Richardson Hitchins vs. Jose Zepeda & Jessica McCaskill vs. Sandy Ryan Betting Odds & Weigh-in Video
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EDITORIAL USAGE ONLY. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland/Matchroom or Melina Pizano/Matchroom
Hitchins (16-0 7 KOs) is sitting pretty at #5 in the WBO and #7 in the IBF, and victory on Saturday night would see him rise to the cusp of World title fights, with the WBC Silver, WBO NABO and IBF North American Super-Lightweight titles on the line.The Brooklyn ace shone in his last outing, flooring New Jersey’s John Bauza en-route to a shut out over ten at Madison Square Garden. The 25 year old knows continuing to win is vital to landing the World title shot he craves, but not content with that, Hitchins believes that his rivals will stand up when he delivers dominant displays, and that starts with the biggest test of his career in former World title challenger Zepeda (37-3 28 KOs).
“Winning is number one of course, but to get the big fights I have to win and dominate,” said Hitchins.
“I’m ready for the champions because when you look at the guys Prograis or Haney fight, those are guys that I am a nightmare for any of them. I have size, reach, superb defense – I can damn near feel when a guy is about to punch. So, when you have a guy like that against a guy that doesn’t know how to defend themselves, it kind of makes it tricky for them, because I’ve been in there with guys that just stand in front of you and don’t have the ability. You get in front of a guy like Shakur Stevenson, that turns boxing into a math problem, it’s different and that’s what you face with me. I can bring that puzzle that people can’t solve, it’s algebra in the ring.
“Every fight at 140lbs is a good fight, this is a great fight. Jose is confident, he’s put people to sleep, out, first round KOs, had the fight of the year in 2020 with Baranchyk. And then there’s people now saying, ‘OK let’s see how Richardson handles Zepeda’. Then you have Teofimo, he says he’s from Brooklyn – I know he ain’t, but I am. He beat the man at 140 and I feel I’m the uncrowned king at 140 and that would be a great fight.
“Jose is supposed to say he wants to fight me. He’s 34 years old, he’s been campaigning for a long time, he has confidence, he was power, and he’s got the tools to make it a nightmare for me, so he should be taking an opportunity like this, why would he say no?
“It’s just my job to show him that I am on a different level to him. He’s going to try to use his experience to try land his power, pressure me. Boxing is a sport where you must be smart, he’s a tough fighter but he’s not a durable one because he’s been down numerous times and I feel the mistake that they cannot make its me is overlooking my power, I’m a very sharp powerful fighter. My record may not show it, but if you pay attention, it shows I am punching.
“I’m a way smarter boxer than Jose, he’s one-dimensional and I just feel I’ll show levels. I must be smart and show him, yeah, this kid knows what he is on. I think when I am in there, he will see that. Boxing is all about timing, everything I do is about doing it at the right time.
“There’s a lot of things that can happen next. I want to fight again in 2023, I think that could be a guy that’s going to bring the best out of me, just like Zepeda will, and then we should be ready for the World champions, Devin, Regis and Teofimo. If I win this, I’ll climb the rankings again in the WBO, so I’ll be knocking at the door for Teo.”
Htichins’ clash with Zepeda is part of a stacked card in Orlando, with Jessica McCaskill (12-3 5 KOs) and Sandy Ryan (6-1 2 KOs) clashing in a unification battle for the WBA, WBC, WBO, IBO and Ring Magazine Welterweight titles.
Austin ‘Ammo’ Williams (14-0 10 KOs) press his claims for World title action at Middleweight as he tackles Steve Rolls (22-2 12 KOs) and will Orestes Velazquez (7-0 6 KOs) will defend his WBA International Super-Lightweight title to kick off the main card against Mohamed Soumaoro (13-1 6 KOs).
Khalil Coe (6-0-1 4 KOs) continues to rise through the ranks at Light-Heavyweight, and ‘Big Steppa’ headlines the Before The Bell action and will be looking for his third KO win of 2023 against Kenmon Evans (10-1-1 3 KOs). Super-Welterweight Jeovanny Estella (12-0 3 KOs) and Super-Flyweight Jasmine Artega (10-0-1 5 KOs) tasting action over eight rounds while Bantamweight Roberto Rivera Gomez (3-0 2 KOs) kicks the whole night off over four rounds, with all three fighters to be matched imminently.
RYAN TELLS MCCASKILL: KEEP THOSE BELTS WARM FOR ME
Briton aiming to unify at Welterweight in American debut on Saturday
Sandy Ryan has told Jessica McCaskill to ‘keep the belts warm’ as they meet in a Welterweight unification clash on Saturday night (September 23) at the Caribe Royale in Orlando, Florida, live worldwide on DAZN.
Ryan (6-1 2 KOs) landed the vacant WBO title in her last fight, seeing off Canadian Marie Pier Houle in Cardiff in April, and in her first defense, she travels to Florida to face WBA, WBC, IBO and Ring Magazine champion McCaskill (12-3 5 KOs), the Chicagoan who is fighting in her tenth consecutive World title bout.
Ryan, who turned 30 on Saturday, believes she’s heading down the path of her own lengthy run of World title action starting in Orlando and leading to an undisputed fight next, then showdowns with the other big-name champions in the sport.
“This is just massive for me,” said Ryan. “Jessica is up there, she is on the pound-for-pound list and that’s where I want to be, so I need to beat girls like her to be where she is. I really respect Jessica as a fighter, and you’ll see that this week with the shape that I am in and the mentality that I have. I remember watching her against Katie and she’s done so well since then, she’s always been in the big fights, and she’s won most of them.
“She’s tough, she’s going to come with everything, she’s never been stopped and she knows the pro game because she’s been in it a long time so she knows all the tricks, but I feel that with my ability I am at another level to her.
“I’m not going off the Chantelle Cameron fight as I think she had a bad night; I’ve had a bad night and I don’t think anyone would look at me with that performance. I can see that there’s some bad habits from that fight, but she will be training her heart out for this fight because if she loses, it’s her last fight, she’ll have nothing, no belts. That’s why I am making sure I am fully prepared. She’s going to see isn’t she. I don’t need to say much, we’ll see on Saturday night, just be ready, keep the belts warm for me.
“It’s all about big fights now for me. This is massive but the level I am at, if I win this fight, I want to be undisputed and there’s nothing bigger, so this is the level I am now. You never know in boxing what is going to happen but now I am at this level, I feel I am here to stay.
“Every pro wants to hold all the belts, that’s the aim, it’s legacy. Welterweight is where I am at, I’ve done 140lbs as well, there are some massive fights that can be made with all the best girls, let me get all the belts at 147 and then let’s all make big fights.
“I think I can be a star in the game. I’m quite low-key, but I know what I can achieve, and I can be a massive name in the women’s pro scene.”
Ryan’s clash with McCaskill is part of a stacked card in Orlando, topped by the biggest test of Richardson Hitchin’s (16-0 7 KOs) career to date against Jose Zepeda (36-3 27 KOs), with the WBC Silver, WBO NABO and IBF North American Super-Lightweight titles on the line.
HITCHINS VS. ZEPEDA: FINAL PRESS CONFERENCE QUOTES AND IMAGES
RICHARDSON HITCHINS faces Jose Zepeda over 10 rounds for the WBC Silver, WBO NABO and IBF North American titles
“I’ve got to say that I am excited. I want to say ‘Thank you, God’ for this opportunity and thank you to you, Eddie, and Matchroom. Jose Zepeda says that I have never fought at this level. But he is forgetting that I was a kid at 22 years old with only ten professional fights and beating guys like Argenis Mendez, a guy who had already won a world title, and for every fight after that, I told anybody and everybody who they put me in the ring with that isn’t on a World championship level that it is a step down.
“Jose Zepeda has fought a lot of professional fights but also, he doesn’t have that on his record. Also, he’s fought a lot of guys who don’t have the athleticism or the same skillset than what I bring to the table. They’re all one-dimensional guys. You know, guys like Ivan Baranchyk, who was one of his best wins, but that guy was nothing. He had no fundamental skills at all in the ring. When he gets in the ring with me this Saturday, it doesn’t matter how many fights he’s had or whether he’s been in with Jose Ramirez.
“There’s a reason why I’m here after 16 fights. I’m a very smart fighter. He’ll figure that out when I open up on him. You will see that on Saturday night. Everything he says when he talks about levels, he’s fought people like Josue Vargas who he talked his way into the fight. I fought my way into this fight, and I have dominated everybody who has been put in front of me. He will be in a tough fight. I’m going to be around here for a long time.
“I can’t say that I’m looking at this as a tough test, but it is a test because Jose Zepeda got here by being a great boxer. But guys like Baranchyk made mistakes against him, so he won. But he can’t do that with me because I don’t make mistakes.”
JOSE ZEPEDA faces Richardson Hitchins over 10 rounds for the WBC Silver, WBO NABO and IBF North American titles
“I’m always ready. I want to say thank you to you Eddie Hearn and to everyone at Matchroom. We added a new trainer in Manny Robles, my brother and Stitch. I want to thank all of them because it’s thanks to them that it has been one hell of a training camp. We always come ready. I’ve been there, done that and I’ve come through everything. I’ve had a little bit of bad luck for my challenger fights, but I believe that I’m in my prime. I know I’m 34 years old, but this is where I’m working the hardest at 34 and where I feel that I’m the best.
“That’s the main reason why I am taking this fight [the prospect of future World title challenges]. But I know in Richardson Hitchins, that he’s a fast fighter and the best prospect out there at 140. I know for a fact that if I beat him, I’m going straight back to the top for a world title shot. So, that’s what I’m looking for and to fight once again for a world title.
“In the fights I have seen of him, he is a talented fighter and a good prospect – but he hasn’t been at this level yet. That’s why in this fight we are going to see if he can work under pressure. There are levels. Trust me when I fought for a world title for the first time against [Jose Carlos] Ramirez, the first time I got hit to the body I knew that it was a different level. It’s different stuff. So, let’s see what it’s all about and see how he handles things on Saturday night.
CONOR BENN returns the ring against Rodolfo Orozco over ten rounds at Super-Welterweight
“There’s no pressure. I’m just going to go in there and do what I do, do what I love to do and what I was born to do. Saturday night has been a long time coming. I’ve had to jump through so many hurdles and this last year has been the hardest fight of my life. So, what can he do to me? I’m just going to go out there and do what I do. If I see an opening, I will take it. He’s got to know that if I see an opening, I will take it. I say that twice because when I say, I mean it.
“He’s my World title fight. That’s how I treat every fighter. Irrespective of people saying this should be a warm-up or this should be a stepping-stone, I treat every fight like it’s for a world title.
“I’ll be happy to get the rounds in, of course. I know it’s worth its weight in gold. But as I said before, if I see and opening, I will take it. I’m a sharp-shooter, I don’t miss. I’m accurate with my shots. I carry the power; I carry the speed. Whatever he wants to do, I can assure you, there will be a response. I can assure you now, there will be a counter. He best think three steps in advance.
“There’s a lot of everything that’s going to come out on Saturday night: frustration, aggression, speed, power. It’s all going to come out. There’s no pressure. If anything, I’m just excited. It’s just pure excitement to get in there and do what I know to do. I am born to fight. This is what I do. It’s in my DNA. My DNA is strong, it’s proven. I was put on this planet to fight. On Saturday night he will soon find out because he said he doesn’t know my name – but after Saturday night he will know my name.”
RODOLFO OROZCO faces Conor Benn over ten rounds at Super-Welterweight
First and foremost, thank you very much to Matchroom. We’ve been waiting for this opportunity to fight here for a long, long time so, of course, we are going to put on a good show on Saturday night.
I’ve been waiting and preparing for a fight like this for a long time. In previous months we’ve been waiting for a big fight like this, and they have fallen through. So, I am completely ready for this fight as I’ve been preparing all the time. We’re coming to win.
Of course, it’s a huge opportunity for me. I am making my debut in this country, and we are coming to win.
JESSICA McCASKILL and Sandy Ryan clash in a unification blockbuster at Welterweight
“I’m ready and I am very excited that my team are here. You look at the tale of the tape and you’ve got a 30-year-old coming for an almost 40-year-old – but not yet! You can think about the age and the numbers, or you can think about your camp and what you’ve been working on or, as she mentioned, studying tapes and things like that. But when it all comes down to it, it’s about getting in the ring and what happens when you get inside that ring.
“I am very excited about this fight. This is a legit, top-notch fight. She fought [Erica] Farias twice. In Farias and some of the people she has fought, I feel like they are the gatekeepers for belts and for certain divisions. That was a legit fight. So, that’s kind of where my mindset is as far as what I am headed to on Saturday night.
“I think it’s very awkward to watch my fights. I don’t have a traditional style or anything. I don’t even watch a lot of my fights. I might watch each fight maybe once or twice to see it from different perspectives but that is it. I just have like root angles and things like that. I don’t know if people maybe they think of my footwork or more punches or to change the pressure or add the pressure. But we work on a bit of everything, so we’ll see what happens on Saturday.
“Saturday will open more doors for other things. So, it is very important that it is a very clean win – not a split decision or anything like that – it needs to be decisive. Switching weight classes there are a lot of females who there but maybe in a different weight class. But in terms of opportunities and belts, I’m trying to get a couple of sets of all the belts. That’s the kind of things we talk about. But let’s get through Saturday first. That’s the focus.”
SANDY RYAN locks horns with Jessica McCaskill in a five-belt unification battle at 147lbs
“It’s a massive moment for me, making my American debut and I am excited for that. As I’ve said in all my interviews, I respect Jessica as a fighter. The way I’m bringing myself into this fight, both physically and mentally, you’re going to see how much respect I do have for her. But I’m just so confident now that I’m bringing all of these belts home.
“Yes, it has been a fast track for me, and I wouldn’t have changed it. It’s made me who I am right now. I’m professional on the job and I have learned the hard way. This is not the amateur game it’s the pro game and I know that. That’s why I live like a pro now. That’s why I believe that I’m bringing those belts back home because I love boxing and this camp has been great.
“I’ve covered everything. I know Jess will come in at her best. People have been asking me about what fights of hers have I watched and if I’ve studied her last fight. I’ve not really watched her last fight. She obviously had a bad day, and I can’t go off that. I believe my ability is much better than hers. I’m not taking anything away from her and I believe I’m much better than her and that this is a new era.”