself to be a real warrior. Fonseca had plenty of time to prepare for Alex, probably around four months in total, including the first postponed fight. For the fights against Gervonta Davis and Tevin Farmer, Fonseca only two weeks’ and five weeks’ notice respectively and we knew he’d come in at his absolute best for Alex. Fonseca was huge at the weight and he’s a dangerous world class fighter when given the right notice,”
“We’ll have to see what opportunities present themselves to Alex before we make a decision going into the new year. The rematch with Fonseca is there, but we were going to move down to featherweight before the Fonseca opportunity arose as he makes super-feather too easy. The plan is for him to have four fights next year and make himself a major household name on Channel 5. I think now with all the fantastic publicity around this fight in the build up and the fight turning out how it did, it’s certainly put Alex up there and he will be a force to be reckoned with.”