WBA light heavyweight champion Dmitry Bivol (17-0, 11 KOs) and challenger Craig Richards (16-1-1, 9 KOs) faced off during their final press conference ahead of their WBA world title fight on Saturday night at the AO Arena in Manchester, England.
Dmitry Bivol: “I missed fighting, I’m really looking forward to getting in the ring and making a great fight for all of the boxing fans. I have a dream to be the undisputed champion, I have goals to fight in Saint Petersburg, to fight in America, to fight in England. Now I’ve accomplished one of my goals.
“I just believe in my skills; I believe I can beat him and move forward again. Of course, I think about my life, I’m living until May 1st then we’ll see what will happen. I believe, I trained all my life, I’ve boxed since I can remember, and I have to be the winner.”
Vadim Kornilov, World of Boxing: “It’s been frustrating for everybody with COVID and everything going on, there are a couple of opportunities but I’m really excited for Dmitry to have his first debut in the UK. The fans here are great, we’ve had a lot of success with Povetkin, getting a lot of attention.
“This is important for him and his career, I can see the ambition on the other side, I can see the professional team, that will make the fight even more exciting. Both guys are coming to win and both guys have a lot of confidence. We feel very excited, and we look forward to Saturday.”
Craig Richards: “I believe that I can become the next champion. I’ve come off a good win for the British Title, it’s not like I was in a dark place in my career, and this was the only opportunity. I’ve got momentum in my career; I only took the fight because I believe I can win, and I want more momentum.”
“People talk about me stepping up from the British scene and moving on. My career’s been a bit backwards, although it looks like I’ve just won the British and moved on I’ve been beating unbeaten guys early on my career.
“If you look at all the other Brits that have pushed on, they’ve had one domestic dust up and then moved on to the world scene. I’ve had loads of experience, when’s the time to move on – I can’t keep fighting domestically, it’s time to push on I’ve got enough experience. I’m ready to go.
“I think he’s [Bivol] one of the greatest fighters in the Light-Heavyweight division. This is why he’s perfect for the job. People mentioned the other Light-Heavyweights, sometimes I wasn’t getting mentioned, but I believe I was getting overlooked. Beating someone like Dmitry Bivol, who’s one of the best out there, I’ll get the credit I deserve.”
Peter Sims, trainer of Craig Richards:
“We had a conversation before the Shakan Pitters fight and I said to him, it’s not about if you win this fight, it’s how you win this fight – this will define whether you’ll step up or stay at the British level for a little while. The way he dismantled Shakan Pitters was a sign for him to step up.
“He’s fifth in the WBO rankings, he’s 3rd or 4th in the British rankings. I believe he’s the best British Light-Heavyweight at the moment.”
“Boxing is made of upsets, if we go back to Nigel Benn vs. Gerald McClellan fight, or recently Andy Ruiz Jr and Anthony Joshua, conspiring to upset the boat and beat Dmitry Bivol – I think he can.
“You can’t deny that Dmitry Bivol is a class fighter, his amateur pedigree is absolutely spot on. We’re going into the fight with total 100 respect for Bivol. He’s the WBA Super Light-Heavyweight World Champion for a reason.
“His speed is good, he’s got great feet, he’s got the whole package, but we believe with the assets Craig’s got and what he’s developed and how he’s progressed in the gym, he can do the job and upset the boat.”