Eddie Hearn, President of Matchroom Sport:
“We know that the main event battle between Michael Conlan and Lee Wood is taking place in Nottingham, but we wanted to come to Belfast because it’s been a while since we’ve been here for a fight.
“Many times, over the years, we have seen young fighters from Belfast come in and fill the arenas, here at the Odyssey Arena and of course fighting with great success in England and America.
“This young man, Caoimhin Agyarko, we haven’t really had the opportunity to have a proper press conference with him due to the restrictions of COVID and the world we live in, but we are happy to welcome this young man to Matchroom Boxing and the DAZN team.
“About three or four years ago someone called me and said we have a very special fighter here that you need to take a look at. We get a lot of those phone calls; we had just finished the Olympics and we were contracting fighters and unfortunately, I had never heard of Kawimhen Agyarko and I didn’t sign him that day.When I watched him fight afterwards, I kicked myself very quickly and said we lost one there.
“When Paul Ready and STN had the opportunity to sign him recently, we signed him immediately. He won his first title, the WBA International title in Liverpool, a fantastic performance and I am happy to announce that Caoimhin Agyarko will have a big title fight at the March 12th card in Nottingham.”
Lee Wood – Nottingham, England – 25-2, 15 KOs – Made the first defense of his world featherweight title against Michael Conlan:
“I’m not a monkey in a role, I’m a fighter. I’m not a media dream, I wasn’t well managed, I did it from the bottom up. I earned everything from my back the hard way.”
“In my opinion, I don’t think Mick was involved in a 50/50 fight, that’s new to him, but I’ve had those challenges. I wasn’t a favorite of the bookmakers and I came out on the other side from a pressure point of view. He’s right, there’s going to be a lot of people and a lot of Pressure, but I thrive under pressure.Throughout my career I’ve been thrown and come out the other side, we have seven weeks to find out and I can’t wait.
“My greatest asset I don’t speak even a little bit about is dedication, I’ve put my life on hold because boxing is everything to me. It’s always been since I was young; he’ll look at these defeats but this will work in my favour. I don’t need to pick his performance, I know what I’m going to do. And I know exactly what I’m going to do.
“Michael is a great fighter, he’s had some really great wins and it’s going to be a really big challenge, but I know what I need to do on fight night. He’s a great champion, a great public image in Ireland, massive, all the best on fight night because he’s going to need it.”
“I’ve been there before, in fights in my career, in my life. I’ve never had a promoter, anyone pointing me in the right direction, my dad wouldn’t take me to the gym since he was young. I walked into the gym on my own when I was 10/11 A year and it takes a lot to do that, to get to this point on my own. I came here on my own with pure determination, determination, resilience, refusing to give up and that’s what it takes to fight this battle and that’s what I’m doing.”
Ben Davison, Lee Wood coach:
“There is a whole difference between saying that I think someone is going to lose a fight and being realistic, which is vital in my opinion. If you go in the wrong direction about a fight, you may lose a fight. This is a fight that if either man goes in the wrong direction about a fight, They might lose – which is why it’s drawn so much, ticket sales are flying in. It’s that kind of fight.
“I think it’s important for me to be realistic, you have to have the mental strength to absorb that and perform at your absolute best.
“Lee is very mentally strong, I’ve worked with other elite fighters and I have one of the best mindsets to fight a fight with any fighters I’ve worked with. I believe in Leigh, and of course I believe in his mindset.”
“There were adjustments along the way, maturity, whatever – I stand by what you said. I’m not going to be fooled into saying that Mick can’t do some rounds, of course he can. He’s a very talented boxer and a versatile fighter. I think there are some tendencies and habits that leave Our chance to find that changing moment of the fight will happen at night.
“I don’t think physical size would be a factor, no, although he is not known as a strong fighter, Mick is stronger than his record might suggest. There is a reason why he struggles to gain super weight, he is not small but Lee is a good sized featherweight. I don’t think we will fight the battle relying on physical attributes, it is a tactical thing that he will win this battle.”
Michael Conlan – Belfast, Northern Ireland – 16-0, 8 KOs – Challenged Leigh Wood for the WBA Featherweight World Title:
“I’m in the back garden, I want to come in and say what I want to say. There was no fear in me, I’m there and I’m going to talk about me and say what I want to say. Lee stutters, tries to spit things out and it just didn’t make sense, but you know, that’s part of fighting game.
“I love this, this stuff gets me ready to go, I can fight now. I’m ready to go now, mine isn’t and doesn’t even need to be 100% fight night. That’s the thing, I’ve stayed pro, I’ve been in training since September, And I thought I was fighting in December – I kept training, I kept fit, I kept fit. March 12 You’ll hear I’m the new one and that’s all I want to say.
“I know exactly what it’s like to fight under the pressure of a fight at home, I’ve done it three times and every show was huge. So many people there, so many expectations, a purpose-built yard in a garden. This guy doesn’t understand it, he’s never felt it, you can To see that his behavior has changed from yesterday.
“He doesn’t understand the pressures that come with fighting in your city, he’s had the opportunity to fight in MSG and he can come to Belfast and fight if he wants to. But no, he wants to fight in Nottingham, in the City Ground before he retires. He knows I can defeat him.”
“There are chances of losing anyone, anyone, I wouldn’t say it’s impossible, but it won’t beat me that simple. I really respect him as a fighter and a person, but again he fucks all that until the fight is over. Once the fight is over, shake his hand. Happy days, I can’t wait.
“I’m ready to go straight to the end, it doesn’t matter, this fight means everything to me. I’ve taken myself away from my kids, and the first time I saw them was four weeks ago last night and it will be the last time I see them since seven weeks until the fight. This is my life.” , The only thing I know is boxing, believe me on March 12th I will be 100% new.
“This is the beginning of my journey to become the best fighter in the world, once I win this belt, I will continue to do what I have to do next. I have to win this belt first before I think about it.”
Jimmy Conlan, Conlan Boxing:
“We know we’re the B side in this, we didn’t fly private jets this morning, we flew on the nice British Airways with the security lads – it was very stressful. We said yesterday what this means for the family, for Michael, for Ireland.”
Michael has carried the Irish flag since 2012, a pressure on his shoulders that other fighters cannot fathom. Lee can’t comprehend the pressure Michael has had to fight under, whether it’s through the World Championship Olympics as an amateur, under the microscope as a professional, making his debut as a card-top.
“No one does that, that brings you more scrutiny and more eyeballs which is hard to face, he had to learn in front of everyone and learn the hard way because he was open to criticism and scrutiny. It was all worth it to get to this point because There was a lot of learning, and ups and downs during his four years in the profession.
“We’ve done it all over America, here, and now we’re going to Nottingham. Like I said yesterday, that’s destiny, going into an opponent’s backyard and becoming a legend, creating a legacy. Tear him away from him in front of his family and friends, the people he jostles with, he won’t It gets sweeter.
“We’re working-class kids from West Belfast, it’s an area that makes them strong, we’ve been through hard times. It’s rooted in us, everyone in this room has a bit of a fight they haven’t fought in places like Nottingham. This is a tough city. They are born strong.”
“He’ll check everything, I expect this to be the hardest test, Lee Wood is a great fighter – the toughest featherweight in the world I’ve heard Ben say. Tougher than Oscar Valdez said yesterday, he’s going to test Michael in a different way, there’s no doubt about that.”
“He’s strong, tall, bigger, he’s got all the advantages, they think he’s more skilled. They think he’s got every advantage for Michael, so it’s exciting. It adds to the intrigue, it adds to proving people wrong and the big ship we carry on our shoulder.”
“It will be so good when March 12th comes around, seated at 11-12 at night with the new WBA World Featherweight Champion and a great big stunner everyone.
“Everything I said yesterday was true, I gave him the opportunity to possess and he didn’t, so he lied. Everything he says from here on out I can’t believe it is nonsense.
“I love Leigh and I love Ben, but everything you said was true. We also have more evidence, screenshots from texts that show Ben’s suspicions of Lee Wood. I think Ben believes in the power of me. Does he believe in anything else? No, he didn’t” .
Caoimhin Agyarko – Belfast, Northern Ireland – 10-0, 7 KOs – Unbeaten middleweight competitor:
“Another Irish card, it was a great win for me last time around, a great learning battle, an unbeaten opponent who came to fight. Obviously I could have done better, but thankfully I came out in quick succession and am looking to improve from this win.
“The fans of Belfast have always supported me as amateurs and now in my professional career. I saw in Liverpool it was very loud when I was fighting, and I expect the same in Nottingham – especially with Mick on the card. It’s a great card for me, by the end of the year I want to be in Present the show or fight back home in Belfast and give them some great nights out.
“I’ve said in the past that I’m a novice for ten fights, two more steps of three, and I’ll be ready for the titles of shows back home. I’m putting myself in the top 15 in the world and that’s where I wanted to be by the end of 2021. In 2022, I should To go and write down some names.
“Irish invasion, everyone in this press conference is going to be in the fight and so much more. It’s going to be so noisy and I can’t enjoy the moment, I hope to get a good performance and a good win.”
Wood vs. ticket prices.
Public sale tickets can be purchased on StubHub (www.stubhub.co.uk) now.