Hennessy Sports are delighted to announce that all boxers, trainers and staff participating in the event tomorrow (Saturday 22 August) have tested negative for COVID-19.
The main event features Shakan Pitters versus Chad Sugden for the Vacant British Light-Heavyweight Championship, exclusively live on free-to-air Channel 5 from 10pm tomorrow.
All boxers officially weighed in today at the Holiday Inn, Redditch:
12 X 3 Minute Rounds at 12st 7lbs (175lbs)
Shakan Pitters 12st 6½lb vs. Chad Sugden 12st 6lb 5oz
8 x 3 Minute Rounds Cruiserweight Contest
Isaac Chamberlain 14st 8lb vs. Anthony Woolery 14st 5lb 3oz
6 x 3 Minute Rounds Middleweight Contest
Michael Hennessy Jr 11st 5lbs 3oz vs. Tom Brennan 11st 5lbs 1oz
4 x 3 Minute Rounds Super Welterweight Contest
Idris Virgo 11st 12lb 10oz vs. Josh Hodgins 11st 10½lb
4 x 3 Minute Rounds Welterweight Contest
Conah Walker 10st 13¾lb vs. Nathan Bendon 11st 1lb 3oz
In association with Ladbrokes and Infinitum, Hennessy Sports will present the exciting five-fight card headlined with the highly-anticipated Pitters v Sugden clash, plus the comeback of Brixton cruiserweight title contender Isaac Chamberlain; Birmingham super-welterweight and Love Island star Idris Virgo; fast-rising Sevenoaks middleweight prospect Michael Hennessy Jr and a further Area Championship title fight to be confirmed.
The event will be staged in a state of the art, arena sized and purpose built production studio, behind-closed-doors, with no public in attendance. In addition, strict medical protocols laid out by the BBBofC will be followed to ensure the health and safety of the boxers, trainers, staff, officials, medics and broadcast team working on the night.
Whilst it will be an unusual experience to not have the energy and atmosphere of fans’ at the event, the Channel 5 production team will use innovative ideas and techniques to fully enhance the presentation for the viewer.
Pitters and Sugden collide in a mouthwatering dust up that was originally scheduled for March 28 in Coventry, but had to be postponed one week prior to the event when the country went into lockdown caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
After three months of self-training in isolation at their homes and only recently beginning to train and spar in controlled conditions in their gyms after the British Boxing Board of Control eased restrictions, Pitters and Sugden are now powering on in their respective training camps to prepare for boxing’s big return on terrestrial TV.
Undefeated Pitters from Birmingham said, “This has been a long time coming and every day that’s gone by in lockdown I’ve been getting more and more hungry, determined and focused on beating Sugden and claiming the British title,”
“It was very frustrating when the show was cancelled just one week before, but I understood the bigger picture as the pandemic is a global crisis and the lives that had been lost in the UK alone was frightening and I commend the front line workers who kept working throughout,”
“I just had to be patient and keep training in the background and thanks to Mick and Channel 5 the big fight is now back on,”
“Whilst my loyal supporters can’t be there, the fight is live and free for everyone to watch on Channel 5, so tune in and watch me beat Sugden and become the new British champion.”
Newark battler Sugden said, “This was the news I had been waiting for for a long time and I just can’t wait now until August 22nd and to get in the ring and win that beautiful British title.”
“I’ve certainly missed my live sport on TV but now things are returning gradually with football and boxing and I’m thrilled that my fight will be broadcast live on Channel 5 and it’s free for anyone to watch,”
“This is going to be a great fight, I’m certainly not seeing this as an easy one. Pitters wants it bad and so do I. It’s down to who wants it more and who’s prepared to go that extra mile,”
“I’m gutted that my loyal fans won’t be there to see me lift the British title, but get the drinks and snacks in and switch on to Channel 5 and watch from the comfort of your own home.”
Promoter Mick Hennessy said, “It’s been extremely tough for everyone throughout the country these past few months, but key and frontline workers have kept us safe and going through these hard times and with the vast majority of the public adhering to the lockdown rules we’re now starting to come through, but there’s still a long way to go and we must be vigilant,”
“With live sport on TV starting to return after months off-air, I’m delighted to finally bring boxing back with a bang on free-to-air TV screens on Channel 5 and what a fight to return with between Shakan and Chad and the prestigious British title on the line,”
“I believe that it’s vital that sport and boxing reaches the biggest viewing audience possible and I’m delighted that with our broadcast partner Channel 5 we can deliver this fight live on terrestrial TV in the UK to an audience of millions and more importantly it’s absolutely free to watch.”
“It’s been very tough on Shakan and Chad who were ready to go a week before the first fight and then it had to be postponed following the lockdown. Since then they’ve had to maintain their discipline through training at home and keep positive despite the uncertainty of when the fight would be rescheduled, but through patience and perseverance it’s now on,”
“We have worked step-by-step with the BBBofC and followed the Government guidelines to ensure the safety of everyone involved with the event, but sadly, though, we are unable to allow fans into the venue at this present time,”
“Whilst it will be a strange experience not feeling the raw energy and passion of the crowd as Shakan and Chad engage in what I believe will be a thrilling fight, through technology and innovative production ideas from the team at Channel 5 we will deliver a special first class presentation that will go a long way to fill the void of fans not in the venue.”
LOVE ISLAND LOTHARIO IDRIS VIRGO: “I’M DESTINED TO BE A SUPERSTAR. BOXING WILL NOW BE MY PLATFORM!”
Idris Virgo, the 5ft 10in powerhouse from Birmingham with the Colgate smile and marble-carved physique, first courted the nation’s attention when he crashed on to the ITV hit show Love Island in 2018. Installed as a ‘bombshell’, the 27 year old bombed out of the idyllic Mallorca villa without meeting his match, after four episodes.
But the Handsworth-born hunk left quite an impression before he left the island and extensive coverage in the national ‘red tops’ saw his profile soar. He now intends to capitalise by knocking down contestants rather than ‘coupling up’ with them. Although I’m a Celebrity…, Celebs Go Dating and MTV’s The Challenge could be in the offing in the future.
Middleweight Virgo (5-0-1) will next feature on Hennessy Sports’ big show on Saturday 22nd August at a purpose built TV studio in Redditch, behind-closed-doors, headlined with the mouthwatering showdown between Shakan Pitters and Chad Sugden for the Vacant British Light-Heavyweight Championship, exclusively live on free-to-air Channel 5 in the UK.
‘I’m very handsome, a fittie, and I know I’m destined to be a superstar. Boxing will now be my platform,’ says Virgo, who already claims 171,000 Instagram followers.
‘Love Island opened doors and seriously changed my life. With regard to boxing, it’s helped massively with regard to increasing my profile and selling tickets.’
The middle of seven children, Idris’ fighting career, like so many, commenced on the school yard.
‘I was the hardest at my school, quite ‘The Chap’. I was actually a prefect and it does take a bit to get me going,’ he disclosed.
‘But I began boxing at 15,16, long before Love Island. This ain’t no gimmick. I had eight White Collar (bouts), losing just two, plus a dozen amateur which I mostly won. The reason I left the amateurs, aged 25, was the judges robbed me in the Midland Senior ABAs.’
Since sacrificing his vest, the Anthony Hull coached Virgo has conceded just two of the 22 rounds that constitute his unbeaten six fight pro career. While he is yet to register a stoppage win, the muscular middleweight warns us to expect an immediate change.
He says: ‘I’m known as ‘The Body Breaker’. In previous fights, I was content to take my time but now I intend putting opponents to sleep. I’ll set them up then chop ‘em down with body shots.’
Renowned Midlands fight figure Jon Pegg, who manages Virgo, concurs that he certainly has a future between the ropes, provided he can commit the gym hours.
‘Idris is a natural athlete who’d instantly be good at pretty much any sport he embraces. He’s got a very impressive build and puts his shots together well,’ says the likeable Brummie ‘fight face’ who also manages top-of-the-bill Shakan Pitters.
‘Because of that reality TV exposure, Iddy can shift tickets. Though he was cast as the bad guy in Love Island he’s actually a nice kid. He’s very busy doing his videos and stuff but, provided he hits the gym every day, there’s definitely belts in his future.’
Perhaps the only thing bigger than Virgo’s ego, is his ambition.
‘I’m not in this to mess about. I intend winning English, British, European and world middleweight titles,’ states Idris.
‘My appearance should certainly boost the ratings. The ladies love to lust over my sweaty body! Some jealous types will no doubt tune in, in the hope of seeing me get laid out but I guarantee I’ll disappoint them.
‘Because of my profile, every opponent has been desperate to make their name by taking me down but they never come through, Once I clout ‘em, their game plans disappear out the window.
‘When I come through in August, I’ll have another two six rounders before the end of this year against progressively better opponents. I’m targeting a British title shot by the end of next year.’
In association with Ladbrokes and Infinitum, Hennessy Sports will present the exciting five-fight card headlined with the highly-anticipated Pitters v Sugden clash, plus the comeback of Brixton cruiserweight title contender Isaac Chamberlain; Birmingham super-welterweight and Love Island star Idris Virgo; a fiery Midlands derby for the Vacant Midlands Area Welterweight title between Birmingham’s Kaisee Benjamin and Wolverhampton’s Conah Walker, and fast-rising Sevenoaks middleweight prospect Michael Hennessy Jr.