Richardson Hitchins has thanked promoter Eddie Hearn for bringing him back to New York as he prepares to defend his IBF North American Super-Lightweight title against John Bauza at Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden in New York on Saturday night, live worldwide on DAZN.
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Hitchins (15-0 7 KOs) last stepped through the ropes in the Big Apple in May 2019 at the Barclays Center, with just six fights in almost 45 months across America since that night in on his home patch.
The 25 year old is thrilled to finally be back in front of the passionate fight fans in his own city and with a renewed momentum in his career, he’s vowed to show his full arsenal and get what promises to be a big year underway in style.
Hitchins’ belief that he’s in a better place comes after teaming up with Hearn’s Matchroom at the end of 2022. Hearn snapped up the unbeaten Super-Lightweight and immediately handed him a first title fight in Cleveland in November against Yomar Alamo.
Hitchins forced Alamo to retire after dominating the Puerto Rican for eight rounds, to get his first belt strapped around his waist. His defense against Bauza on Saturday is the quickest turnaround in fights that Hitchins has had in four years, and he believes that his name will be on everyone’s lips to be in the big fights in one of boxing’s best divisions right now.
“It’s been a while since I’ve boxed in my city,” said Hitchins. “It’s a homecoming I’ve craved for some time. That is enough to get you up for it. It’s going to be a special night and it’s the perfect venue and platform to showcase my skills and make a wider statement to the division.
“I just need to go out there and deliver. I’ve got the talent to do major things in the sport, but I must keep improving. Day by day, week by week, month by month, fight by fight.
“We’re making up for lost time and put myself into a position where I need to be. I should be in a better place by now but it’s God’s plan.
“It’s all changed now, I feel relevant, there’s a purpose and there’s activity. It was hard to stay dedicated before. If I had no fight in the diary, from time to time may have switched off a little in the training more so from wandering. Now I’ve got to stay on weight and on track because there’s another fight day fast approaching. Mentally, it’s refreshing. I’m dedicated to the sport, and I just want to stay busy and stay sharp.
“It’s one of the most competitive divisions in boxing. There’s a lot of punchers in the 140 division, Regis Prograis gets people out of there and I think that’s a realistic matchup for later this year or next. I believe I belong with the top-level guys in the division and I’m ready to show that this year.”
Hitchins’ clash with Bauza is part of an historic night of action at Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden as Amanda Serrano returns to Hulu Theater to aim to hold all the marbles for a second time, this time at Featherweight where she faces Mexico’s WBA ruler Erika Cruz.
Alycia Baumgardner recorded the best win of her career to date when she added the IBF, WBO and Ring Magazine belts held by bitter rival Mikaela Mayer in October in London via split decision to her WBC and IBO straps. The vacant WBA belt is the last piece of the puzzle, and French former interim WBC champion Elhem Mekhaled will look to spoil the Detroit star’s plans in her first fight in the States.
There’s three more female title fights on the card, as Australian star Skye Nicolson (5-0) looks to take a big step towards World title action against fellow unbeaten fighter Tania Alvarez (7-0 1 KO) for the WBC Silver Featherweight title and there’s another all-undefeated belt battle as Ramla Ali (7-0 2 KOs) faces title action for the first time in the paid ranks as she meets Avril Mathie (8-0-1 3 KOs) for the IBF Intercontinental Super-Bantamweight strap, Shadasia Green (11-0 10 KOs) defends her WBC Silver Super-Middleweight title against Elin Cederroos (8-1 4 KOs) in an eliminator for the WBC World title.
Yankiel Rivera (2-0 2 KOs) will be looking to make it three KOs in three in his Matchroom debut against Fernando Diaz, and Aaron Aponte (6-0-1 2 KOs) and Brooklyn’s Harley Mederos (4-0 3 KOs) complete the action against Joshua David Rivers (8-1 5 KOs) and Julio Madera (4-2 2 KOs) respectively.