It’s been a busy day at Matchroom HQ with the announcement of a raft of new boxing shows including the eagerly anticipated rematch between Alexander Povetkin and Dillian Whyte. But the Brentwood-based organisation have also expanded their reach into women’s boxing with the signing of IBF super-featherweight champion Maiva Hamadouche on a multi-fight co-promotional deal, in partnership with OPI Since 82.
Hamadouche (21-1, 17 KOs) is on a 12-fight win streak since losing a decision to Belgium’s Delfine Persoon in a bid for the WBC lightweight crown in 2015. The Frenchwoman won the vacant IBF 130lbs title with a unanimous decision against Bolivian Jennifer Salinas in November 2016 and has since reeled off five successful defences.
‘El Veneno’ joins fellow 130lbs champions Terri Harper (WBC) and Ewa Brodnicka (WBO) in the Matchroom stable and already has eyes on unifications.
“By signing with Matchroom and OPI Since 82 I will be able to secure the unification fights in the super-featherweight division that I thrive for,” said Hamadouche. “Eddie Hearn promotes a number of world champions including Terri Harper and Ewa Brodnicka, who both fight in my weight division. Those are the fights that I want. I am determined to prove that I am the number one 130lbs fighter on the planet and in order to do that I must beat Harper and Brodnicka.”
One of British boxing’s brightest hopes, Joshua Buatsi is looking forward to shaking off 14-months of ringrust when he meets unbeaten Croatian Marko Calic (11-0, 6 KOs) on October 4.
Light-heavyweight Buatsi (12-0, 10 KOs) is primed to move into world title contention in the next year and can’t wait to get back into action after an enforced hiatus due to the Covid-19 Pandemic.
“I’m excited to have a fight date confirmed,” said Buatsi. “I haven’t boxed in over a year, so this has been a long time coming. I’m looking forward to going through the whole process of arriving at the venue, warming up, walking out and performing under those bright lights again.
“It has been very difficult adjusting my training whilst waiting for a fight date. It’s the first time it has happened to me as a professional to this extent, so it’s been an interesting period, but you just have to get on with it.
“Marko Calic is a solid opponent who will be coming to win. He’s very experienced in the amateur scene and was around on the circuit years before me. As always, I’m planning on impressing with my performance. Winning is everything. I want to get two fights in this year, starting with a win against Calic.”
On the same bill, Northampton’s Chantelle Cameron (12-0, 7 KOs) faces Brazil’s Adriana Dos Santos Araujo (6-0, 1 KO) for the vacant WBC 140lbs crown, previously held by undisputed welterweight champion Jessica McCaskill.
“It has been a long time coming and I’m ecstatic that the fight has been made and we’ve got a date set,” said Cameron. “I can remember watching Adriana Dos Santos Araujo when we were both amateurs and thinking that she was tough. She has beat some good names and has a good pedigree, so I’m expecting a tough 10 rounds and can see it being a bit of a war.
“It would mean the world to me to call myself world champion. The WBC belt is a major world title and it would be a dream come true, so fingers crossed I win this and then the journey will continue where I go for the other belts and look to unify the division.”
Lewis Ritson’s postponed clash with former world champion Miguel Vazquez has finally found a home on October 17.
Geordie hero Ritson (20-1, 12 KOs) was scheduled to face ex-IBF 135lbs king Vazquez (42-9, 16 KOs) on April 4 before the Covid-19 Pandemic disrupted those plans. But he’s been busy in the gym and recently sparred with unified champion Josh Taylor as he seeks to mount a world title charge of his own.
“I’ve had no time off,” said 140-pounder Ritson. “I’ve been in the gym the full year training hard, staying ready and waiting for a date to be confirmed. Nothing has really changed and now it’s full steam ahead for October 17.
“If I bring my A game then I’ll be very hard to beat and that’s what I’m planning on doing. We know what Miguel Vazquez is all about, he’s going to be a real test for me. I’ve had top level sparring with the likes of Josh Taylor that has kept me fresh.
“Once I get the win on October 17, I’m going to have a week off and then get straight back in the gym. I want to fight again by the end of the year, hopefully Eddie can keep the big fights coming. I want to keep pushing towards that WBA world title, that’s the main goal for me.”
On the same show, Hartlepool’s Savannah Marshall (8-0, 6 KOs) will step down in weight to face Glasgow’s former world title holder Hannah Rankin (9-4, 2 KOs) for the vacant WBO middleweight crown.
Marshall, who defeated Claressa Shields as an amateur, was originally slated to meet New Zealand’s WBO 175lbs champion Geovana Peres before the impact of the Covid-19 Pandemic
“I’m so happy that I have a fight date set in stone,” said Marshall. “It’s been a while, but I’m excited to be back in the ring. Hannah Rankin is a former IBO world champion, so I’m expecting a tough hard fight against her but it’s one that I’m really looking forward to it.
“It’s been a long road for me, so it would be incredible to become world champion. It’s crazy to think I was meant to be fighting for a world title in April at light-heavyweight and this is now at middleweight, but that’s female boxing and you have to take these opportunities when they come.”
Glasgow’s Rankin welcomes the challenge and the ever-tantalising prospect of an England vs Scotland rivalry.
“This fight has been in the back of my mind since it was first talked about in February,” said Rankin. “I have proven time and time again I’m willing to fight anyone, anywhere, anytime and that’s the foundation my career has been built on.
“For this fight I’ll be stepping up to middleweight and I’m relishing the chance to become a two-time two-weight world champion having already held the IBO super-welterweight title.
“With regards to Savannah, I’m excited for my chance to end the hype; as a professional she’s yet to be tested. On October 17, I will be crowned WBO world middleweight champion and I’ll be bringing that title back to Scotland. Scotland vs England is always a fun clash in any sport!”