On Saturday night at London’s Copper Box Arena, the British and Commonwealth super middleweight title will be on the line for the highly-anticipated shoot-out between former world amateur champion Willy Hutchinson (13-0) and the rugged and ruthless Lennox Clarke (19-1-1).
While we cannot wait for the action to unfold, there was plenty of talking going on when Dev Sahni brought the pair together for an e-Press Conference earlier this week.
Hutchinson vs Clarke will be shown, live and exclusive, on BT Sport from 7pm on Saturday.
If you were to become British and Commonwealth champion on Saturday night, what would it mean to you?
LC: Obviously it would mean everything and all the hard work we have been putting in would pay off. I am fully confident that it is going to pay off and it is going to be a good fight, I can guarantee that. You are gonna get more than 100% from me so I am confident of getting the win.
It will be a special night for you Willy, if you can pull this off. What will becoming champion mean to you?
WH: Of course it will mean a lot. It is a good fight, I am not debating that and that this fella isn’t coming to win. Of course he is coming to win. I am looking for the best of what he is going to bring and it will be a good fight, I am ready to rock n roll! I can’t really call him anything because I have heard good things about him. He can fight and so can I, so I can only say there is going to be fireworks on the night. I haven’t stopped training, since I’ve been professional I haven’t stopped training. I have never been one of these to start training and then take a month off. After my last fight I was straight back in the gym and, after one of them, I was training on the night of the fight. Listen, I am more than ready, I am as ready as ever and ready to become the next British and Commonwealth super middleweight champ.
Lennox, Willy is 13-0 so far and has looked pretty good in beating the guys he’s been facing. What makes you different to the other guys?
LC: He knows who he’s been fighting and, obviously, all of the British boxing fans know who he’s been fighting. They are nothing on me. What I’m going to bring is hell, a different ball game to who he has been up against. They have been coming over and it has been routine wins for him. From the first bell to the last bell I am going to be on him. He is a good fighter, but he has got a hell of a lot of pressure to live up to. They are blowing smoke up his arse saying he is the next Calzaghe. I beg to differ and he is going to have the pressure of me as well from one to 12 rounds – if he is still there. I guarantee fireworks and nothing but fireworks. He can laugh but I can guarantee fireworks on my behalf.
WH: Listen, when one of these hits you on the chin, mate, we’ll see.
LC: Make sure mate, I am not one of those dustbins you have been bowling over. Let’s be real.
WH: Truth, you are like a little dustbin, a walking forward little troll.
LC: In that case you will take me out then? The pressure is on you mate. I am happy I get the best of you because, after I beat you, I will get the recognition that I deserve and want.
WH: You know what it is, you’ve got more chance of flying to the moon and back than ever beating me. That is the truth.
LC: I am ready, more than ready. So let’s ‘ave it man and let’s go for it.
Lennox mentioned there about pressure and, when you turned pro, it was with fanfare and having Shelly Finkel as manager and Frank Warren calling you the next Calzaghe. Are you feeling the pressure at all?
WH: What pressure have I got on me, man? I am just chilling and I don’t need to have any pressure on me. As long as I do what I can do, I have no pressure. What I do on the night will show what I am all about. Listen, it will be a good fight, I am not saying it won’t. They are saying it is my biggest test to date, but I have boxed all around the world and have beaten the best in the world. The only person you’ve ever fought is Lerrone Richards and he vacated his titles so as not to fight me.
LC: We were ready on December 5th and, fair enough, you was ill but you needed more time to get ready. Just turn up this time and keep up the same energy.
WH: I’ve been boxing and staying in the gym.
LC: Listen, you have steamed over little one round jobbies mate. They are not making you ready for me. You were king of the amateurs, king of the kids bro. You haven’t beaten no-one. Your career is done, it is the end of you now bro, trust me.
Lennox, are you surprised that he has taken this fight because it feels like a huge jump?
LC: It is a massive jump for him. He is a good fighter and he’s got belief in himself. Personally, I think it is a little too early for him because it is a massive step-up, but you can’t knock the kid. We’ll see on the night because talk is cheap. We’re both ready, it is going to be a hell of a fight and I am excited.
Frank Warren said he could be the next Joe Calzaghe. What do you think about that?
LC: Well, if he is the next Calzaghe I am the next Nigel Benn, so there you go. Let’s have it, Calzaghe v Benn. That’s what’s going down.
WH: Fair enough, but what is Lerrone Richards then, who beat you? Muhammad Ali?
LC: I am going to punch holes in you, break you up.
WH: He is coming to win! I am so grateful I have a man who is coming to win, who wants to break me down, kill me and knock me out. I am welcoming that and this is what it is all about.
Are you expecting the hardest fight of your career?
WH: It is the hardest fight.
LC: It is the hardest fight of his career. It is the hardest fight of his life. We can all talk shit, but it is done now, let’s get ready, get cracking. He says I got beaten by Richards, but we all have stuff going on in camp and I shouldn’t have boxed. But this kid will have a fully able me in front of him, no excuses, I’m going to punch holes in him from round one to round 12, if he is still there. If his ticker don’t go. I’ll tell you what bro, let’s just fight. Let’s have it Gypsy-style.
Willy, how much confidence have you got in your power heading into this fight?
WH: I can punch and the lower I have got in weight the harder I am punching – and that is the truth. The lightest I’ve weighed is the hardest I’ve punched. It is not all about punch power, this little man here can punch, all of us can punch. It is about getting them right and putting him to sleep. When this man come to fight I will put him to sleep.
LC: You’re putting no-one to sleep, you’ll be going to sleep, or quitting. You’ve got quit in you and you have already pulled out once.
What makes you say that Lennox?
LC: When you are in there with someone and you are going to be questioning yourself and all that. I will be coming at him and he is not going to like it.
WH: I have never questioned myself in my life.
LC: You want to hope I come in like my last fight, but I am leaving nothing in that ring.
WH: There won’t be nothing left of you once I have finished with you. Behave yourself.
LC: My fitness is there this time and I am banging. He will get the best version of me and I want the best version of him. We are in for a good night, it will be a fan-friendly fight and I will be getting crowned British and Commonwealth champion.
What is the key to you winning this fight, Willy?
LC: He is gonna run like a little bitch.
WH: It makes me laugh that this little man thinks he’s stronger than me. I’ll jab, stab, move and groove him, I’ll stand in the middle and I’ll punch holes in him. There is not a chance on this earth that this man can beat me. What chance have I got in boxing if this little man beats me? If we fight I will knock lumps off him, if we box I will jab the lugs off him. I will throw so many jabs that after the fourth round he won’t want to come out. Just come out swinging.
What’s going to happen in there on Saturday night, Willy?
LC: I’m gonna knock him out. I’m going to stop him.
WH: The prediction? It depends if he has got a chin or not, doesn’t it? If he’s got a chin it will be an absolute boxing lesson. If he can take a walloping off me then it will be a boxing lesson. If not, he is asleep. Simple as that.