JOSHUA VS FRANKLIN UNDERCARD FEATURES TWO COMPELLING MATCHUPS
Craig Richards will face Ricards Bolotniks for the WBA Intercontinental Light-Heavyweight Title and EBU European Middleweight Champion Matteo Signani will defend his belt against Felix Cash at The O2 in London on Saturday April 1, live worldwide on DAZN.
Richards (17-3-1, 10 KOs) was originally scheduled to face Bolotnik’s (19-6-1, 8 KOs) on the undercard of Dillian Whyte’s close points win over Jermaine Franklin at the OVO Arena in Wembley last November but the Crystal Palace man was forced to withdraw after falling ill during fight week.
‘Spider’ returns to the scene of his spirited points loss to South London rival Joshua Buatsi last May while Bolotniks, who holds wins over Hosea Burton and Steven Ward, was last in action in April 2022 – decisioning Hrvoje Sep over eight rounds in Barcelona, Spain.
Italy’s European Middleweight ruler Signani (32-6-3, 12 KOs) landed the title for the first time against Gevorg Khatchikian in Trento back in October 2019 before making successful defences against Maxime Beaussire in 2020 and Ruben Diaz in May 2021. ‘Il Giaguaro’ lost the belt to Anderson Prestot on a technical decision in June last year but avenged that loss in November.
Wokingham’s former British and Commonwealth Champion Cash (16-0, 10 KOs) is looking to add the EBU crown to his collection after enduring a frustrating 2022 in which he picked up two wins. Cash is on a collision course with American rival Austin ‘Ammo’ Williams and hopes to face the unbeaten contender later this year after going face-to-face with him in a fiery ringside encounter in Leeds.
“I’m expecting a great fight with Bolotniks,” said Richards. “He is a good fighter and a lot of people know that which will allow me to showcase how good of a fighter I am. I’m excited to be on this card, it’s ironic it’s the return of Joshua because I feel like it’s my return too. A win against Bolotniks puts me heavily in the mix with the big boys and looking to push on to big things.”
“2022 was a tough one for me personally but I’m determined to make this my year,” said Cash. “In 2023 I’m coming for all the belts and want the biggest fights possible, starting with the European Title at The O2. The work I’ve been putting in the gym with Tony Sims has been fantastic and I’ve never felt better, come April 1 everyone is going to see that I’m the real deal.”