The groundbreaking Golden Contract competition returns on Saturday as eight of the best light-heavyweight stars from around the world compete at the Brentwood Centre, live on Sky Sports in association with Matchroom Boxing and on ESPN+ in association with Top Rank.
It features Hosea Burton, Steven Ward, Liam Conroy, Tommy Philbin, Bob Ajisafe, Andre Sterling, Serge Michel and Ricards Bolotniks, with the eight fighters each picking a ball from the velvet bag.
There were four blue balls and four red balls, with those who picked a blue ball able to select their opponents from those who picked red balls. The blue balls were numbered one to four to decide in which order they can choose.
Tommy Philbin, Steven Ward, Andre Sterling and Bob Ajisafe selected the balls numbered one to four respectively, while Serge Michel, Ricards Bolotniks, Liam Conroy and Hosea Burton picked red balls.
— Sky Sports Boxing (@SkySportsBoxing) December 11, 2019
It meant that the draw has seen Philbin pitted with Michel, Ward going up against Bolotniks, Sterling taking on Conroy and Ajisafe facing off with Burton.
Tommy Philbin vs. Serge Michel
Philbin: “I didn’t expect to get a blue ball! I picked Serge Michel as he has the same experience as myself, so I’m happy.”
Michel: “It feels good to have this fight. He has made a wrong pick, I’ll show that on the night.”
Steven Ward vs. Ricards Bolotniks
Ward: “He’s highly-ranked and a good fighter. It’s a good challenge for the first fight and I’m looking forward to it.”
Bolotniks: “This is a very good fight and I’m happy. I wanted to fight him the most out of everyone and I’m ready for him.”
Andre Sterling vs. Liam Conroy
Sterling: “It’s a good match up. We have an equal amount of experience so I’m excited.”
Conroy: “I’m just buzzing to have been picked as it took the pressure off me not having to choose anyone. I’m ready for anyone.”
Bob Ajisafe vs. Hosea Burton
Ajisafe: “It’s unexpected to have this fight, but we’ve just got to crack on and get ready.”
Burton: “This is basically the final. I can beat any of these, and Ajisafe can beat any of them. We’re ruling the competition, but at least I’ll still be going through.”
Sky Sports’ Andy Clarke: “The fight between Ajisafe and Burton a really interesting fight. They are the two most experienced fighters in the competition and two former British champions.
“They are all good fights and they’re all well matched, so I don’t really see any fight where you could say there may be a surprise result. Ricards and Sergey may not be as well known to UK fans, but they have both got pedigree, so they’re all 50-50 fights.”
Following today’s dramatic draw, the #GoldenContract fight week activities continue later this week, with the press conference taking place tomorrow.