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  Wood vs. Conlan Nottingham
Press Conference Quotes

Eddie Hearn, Matchroom Sport Chairman:

ďThank you, Nottingham, for turning out today, it was actually ten years this May coming that we were sat here for Carl Froch vs. Lucian Bute. Ten years since we were last in the Nottingham Arena for a major fight night, a world championship fight night.

ďThat night still reminds me of how great boxing is, one of the greatest nights in British boxing history and of course coming up on March 12, we have another tremendous night. Weíve been wanting to come back to this city for a long time and now weíve got the excuse to do it with a brilliant fight Ė the World Featherweight title between Nottinghamís own Leigh Wood against Belfastís Michael Conlan.

ďItís just a brilliant fight for both guys, for Michael Conlan heís got the profile, the amateur pedigree, for a long time heís been widely regarded as a World Champion in waiting. This young man to my right, Leigh Wood, people should be proud of, heís really done it the hard way in the pro ranks.

ďWood boxed on small halls shows, fighting as the away fighter, suffered defeats when he probably shouldnít have, took last minute fights. In our back garden in the summer, produced one of the best performances from a British fighter for a long time, dethroning Can Xu to become the World Champion.

ďOn March 12, Nottingham gets the chance to celebrate one of their own as a World Champion. Itís always great to have a kid from the city, a Nottingham boy, that gets a chance to defend his world title in front of his people live on DAZN.Ē

Leigh Wood Ė Nottingham, England Ė 25-2, 15 KOs Ė making the first defence of his WBA Featherweight World Title against Michael Conlan:

ďIím extremely focused, I was here as a young boy watching Froch do it, I was supposed to fight on that bill. To come here and watch Froch do it gave me that experience, how we handled the pressure throughout the week, I was taking it all in because I knew my time would come.

ďTen years old I wanted to do this, I wanted to be here in this seat right now and Iím not going to let it slip. Iím one fight away from a City Ground fight which is my dream and Iím not letting it slip.

ďIím not looking at that fight [Warrington], Iím not bothered about the belt, or the money. Iím here to do a job, Iím focused on Conlan and I know what I need to do to win. Iím working on the next seven weeks, practicing exactly what I need to do to come out and get the win. After the fight, weíll look at whatís next and the belt situation.

ďI respect him [Conlan] as a fighter, heís not a fighter Iíve watched and thought he does anything unexpected or special. I do rate and respect him as a fighter, making sure Iím doing everything I need to do to win. He is quite tricky; weíve looked at him in great detail.

ďSocial media wise, it seems like heís got all of Team Conlan trying to rattle me, but it is what it is, I give what I get. He can do what he wants to try and throw me off, but I just see it as a weakness, trying to get any advantage he can Ė itís not going to work one bit but do that opposite.

ďThis fight is everything to me. I donít need to discredit him, tell him what he wasnít done or performances, I know what Iím capable of and I know what I can do, Iím going to go out and do it Ė set up a massive fight, my dream fight at the City Ground."

Ben Davison, trainer of Leigh Wood:

ďItís a tremendous fight and as Jamie and Michael said, the travelling Irish fans will cause a great atmosphere, the Nottingham fans have just shown theyíll bring a great atmosphere

ďEvery blood, sweat and tear that both these lads have put in over the years from when they both started boxing, it all boils down to this fight and this moment. Thereís pressure, a hell of a lot of pressure, whoever can handle, accept, and learn how to use that pressure can create a diamond on the night. Itís a fantastic fight and it will be a fantastic turnout on the night.

ďThis is Michaelís first World Title shot and Can Xu was Leighís first World Title shot, obviously itís a dream to fight for a World Title but for Leigh Wood itís always been his dream to box for a World title in Nottingham. Heís got that now and thatís what brings the pressure for Leigh, heís dealt with pressure before and heís very good with dealing with it, I believe that will show on the night.

ďItís hard to explain but it still shocks me how hard Leigh hits, itís freakish. Iíve trained him for over a year now and when I put the pads on it still shocks me. That isnít going to win this fight, Michaelís a very versatile fighter who can adjust throughout the fight, through the rounds as well. Preparation, tactics, Leigh understanding what he needs to do and when he needs to do it, thatís going to be vitally important.Ē

Michael Conlan Ė Belfast, Northern Ireland Ė 16-0, 8 KOs Ė challenging Leigh Wood for the WBA Featherweight World Title:

ďI was elated for him, I wished Leigh good luck on the week of the fight and really wanted him to win. Iíve got a lot of respect for him, he seems like a really good guy and I've heard loads of good things about him. I have the utmost respect for him as a person and fighter but fuck all that until after the fight. Letís get the fight done.

ďIíve been in with big punchers my whole life, Iíve had over 250 fights in the amateurs and sparred numerous rounds with big punchers Ė Oscar Valdez.

ďI have answer for anything Leigh does, I know what type of fighter he is, he punches hard yes but slow feet and curly head. Iíll punch ahead of him.Ē

Jamie Conlan, Conlan Boxing:

ďI believe itís destiny, Michael has always been tipped in Ireland to be one of the best boxers ever to come out of the country. Heís proved that as an amateur, he become the only male World Champion from Ireland as an amateur.

ďHeís progressed nicely as a pro and when the opportunity to come to Nottingham come up, and there was some bitching and moaning, we were very happy because we sat down and said thatís what itís meant to be. To become World Champion, you must go to the opponents back yard and beat him in front of his own family, friends, thatís how to state a legacy.

ďThe energy thatís coming across from Ireland, the ferocity and hostility thatís going to be in that arena. Weíre very excited and Iím very proud as a brother, very proud to be part of his crew and see him progress to get to this moment. This is the one, this is destiny.

ďNo doubts at all, on March 12 heíll be champion. We came just the two of us, thatís how confident we are, we donít need to bring everyone in our gym and watch him to a press conference. Weíve come here, itís business, very excited.

ďBelfast, when they get behind their own, itís hard to beat. As a city we donít have much, boxing is our sport and passion, our boxers in Ireland and Belfast especially as back page news. In England footballers take priority, in West Belfast where weíre from boxers are lauded over any other sportsman because they understand that Belfast is a boxing city.Ē


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