Live on ESPN+ PPV: Fabio Wardley vs David Adeleye, Joseph Parker vs Simon Kean, Arslanbek Makhmudov vs Agron Smakici and Moses Itauma highlight undercard
British heavyweights Fabio Wardley and David Adeleye are gearing up for a make-or-break fight on Saturday, Oct. 28, in the sandy arena of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. This 12-round fistic fireworks, showcasing the future of boxing, is essentially the appetizer to the Tyson Fury vs. Francis Ngannou main course.
David Adeleye: “I didn’t learn anything new about him because I’ve always known the type of person he is. We’re different, built differently. I’ve sensed that from the start. We don’t need to discuss it further. My approach is simple: I respond to the energy I receive. I always have a positive demeanor, but I respond accordingly. When you approached me, I responded. It’s not about being nervous, it’s just how I am. As for Fabio Wardley, he doesn’t intimidate me. Why would he make me anxious?”
“I’m being compensated to fight him; it’s straightforward. Eddie Hearn doesn’t back you, so what’s your point?”
Fabio Wardley: “I can’t say I learned anything new. It confirmed what I’ve seen before in different settings: he seems edgy, especially in big moments. It wasn’t surprising, but it was interesting seeing it up close. All I did was turn towards you, and you reacted. Is it just me that makes you feel this way? I’ve faced others I had issues with and remained calm. I approached you to defuse the situation. We’ve met before, so I thought we could handle this professionally. I believe in mature conversations, and there was no need for that reaction.”
“I disagree that it’s ‘easy money’. I’m being paid because Frank sees something different in me, something he doesn’t see in you. He trusts me to handle this, and I believe he’s putting his money on my side.”
“Freedom’s my thing. I can be wherever I choose.”
Riyadh’s inauguration of their grand entertainment season coincides with this grand boxing spectacle, showcasing the might and strength of the heavyweight division.
Joseph Parker, hailing from Auckland with a respectable 32-3, 22 KOs on his record, is set to fight Canada’s Simon Kean, who boasts an impressive 23-1, 22 KOs. Meanwhile, the power-puncher from Canada, Arslanbek Makhmudov (look out for his knockout reel), will defend his NABF title against the Croatian stalwart, Agron Smakici. These fights? Yep, both will run for 10 adrenaline-pumping rounds.
Moses Itauma, the 18-year-old boxing prodigy, steps into the ring for a six-round special. Just who he’ll throw down with, we’re still waiting to find out.
For those in the UK, TNT Sports Box Office is your ticket to all the live action.
Wardley’s journey saw him become the English champion in 2021, swiftly putting Nick Webb away. He further grabbed British attention by showing Nathan Gorman the canvas last November. His recent bout? A masterful display against Michael Coffie.
Adeleye, London’s pride, currently holds the WBO European title. His journey to the top saw him conquering Dmytro Bezus at York Hall, followed by a win against Emir Ahmatovic. Wardley and Adeleye’s beef became public (and physical) at a recent press conference in London. Let’s just say, Wardley might need a concealer for that red carpet event.
Remember when Parker danced with Andy Ruiz Jr. and left with the WBO crown in 2016? Yes, the same Parker who faced Anthony Joshua in a valiant effort in 2018. After reclaiming the WBO Intercontinental championship against Derek Chisora and defending it, 2023 has been sweet to him with wins against both Massey and Opelu. As for Kean, the WBC International Silver championship in 2019 started his roll, continuing his winning streak recently with a victory over Eric Molina.
Makhmudov, with the WBC Continental Americas title under his belt, has been carving out a name for himself, with wins against notable fighters like Pavel Sour, Erkan Teper, and Mariusz Wach. Smakici tasted defeat against the unbeaten Agit Kabayel but remains a top-contender.
“My hunger for a knockout victory has grown immensely after recent events. I pride myself on professionalism. If the fight needs to end early, I’m always ready to step up. Such situations only ignite my passion further. Anyone trying to get under my skin only motivates me to train harder and desire victory even more.”
Adeleye shared his enthusiasm, “Competing in Saudi Arabia on an international scale is thrilling. The buzz around this fight is undeniable. I plan to showcase why I stand out as the leading young heavyweight.”
Parker remarked, “Returning to Saudi Arabia is exciting. My previous visit to support a boxing event was memorable. Now, I’m focused on my own fight, facing the significant challenge Simon Kean presents. Being a part of such a grand event is truly an honor. My training has been rigorous, and I’m geared up for the fight.”
Kean voiced his ambition, “Every fighter dreams of moments like this. All my hard work is for occasions like these. It’s my turn to step up and shine.”
Makhmudov added, “Fighting in Saudi Arabia has always been a dream. I’m thankful for this chance and eager to deliver an exceptional performance for the fans.”
David Adeleye: “This is such a major event, and I’m thankful to participate. Come Saturday night, I aim to claim four belts. The vibe here is incredible, and being in such an important fight for the first time, I’m absorbing everything. I want to express my gratitude to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and His Excellency for hosting us. It truly feels like an honor.
“Do I seem anxious? There’s no anxiety here. This moment is familiar because I’ve imagined it repeatedly. I believe I shine in these situations, so I’m embracing it fully.
“Looking at his previous opponents, I’m confident I’d fare just as well, if not better. If our roles were reversed, I believe my record would be just as impressive. As they say, the proof will be on Saturday, and that’s when we’ll see his true grit.
“We’re distinct in many ways. Observing his demeanor, it’s evident we’re not cut from the same cloth. Ultimately, it’s the fight that counts. Whatever he does outside of that doesn’t affect me.
“And when I push him to his limits? I’m aware he hasn’t faced someone with my kind of power. Rumors suggest he’s struggled in training sessions. As for me? My reputation remains intact.”
Fabio Wardley: “At present, I hold two belts, but my goal is to exit with four. This platform and this night are exceptional. While there’s a lot to anticipate, I sense the excitement around my fight with David is particularly high. I’m gearing up for an unforgettable evening.
“I wouldn’t say he rattled me [at the initial press conference]. It was essential for me to set things straight, emphasizing the importance of professionalism, especially at such a prestigious event. It was crucial to highlight the right conduct, especially for such an immense announcement of our significant fight.
“Dominating in the ring against less challenging opponents doesn’t impress me. He hasn’t faced any great fighter, so there’s nothing that makes me pause or reconsider. To me, it seems like all style and no substance.
“The boxing world has noticed vulnerabilities in him. Sure, he might feel confident, but when challenged, he seems to falter. Not to undermine him entirely, he does have talent. His drive and undefeated record add to his appeal. But, I don’t view him as the toughest or most skilled fighter I’ve faced. Past records and performance, after all, speak volumes.”