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It’s fight week!

After Pat McCormack (5-0, 4 KOs) was forced to pull out of his clash with undefeated American Peter Dobson (16-0, 9 KOs)Shabaz Masoud (11-0, 4 KOs) is now given his time to shine and tops Matchroom’s Newcastle next-gen bill against Columbian Jose Sanmartin (34-7-1, 21 KOs) for the WBA Inter-Continental trinket.

Masoud was forced to pull out of the initial fight date, that was scheduled for the Jack Catterall versus Jorge Linares undercard a few weeks prior, due to illness. Masoud insists coach Ben Davison, and the rest of the team, had his best interests at heart when making the decision.

This Saturday will mark exactly a year since Masoud’s last outing, in a fight in which he dominated previously undefeated Jack Bateson from Leeds. It is worth noting that the fight was considered a solid 50-50 prior and the boxing sphere found it tough to pick a winner. However, Masoud boxed and counterpunched excellently from the southpaw stance resulting in a twelfth-round stoppage. Masoud is already ranked highly with the WBA and looks to put on a performance on Saturday that will push him on the right path to ever-desired world title fights. 

If elite pound for pound fighter Naoya Inoue is victorious in his upcoming undisputed clash on boxing day this year, the super bantam weight divisions belts will likely fragment as it is near certain the ‘monster’ will move up in weight yet again and take on new challenges. This will leave plenty of opportunity for the divisions challengers to fight for vacant world title belts in the not-too-distant future. With Matchroom’s backing, this stands Masoud in good stead for a shot in the near future, providing he overcomes his opponent on Saturday and sticks to winning ways. 

“I feel like I’m better than him [Sanmartin] in every aspect”, Masoud said in today’s press conference. Sanmartin has other ideas, “I am completely ready to take this victory and the belt back to Columbia”. Sanmartin has been in with a range of opposition before and has a wealth of experience. The Columbian has shared the ring with world class punchers such as Mauricio Lara and Emmanuel Navarrete, despite falling short to both. Taking this into consideration, this should be a good test in gauging where Masoud is at at this stage of his career. The fight should also allow him to get rid of ring rust against a credible name. 

The card will also see Durham’s Mark Dickinson (5-0,1 KO) take on Grant Dennis (18-5, 3 KOs) in a middleweight English title eliminator. Dickinson’s talent and youth was discussed in today’s press conference as what will likely lead him to victory this Saturday night. However, Dennis believes his own experience will benefit him in the fight, “Do you think I get fed opportunities like these young boys do?” Dennis asked. The pair exchanged words with Dickinson questioning the older boxers age and comedically telling him that he looks like a “Eubank Jr from Wish”. 

The fight of the night contender could well be stolen by Ishmael Davis (11-0, 5 KOs) and Ewan Mackenzie (8-0, 3 KOs). Davis, who is co-promoted by Sunny Edwards and Mark Bateson, looks for his fourth consecutive stoppage in the ten round English title eliminator. BBTV spoke to Ishmael earlier this year, “I really wanna push on now… I’ve been sparring a lot of world level boxers and top prospects”. Five months on, he makes his DAZN debut and will look to capture the attention of promoter Eddie Hearn. However, Mackenzie is not to be looked past and will definitely come to fight on Saturday night. He will have also undoubtedly sold tickets due to the local support. “We will all see on Saturday, let the work do the talking. He’s going sleep.”, Davis told Darren Barker and Jordan Banjo in today’s press conference. 

 Former Team GB fighter Calum French (4-0, 1 KO)is also on the card and will likely want to put on a performance while shaking off ring rust on Saturday night, in his first outing since experiencing an injury. French will be taking on Jeff Ofori (12-5-2, 3 KOs), in a slight step up, which will likely bring the best out of him. “You’re going to see a rejuvenated, refreshed, recharged Calum French”, French proclaimed in today’s press conference. 

Nineteen-year-old prospect Cameron Vuong (1-0, 1 KO) also looks to display his skills on the big stage on Saturday night, who made his professional debut in Sheffield last month on the Leigh Wood versus Josh Warrington bill. Vuong looks to stay active and push on with his career. 

Before live coverage on DAZN starts, successful amateurs Jimmy Sains (1-0, 1 KO)Owen Rees (1-0, 1 KO) and Ben Rees (1-0-1, 1 KO) will box on before the bell. Sains looks to put on a more pleasing performance this time round, “I watched it [debut] back a few times, I didn’t think I boxed too great”. 

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