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Sat, 22 Jun 2024

Frank Smith, Matchroom Boxing CEO:

"PrizeFighter was a huge part of our business and why boxing, I think, got back to where it was in the UK especially. It's something that we wanted to push for a long time. We've been looking at bringing PrizeFighter back, but this is just PrizeFighter reimagined in a much bigger version with a lot more money; luckily for these guys there's a lot more money than there used to be! I think the first prize back in the day was £32,000. It's gone up to $1,000,000 for the winner of this whole tournament.

"Obviously back then it was a knockout tournament all on one night, this is over three nights, ten and twelve round fights. I think it's exactly what we need to do to keep growing boxing globally as well. This is going to be something we're looking to push around the world, not just in Japan. Japan is an important market for us now but around the world we're going to recreate many nights like this with the PrizeFighter series.

"It's great to have it back because it was a big brand, it was important to our business and something we always wanted to keep going in some way. It's life-changing financially and they win a nice new shiny belt as well which is much nicer than the old trophy we used to have which I think is sat in our office somewhere.

"Whoever comes out of this tournament as the winner of this can look at themselves going into a World Title shot off the back of this. There's a lot of opportunities in the Middleweight division. Whoever comes through this, it's a big brand to come through the back of. Bring PrizeFighter Champion, they'll come through and there will be opportunities for a World Championship, so it's not just about the money, it's about the future and what they can secure moving forwards.

"We start on July 15 in Osaka, it's three nights, the next one we're looking to do in October and then February after that. We're going to go all around Japan as well, I think the final is looking to be in Tokyo which we'll announce in due course. It's going to be three big nights. We've seen that Japan is a huge market for boxing. What Inoue is doing for the sport, not just in Japan, but globally. This is a big night. It's going to do massive tickets out there as well, it's a new concept that people will buy into. They're in for an exciting night."

Kieron Conway:

"Firstly, thank you for the congrats on the birth of my daughter. The birth of my child changes everything. I've got a family to look after now, I'm not just myself. It gives you a whole new perspective and a whole new drive. Different motivation, a new motivation. I can feel it already. I felt it before she was here, and now she's here it makes it so much more real.

"It's huge. I'm here for the knockout bonus. I'm here for three knockout bonuses. Like I said, it's not just me to look after now. I've got a family. I'm here for it all. I'm aware of these two (Dickinson and McKenna), the other guys I'm not too aware of. My focus is on my first opponent. These two come later in the tournament, so then I'll focus on them. I'm here to win every fight. Like I said, I want three knockout bonuses. I'm not here for second place or third place; I'm here for the top prize."

Mark Dickinson:

"To be honest with you I'm 25 the week before it starts. If I can't jump in the ring with anyone at 25-years-old, then there's something wrong isn't there. I've been fighting my whole life. You talk about me being the least experienced and all that but it's about having the right experience isn't it. Obviously you can't buy it but as the same time there's fighters in this tournament who I've boxed someone on my debut who they've boxed on their 12th fight. It is what it is. I believe in my ability, I believe in my skills, I believe in my training. I train very hard down at the Matchroom Gym with Tony Sims, we've teamed up with him now. I'm ready to takeover Osaka!

"To be honest with you I already knew Tony (Sims) anyway. I used to spar Felix (Cash) and John Ryder in his gym. Now John coaches down there as well. He knew my style. He knows a style that goes well with the way I box. We've teamed up good. Obviously the knockout bonuses and the $1,000,000 is all good, but when you're in the ring, you can keep the money if I'm going to get knocked out. I want to win. If it means losing to have the money, f**k that. I want to win. I'm a man, I've got pride about myself. This is just unbelievable at this stage of my career, to get this opportunity. At the end of the day when I'm in there, it's my verses him and f**k the money, I'm taking his head off!"

Aaron McKenna:

"It's definitely something that excited me from the start. It's an exciting PrizeFighter tournament that goes back years and it excites the fans as well and also the prize fund; it's a massive opportunity. Like Frank said, it puts you in line to fight for a World Title maybe. I've got all of those things in my head and I believe I'm the best fighter in the world. It was hard for me to get fights in the past, I've had a lot of pull-outs late on like the last seven or eight fights, it's been pull-out after pull-out on late notice. This tournament, all of the fighters are coming believing that they can win, so it's going to bring really entertaining fights for the fans. There's a reason why I'm the favourite; because I'm the best!

"I think my experience across the world, I've travelled all over the world. I've been in America for four years, spent four years over there and trained in Robert Garcia's gym for a year and Freddie Roach's gym for a year. I've been to Vegas and Mexico, nearly sparred literally everyone in the world that there is to spar. I'm 18-0, 24, young fighter, hungry. Just for this camp alone I've been sparring Terrence Crawford and his camp. Being around the Terrence Crawford fight gives me some amount of confidence and experience. I know what I can do in the ring. This is a life-changing opportunity for me. Winning this tournament puts you in a very strong position to fight anyone in the world and get even bigger fights and purses. This is the start of success for my career."

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