Ortiz on fight with McKinson: ‘I think fans will get to see how smart I am in the ring’

The pride of Grand Prairie, Texas, Vergil Ortiz, Jr. (18-0, 18 KOs), and top 10 ranked, undefeated welterweight contender Michael “The Problem” McKinson (22-0, 2 KOs) of Portsmouth, Great Britain hosted a media workout to promote their upcoming fight on Saturday, August 6 at Dickies Arena in Fort Worth, Texas that will stream live worldwide, exclusively on DAZN. Their 12-round fight will be for Ortiz’s WBO International Welterweight Title.

In addition to the main event fighters, combatants from the stacked card also participated in the workout including Maurice “Mighty Mo” Hooker (27-2-3, 18 KOs), and Blair “The Flair” Cobbs (15-1-1, 10 KOs).

VERGIL ORTIZ, JR., WBO INTERNATIONAL WELTERWEIGHT TITLE HOLDER:

“I feel very good. I am excited to get back into the ring. It’s been a year – a really long layoff. I wish we could have been a little bit more active, but we’re here now and ready to make the most out of it.”

“I’m expecting a very tactical fight – almost like a chess match in there. I think fans will get to see how smart I am in the ring.”

“It’s exciting and motivating to be on the threshold to bigger opportunities. It makes me want to work harder.”

“It’s a hometown crowd, and I hope we get to pack the house.”

MICHAEL MCKINSON, UNDEFEATED WELTERWEIGHT CONTENDER:

“It feels good to be here. Obviously, back in March, unfortunate circumstances happened and Ortiz had to withdraw. But we got the opportunity again, so a big shout out and thank you to Team Golden Boy because they didn’t need to offer it to me again, but they did.”

“It feels good to be in Texas. For me and where I’m from, fighting in the States is big – I get to do it twice and I get to headline both. I’m happy.”

“I’m not going to have to be looking for Ortiz this time around. He’s a young lion, he hasn’t really put a foot wrong, and I’m really here just trying to tame the lion. I’ll win U.S. fans like I did last time.”

“A win over Ortiz changes my life; it changes my city of Portsmouth, my team, my daughter and everyone around me.”

MAURICE HOOKER, FORMER LIGHT WELTERWEIGHT WORLD CHAMPION:

“I’m confident, and I’m ready to do my job.”

“I’m going to do the same thing that you saw last fight: I’m coming to fight and I’m not cowering down to anybody.”

“Since my last fight, I’ve stayed in camp, stayed training so that I could be ready for anything to come my way. I expect a big crowd and everyone to be there for me.”

“I’m not really worried about what my opponent says. I’m from the hood. They hype me up. My fans can expect a good fight. I’m coming for it all, and I am putting it all out for Ms. Stacey.”

BLAIR COBBS, WELTERWEIGHT CONTENDER:

“I’m just focused, locked in, and ready for my opponent.”

“My last fight was a circumstantial lost. It’s not a big deal to me. I am the most exciting man in boxing, and I put on a show no matter if it’s a win or a loss – Blair “The Flair” puts on a great show.”

“I’m more focused and driven. I have a solid team that is better than ever. Blair “The Flair” is looking to be the best fighter he can possibly be every single fight. I made a lot of changes within my camp to make sure that fans get the best entertainment.”

“The guy I am fighting is tall, he’s strong, and lanky. He’s better than the last fighter I fought.”

“There’s no ‘stay busy’ fights, there’s no ‘easy’ fights. This is a hard fight, a big fight, and could easily become the pound-for-pound main event.”

Photos: Golden Boy

Blair Cobbs: ‘It will only be a matter of time before I face Vergil Ortiz’

Welterweight, Blair “The Flair” Cobbs (15-1-1, 10 KOs), who battles Maurice “Mighty Mo” Hooker (27-2-3, 18 KOs), this Saturday, August 6th on the undercard of Vergil Ortiz Jr. vs. Michael McKinson, has a new team in place. Cobbs is now training in Oxnard, CA with Roger Romo and his core team. Hooker vs. Cobbs, a 10-round bout, will take place at The Dickies Arena in Fort Worth, Texas promoted by Golden Boy Promotions, broadcasted worldwide on DAZN.

The 32-year-old has his mind set on vengeance after suffering his first loss as a professional.  Here is what Cobbs had to say about his massive fight against former world champion Maurice “Mighty Mo” Hooker, his recent training camp, and more.

On his recent training camp:

“This was a very humbling camp. I had to think about things from different perspectives and come up with new ways to get great results. My last fight didn’t go how I wanted, but I’m ready to get back on top. I’ve wrapped up training in Oxnard, CA, with a new team in place as Roger Romo is my new head coach, along with coach Adam and Cecilio. I’m feeling good going into the fight and I’m going to give the fans a great show.”

Photos by Rodney Pinz Prince Ranch Boxing

On his matchup against Maurice Hooker:

“Hooker is a tougher opponent than Alexis. A win in this fight puts me in the top 10 rankings. The Rocha fight passed, I’m already on to bigger and better fights. While he continue fighting easy set ups. Blair “The Flair” remains the peoples champion, with odds stacked against him. Each fight will be an inspiration to people around the world.”

On dealing with the first loss of his career:

“It was hard. I didn’t like the stoppage, as people could see I was still fighting back, but it doesn’t matter now, I must win this fight. The result is the result, and now I must earn my spot back. I know I have a new mindset, and I am ready to fight my heart out.”

On fighting on the Vergil Ortiz vs Michael McKinson card:

“Look, Blair “The Flair” has looked at Vergil Ortiz as a future opponent for a long-time, so after I have another spectacular performance, it will only be a matter of time before I face Vergil Ortiz, who I think will win this fight. I think the fans will embrace it, and I want it as well.”

Hooker on Ortiz: ‘All the pressure is on him’

With his 2021 debut just a few weeks away, Maurice “Mighty Mo” Hooker is fully locked in on his March 20 fight with fellow Dallas-area native Vergil Ortiz. While he grinds through an intense training camp in the Colorado cold, he and his team have added motivation for the bout. Ortiz, a highly touted prospect, is widely viewed by pundits and oddsmakers alike as the favorite in the welterweight contest.

Hooker hears all the talk about the challenge he’s undertaking in his March 20 return to the ring but the doubters don’t discourage him. To the contrary, it motivates him. The former junior welterweight champion has heard similar talk before. Those same voices questioned his chances before he journeyed overseas to fight Terry Flanagan in Manchester. Even after he upset Flanagan to win his first world title, the whispers returned ahead of his title defense against Alex Saucedo. In both cases, Hooker went in to his opponent’s hometown and pulled off the upset in victorious performances.

“I love being the underdog. I feel like I’ve been the underdog my whole life, my whole boxing career,” Hooker said. “All the pressure is on him. He’s got to look good. I’m just going to go in there, stay relaxed, trust my team and do what I have to do.”

Hooker will return to the ring following a 15-month lay-off, the longest of his decade-long career but his second longest ring absence resulted in his world title victory in 2018. While he didn’t fight in 2020, Hooker worked with his talented team of Brian “Bo Mac” McIntyre, Red Spikes, Esau Dieguez and strength and conditioning coach Jamie Belt to hone his craft during multiple training camps in Omaha and Colorado Springs.

“I am not worried about the layoff because I was in camp throughout most of last year preparing for a fight that fell through. So many of us are dealing with long layoffs now with COVID but since I stayed in camp with my team all last year, I will be good to go on March 20.”

Ortiz Jr. vs. Hooker is a 12-round fight for the WBO International Welterweight Championship presented by Golden Boy. The battle for hometown supremacy will take place on March 20 at Dickies Arena in Fort Worth, Texas and will be streamed live worldwide on DAZN.

Prograis on Hooker: ‘We have a history of bad blood’

Regis Prograis and Maurice Hooker will clash on a blockbuster night of action at the MGM National Harbor in Oxon Hill, Maryland on Friday April 17, live on DAZN.

Both men come into the bout on the back of starring roles in two of 2019’s fight of the year contenders. Prograis (24-1 20 KOs) travelled to London in October to take on Josh Taylor in a unification clash and the final of the World Boxing Super Series, with Scotsman Taylor edging out ‘Rougarou’ via Majority Decision in an all-out war.

In July, Hooker (27-1-3 18 KOs) hosted José Ramírez in a unification bout in Dallas, and the pair served up a back-and-forth shootout that Ramirez won via stoppage in the sixth round of a breathless contest.

Now the pair collide at a 143lbs catchweight in a fight that will lead the victor to World title action while the loser will face to tough route back to the summit – and both men know that this is a make-or-break night at a pivotal time in their respective careers.

“I can’t wait to get back in the ring on April 17 and prove that I’m one of the best fighters in the world,” said Prograis. “Maurice Hooker is a former World champion with a good skill set, but I’m very confident that I will be victorious and begin my march towards becoming a two-time World champion this year. We have a history of bad blood, and this is a fight that I’ve wanted for a long time. I’m excited for this fight and I’m glad I’m going right back into a fight with a good competitor.

“I’m very grateful to my team for putting this fight together and to my fans all over the world, thanks very much for your continued support.”

“Regis Prograis came out of the World Boxing Super Series one of the most popular and respected fighters in boxing,” said Prograis’ promoter Lou DiBella. “This fight against Maurice Hooker is not only one of the most anticipated in boxing but also one of the very best that can be made this year.

“Regis is committed to becoming a two-time world champion and a victory on April 17 will put him on a path to proving once again that he’s one of the top pound-for-pound fighters in the sport.”

“I’m excited to face a former World Champion,” said Hooker. “In my mind, he is still one of the best out there at 140 pounds which, when I beat him, gives me a chance to show the world I’m also one of the best at this weight. You can bet this fight will get me closer to winning another belt. It’s going to be an exciting match and I’m ready to take him out.”

“Mighty Mo Hooker vs Regis Prograis is what big-time boxing is all about – two former World champions at the top of their game, looking to make a statement and show the boxing world that they’re back with a vengeance,” said Roc Nation Sports boxing promoter Dino Duva. “Mighty Mo has given me a directive to get him the biggest and best fights and wants to remind everyone that he is one of the best and most exciting fighters in the world. This bout is an unbelievable matchup on paper and will be a can’t miss fight of the year candidate. It’s as good as it gets, and boxing fans should not make any other plans on April 17 – this is a can’t miss fight. On behalf of Roc Nation Sports, I salute and thank our good friends and partners at DAZN and Matchroom Boxing USA for making this great fight happen and giving the fans such a special treat.”

“This is a fantastic match-up between two fighters that always deliver great fights,” said promoter Eddie Hearn. “Regis and Maurice more than played their parts in two epic fights last year, and I know that their styles are going to gel to create another all-action battle.

“We will announce a huge undercard with World title action and a host of big names in action soon, it’s going to be another epic night of action live on DAZN.”

Ramirez fight-worn outfit from Hooker bout garners $10,000 donation to benefit family of Dadashev

WBC/WBO super lightweight world champion Jose Ramirez wanted to do something to benefit the family of Maxim “Mad Max” Dadashev, who passed away July 23 due to injuries sustained in the ring.

After he defeated Maurice Hooker in a super lightweight unification bout July 27 in Arlington, Texas, Ramirez and his adviser, Rick Mirigian, offered his fight-worn gloves, shoes and trunks to the highest bidder. The board of The Big Fresno Fair, the largest annual event in California’s Central Valley, stepped up with a $10,000 bid.

One hundred percent of the proceeds were sent to the Dadashev family, and the items are currently on display alongside a life-size statue of Ramirez at the Fresno County Historical Museum.

“I’m honored and humbled to have been able to help out Maxim’s family,” Ramirez said. “Every fighter puts their life on the line in the ring. My prayers to his family.”

“These items are incredibly important to our museum, especially with the recent addition of the life-size statue honoring Jose,” said John C. Alkire, CEO, The Big Fresno Fair. “When we knew this was going to support a family during a time of loss, we were all in.”

“Maxim fought in Fresno once as a pro, and Jose and I just wanted to do something to show our support for his family,” Mirigian said.

“From the bottom of our hearts, and on behalf of Maxim’s family and our entire team, we would like to thank Jose, his team and The Big Fresno Fair for their generosity,” said Egis Klimas, Dadashev’s manager.

Hooker on Ramirez fight: ‘I think I will come out of there with the late KO’

Maurice Hooker believes he will claim a late round stoppage win over Jose Ramirez when they clash for the WBO and WBC World Super-Lightweight titles on Saturday night at College Park Center in Arlington, Texas, live on DAZN in the US and on Sky Sports in the UK.

Hooker (26-0-3 17 KOs) puts his WBO crown on the line for the third time in his first fight in his hometown as a World ruler after trips to Oklahoma and New York, and ‘Mighty Mo’ couldn’t have picked a bigger and more anticipated match-up to return to the spotlight in the Lone Star state.

Ramirez (24-0 16 KOs) puts his green and gold belt up for grabs for the third time since landing the vacant strap in March 2018 in New York, and in a reversal of Hooker’s route to this colossal clash, is back on the road after two home defenses in Fresno, California.

The respectful build-up continued at today’s press conference in downtown Dallas but both men were confident of walking out of the ring with a belt over each shoulder, and Hooker thinks their styles will lead to a late stoppage win.

“People are saying it’s going to be a tough fight and I hope it is,” said Hooker. “He’s going to come at me aggressive in the opening rounds with those big left hooks, but I’ll stay calm and relaxed because to me, in a championship fight, the fight really begins in the fourth or fifth round.

“I’ll use my jab in the opening rounds and compose myself and let him punch himself out and expose himself. As the fight goes on I will take it to him, push him back and I think I will come out of there with the late KO as he’s not a fighter that fights on the back foot, everyone he’s fought he’s come to them or they have been a smaller guy. I’m tall, rangy and I have power, so I will make him adjust to me and I will hurt him.

“He’s got a good left hand, to the head and the body, and I know that he’s coming to fight with pressure and he’ll be in my face the whole night, or at least try to be, and I’ve got to try to keep him off. But I’m ready, I’ll make him adjust to me and I’ll have fun in the later rounds.”

Hooker and Ramirez clash on a bumper night of action in Arlington, as Tevin Farmer defends his IBF World Super-Featherweight title against mandatory challenger Guillaume Frenois. Tramaine Williams takes on Yenifel Vicente for the vacant USBA Super-Bantamweight title and a trio of unbeaten talents look to continue their 100 per cent KO records in Nikita Ababiy, Artur Biyarslanov and Houston’s Austin ‘Ammo’ Williams.

Heavyweight Joey Dawejko meets Rodney Hernandez over ten rounds and there’s action for two Dallas fighters in Javier Martinez and debutant Darius Bagley.

Photo: Ed Mulholland/Matchroom Boxing USA

Maurice Hooker on fight with Ramirez: ‘This is the fight that makes me a big name’

Everything is bigger in Texas – and that’s just what Maurice Hooker plans to be as he prepares for his Super-Lightweight unification clash with Jose Ramirez on Saturday night at the College Park Center in Arlington, Texas, live on DAZN in the US and on Sky Sports in the UK.

Hooker (26-0-3 17 KOs) puts his WBO title on the line for the third time as he fights at home for the first time as a World ruler. The 29 year old last laced them up in the Lone Star state back in August 2017, where he claimed the WBO NABO title in downtown Dallas.

Hooker hit the road ten months later to rip the WBO World title from Terry Flanagan in the Manchester man’s home arena, and in November ‘Mighty Mo’ pulled off a stunning win in Oklahoma, climbing off the canvas in the second round to put unbeaten local favorite Alex Saucedo away in the seventh.

Hooker’s second defense took him to upstate New York where Brooklyn’s Mikkel Les Pierre was seen off in a comfortable points win – setting up the chance to come home in style and take home court advantage in the biggest fight of his career against WBC king Ramirez (24-0 16 KOs).

“I will be a champion in boxing and in Dallas as everyone will know my name after this fight. This fight means everything to me and the same for him, I just have to go harder than him and I will come out on top. This is part of my legacy – it’s just the beginning.

“This is the fight that makes me a big name. I am getting better with every fight and now I have the platform in the fight on DAZN to show my boxing skills, my power, my smarts, everything – everyone will know who Maurice Hooker is after this.

“I so excited to have this fight in Dallas, I’m ready to come with everything I have. The crazy thing about it is that I don’t feel any pressure coming into the fight, it’s just another big fight, all my fights over the last three have been really big, so I don’t feel any pressure from fighting at home. I’m just ready to do what i do and handle my business.

“I won my WBO NABO belt in Dallas but this fight is on a whole new level, I have the chance to unify at home. The first World title fight was in England and the others have been on the road too, but now I have the biggest fight of my life at home, so there’s a little pressure but not too much and I just have to focus on doing my job and getting the victory.

“It’s been crazy at home since the fight was announced. Everybody has been telling me that they are coming and telling me to put on a show. I’m confident I’ll get the win as is Jose, I’ve been watching him and it’s going to be tough in the opening rounds, but I will take over and make him adjust to me. Dallas seeing me fight as a World champion is so big for me and for the city, all the kids I’ve spoken to in the schools, the people that look up to me, can now watch me live.”

Hooker and Ramirez clash on a bumper night of action in Arlington, as Tevin Farmer defends his IBF World Super-Featherweight title against mandatory challenger Guillaume Frenois. Tramaine Williams takes on Yenifel Vicente for the vacant USBA Super-Bantamweight title and two unbeaten talents look to continue their 100 per cent KO records in Artur Biyarslanov and Houston’s Austin ‘Ammo’ Williams.

Hooker on Ramirez fight: ‘This fight will define my career’

Maurice Hooker says the pressure of fighting at home in a career defining fight will bring the best out of him when he meets WBC World Super-Lightweight ruler Jose Ramirez in unification clash on Saturday July 27 at the College Park Center in Arlington, Texas, live on DAZN in the US and on Sky Sports in the UK.

Hooker (26-0-3 17 KOs) fights in his Dallas backyard for the first time as a World champion following three fights in enemy territory. Hooker puts his title on the line for the third time after ripping the WBO crown from Terry Flanagan in Manchester, England last June and travelled to Oklahoma City to get off the canvas and stop Alex Saucedo inside seven thrilling rounds in November. ‘Mighty Mo’ met Brooklyn’s Mikkel LesPierre in Verona, New York in March, flooring the unbeaten challenger in the ninth round of a dominant points win.

Ramirez (24-0 16 KOs) also puts his crown on the line for the third time having landed the vacant title at Madison Square Garden in New York in March 2018 against Amir Imam. The 26 year old’s first two defenses were on home soil in Fresno, putting Antonio Orozco on the deck twice in a points win in September and then a tight contest with Jose Zepeda in February where he held onto his title via majority decision.

“This fight will define my career,” said Hooker. “I will either be the star at 140-pound or I’ll have to start over again and try to build my name back up. I’m pumped up for this fight. I can fight at home and hopefully win some new fans at home as they can see me fight in person. The fight could have happened in New York or Las Vegas, it doesn’t matter, but I’m pumped for the first time that people can see me fight at home as a World champion.

“People have been hitting me up for tickets and getting excited about it, but I’m focused, I’m back in San Diego and working hard in camp. Everyone is going to be there and that’s more motivation for me. There’s pressure on me to win this fight for the fans as they have always given me great support, so I have to win it for them.”

A stacked undercard in support of the main event will see more World title action added to the card which already features the hotly anticipated debut of Murat Gassiev, who moves up from Cruiserweight and meets Philadelphia’s Joey Dawejko.

Houston-based rising talent Austin ‘Ammo’ Williams (2-0 2 KOs) is in action for the third time in the paid ranks, and the impressive 23-year-old can make it three straight first round KOs in his home state.

Photo: Matchroom Boxing

 

Hooker-Ramirez lightweight unification set for July 27

Maurice Hooker and Jose Ramirez will clash in a World Super-Lightweight unification clash on Saturday July 27 at the College Park Center in Arlington, Texas, live on DAZN in the US and on Sky Sports in the UK.

WBO champion Hooker (26-0-3 17 KOs) fights in his home state for the first time as a World champion having won the title in stunning fashion in Oklahoma in November, getting off the canvas to KO Alex Saucedo in his backyard, the widely outpointing Mikkel LesPierre in his first defense in Verona, New York in March.

WBC ruler Ramirez (24-0 16 KOs) puts his belt on the line for the third time having landed the vacant strap in March 2018 against Amir Imam in New York. The 2012 Olympian handed a first defeat to Antonio Orozco in his first defense at home in September at the Save Mart Arena in Fresno, California, and then edged a majority decision against Jose Zepeda in February in the same venue.

“First of all I want to thank my promoters Matchroom Boxing and Roc Nation for getting me this opportunity,” said Hooker. “I’m proud to display my skills on DAZN – the best boxing platform out there. I’d also like to thank my team who are with me every step of the way. I want to show the world that I’m the best in the 140 lb. division. My dream is to become the undisputed champion in my weight class. This unification fight with Jose Ramirez is a major step towards that goal.

“Training camp for Team Mighty Mo Hooker is well underway and I’ll be at my absolute best on July 27 to take the green belt from Ramirez. It will be a thrill to do this in front of my home crowd and I’m looking forward to the energy they’ll bring to the ring. I am a dream killer, and Ramirez will be my next victim coming July 27.”

“I am ready for my opportunity to unify the titles,” said Ramirez. “To get the opportunity to be a unified champion is a blessing for me. I’m thankful to Bob Arum and Top Rank for believing in me to go out there and get the job done. I’m going to push myself hard to make the team proud.”

“This is a fight I wanted. I told my manager, Rick Mirigian, that I wanted to fight Maurice Hooker. I know this fight can take my career to the next level. I want to continue making statements at 140 pounds. I want to make it easier for people to decide who the best 140-pounder truly is.

“I’m treating this fight the same as when I won the title in New York City against Amir Imam. He was the taller fighter, the bigger fighter. It’s sometimes easier fighting someone in his backyard because it takes away some of my responsibilities behind the scenes. As the underdog, I have everything to win. It’s not just about defending my title but unifying the division as well. I’m ready to prove myself and show everyone what Jose Ramirez is all about. I can’t wait to bring Hooker’s title back with me to California.”

“I’m delighted to announce this excellent unification match-up between two great champions in Maurice Hooker and Jose Ramirez,” said promoter Eddie Hearn. “These are the fights that boxing needs and the styles will gel into a real fight of the year contender. Both champions believe they have the edge in this fight, tune in July 27 on DAZN to find out comes out on top.”

“This looks like a terrific battle, and I’m predicting that our guy, Jose Ramirez, will emerge as the unified champion,” said Top Rank’s Bob Arum.

“This is a big fight for Maurice and our team,” said Roc Nation’s Dino Duva. We have been looking forward to it since he became a champion – a title unification match in his hometown, doesn’t get any better for a fighter and his team. Mighty Mo will seize this opportunity to win over the hearts of the great Mexican boxing fans. A victory over a fantastic champion like Jose Ramirez will catapult Mighty Mo into superstar pound for pound status! Big thank you and congrats to DAZN and Matchroom Boxing for stepping up and putting this unification match together. Additional thanks to Top Rank, Ramirez promoter for making it work. This is what great boxing is about.”

Hooker: ‘It would mean so much to me to fight in Dallas as a champion’

Maurice Hooker hopes to land a big homecoming fight in Dallas next as he defends his WBO World Super-Lightweight title for the second time against Mikkel LesPierre at the Turning Stone Resort Casino in Verona, New York on Saturday March 9, live on DAZN in the US and on Sky Sports in the UK.

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Hooker (25-0-3 17 KOs) won his title on the road by ripping it from champion Terry Flanagan in Manchester, England in June and then packed his bags again for his first defense, a thrilling win over local favorite Alex Saucedo in Oklahoma City in November, Hooker climbing off the canvas in the second round to stop Saucedo in the seventh.

Hooker hits the road again to put his belt on the line against Brooklyn’s LesPierre (21-0-1 10KOs) but ‘Mighty Mo’, who has predicted a devastating KO win over the challenger, wants to come home in his next fight – and believes he can do so in a major fight that will stake his claim to being the best in the world at 140-pound.

“It would mean so much to me to fight in Dallas as a champion,” said Hooker. “I want to show the kids in my neighborhood that don’t have anyone to look up to that they can look at me – I’m a champion that they can follow and look up to.

“I wasn’t a disciplined kid so boxing taught me a lot. My attitude was bad so boxing taught me to keep calm no matter what. When you look at what I’ve achieved, that’s the example I want to show the kids where I am from.

“My kids are my motivation – I want to give them the life that I didn’t have growing up, give them everything they want and be there for them.

“I am my biggest opponent. Sometimes you can think ‘I’m a World champion, I don’t need to train.’ I know that can backfire on me in the gym so I am working harder than ever because i want to stay a champion and achieve more in the future.

“It’s an open division, and one I think I can take over. There’s a lot of good fighters in there making a name for themselves and a lot coming up.

“I’m a champion and I want to fight the best. I feel I am the best. My long arms, my chin, my skills and my hard work will put me on the top – I think that sets me apart.

“Dallas is my home and in my heart, but there’s too many distractions to train there. In San Diego, I wake up thinking about boxing and go to bed thinking about boxing, and just train in between. The weather is great, I just love it.”

Hooker’s clash with LesPierre is part of a huge night of action at Turning Stone Resort Casino with a second mouthwatering World title fight on the bill in the shape of Dmitry Bivol (15-0 11KOs) defending his WBA World Light-Heavyweight title against Long Island’s Joe Smith Jr (24-2-0 20KOs).

Callum Johnson (17-1-0 12KOs) and Sean Monaghan (29-2-0 17KOs) will both have a keen eye on Bivol’s clash as they battle in a crunch fight in the 175lbs division, World-ranked heavyweight contender Sergey Kuzmin, (14-0 11 KOs), of St. Petersburg, Russia will battle Philadelphia based veteran Joey Dawejko, (19-6-4 11 KOs) and Otha Jones III makes his pro debut on the card.

Photo: Matchroom Boxing