Barker vs Hope, Purdy vs Jones, Gavin Rees set for December 8 'Christmas Cracker'

Matchroom Boxing has booked their final show of 2012, with Darren Barker facing Kerry Hope, Lee Purdy against Carson Jones, and Gavin Rees possibly matched with John Murray.

Eddie Hearn, Matchroom Boxing

"It will be our final show of the year, and one that perhaps we're looking forward to most on the calendar so far. ... We're going to have a 12-fight card, six title fights, as well."

"Firstly, talking about Gavin Rees. Gavin is in a very interesting position at the moment, No. 2 in the WBA. He's just relinquished the European title, still British champion. The WBA rulings state that a vacant title, No. 1 must fight No. 2 for the vacant title. We were asked by Gilberto Mendoza to make the fight between Richard Abril and Gavin Rees for the vacant WBA title. As such, since then, Richard Abril has agreed to fight Sharif Bogere later this year. We believe, and our legal advisers believe that that fight can't be made for the WBA title. So our legal advisers are now in contact with Mr. Mendoza and the WBA, to reassure them that Gavin is very much available to fight for the WBA title.

"Whatever happens, Gavin will be in a top fight for December 8, which will be announced this week. We've agreed to terms with John Murray and his management team to take the fight against Gavin Rees. Great money for them and no options, and now we look for the blessing of Frank Warren to take that fight, which we hope will happen in the next few days. If not, there's other big domestic fights out there. Kevin Mitchell is also keen for the fight, Anthony Crolla, Gary Sykes -- all these names. But for us, we're No. 2 in the WBA, and we want to move forward for a world title fight."

"What a fight: Lee Purdy against Carson Jones. Probably a fight that took about an hour to make. I spoke to Lee, who would fight anyone on this planet, and his trainer and manager, and Carson Jones was a fight they really wanted. Lee has now moved up the IBF rankings. I think Carson Jones is five or six in the IBF rankings. When people talk about styles make fights, Lee Purdy against Carson Jones, for me, has just got all the ingredients to be Fight of the Year.

"It's a bold move by Lee. It's a fight he and I and the team believe we can win. But it's a big challenge, and Carson Jones took the fight in a heartbeat. He loved coming over here to the UK. He's got himself a lot of fans from the Kell Brook fight. But we believe that Lee Purdy's going to win that fight, and when he does, make a statement, and move up potentially into the top five in the IBF.

"Darren Barker, who will take on Kerry Hope, for me a great, great fight. Darren's been through an awful lot. He's cheered up now. He's ready and he's back. He trained so hard for the fight against Simone Rotolo, and of course, had the freak injury. It was a blow. Now he's over it, now he's back. I feel that we needed to give him a challenge, and there's nothing like a big domestic challenge to try and get yourself back into it, and get yourself up for it.

"Kerry Hope, we all saw how it went against Proksa the first time around. A great win to win the European title, lost it in the rematch. But it's still a fight that has all kind of different connotations. For Kerry, to relaunch himself into that European and world scene. For Darren, to get himself back on track, and get that world title shot in early 2013."

Kerry Hope

"I'm up for the chance. ... I'm confident. All the pressure's on Darren. He's the favorite for the fight, he's the one boxing in his hometown, so let's do it, you know? I'll be ready."

Darren Barker

"I'm 100%. Being a domestic fight makes it that much bigger. I respect Kerry as a fighter, and Gary (Lockett) as a coach, but I honestly think fighting me now is a dangerous time. When I look back on my career, I look at it in stages or chapters, and when I look at the last chapter, I hit rock bottom. It was horrible. Physically, mentally, I was in a bad way. But now I'm ready to turn the page. I'm feeling good mentally. I honestly am feeling really, really good. Physically, I'm getting better by the hour. I'm ready to take this middleweight division by the horns and ride it to the finish line, which is hopefully me winning a middleweight title."

"We hear all the time, there is a proper goal at the end of this fight. Whoever wins, gets them big fights. I believe I'm world class, as are the other fighters in the division. There are some real big domestic dust-ups. The division internationally, as well, is exciting. I feel I'm part of it, and I can't wait to get back in."

Lee Purdy

"This is what I've wanted to do. Being part of a big show and fighting big names. I love to please the crowd, and fighting Carson Jones is going to do that. He's ranked really high, and when I knock Carson Jones out -- people keep talking about Kell and Khan and Hatton fighting, but when I beat Carson, it puts me amongst them names."

Gavin Rees

"I wanted Burns, Mitchell, and Murray fights. ... Take (Warren's) options out. The winner takes all. Me and (Frank Warren's) fighters want to fight. That's what (the fans) want to see."

Hearn: "Just to clear up the Burns issue with Gavin, we were offered the fight. The first offer was quite insulting. It did increase to halfway to reasonable, but they offered three options for that, and, you know, we felt that one option would have been sufficient, a rematch option for that fight. But Gavin's a big part of what we're trying to do at Matchroom. He wants to stay within the Matchroom setup. He wants to be a Matchroom fighter, and have his future invested and controlled by Matchroom. We've offered this fight to Mitchell and Murray with no options, just great money. We don't see any reason why that shouldn't be taken. Murray has accepted terms, his manager has accepted terms, and now we're looking for the blessing of their promoter, which hopefully we look to receive in the next few days. We'll be making a press announcement about the WBA situation and Gavin's next fight."

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