CLARESSA SHIELDS VS. IVANA HABAZIN INTERNATIONAL MEDIA CONFERENCE CALL TRANSCRIPT & AUDIO RECORDING

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CLARESSA SHIELDS VS. IVANA HABAZIN INTERNATIONAL MEDIA CONFERENCE CALL TRANSCRIPT & AUDIO RECORDING

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Transcript Document

Dmitriy Salita
Thank you. I’d like to welcome all the media. We have a great night of action coming up on Saturday, October 5 live on SHOWTIME from the Dort Federal Event Center, Flint, Michigan, beginning at 9:00 pm ET/6:00 pm PT, Claressa Shields versus Ivana Habazin will headline a SHOWTIME BOXING: SPECIAL EDITION

The main event fighters will be joining us for today’s call to preview their clash for the vacant WBO Junior Middleweight World title. The undisputed middleweight world champion Claressa Shields will look to make history once again by becoming the fastest fighter in boxing, male or female, to become a three-division world champion. She’s already a unified world champion at middleweight and super middleweight, just nine fights into her pro career.

She will have a tough challenge in the former world champion Ivana Habazin who is from Zagreb, Croatia, and she’s taking this fight very seriously and we’ll talk about her preparations in a little bit.

Tickets to the live event which is promoted by Salita Promotions can be purchased at Ticketmaster and the Dort Event Center box office.

I would now like to introduce Mr. Chris DeBlasio from SHOWTIME. The reason why we’re experiencing such a big growth on other platforms for women’s boxing and obviously on SHOWTIME is because SHOWTIME believes in Claressa and believes in women’s boxing.

It’s Claressa’s sixth fight on SHOWTIME and we are very blessed and honored to have this fight on this premium network. I’d like to introduce Mr. Chris DeBlasio to talk about the event.

Chris DeBlasio
Thank you, Dmitry. I appreciate that. So on behalf of Stephen Espinoza who is the man behind our support of the sport and of the women’s division in particular; and Gordon Hall, our executive producer who is the co-founder of ShoBox, our popular prospect-oriented series, and he’ll executive produce this SHOWTIME BOXING: SPECIAL EDITION as well, I just want to say how proud we are to be part of the event. We know it’s going to be a special one, a homecoming in Flint, Michigan.

As you alluded to, SHOWTIME has a long history of featuring the best in women’s combat sports, from Laila Ali and Christy Martin in boxing from years ago to Gina Carano, Cris Cyborg and Ronda Rousey in mixed martial arts more recently.

Since 2017, with Claressa Shields leading the way, we have these elite women boxers; Shields, Christina Hammer, Katie Taylor has appeared on the network and Amanda Serrano in several fights. Shields versus Habazin will be our eleventh women’s boxing bout since 2017 on the network. Shields led the way. In 2017, we presented the first women’s main event in premium television history when Claressa fought against Szilvia Szabados on ShoBox.

This event, October 5, we will support with a raft of digital content, short-form content to introduce and to advance the fighters that are going to be featured in the live event. That has become a signature for our network. A series being prepared right now is called THE RISE. It’s three parts and it is on various champions and fighters coming up. This one will be about Claressa Shields and her rise to the level that she’s at today and what the future holds.

RING RESUME is a detailed analysis and highlights of Shields’ biggest bouts to date; and another very in-depth and intimate feature called THE APPROACH, an in-depth look at the mindset of the fighters. These are found on YouTube and across all SHOWTIME Boxing social platforms. It’s something we’re really proud of and we think advances the appreciation and the fandom of these fighters to the casual and hardcore boxing fans.

We’re proud. We’re honored to be in business with Claressa Shields. As you said, Dmitry, this is her seventh appearance on SHOWTIME, each a seemingly more important bout. This is another potential history-making event, but she’s fighting a very tough competitor, someone who’s looking to make a statement here on SHOWTIME.

So we’re looking forward to a terrific contest and a great main event along with some terrific co-feature bouts. Jaron Ennis and Jermaine Franklin are going to try to showcase themselves and make important statements on the network also in tough competition.

So with that, I’ll turn it back over to you. I appreciate the time and the opportunity to be part of it. Thank you.

D. Salita
Thank you, Chris. Claressa has a star team inside and outside the right. She is managed by one of the best in the boxing business, Mr. Mark Taffet who I’d like to invite to make a few comments.

Mark Taffet
Thanks, Dmitry, and thanks, Chris, for joining us today. We started a few years ago with Claressa Shields and it’s on her broad shoulders that women’s boxing is receiving the recognition, the accolades and the growth that it’s experienced over the past few years.

Every time Claressa fights, we look to make history, and October 5 will be perhaps the greatest night of her professional career to date as she attempts to win the title in her third weight division faster than any man or woman in the history of sports. And the incredible thing is that in Claressa’s case, she’s doing it upside down. She’s going down in weight from 168 to 160 and now to 154. It’s going to be a very, very special night. It’s a very, very special and memorable for women’s boxing.

We’re thrilled that the big events are happening and Claressa loves the role that she plays in the continued ascension of the sport and to all of her goals going forward. Thanks for joining us and I’ll turn it back to Dmitry.

D. Salita
Thank you, Mark. Now, I’d like to introduce Ivana Habazin who is not really known in the United States, but in the official press conference announced the fight she came here and she has made a great appearance and was very confident. She’s definitely putting that confidence into her work.

She’s 20 and 3. She’s the former Welterweight World Champion. She’s from Zagreb, Croatia, but she’s been in camp in Colombia and now in Detroit. She’s gotten the best possible training expert for this fight and she has boxed with the world champions and fighters who are the best in their regions.

So I’d like to invite Ivana to talk about her preparations and what we can expect from her. Ivana?

Ivana Habazin
Hello, everyone. Thank you for having me. So my training camp this time was really long, like four months. I’m always in training, always ready and prepared, but this training camp was the hardest ever. I feel great, I feel in shape, I’m healthy. Sparring was good.

I have Raquel Miller in the camp. I have Chris Namus and Tnaja Ovsenik, and I will have Kali Reis next week too, plus I have two teammates from Colombia, one was like five times Colombia national champion. So they really pushed me and that was really, really hard.

I’ve never sparred hard before like this and I feel ready. I’m really confident and I’m coming to win. This preparation makes me much more confident that October 5 is going to be my night.

Q
How does Claressa compare to Cecilia Braekhus?

I. Habazin
I actually can’t compare Claressa and Cecilia because they are totally different fighters and I’m a totally different fighter. And I think that Claressa is definitely a tougher fighter than Cecilia and so physically she’s stronger than Cecilia. So she’s more aggressive and I think this fight is going to be tough. But like I said, I was never prepared like I am prepared now.

So I think maybe this fight for me – I will not tell you it’s going to be easier than the fight with Cecilia, but today I am a more complete boxer than I was before. And I have James Ali Bashir as my coach and we all know that he is definitely the best coach and I learned some new stuff and I’m ready to show that.

Q
How do you expect the weight drop for Claressa to affect her?

I. Habazin
This is really hard to say for me because I never in my life lost so much weight. So that depends on the fighter, how she’s going to prepare or what she eats. She has nutrition and all this stuff. But I really hope that it’s not going to be so effective on her, but maybe it will be because that was a lot of weight to lose. So we’re going to see. I don’t think about that because she’s young, she’s hungry. She likes to fight and she likes to win, which is the most important. She has the mind of a champion. So I think even though she needs to lose the weight, I’m not going to be a problem for her.

Q
What are your thoughts on fighting Claressa in her hometown? If the fight is close and it goes to the scorecards, what are your thoughts on that?

I. Habazin
I really don’t think about that the fight is in Flint. It’s not something important for me, where the fight is. For me, the only important thing is to win, and she’s the biggest name right now in women’s boxing and I want to beat her, that’s all, because I have 10 years in boxing and it wasn’t easy. My world was really tough and right now maybe it’s the last opportunity to do something big and I take it seriously and I’m 100% ready. So I’m not a person who’s going to let other stuff affect me. I have my goals and that’s all.

Q
What’s the difference between the fighter that you are now and the fighter that you were when you fought Cecilia Braekhus?

I. Habazin
Actually, it would be stupid to say what I changed because then I will say what’s my plan, you know, so I will say you’re going to see that. I worked on totally different stuff with my coach and we’re going to show that.

Q
Where does the confidence come from in saying that you’re going to knock Claressa out when she has never even been beaten before?

I. Habazin
I think I can punch, you know, and the difference before was in some parts, I wasn’t finishing people. That was my problem. Right now it’s a different story and like I said, I made the best preparation ever. Never, ever before in my life did I do a preparation like this and I feel strong. I really feel strong and I think I have power to knock people out.

So for this fight, this is my goal. I don’t believe in the scorecards. So when you knock somebody out and especially in that big of a fight, that’s the only way how you can win. And I was really prepared for that all the time.

Q
What was your first reaction when you heard that the fight was going to be delayed for a couple of months?

I. Habazin
My first reaction was, ‘damn, I will not see my dogs for two more months.’ That’s boxing. Everything is possible. Maybe in some way, I maybe expect something like that, but you never know – everything is possible. Everybody can injure and all this stuff. So I prepared myself to stay in the camp, training more. Maybe with this, actually, she helped me because I feel I’m much better right now.

Q
When you go through a loss, what are some of the things you learned from it, and how does that strengthen you mentally having a loss on your record?

I. Habazin
Yes, that’s actually a good question. When I lost the first time, I didn’t think that I lost that fight, but it’s okay. And that was the most painful stuff ever in boxing for me because I give always a lot in boxing and when I suffered this first loss, it was like, ‘oh, my god, everything is done.’

But at that time, I was young still and I was only like three years in boxing but when I came back to train after this, I was ashamed. I came in the gym and everybody was watching me and said, ‘Oh, you lose’ and all this stuff. Nobody was supportive. So every day, almost for one month, every day I am telling myself, ‘You will come back. You will come back. You will come back.’

Even if I didn’t know when I will come back, if I even have a chance or no, but I trained more than ever. And that was actually the first time when I figured out what is professional boxing, because before that I didn’t realize all this stuff and I was focused more on my university.

And after that, I changed everything and then like a year after, I got the chance to fight for the IBF title in Belgium and I said, ‘okay, I’m going to Belgium,’ and that was the hometown of Sabrina Giuliani. So, I came. I won.

After, the fight with Cecilia actually came too early because we didn’t have a chance to make a defense. My sponsor wasn’t supportive for me, so I have two options, to fight with Cecilia for a unification fight — it was the first unification fight in the history — or I can leave the title because I didn’t have logistics for defending my title.

So when I accept that fight, in some way, I knew that I can’t beat her because I didn’t have experience. And like one and a half months before the fight, I had one surgery too, so actually I wasn’t in my best shape and I wasn’t good. So maybe that fight I didn’t take very painful like the fight against Eva Bajic when she beat me.

And the fight against Mikaela Lauren, it was like two years after Cecilia. That was my first offer for the fight after three years and this actually was very, very tough for me because I was without fights. I was without money. I was in the gym actually in the underground when there was like one room without windows and I got the offer and I said, ‘Okay, I want to fight.’ But all preparation, I was so, so bad.

When we made pad work, I couldn’t be one minute on the pad because I would get tired. My heart would start beating so fast and I was thinking, ‘okay, maybe it’s because I start training too much too early.’ But actually, it was that I was so, so sick. And when I came to the fight, I knew before I needed to step in the ring, I had a feeling that it wasn’t going to be good because I knew it – I don’t have power. My body didn’t have power, nothing, and I just said, ‘Okay, god, please save me, I want to be healthy when this fight is finished.’

But after that, I took a break from boxing for like six months and I said I will never box again. So after six months, I wake up one night and it was like 2 a.m. and I go back, I don’t know why, I hear some voice that told me, ‘Go and see the BoxRec.’ And I go to BoxRec and I saw Eva Bajic and I said, ‘Who is Eva Bajic? I never fought with her.’ And then I go and I saw that Eva came back after two years or two and a half.

And I said, ‘okay, you need to go back in the gym. You need to come back.’ And when I come back in the gym, I start training and the old symptoms – what I had in preparation for Mikaela Lauren – started again. It was very bad because I had like some cardiac – you know, my heart starts beating so fast. I was sweating all the time and I didn’t have power.

When I met medical, they said, ‘You have a thyroid problem and if you want to box again, you need to go in surgery immediately.’ I didn’t think about that, I said, ‘okay, let’s go,’ because I want to come back. And in 2017, I made two easy fights then came the offer for the IBO title. I said I want to fight. Even in that fight, I wasn’t 100% healthy because it was like one, one and half year to get healthy, but I made it.

And now, I can say that right now I am really, really 100% healthy. I am prepared and I am motivated more than ever because when I come back, I said I need to be not 100%, but I need to be 500% and I want to change something. I want to change my life. So right now, I think this is the right chance.

Q
You mentioned this was maybe your last big chance. Many people will say that a fighter with nothing to lose is the most dangerous opponent and perhaps we saw that with Otto Wallin. Do you feel you’re in this position that makes you dangerous?

I. Habazin
Yes, definitely, and I said that before the fight. I don’t have nothing to lose right now. I only can change everything and if not now, then when? So I’m ready, I’m 100% ready. I’m really focused on that. Four months I was training only for that fight, so we’re going to see what’s going to happen.

Like I said, this is boxing. One punch can change everything. You can be good all fight, but you can finish on the floor in the last second. So everything is possible. Claressa is a great fighter, but I believe in myself and that’s it.

D. Salita
Thank you. This is also a time when we have two superstar trainers in both of the fighter’s corners. I think it’s the first time in women’s boxing with Ali Bashir training Ivana Habazin and John David Jackson training Claressa Shields. So that’s going to be a very interesting test of stars as well.

Ivana, would you like to finish up with any closing statements?

I. Habazin
Yes, I just want to say thank you for this opportunity. I’m really happy because of that and at the end, actually, I really want for people to enjoy a good fight. So the better [fighter] is going to win and that’s all. I hope that’s going to be me. But I wish good luck to Claressa.

D. Salita
Thank you, Ivana. Now, I’d like to introduce Claressa Shields. Claressa, in her last fight headlined the biggest fight in women’s boxing history and put on a tremendous performance.

She really could have fought anywhere she wanted. We had offers from some big venues in Las Vegas, New York, Atlantic City, elsewhere throughout the country, but Claressa made her point to come back to Flint to give this fight back to the fans and the community she grew up in.

I want to list some of her accomplishments even though I know that most of you know them. She is 9-0 with 2 KOs since turning pro three years ago and will represent her town of Flint, Michigan on October 5.

She’s the first American boxer male or female in the history of the sport to win two Olympic gold medals. She became the sixth fighter in history, male or female, to unify all four major world titles in one weight class. She defeated Christina Hammer in the previous fight in April to earn that honor.

Claressa Shields has accomplished a lot in her life in boxing and as a humanitarian, as a role model, but she will be achieving her first on October 5 because it will be the first time that she’s going to be fighting as a professional in her hometown in Flint, Michigan. So Claressa, talk about your training camp, getting down in weight and how you’re preparing for this fight?

Claressa Shields
Yes, yes. Well, weight is not a conversation that I want to have. I don’t have a problem with my weight. If I did, I wouldn’t want to go down to 154 and accept this challenge. So weight is not a problem.

This camp and every camp, we just want to be a better version of myself. So, me and Coach John David Jackson said with the Hammer fight, we just want to fix a lot of mistakes. Now I know people on here are like, “How many mistakes did you make during the Hammer fight?” A lot, even though it was a unanimous decision, I beat her almost every round, it was still that me and my team having the mentality that we want to fix everything going into the fight with Ivana.

She has faster hands than Hammer. She’s coming from a lower weight class. She’s more comfortable with 154 and of course I’m losing weight. We want to get a knock out.

So the combinations are good. The jab was good against Hammer. We’ve just been working a lot of punches, making sure that we’re throwing our straights over, making sure that we’ll be pacing with our straight and make sure that we just have more precisions for this camp.

So it’s one hard camp. My body is kind of torn apart right now two weeks from the fight, but one more hard week of training and then the last week I get to wind down. So right now I feel really great.

Q
You’ve obviously shown a tremendous chin during your career and she said she’s going to knock you out, I just wonder what you think of that?

C. Shields
She’s going to say a whole lot. I think she called me fat. Many girls in boxing say they can knock me out and I do have a healthy chin and I like to go in and test every girl’s chin and everything like that.

So I respect that she’s coming with that kind of attitude, but, no, it’s not even possible to knock me out. I may have been dropped by Hanna Gabriels, but that was a shot with me off balance. It wasn’t something that hit my chin then I went down and I was woozy or like that. I’ve never been stung by a woman nor man. So Ivana is just talking.

Q
Did you happen to see her fight with Cecilia Braekhus?

C. Shields
There was a whole bunch of bouncing around. They both were off balance throwing their shot.

Ivana likes to put her head down and just throw punches. Whenever she feels like she’s in danger, she just goes in to a straight bull mode and puts her head down and start pulling in. So you have to use a really good jab against her.

I kind of feel like towards the end of the round, Ivana kind of tries to stay in and do a whole lot of holding, and dancing and pulling itself like that. But early on she tried to stand her ground and used her combinations, but it’s nothing that I haven’t seen before. I know for a fact I’m a lot stronger than Cecilia Braekhus so Ivana is going to have a lot of problem on her hands come October 5.

Q
How satisfying would it be to get this knockout in your hometown and have another history-making performance for you?

C. Shields
I just kind of feel like it’s not so much about the knockout, it’s about improvement to me. A knockout is great, but at the same time, I want to go in there and I want to look phenomenal. I want to be sharp. I want to work on everything that I worked on in camp and be able to execute it in the fight.

So I’m not going out there looking for the knockout, but I know that it’s going to come just because of how training has been going. I’ve been hurting my sparring partners with body shots and head shots. I’m doing this coming down in weight and my body is sore too.

It’s sore too, I’m breaking my body down and it’s getting stronger as I break you down, and I can feel going there and boxing in the eighth round and be strong and safe, and be able to do everything that I want to do and let my combinations go and let my hard body shots, the hard head shots still be explosive towards the end of the round.

So just knowing that, I feel like the knockout is going to come. But I’m not going to go out there trying to rush it, I just want it come. So I want to go out there and do everything that I’ve been working on in camp, and I believe everything is going to come together.

Q
Based on what you said earlier in the call, Claressa, were you happy with your performance against Christina Hammer?

C. Shields
I’m my biggest critic. That fight I was happy I became undisputed champion. But when I went back and watched the fight, to me, I made so many mistakes. I was like, “Oh, cut it off,” like I’m just like, “I’m over it,” you know what I mean? Like, I did really well, but I was just like, “Why didn’t you get the knock-out? Why were you not sending out all your shots when you should have sent out all your shots?” and just stuff like that.

For me, it’s just I’ve always been super hard on myself. So I give myself maybe a B minus for that fight, but I want to get an A. I want to do everything right in a fight and even get a knockout, or have it so I was just destroying her in every round, destroying her, destroying her and I’ll take her confidence away from her and I’ll hurt her.

I made some mistakes and she caught me with not even a whole lot of shots, but just the fact that she caught me with a shot that I shouldn’t have gotten hit with. It feels like that. But that is just me, my biggest critic, and me wanting to get better.

So everybody else tells you like “That was the best fight that we’ve ever seen and your defense is on point.” But I’ve known how to do all that stuff. I’ve known that I had defense. I’ve known that I could jab. I know what I could do. I just want to do it the best way that I know I can.

I watched it 40, 50 times. But each time I watch it, I’m seeing a different mistake and it wasn’t something huge, but it’s still just like, “This shouldn’t happen because we worked on it at camp.” It wasn’t a whole bunch, but it was just like just stuff that I see that maybe you guys don’t see.

Q
Do you feel that maybe if they change the rounds from two minutes to three minutes, you would have about three or four knockouts?

C. Shields
Yes, absolutely. Also the refs are super hard on me and It feels like they will not call the fight when I’m hurting these girls.

I can roll back and look at the fight where I fought against Sydney LeBlanc. I put her through eight rounds of hell and they just let her take that and maybe destroyed her as a fighter. She doesn’t want to fight since I beat her. And she came into the fight – me and her, she came down from light heavyweight to fight at 168 and I mean, I destroyed her from the first bell of the first round to the last bell of the eighth.

She never even landed more than 10 punches on me the whole fight and they didn’t even call it. So it’s like with three minutes, I will have a lot more time to break the girls down and be able to get them out there because I’ve hurt every girl that I fought. So as soon as those two minutes ring and it’s the end of the round, and they get that one minute rest, they come back in recuperated and ready to go in the next round. So you have to kind of start all over again.

But would it be in two minutes, I just got to I guess pick up the pace until they actually see that women boxing needs to be the same as the men, or at least give us three minutes a round so we can have the same amount of work time.

Q
Would that be a goal of yours to possibly push to three-minute rounds for one of your future fights?

C. Shields
Yes, absolutely. Me and my team have been going over, we’re just trying to figure out what’s the best way to go to the organizations about it. We don’t know if we want to go over and tell them, “Hey, maybe we could start off with 10 three-minute rounds, or maybe we can start off with 12 two-minute rounds.”

We’re just still going to try to figure it out and try to go with the best way to where it’s safe for the other world champions and also see what they agree with. I’m going to have a talk with all the girls who are world champions to kind of like have a vote on what they want to do because this is not just about me, I want it to about the other women too what they’re comfortable with.

I think the thing to understand is that women will always get paid less than the men unless we fight the same amount of time. So with that, one of the change that got to be made is either 12 two-minute rounds or 10 three-minute rounds.

I think that one of those has to change within this year to get us on the road to equal pay and equal opportunity as far as getting the big knockouts that we can get.

Q
Have you thought someone that you thought might be using PED’s when you fought them as a pro?

C. Shields
Yes, I’m not going to do that. Honestly, I don’t know. I wanted a VADA testing for Hammer. For some reason, we didn’t have it for that fight. But I wanted VADA testing for that fight, but we didn’t get it.

I’m happy that there’s VADA testing for this fight. But I think every world champion should be doing VADA testing especially after Mia St. John came out talking about she was on PEDs her whole career and all this craziness. I think that every world champion, male and female, should be open to do VADA testing because it’s just safer for the boxers and I think that they should be clean.

I’ve always been a clean athlete and I’m not going to say who I think do PEDs, I really don’t know. I hate to have to feel it’s been out there because I don’t know. People think “I just need this,” but I’m just strong because I work my ass off.

Q
What do you think you need to accomplish in order to be deemed the best female boxer of all time?

C. Shields
I think I’ve already accomplished everything to be the best female boxer of all time. But I think that some of the fans or media people may feel like you have to have 25 and 30 fights to be compared to Laila Ali. So I’m just taking my time, I’m racking up the belts and racking up the divisions and making history.

I’ll always be the world’s best and nobody is ever going to make me feel different about that unless somebody comes and beat me, and that’s not going to happen. So I’m going to keep breaking records and doing what no other woman has done.

If I feel great on 154, maybe we’ll stay on 154 and try to become undisputed there. Then if not, maybe I’ll just be looking to that160. I’m always going to go where the best fighter is and the toughest fighters are at, and try to make the most money.

Q
Do you think the nine fights that you’ve had is a better resume than o all the other female boxers in the sport?

C. Shields
Definitely, and that’s talking about the female of boxers, but the male boxers too. Male boxers have people their record is literally padded up so that you are about 20-0, right? 20 or 15-0 and they got padded records against easy opponents.

I haven’t fought against a person who’s had a losing record ever in my pro career, I think someone did the math and it was like 125 wins and seven losses all my opponents together so they’d be able to say that is a nice fight. Well, other boxers, male or female, say fought fighters like that. I haven’t fought against a fighter who has a losing record yet.

Q
Would you like to fight a male fighter in the future if you have opportunities?

C. Shields
I feel like right now I’m just going to fight in women’s boxing right now, trying to get an equal pay. I don’t feel like I should have to fight a man in order for us to be taken as serious athletes.

I’ve gotten in the ring with plenty of men. I fought 16 rounds this week with men, four different sparring partners. I can get in there with guys and I’m going to hold my own, and I know when it comes down to handling my business, I’ve never been knocked out by someone, or dropped, or anything like that.

So I don’t think there’s a difference between women and male fighters. That feels like it’s all about preparation. If you feel like if you have to get ready to fight again, if I have to be ready to fight against the male, I would change my whole training. I think I’m training hard until now.

But to get ready for a man, I would definitely upgrade and I think I have a great team who makes sure that I’m at my strongest, that I’m explosive, that my legs are strong and my muscles are strong. I feel like men have better body endurance than women and I say that because they’ve been fighting so long for so many more rounds in men than women just throughout my whole career.

Like even in amateurs, we’ve got four two-minute rounds; and the men, they have three three-minute rounds. And now in a pro, I’ve only fought 10 two-minute rounds; and men who are world champions have fought 12 three-minute rounds, so I don’t know how long. So when you have that, they just have a better body endurance than I think women do. But I think it’s all about the preparation.

Q
What does fighting in front of your home town friends mean to you especially with all that you’ve accomplished? And did you think that you would get this homecoming fight sooner in your career or later in your career?

C. Shields
No, I feel like that the fight came at the right time. I wanted to be super accomplished when I went back home to Flint and that’s just because I want the kids to see that like I’m from Flint, Michigan and I have accomplished all this. I’m not waiting for the end of my career to come back to Flint, I’m coming back and I’m going back to Flint in the peak of my career.

I’m going back while I’m the world champion, while I’m the undisputed champion, while I’m breaking records. I’m bringing the fight back to Flint and I feel like me becoming a three- time division world champion, the best time to do so is now. I feel like that was the perfect fight to bring back to Flint while we have all these other fights that are going on. I just feel like right now is the right time to just inspire the city and inspire the kids.

Q
In this fight being your first fight at 154 pounds or really your first world title fight at that weight class, is this sort of the start of a journey to maybe try to do the same thing as you did at 160 and unified the entire division, or is this sort of a one-time deal at 154 and then move back up to middleweight?

C. Shields
I don’t really know yet. I feel like it really depends on how I feel doing the fight. I feel great right now. I’ve been doing great in camp. I’ve been eating healthy and dropping the weight the way that I’m supposed to. I’m dehydrated.

So it’s all about going into the fight, actually catching 154, getting on the scale and getting in the ring. So what I’m going to do there is going to fight.
.
Q
How does that impact your performance in the sport also having another really big visible job as a role model?

C. Shields
I’m only 24 years old and I think that women’s boxing has been quiet long enough. I feel like we haven’t got our due just because we haven’t spoken up enough about it.

I feel like there are women who did speak about it, but they’ve spoken about it in the wrong way like they just came up at people the wrong way and it’s more of like a “I’ve got the skills to pay the bill. I’ve got the power to knock people over.” And I’m not just talking to impress like I would go in there and try to do it. I’ll really just try to go in there and do whatever I say, and I feel like I’ve been putting on performances that even men aren’t putting on.

So I don’t really feel the need to have to be quiet and has to be whatever they call lady-like. Like I’m a lady and I spoke a lady, and I’m going to do what I want to do and that makes me feel good at night. The day that you can hear me not talking, something is wrong. So I’m going to do what I want to do.

As far as me being a role model, I feel like I’m a great role model like you don’t see me in the newspaper talking about like killing nobody or going to jail. I hadn’t been arrested. You don’t see me drinking so I feel like I’m a great role model and I just want to tell everybody to be who they are, and don’t try to pretend to be somebody you’re not for social media or for cameras.

You’ll never have to keep lying about who you’re not. So it’s about me being comfortable with myself and just being who I am and doing what I’m most comfortable doing. And I feel like I’m being a great role model if I’m doing that because a lot of girls look up to me and they say, “You being so confident makes me confident,” so why would I stop being confident.

Jermall Charlo vs. Brandon Adams Official Weights & Weigh-In Photos


Charlo Adams

    Photos from Esther Lin/SHOWTIME

 

JERMALL CHARLO VS. BRANDON ADAMS FINAL PRESS CONFERENCE QUOTES & PHOTOS

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JERMALL CHARLO VS. BRANDON ADAMS FINAL PRESS CONFERENCE QUOTES & PHOTOS

“I want to give my fans in Houston and around the world a show to remember for the rest of their lives,” – Charlo

“I don’t get too much into what other people think. I go by what I believe, and I believe in myself,” – Adams

Charlo Adams Esther Lin Showtime

Unbeaten Middleweight Champion Jermall Charlo Makes Hometown Return to Battle Brandon Adams Saturday, June 29 Live on SHOWTIME® from NRG Arena in Houston

HOUSTON (June 27, 2019) – Unbeaten middleweight champion Jermall Charlo and middleweight contender Brandon Adams went face-to-face at the final press conference Thursday before they square off this Saturday night in the main event live on SHOWTIME from NRG Arena in Houston, in an event presented by Premier Boxing Champions.

Also facing off at Thursday’s press conference, and competing in SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING action beginning at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT were super welterweights Erickson “Hammer” Lubin and France’s Zakaria Attou, who meet in a WBC title eliminator, plus Mexico’s Eduardo Ramirez and hard-hitting Claudio Marrero, who compete in a WBA featherweight title eliminator.

Tickets for the live event, which is promoted by Lions Only Promotions and TGB Promotions, are on sale now and can be purchased through Ticketmaster. Charlo vs. Adams is promoted in association with Banner Promotions and The Tournament of Contenders.

 

         Photo Credits- Esther Lin/SHOWTIME

Here is what the press conference participants had to say Thursday from the East VIP Club at NRG Stadium:

JERMALL CHARLO

“Houston, we’re back. After seven years it feels good to be home and feel the love that this city gives me. I’m thankful to Brandon and his team for stepping up and answering the call. I hope he knows this isn’t going to be easy.

“I plan on delivering something explosive like I always do. I want to give my fans in Houston and around the world a show to remember the rest of their lives.

“I know that Brandon has worked hard with Dub Huntley and Freddie Roach, but I did the same with Ronnie Shields. The work is put in, and I’m ready. I’m going to deliver a statement.

“Right now I’m focused on Brandon Adams and I’ve been focused on him for the last couple of months. We’re going to get the job done Saturday night.

“I have so much more that I want to show and so much more than I want to prove in this sport. Ronnie has taught me so much and we’re here to be explosive and memorable every time we’re in the ring.

“This is a legacy fight for me because I have an opponent coming to my backyard and I’m not letting him take this moment from me.

“Brandon Adams made it to this level, so he’s definitely on my level. This isn’t ‘The Contender’ though, this is ‘The Lions Only Show’.

“Adams has a chance to be able to challenge himself against me on Saturday. I’m sure this is something that he’s looked forward to. But I didn’t get to this point by overlooking anybody.”

BRANDON ADAMS

“I’m grateful for the opportunity to be here. I’m looking to put forth the effort that will make me the new champion and have my hand raised on Saturday night.

“I just want to put on a performance. I want us to give the fans something to remember. I want it to go down in history. I need that opponent who can help me make history.

“I believe Jermall is everything that he has shown and proven to be. That’s what I’m up against and that’s the kind of challenge that I want on Saturday.

“This fight on Saturday is going to be fireworks. We’re both bringing our A-game. I don’t get too much into what other people think. I go by what I believe, and I believe in myself. I always have and always will.

“I’ve been through a whole lot in my whole life and I’m to the point where everything is going golden now and I’m grateful for it. We’re going to put it all on the table and all on the line in that ring.

“The object to boxing is to hit and not get hit, any elite fighter, they do that pretty well. I plan to do that. Jermall is a champion, you can’t take anything from his line of work and what he has done. But since I am the guy that hasn’t been around, or the guy that people don’t know much about, I have a great opportunity to showcase a little bit more of who I am. I am excited to do that.”

“I’m a fan friendly fighter. I’m looking to become a world champion on Saturday night and I’m going to leave it all on the line. It’s one fight at a time and this is the biggest opportunity yet.”

ERICKSON LUBIN

“It’s an honor to be here back on the big stage. I have a solid opponent in front of me. He’s coming to fight and take my spot. It’s my job to run him over.

“I’ve been training for a long grueling fight. I feel like I’m going to have some physical advantages in the fight, so it will just be about listening to my corner and picking the right time to implement our plan.

“The (154-pound) division is wide open and some of the top guys like (Jarrett) Hurd and (Jermell) Charlo have suffered losses. Now I know I’m back in the mix and may have a shot to fight for a world title soon if I take care of business on Saturday night.

“This isn’t a redemption fight for me because I’m not fighting a Charlo. But I realize we’re in Houston and this is their hometown so of course I want to put a good show on for the fans.

“It’s been a tremendous training camp in Florida with Kevin Cunningham. It’s my time. Saturday night is ‘Hammer Time’ on SHOWTIME. “

ZAKARIA ATTOU

“This is a great opportunity for me to show off my skills here in the U.S. on SHOWTIME. As a European champion, I know I’m the underdog. But I’ve trained hard and I have some surprises for Erickson Lubin.

“I have some difficult-to-master skills. I have some good moves and I want to show and use them. That’s the kind of boxer I am.

“It’s great to be here in the U.S but I’m only focused on winning. I’ve trained very hard, my camp was great and from my sparring to my trainers, everything went well.

“I don’t need to talk while I’m up here, I’m going to do all of my talking in the ring on Saturday night.”

EDUARDO RAMIREZ

“This is a great opportunity. We didn’t come to dance. We came to fight. I am very prepared to win this for my country of Mexico.

“I know Marrero is a very tough opponent. He has a very strong punch and likes to attack, but I am very prepared for whatever he brings into the ring.

“I have been training very hard. I know that he is a lefty so we have been training with only southpaws in camp. I know he is a very strong opponent, but I am ready for him.

“I am here to fight, that is what fans want to see. They want to see us fight not dance. So hopefully I come away with a victory.”

CLAUDIO MARRERO

“I’m very prepared for this fight. I’m always ready for war and I’m going to go to war Saturday night. I hope Ramirez is prepared as well, because we’re going to have an intense fight.

“I’m glad to be here in Houston for this fight. I want to thank everyone who’s supporting this event. It’s going to be a great night of boxing.

“Ramirez talks like he wants to apply the pressure but we are going to be the ones that will apply the pressure. So we’ll see if he can stand up to it.

“I believe I have the best game plan for Saturday. It’s going to be a strategic type of fight. I’m going to play my pieces right. I’m going to be aggressive and be right where I want to be.

“I’m very motivated. Extremely motivated. It’s been one of my best camps of my life and it’s going to show on Saturday.”

JERMALL CHARLO VS. BRANDON ADAMS INTERNATIONAL MEDIA CONFERENCE CALL TRANSCRIPT & AUDIO RECORDING

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JERMALL CHARLO VS. BRANDON ADAMS INTERNATIONAL MEDIA CONFERENCE CALL TRANSCRIPT & AUDIO RECORDING

Click HERE for Audio

Ray Flores
We want to welcome the media that is joining us from all over the world. This Saturday, SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING is back with a tremendous night of boxing featuring Jermall Charlo, the interim WBC middleweight champion of the world, as he puts his title on the line against the rising Brandon ‘The Cannon’ Adams.

It all comes your way from NRG Arena down in Houston, which is a wonderful fight town. Houston has the Charlo brothers to really look up to and this is a homecoming for Jermall this upcoming Saturday, but it will not be easy. He has a very difficult contender in front of him in Brandon Adams.

Saturday night’s event comes your way starting at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT, brought to you by Lions Only Promotions, TGB Promotions, in association with Banner Promotions and also The Tournament of Contenders, Artie Pelullo of Banner, and also Jeff Wald, the Tournament of Contenders, they’re on the call, if the media has any questions for them.

Tickets are going fast and they’re available now through Ticketmaster.com. This is a tremendous card, but obviously our focus is the main event with Jermall Charlo and Brandon Adams to further dive into that here’s the president of sports and event programming of Showtime Networks, Stephen Espinoza.

Stephen Espinoza
Thanks very much, Ray. We are thrilled to be hosting this call and hosting the event, Charlo versus Adams this Saturday. For Jermall Charlo, we welcome him back to SHOWTIME. This will be his ninth appearance on SHOWTIME, and in many ways, both Jermall and Jermell sort of came of age on SHOWTIME.

Jermall has appeared on ShoBox, has appeared on Showtime Extreme and five times on SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING. So he truly has matured as a professional. We’ve seen him grow into the middleweight division. This will be Brandon’s first appearance on SHOWTIME and we welcome him to the network.

This is a homecoming for Jermall Charlo. This will be his third fight in Houston, but really his first fight as a headliner in a championship level event. He’s fought twice in Houston before, back in 2009 and 2012. But both of those were six round fights, I believe. So after 20 fights in seven years, this is a true homecoming after being away from Houston in other fights for quite some time.

Jermall, in just his fourth fight in the middle weight division, has clearly established himself as one of the top fighters in the division. That is without question. One thing that you know that you get with Jermall Charlo is fireworks. He has stopped 19 of his last 22 opponents.

I’m sure everyone on this call saw a very impressive stoppage by his brother some nights ago on Sunday. And as competitive as these two are with each other, I’m sure Jermall has similar plans in mind. Of course, Brandon Adams has something to say about that. Brandon is an up and coming star of his own, has impressed quite a bit through The Contender tournament, and certainly earned his way into the top 15 of the division, and earned his fight.

So we expect fireworks on Saturday as usual, a big homecoming night for Jermall, a good test in Brandon Adams, and we will see you all there on Saturday night.

R. Flores
Thank you very much, Stephen. Without further ado, I want to turn it over to a promoter that is involved in Saturday night’s events. She’s the Vice President of the TGB Promotions, does an excellent job of helping to put together so many different things when it comes to the sport of boxing. Please welcome Brittany Goossen Brown.

Brittany Goossen Brown
Thanks, Ray. We’re excited for Saturday night and for our second fight in a week with a Charlo brother. We’re looking forward to working again with SHOWTIME and NRG Arena, plus Banner Promotions and The Tournament of Contenders, on this great event on Saturday. We’ll see everyone in Houston for a great night of fights.

R. Flores
Thank you very much. Let’s meet the team for the adversary of Jermall Charlo. A Hall of Famer and trainer of the year countless times. Someone who is just a visionary when it comes to the sport of boxing and knows talent. It is an honor and pleasure for me to introduce Freddie Roach.

Freddie Roach
We had a great training camp. It went really well. He’s in great shape to fight, and he’s 100% ready for this fight. Brandon is a good puncher, good boxer, and we know Charlo is a tough opponent for us, but we did everything in our power to get in shape to win this fight.

R. Flores
Thank you very much, Freddie. Now I also will turn it over to the longtime trainer of Brandon Adams, who Freddie has been working hand in hand with. He’s always smiling, always in great spirits, and has devoted so much time to the sport of boxing. Please welcome the longtime trainer of Brandon Adams. Here is Dub Huntley.

Dub Huntley
This is Dub Huntley and I’m glad to be here and looking forward to a great fight.

R. Flores
Thank you very much, Dub. Greatly appreciated. Now let’s welcome the man who is going to be inside the ring across from Jermall Charlo. His record, 21 wins, 13 of those coming by way of knockout against two defeats, fighting out of Watts, California. He went up the middleweight rankings by winning the 2018 reboot of The Contender where he was victorious over Shane Mosley Jr. by unanimous decision.

I’ve had an opportunity to get to know Brandon Adams through the years and he’s always in tip top shape. He’s always prepared. He’s always focused and when he got the call to fight Jermall Charlo, he immediately said yes when other people would deny it. Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Brandon ‘The Cannon’ Adams.

Brandon Adams
Hey everybody. How is everybody doing? I’m excited about Saturday, June 29, to get in the ring and share the ring with Jermall Charlo. I’m sure he did everything he was supposed to do to prepare for this fight. His name is “The Hit Man” and I’m “The Cannon”. So, we’re going to see who shoots the biggest shot.

R. Flores
Thank you very much to Brandon ‘The Cannon’ Adams. It’s going to be explosive down in Houston. I hear the weather is hot down in Houston. It’s going to be hotter inside the ring, and inside NRG arena.

Let’s meet Brandon Adams’s opponent. When it comes to his team, Ronnie Shields has been very, very busy as of late. He was in the corner on Sunday of Guillermo Rigondeaux, trained countless outstanding fighters, and he is the lead trainer for Jermall Charlo. Ronnie has done and accomplished so much in boxing. A round of applause and please welcome my dear friend, Mr. Ronnie Shields.

Ronnie Shields
Thanks, Ray. Hello to everybody. We’re looking forward to everybody coming out to Houston for this event. We have been working hard. We’ve been training as we always do. We know Brandon is a really, really good fighter and we’re looking forward to the fight.

R. Flores
Thank you very much, Ronnie. Greatly appreciate it. Now let’s meet the man who is going to be having his homecoming on Saturday night on SHOWTIME.

This man’s record, 28 bouts, 28 victories, 21 of those coming by way of knockout. He’s the interim WBC middleweight champion of the world, former junior middleweight world champion, having defended his interim title with a unanimous decision over Matt Korobov in December.

Very focused, determined, hard hitting, understands his craft and looking to make another definitive statement in his homecoming fight. Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Jermall Charlo.

Jermall Charlo
Hey. How’s everybody doing today? I want to thank everybody who made this fight possible. I want to thank the Brandon Adams’ team and Dub Huntley and Freddie Roach, and of course Ronnie Shields also. Thank you to everyone in Houston who has bought tickets to come out for this event.

It’s going to be a great night. I’m looking forward to having a good night and a good, strong performance from our behalf. I’m putting everything on the line, so that’s what it’s all about. I’m ready to get in there and do what I have to do.

Q
Brandon, how is the preparation for this fight being a 12 rounder against the top middleweight compared when you were doing five round fights and in quick succession last year for the show?

B. Adams
The preparation for this fight was sort of similar to how I prepared to fight Shane. Knowing and understand that in the five rounds that we fought on The Contender, we had to display as much as we can within five rounds to get the victory, and then making that transition to fighting for 10 and 12 round fights.

It’s about the work you put in, the conditioning and the training. And I felt like, me and my team went over that pretty well. So I’m excited to try to go 12 rounds if need be or whatever pace is possible. I’m just excited to get this opportunity and to be in a ring with one of the top fighters in the world and establish myself.

Q
Can you talk a little more about that time that you took out of the ring after the loss to John Thompson, what went through your mind as you were making the decision to come back and fight on The Contender?

B. Adams
Mainly really the three years that I had off, I just had some time to really self-reflect, to figure out what went wrong in that fight. It was weight loss. There was a lot of weight loss right before I fought John. So understanding that that was just a shell of myself, and knowing that I was capable of much more.

Like I said, when I had three years of reflecting, it was dark times, dark hours, but I needed that and that’s also molded me into the person I am today. And that’s why I’m looking forward to challenge myself and also challenging the boxing world and to prove that I belong at the top.

Q
Jermall, we haven’t really heard anything from the WBC in forcing a fight between you and Canelo Alvarez. Does it get frustrating at times knowing that you’re essentially his WBC mandatory and there’s no real time ever for when you’ll your shot at the world title?

J. Charlo
Definitely not frustrated and I’m living the best life I can possibly live right now. I’m young. I’m very healthy. I have my family. I have my closest friends, my trainer, Ronnie Shields. We’ll handle the situations as they come. Right now I’m focused on Brandon Adams. I’m locked in. I’m loaded. I’m ready. I’m ready to put on the best performance I have in me.

Q
Did you get to see much of Brandon during The Contender season? And if so, what did you think of him?

J. Charlo
I’m really cool friends with Shane Mosley and his son. I’ve spent a lot of time with those guys. So of course yes, I know him well, when I got the call and was told we have an opponent. But as far as studying goes, you have to get in the camp and really break down some of the things.

And my trainer, Ronnie Shields, does an awesome job of that, and we implement everything perfectly. He’s drawn out a game plan. He’s drawn out some shots that I feel like will be needed and much intended to throw in this fight.

Q
Brandon, when you were away from the ring for so long, did you think that you would not fight again?

B. Adams
To be honest man, I was always optimistic about the opportunity of being able to fight. I just didn’t know how long it would take. That’s was pretty much at the front and back of my mind, honestly just getting the opportunity to be able to fight again.

We know naturally I fight 154, but the opportunity for me to fight at 160 came and it was The Contender situation. So I jumped towards it and I moved forward from that, and now I’m in this position right here, and I’m extremely grateful for this.

Q
Brandon, what is your thought on being the smaller of the two in the upcoming fight?

B. Adams
Not too much of a thought. My whole life, I’ve always been small. So fighting guys who are taller than me, never really brought too much of an issue. I’ve just got to focus on me, period, whomever I’m fighting against, whether they’re big, tall, short, wide. I just focus on being the best Brandon Adams and I always feel like I’m going to prevail.

Q
Brandon, how big of a step up do you consider this in terms of competition from Shane Mosley Jr to Jermall? How big of a step up do you consider this?

B. Adams
This is the step up. This is the biggest fight of my career. My first opportunity to fight on SHOWTIME, to fight in front of a huge crowd like this, to fight a guy in his hometown who brings what he brings to the table. But I appreciate it all, man.

I’m looking forward to challenge myself, to show that, the three years that I had off and what they meant to me, whether if it was good or bad, to put it all on the line and bite down and get through this one and then reflect on it all.

Q
What would pulling off an upset Saturday mean to you, and what would it do for your career and your life?

B. Adams
Well, to be quite honest, I don’t know exactly what it would do for my life at this particular moment. I haven’t won it yet, but I can imagine that it could definitely make me feel good beating a guy like Jermall. It could definitely build the confidence a little higher than what it is.

I definitely need to build the confidence a whole lot more, but I was already confident and believed in myself from day one. I’m sure it, it will do wonders for my morale and everything. But I don’t know exactly what it would do for me at this particular moment because I haven’t won just yet. I know the skies could be the limit.

Q
Ronnie, what kind of challenges does Brandon present for Jermall?

R. Shields
Well, there’s a lot of challenges. Anytime he’s stepping in the ring with somebody who is a good puncher, he presents a challenge. Brandon has a frame of style that we have to get used to and have to prepare for.

He seems like a very confident young man. So we know that. And so we had to put out all the stops. We’ve always trained hard, like we do for every fight. But we look at this as the biggest challenge that we’ve ever had, because we just have a different opponent.

Q
Jermall, what have you done to kind of guard against distractions so you don’t become distracted leading up to the fight?

J. Charlo
I’m not distracted. It’s all been fun. It’s a big experience for me. This is my first time fighting in my hometown in seven years. So the first time actually I helped sell tickets. And now it’s like, I’m not really a part of that ticket thing. So I just want to tell you that I’m focused. I’m locked in.

Q
How motivating is it going to be for you to fight in front of your home crowd on Saturday?

J. Charlo
I’m excited. It feels good to be at home. It feels good to be able to have the hometown fans behind me and become the hero here but I’m locked in. I’m loaded. I’m ready for everything Brandon has to present to me, and I’ll deal with it as it comes, , just as well as the crowd.

Q
How proud are you of your brother who got his knockout victory on Sunday night?

J. Charlo
Oh, I’m proud. I’m proud of my brother. My brother delivered a statement. He did exactly what he was supposed to do. Got a chance to go out and see it and train with him and go away with him and have fun with him and the end results was everything.

Q
Now, fighting at home, does that mean a lot, not only to you, but to your mother as well? Because last week, your mother talked about some of the adverse situation that you all had gone through.

J. Charlo
Yes. My mom is one of the biggest factors in my career right now. She means a lot to me. So fighting in front of her is nothing different. I’ve always fought in front of my mom. She’s always been tuned in. We’re just doing it at home now. That’s the only difference.

Q
Mr. Adams, how great is it to have world renowned Freddie Roach in your corner?

B. Adams
Having Dub and Freddie Roach in my corner means a lot to me because I started boxing pretty much when I was around 20. So that’s over 100 years of boxing learning from the both of those guys.

So I’m just being a student, soaking it all in and taking as much as I possibly can, and performing to the best Brandon that I possibly can.

Q
My first question is for Jermall. You were in Jermell’s corner on Sunday. Is he going to return the favor and what does he bring to the table?

J. Charlo
You know, Jermell, yes, he returns the favor. We both support each other and we realize how much we need each other in today’s age and everything we’re up against. So yes, let’s say he’ll return the favor.

Q
Do you feel any pressure to outdo your brother’s spectacular knockout on Sunday?

J. Charlo
We are mirror motivation instead of having any jealous or envious feelings about each other’s performance. I’m very, very happy and astonished by his win and his performance. I’m definitely not in competition with him because each fight is different, and every fight is different. We train hard for this fight. So I’m ready.

Q
Next question is for Brandon. Some previous contestants on The Contender have gone on to win both titles. Are you aware of that and has that motivated you in any way?

B. Adams
Yes. To some degree it did motivate me about what the past contenders did. But at the same time, when I say no, every man is their own man. So I have to put in the work. I have to do what I have to do to establish myself and do what I’m supposed to do to get my hand raised or become a world champion.

Q
How do you deal with the pressures of being an underdog, and is that a role that you embrace?

B. Adams
I’ve felt pretty good about the whole ride up. It hasn’t had a negative effect and I haven’t let it bother me. I understand what’s going on here, me fighting the champ in his backyard and everything. But my whole life I was never able to really cut corners and take shortcuts. And then in boxing, it kind of just followed the same way. So I don’t want it easy.

This is probably – well, in my opinion, this is the best route for me to take to be able to establish myself. I see everything that Jermall and his brother did in the sport of boxing, and I think that’s real dope. I like what they’ve done and I know what they mean for boxing. So with that being said, it’s going to be a pleasure to share the ring with him this Saturday.

Q
During your time with Freddie now, what has Freddie added to your training? What have you taken away from his wealth of knowledge?

B. Adams
Freddie, him and Dub are just alike, but the difference I would take from Freddie and Dub is, Freddie would talk to me a lot more through certain things, and Dub, kind of like everything is off a reaction. With him is more so of like, Dub knows how he does things without even thinking about it.

It’s just it’s ultra-instincts. And with Freddie, he walks and talks and does everything. So it’s fun. I appreciate working with both of them because they both know how to work me down, just talk to me, understand so that I will prevail.

Q
Freddie, during your time with Brandon, what have you seen from Brandon that catches your eye and shows you that he has what it takes to win?

Freddie Roach
Brandon had a very good last year. He’s really growing because of and since The Contender. Brandon, he’s a machine and we have everything we need and we’re going to do our best to let Saturday decide.

Q
Jermall, on the flipside, you’re expected to win the fight this week. Do you feel pressure to deliver an eye catching performance just based on the expectation that media and odds makers threw out there?

J. Charlo
No. I never pay attention to the odds makers because those guys don’t fight. So they don’t understand, every fight is different. I’m in for a big fight, a big night and I’m just focused on where Ronnie Shields has brought me, and this is going to be a good night. It’s going to be a good night of boxing.

Q
With this fight, you’re the big favorite in your hometown and all of that. And there’s a lot of discussion in the middleweight division about future fights and so forth. With all of this, how are you staying focused on this particular fight, knowing there have been a lot of upsets recently and that anything could happen in the ring?

J. Charlo
I’m just motivated by those guys who don’t finish the job. And this is a legacy fight for me. This is the best I’ve felt in a long time. My career is definitely where it needs to be. The pressure is on me. I can’t let anybody down. And it’s one of those fights where it’s much needed with another hungry opponent.

And everyone that’s doubting me, and everyone who is not on a side with me, it makes me want to fight even harder. So it’s just one of those things I have to do and go through.

Q
What do you see as your advantages over Brandon Adams in the fight?

J. Charlo
We both have advantages, so I’m not saying much about the game plan, but also much about, Brandon Adams. My advantage is that I’ve been here before.

Q
Brandon, tell us why you’re confident you’re going to be able to win this fight? We all know you’re the underdog, but why do you think you’ll win?

B. Adams
I think Charlo said it best when he said stay tuned. It’s Saturday. Oh man. It will be Showtime June 29.

Q
Would either of you like to make a prediction for the fight, how it’s going to turn out? Jermall?

J. Charlo
It’s going to be a great night. Just tune in on SHOWTIME. In primetime is going to be a nice show. I predict fireworks regardless.

B. Adams
Yes, man. I just want to piggyback off what he said and just say man that there will be a heck of a show being thrown this Saturday man. And you hear it yourself man. We both are already, fine-tuned and we’re looking to be explosive. So get your shades. There’s going to be fireworks blowing in the sky.

R. Flores
Before they get ready for their match up on Saturday, final comments, first from the challenger, Brandon Adams, as he gets set to battle with Jermall Charlo this Saturday on SHOWTIME.

B. Adams
My final comment is I hope everybody is prepared. I hope everybody is ready. I hope everybody is just as excited as we are. And Jermall, man you already know, bro. It’s go time. Looking forward to sharing that ring with you. Stay blessed.

J. Charlo
Final comments, thanks to everybody who tuned in. Thanks to everybody who made this happen. I’ll be damn if I let anybody come to my hometown and take something from me. So I hope everyone is prepared and I’ll be ready. I’ll see you on Saturday.

DEONTAY WILDER THRILLS BARCLAYS CENTER CROWD WITH SCINTILLATING FIRST ROUND KNOCKOUT OF DOMINIC BREAZEALE

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DEONTAY WILDER THRILLS BARCLAYS CENTER CROWD WITH SCINTILLATING FIRST ROUND KNOCKOUT OF DOMINIC BREAZEALE SATURDAY NIGHT ON SHOWTIME® TO ENTER RARIFIED AIR OF HEAVYWEIGHT BOXING CHAMPIONS

Gary Russell Jr. Retains Featherweight Title with TKO Over Kiko Martinez

Juan Heraldez and Argenis Mendez Fight to Majority Draw In Telecast Opener
Live from Brooklyn

Watch The Encore Presentation Monday At 10 P.M. ET/PT On
SHOWTIME EXTREME®

Click HERE for Photos from Amanda Westcott/SHOWTIME

BROOKLYN (May 19, 2019) – WBC Heavyweight World Champion Deontay “The Bronze Bomber” Wilder delivered the 40th knockout of his career in devastating fashion Saturday night, sending mandatory challenger Dominic “Trouble” Breazeale flat on his back with a trademark right hand in front of a raucous crowd at Barclays Center, the home of BROOKLYN BOXING™, in an event presented by Premier Boxing Champions. Successfully defending his belt for the ninth time, Wilder joins illustrious company alongside Hall of Famers Joe Louis, Muhammad Ali, Mike Tyson and more and becomes the 10th fighter in history to make nine or more consecutive successful heavyweight title defenses. Watch HERE: https://s.sho.com/2Hp0AEh

In the buildup to tonight’s world championship bout, Wilder (41-0-1, 40 KOs) repeatedly promised that the fight would not last long. The towering Tuscaloosa, Ala. native kept his word, scoring the 20th first round knockout of his career and his 15th knockdown as heavyweight world champion. Breazeale (20-2, 18 KOs) was able to withstand Wilder’s first early onslaught, but could not beat referee Harvey Dock’s 10-count when Wilder connected flush with the most dangerous right hand in boxing later in the opening round.

“Everything just came out of me tonight”, said Wilder. “I know it’s been a big buildup, there’s been a lot of animosity and a lot of words that were said and it just came out of me tonight. That’s what makes boxing so great.

“I just told Breazeale I love him and of course I want to see him go home to his family. I know we say some things, but when you can fight a man and then you can hug him and kiss him, I wish the world was like that. We shake hands and we live to see another day and that’s what it’s all about.”

As the attention of the heavyweight division turns to what’s next, Wilder insists that a fight with Tyson Fury, the only man he has faced and not defeated, or Anthony Joshua remains on the table and in the works.

“I understand what Fury did,” said Wilder. “When you get dropped on the canvas like that I understand you have to get yourself back together. But the rematch will happen, like all these other fights will happen. The great thing is all these fights rare in discussion. The big fights will happen. I just want you to have patience.”

Breazeale, whose only two defeats have now come against both Wilder and Joshua, was disappointed he wasn’t allowed to continue the fight.

 

 

“I think the ref stopped it a little early because I could hear him saying seven and eight, but that’s boxing,” said Breazeale. “He did his job and kept us safe for our next fight.

“I got on my feet and had my legs under me. It’s the heavyweight division so there’s going to big shots from guys with power. This was a situation where he landed the big right hand before I did. I thought I was going to come on in the later rounds. I’ll be back and go for the heavyweight title again.”

In the co-feature, WBC Featherweight World Champion Gary Russell Jr. (30-1, 18 KOs) put on yet another professional display to defend his belt for the fourth time against a valiant Kiko Martinez (39-9-2, 28 KOs). Due to a gash that opened up over Martinez’s left eye, referee Ricky Gonzalez stopped the fight in the fifth round upon the advice of the ringside physician, resulting in a technical knockout.

Russell, who was fighting for the first time in a year, showed no signs of ring rust and displayed his full skillset including his trademark lightning quick hands. The 30-year-old Capitol Heights, Md. native was dominant from the opening bell and landed on a remarkable 40% of his power punches. In an all-action fight with little downtime, Martinez did more than enough to play his part. The Spaniard constantly came forward but Russell continued to target the cut that opened up over his eye after a right hook in the second round. The ringside official called for the stoppage of the fight at 2:52 of round number five.

“I did pretty good,” said the 2008 U.S. Olympian Russell to SHOWTIME ringside reporter Jim Gray. “We stayed behind the jab and he couldn’t get past it. We knew that intellect over athleticism would get it done.

 

“We want [WBA Featherweight Champion] Leo Santa Cruz,” Russell continued while wearing a shirt that read ‘Leo Next’. “We want to make this fight happen. The fire is all the way hot on this side of the field. You will get burned. I would love for that fight to happen this year. Let’s make it happen.”

“It was a good stoppage for a very tough fight,” said the former world champion Martinez. “I’m definitely a visual fighter so the cut made it tough. Gary was in great physical condition and it was a very hard fight.

“I’m going to rest a little bit now, but I’ll be back. I thought I had some good moments and had a good division. I think I’ll drop back down to 122-pounds to win a world title there.”

In the telecast opener, undefeated prospect Juan Heraldez (16-0-1, 10 KOs) and former world champion Argenis Mendez (25-5-2, 12 KOs) fought to a highly competitive majority draw. Two judges scored the fight 95-95, while a third had Mendez winning 97-93.

Fighting in front of his mentor Floyd Mayweather, Las Vegas’ Heraldez controlled many of the early rounds by setting the pace and establishing his jab. Heraldez outlanded Mendez 126-108 in total punches and 70-30 in jabs throughout the 10 rounds. Falling behind early, Mendez, a seasoned veteran and 2004 Dominican Republic Olympian, used his experience to grow back into the fight. The tempo picked up in the fifth round, as both fighters landed several heavy blows but the momentum shifted towards Mendez. The 32-year-old Mendez, who has fought seven current or former champions, closed out the fight exceptionally strong, winning the final round on all three judges’ scorecards. Without doing so, Mendez would have lost the fight.

“I thought I won the fight,” said a disappointed Mendez. “He didn’t do anything to me. How did he win the fight? If I have to prove I beat him in a rematch, I’ll be ready. I won’t leave it up to the judges.

 

 

“My speed and my power made it difficult for him. I thought my counterpunching was really good. He tired toward the later rounds and that let me get a little closer to him to get my offense going.”

Similarly, Heraldez thought he did enough to win the fight which he viewed as a potential coming out party.

“I thought I won a close decision,” Heraldez said. “I didn’t think it was a draw. He didn’t do anything that hurt me at any point.

“He wasn’t really engaging with me. He was just trying to move around and pick his shots, but it wasn’t anything I wasn’t ready for. I’ll either take the rematch with Mendez or move forward toward my goal of a world title.”

Preceding the telecast, SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING COUNTDOWN featured three undercard attractions streamed live on the SHOWTIME Sports social platforms. A battle between heavyweights Robert Alfonso (18-0-1, 8 KOs) and Iago Kiladze (26-4-1, 18 KOs) ended in a split-draw after eight rounds of action. While one judge scored the fight 77-75 for Alfonso, another had it 77-75 for Kiladze, with the third judge scoring it 76-76, resulting in the draw.

Also entering the ring was 2016 U.S. Olympian Gary Antuanne Russell (9-0, 9 KOs), the younger brother of the featherweight champion Gary Russell Jr., who dropped Marcos Mojica (16-4-2, 12 KOs) twice to earn a stoppage 2:13 into the third round. Rounding out the action was Brooklyn-native and 2016 Haitian Olympian Richardson Hitchins (9-0, 5 KOs), who scored a TKO of Alejandro Munera (4-2-3, 4 KOs) after Munera was knocked down in round three and unable to continue despite making it to the final bell of the round.

DEONTAY WILDER VS. DOMINIC BREAZEALE OFFICIAL WEIGHTS & WEIGH-IN PHOTOS

Wilder Breazele Bout Sheet

 

Photo Credits- Amanda Westcott/SHOWTIME

DEONTAY WILDER VS. DOMINIC BREAZEALE FINAL PRESS CONFERENCE QUOTES AND PHOTOS

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DEONTAY WILDER VS. DOMINIC BREAZEALE FINAL PRESS CONFERENCE QUOTES AND PHOTOS

“The closest Breazeale is going to get to this belt, is in his dreams,” Wilder

“I’m going to beat Deontay so bad that he’s not going to ever want to lace up the gloves again,” Breazeale

Wilder vs. Breazeale Heavyweight World Championship Headlines SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING® Tripleheader This Saturday Live on SHOWTIME® from Barclays Center in Brooklyn and Presented by Premier Boxing Champions

All Photo credits- Amanda Westcott/SHOWTIME

BROOKLYN (May 16, 2019) – WBC Heavyweight World Champion Deontay “The Bronze Bomber” Wilder and mandatory challenger Dominic “Trouble” Breazeale continued their war of words and further escalated their longstanding feud at the final press conference Thursday ahead of their showdown this Saturday live on SHOWTIME from Barclays Center, the home of BROOKLYN BOXING™, and presented by Premier Boxing Champions.

Also featured at the final press conference were WBC Featherweight World Champion Gary Russell Jr. and former world champion Kiko Martinez, who meet in a 12-round bout for Russell’s world title, and unbeaten Juan Heraldez and former world champion Argenis Mendez, who compete in a 10-round super lightweight fight. Those two bouts will be part of SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING coverage beginning at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT on SHOWTIME, while three undercard fights will stream live on SHOWTIME Sports social platforms beginning at 6:30 p.m. ET/3:30 p.m. PT on SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING COUNTDOWN.

Tickets for this BombZquad event can be purchased at ticketmaster.comand barclayscenter.com. Tickets also can be purchased at the American Express Box Office at Barclays Center. Group discounts are available by calling 844-BKLYN-GP. The Heraldez vs. Mendez fight is co-promoted with Mayweather Promotions.

Here is what the press conference participants had to say Thursday from Barclays Center:

DEONTAY WILDER

“These fighters always get into great shape and think they have the game plan to beat me. They think they’re going to catch me. It’s not going to work. Nothing this guy has prepared for is going to work.

“I hope he brings the best he can bring. This is more than just a boxing match. I’m passionate about what I do. This has been a long time coming for me and Dominic. He asked for this, and he shall receive.

 

“It’s going to be an amazing night for me, and a sad night for him. Being heavyweight champion is a big responsibility. Not everyone is made to be a champion. It’s more than being glamorous or carrying around this prestigious belt.

“I’ve trained harder than I’ve ever trained. He’s got me inspired like I was against Bermane Stiverne. I want to hurt Breazeale so bad. I’m going to keep my composure until that time comes Saturday night.

“I don’t believe Breazeale when he speaks. I’ve been in this game for a very long time. Someone like him is not going to beat me. The closest he’s going to get to this belt is in his dreams.

“My whole team has been with me since day one. We started together and we’re going to go all the way together. It’s been an amazing run for me. I started my career at the very bottom and worked all the way to this point.

“We never rushed anything. Even in the Olympics, I was still learning on the job. We trained to be a long term champion, not a short term champion, and we accomplished that. I’m appreciative for how far I’ve come and for everything that’s come with it. Hard work pays off.

“My actions are going to speak louder than my words. I am the best. I am the chosen one. He can say what he wants. It’s going to be a great fight for as long as it lasts. I’m going to bring the pain. Saturday night, everyone is in for a treat.”

DOMINIC BREAZEALE

“I’m super excited for this fight. Virgil Hunter and myself had a great camp. It was truly one of the best of my life. I’m mentally focused and physically right.

“I’m excited to be back and get another knockout win. Getting that WBC belt is everything to me. This is my Super Bowl.

“Victory for me on Saturday is everything. Wilder doesn’t know what he’s getting himself into. He’s in for a fight. He better be confident in his abilities, because Saturday night, he’s going to be in the toughest fight of his life.

“I’m going to beat Deontay so bad that he’s not going to ever want to lace up the gloves again. Sports are 80% mental. When I’m done with him, the mental aspect is going to be beat out of him.

 

“I’m going to put on another explosive performance. I’ve been dreaming for the last year about hearing ‘and the new.’ It’s a beautiful thing and I can’t wait to make it come true and have my hand raised.

“Wilder hasn’t developed at all during his career. He looks the same as he did in the amateurs. He needs to talk himself up to make himself feel confident.

“I’m too mentally in-tune to be focused on what someone says. When I go into a fight I don’t worry about what my opponent can do, but about what I want to do and how I can execute.

“None of Deontay’s words affect me at all. He’s going to keep barking and I’m just going to keep waiting. I’m going to quiet him down on Saturday night.”

GARY RUSSELL JR.

“I’m hungry and ready. Anyone that I step in the ring with is standing in the way of my goals. Anyone trying to stop me, is in a dangerous position.

“We’re going to try to control the pace of the fight with my jab. I don’t think he’s going to get past the jab. He’s going to try to get rough and physical. My plan is to make the adjustments that I need to get this win.

“It’s always a family affair with the Russells. We move as a unit and we excel as a unit. My family is where I pull all my energy from. It’s never a distraction. They give me the fuel I need.

 

“In boxing you need to have full trust and belief in your coach. I couldn’t imagine a better fit than having my dad. Even if he gives instructions that might not be 100% right in my eyes, I know that it’s going to be the best thing for me.

“No one in this division wants to step in the ring with me. They know the speed and power and abilities that I bring every time I step into the ring.

“Deontay and I were on the same Olympic team, plus Dominic and my little brother Gary Antuanne Russell were also U.S. Olympians. It makes for an amazing card on Saturday night.”

KIKO MARTINEZ

“I come to fight and get that title. I had a very smooth training camp and feel 100 percent physically.

“I think my experience is superior. He thinks I’m only a pressure fighter, but he hasn’t seen me box the way I’m going to box him on Saturday.

 

“This is the biggest opportunity of my life. To be on this platform and be able to fight for the championship is very special. I’m going to make the most of it.

“I hope that Russell doesn’t take me lightly because I still have a lot of abilities left. It’s going to be a great fight for as long as it lasts.”

JUAN HERALDEZ

“Camp went great and I can’t wait to put on a show. I’m going to let everyone in this division know that I’m coming for them. I’m going to seize the moment and take full advantage of it.

“I feel strong and I’m ready to fight. I’m just counting down the minutes until I can step into the ring. It’s a lot of excitement and I’m going to let it all out Saturday.

“I plan to win in spectacular fashion on Saturday. I’m going to show everyone that I’m a player at 140-pounds and I’m ready for anyone they can put in front of me.

“I’m not planning to get hit. I’m going to out box him and stick and move. He’s not going to be able to touch me. If the opportunity for a knockout comes, I’ll take it.”

 

ARGENIS MENDEZ

“I’m very excited for this opportunity. I had a great training camp and on Saturday night you’re going to see a show at Barclays Center.

“I love boxing and I love this opportunity that I have on Saturday night. I’m going to show my passion for the sport during this fight. I feel great physically and just cannot wait to get into the ring.

“A win on Saturday night opens the door for me. People are going to start seeing me as one of the best fighters from the Dominican Republic.

“It’s going to be a good fight. I have the speed and skills to out box him. We’re both very smart fighters. I believe I’m the better fighter and it will show on Saturday night.”

STEPHEN ESPINOZA, President Sports and Event Programming, Showtime Networks Inc.

“The heavyweight division is exciting again and a lot of that has to do with Deontay Wilder. It’s also been helped by SHOWTIME and our commitment to the division. No other network has been more committed or invested more in the heavyweights than SHOWTIME has and we’re proud of that.

“We’re also proud that several of the fighters on this card have fought frequently on SHOWTIME. Deontay will make his 12th appearance and Gary will make his 11th. Wilder, Russell and Dominic all launched their careers on ShoBox, like so many other great fighters.

Wilder Breazele Final Press Conf. Amanda Westcott SHOWTIME Russel Jr. Kiko Martinez1
“When you get two guys together for a long-awaited grudge match, there’s not a lot that needs to be said. Deontay is the longest-reigning heavyweight champion in the sport. This would be the ninth defense for him, which is something that only nine other heavyweights have done in boxing history.

“Deontay had two of the most exciting heavyweight fights in recent history last year. As for Dominic, he’s a big strong experienced guy who’s been on the world stage before. He has fought for a world title and he’s coming off of three consecutive wins. He has plenty of power and we saw that in his last fight against Carlos Negron that he can change the fight in one punch.”

BRETT YORMARK, CEO of BSE Global

“The heavyweight division has been the talk of the sports world for months, and it’s fitting that the world champion will defend his title right here in Brooklyn in one of the biggest fights in the sport this year.

“Deontay, I’ve said for a long time that this is your home away from home and we can’t wait to have you back. You have a big opponent this week in Dominic Breazeale. Dominic you’ve already made two appearances in our ring and we know the fans are looking forward to another great show.”

PHOTOS: HEAVYWEIGHT WORLD CHAMPION DEONTAY WILDER RINGS THE CLOSING BELL AT THE NEW YORK STOCK EXCHANGE

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PHOTOS: HEAVYWEIGHT WORLD CHAMPION DEONTAY WILDER RINGS THE CLOSING BELL AT THE NEW YORK STOCK EXCHANGE

Wilder Breaks The Gavel In Closing Ceremony Three Days Before WBC Title Defense This Saturday Live On SHOWTIME® From Barclays Center In Brooklyn

 

Wilder Vs Breazeale…Wilder - NYSE Credit Amanda Westcott Showtime 8

                                                                  Photo Credit: NYSE

NEW YORK – May 15, 2019 – WBC Heavyweight World Champion Deontay Wilder rang The Closing Bell at the New York Stock Exchange on Wednesday just three days before he defends his title against mandatory challenger Dominic Breazeale this Saturday on SHOWTIME from Barclays Center in Brooklyn. VIDEO: https://twitter.com/NYSE/status/1128751798993412096

Wilder’s debut on Wall Street was as resounding as his performances in the ring. The American champion with a 95 percent knockout ratio broke the gavel during Wednesday’s ceremony to signal the end of the trading session on the NYSE. After a supportive cheer from traders on the floor, Wilder was assured that breaking the wooden gavel is considered a sign of good luck.

“This was a great experience ringing The Closing Bell and bringing the gavel down to close The New York Stock Exchange,” Wilder said. “It’s not every day you get to do that. It’s not every day that someone breaks the gavel at The Closing Bell. But I’m the heavyweight champion of the world and when I hit something it breaks. So that gavel was just like my opponents. Once I hit them right, they break and they’re never the same.”

Also in attendance at Wednesday’s ceremony was Stephen Espinoza, President, Sports and Event Programming, Showtime Networks, Chris Taylor, Vice President, NYSE Listings and Services, and Keith Sheldon, Executive Vice President, Programming and Development, BSE Global.

 

In the main event of Saturday’s SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING® tripleheader, Wilder will make the ninth defense of his title in a matchup of 6-foot-7 heavyweights with a combined 90 percent knockout ratio. America’s only heavyweight champion, Wilder seeks to join elite company alongside Hall of Famers Joe Louis, Muhammad Ali, Mike Tyson and more as just the 10th fighter in history to make nine or more consecutive successful heavyweight title defenses.

In the co-featured bout, WBC Featherweight World Champion Gary Russell Jr. defends his title against former world champion Kiko Martínez and unbeaten super lightweight contender Juan Heráldez faces former world champion Argenis Méndez in a 10-round attraction that opens the telecast.

Tickets for this BombZquad event can be purchased at ticketmaster.com and barclayscenter.com. Tickets also can be purchased at the American Express Box Office at Barclays Center. Group discounts are available by calling 844-BKLYN-GP. The Heraldez vs. Mendez fight is co-promoted with Mayweather Promotions.

DOMINIC BREAZEALE, GARY RUSSELL JR. & MORE FIGHT WEEK MEDIA WORKOUT QUOTES & PHOTOS

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DOMINIC BREAZEALE, GARY RUSSELL JR. & MORE FIGHT WEEK MEDIA WORKOUT QUOTES & PHOTOS

Wilder vs. Breazeale Heavyweight Championship Showdown Headlines SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING® Tripleheader This Saturday Night Live on SHOWTIME® from Barclays Center in Brooklyn and Presented by Premier Boxing Champions. 

                                          Photo Credits-Amanda Westcott/SHOWTIME

BROOKLYN (May 15, 2019) – Fighters competing in SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING action headlined by the Deontay Wilder vs. Dominic Breazeale heavyweight world title showdown this Saturday night showed off their skills at a media workout Wednesday prior to stepping into the ring at Barclays Center, the home of BROOKLYN BOXING™, in an event presented by Premier Boxing Champions.

Top rated heavyweight contender Dominic “Trouble” Breazeale and WBC Featherweight Champion Gary Russell Jr. were among the fighters taking part in the workout at Gleason’s Gym in Brooklyn. Also at Wednesday’s event and competing in action live on SHOWTIME beginning at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT were former world champion Kiko Martinez, who challenges Russell for his title, and super lightweight contender Juan Heraldez, who faces Argenis Mendez in a 10-round attraction.

Rounding out the participants Wednesday was unbeaten prospect and Brooklyn-native Richardson Hitchins, who meets Colombia’s Alejandro Munero in SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING COUNTDOWN action beginning at 6:30 p.m. ET/3:30 p.m. PT, in a presentation that will stream live on the SHOWTIME Sports YouTube channel and SHOWTIME Boxing Facebook page

Tickets for this BombZquad event can be purchased at ticketmaster.com and barclayscenter.com. Tickets also can be purchased at the American Express Box Office at Barclays Center. Group discounts are available by calling 844-BKLYN-GP. The Heraldez vs. Mendez fight is co-promoted with Mayweather Promotions.

Here is what the fighters had to say Wednesday:

DOMINIC BREAZEALE

“You’re going to see a different Dominic Breazeale for this fight. I’m something that the heavyweight division needs and you all are going to be surprised on Saturday night.

“Come Saturday night, it’s man versus man. You have to do what you’ve been saying you’re going to do. His talking won’t help him then.

“There’s no way this fight goes the distance. I know for sure it’s going to be fireworks from the opening bell and there’s going to be a fantastic finish.

“Losing to Anthony Joshua in 2016 was a huge stepping stone for my career. I learned so much about what I had been doing wrong. I didn’t do enough to get the win that night. I analyzed punch after punch and learned more from that loss than any win I had.

“I don’t give Deontay much credit for his title defenses. People talk about his big right hand, but this is heavyweight boxing. I have a big right hand too. I’ve put many individuals down on the canvas. All Wilder does is talk. We’ll see who lands that right hand first on Saturday.

“I’ve been training like a caged-dog during camp and it’s nice to be here now and see people’s reactions to the work I put in. I’m confident in what I can do and what I bring to the table on Saturday night. It’s going to be fun.”

GARY RUSSELL JR.

“My opponent knows who he’s getting in the ring with. Anybody who has an extended amount of time to prepare for no one else but you, is a dangerous opponent. We don’t underestimate anybody, but I don’t think his best is going to be good enough.

“Martinez has no other way to fight than to come forward. We’ll control him with our jab and he won’t be able to get past it. I don’t see this fight going the distance.

“When it comes to game plans, you have to have the ability to be versatile. You have to be able to make adjustments. Having one game plan doesn’t necessarily work.

“It’s always about getting your hand raised, regardless of the situation. My dad said a long time ago, ‘if you’re better than somebody, be better than them.’ I’m not going to fight down to my competition. If he’s good enough to stay in there for the whole fight, then he’ll get beat up for 12 rounds.

“I know he’s a strong puncher, but I never watch too much footage of my opponents. Maybe a round or so. I prepare myself to the best of my abilities, regardless of the opponent.

“The ultimate goal is to focus on getting the win. I don’t worry about how big the stage is because that’s only going to take away from your performance.”

KIKO MARTINEZ

“I’m very happy to have this fight here in New York. I’m very thankful to everyone who got me in this position. I’m going to make the most of it.

“I’ve been training for the last few months for this fight and I’ve prepared well for Gary Russell Jr. There are no excuses for this fight.

“I feel like I’m better than Gary Russell Jr. I think that I have everything in me to beat him and become world champion again.

“I think that Russell is the best featherweight in the world. After Saturday, that’s going to be my spot in the division.

“My experience will be very important in this fight. All of my fights have prepared me for this one and have given me what I need to accomplish my goals on Saturday.”

JUAN HERALDEZ

“We’re going to show a lot of smart boxing, power and defense. I’m going to be too much for Mendez. I don’t think it’s going the distance.

“I know I’m facing a former world champion who’s moved up to 140. I’ve been at this weight my whole career though. I’m the new dog on the block and I have to make my presence known.

“I’ve been making this weight for 15 years and still growing stronger and stronger. Floyd Mayweather and Mayweather Promotions have given me the opportunity to get to this point to eventually realize my dream and become a world champion. I have to seize the opportunity.

“I’ve gotten a lot of great work this training camp at the Mayweather Boxing Club. My coach Otis Pimpleton has elevated my training and every part of my game.

“I just want to win on Saturday and the sky is the limit for where I can go. I know my career is in good hands and I just need to do my part.”

RICHARDSON HITCHINS

“I’m ready to go in there and do what I do. It’s another day in the gym and another chance to show off my skills. I’m more than just a prospect. I feel like I can compete with anyone and it’s up to me to prove it.

“I’m going to keep taking these guys out until the competition steps up. I’m going to take care of everyone they put in front of me. I know my opponent Saturday is going to come to fight. I’m going to have the smarts to win the fight.

“I had camp in Las Vegas and got a lot of rounds in with great fighters like Heraldez and Devin Haney. I’m just ready to keep showing everyone more in each fight.

“I never look for the knockout. If it comes, it comes. I don’t think he’s going to be able to take the heat I bring. My goal is to show that I’m ready to step it up to a much higher level of competition.”

DEONTAY WILDER MEDIA WORKOUT QUOTES & PHOTOS

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DEONTAY WILDER MEDIA WORKOUT QUOTES & PHOTOS

Unbeaten WBC Heavyweight World Champion Wilder Defends Title Against Mandatory Challenger Dominic Breazeale This Saturday Night Live on SHOWTIME® from Barclays Center in Brooklyn and Presented by Premier Boxing Champions

BROOKLYN (May 14, 2019) – Unbeaten WBC Heavyweight World Champion Deontay “The Bronze Bomber” Wilder kicked off fight week Tuesday night with a media workout at world famous Gleason’s Gym in Brooklyn before he defends his title this Saturday night against mandatory challenger Dominic “Trouble” Breazeale live on SHOWTIME from Barclays Center, the home of BROOKLYN BOXING™, and presented by Premier Boxing Champions.

Wilder will look to defend his title for the ninth time in the main event of SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING® beginning at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT. It will be Wilder’s fourth time defending his belt at Barclays Center, having scored knockouts in his three previous fights in Brooklyn.

Tickets for this BombZquad event can be purchased at ticketmaster.comand barclayscenter.com. Tickets also can be purchased at the American Express Box Office at Barclays Center. Group discounts are available by calling 844-BKLYN-GP.

Here is what Wilder had to say Tuesday in Brooklyn:

DEONTAY WILDER

“Dominic Breazeale is going to get knocked out in dramatic fashion on Saturday. I can’t wait. He’s like a fly in my ear. I’m going to get him out of there in a fashion no one has ever seen.

“I love coming to Brooklyn. The people here have adopted me. I’ve had some of my most dramatic knockouts here at Barclays Center. I’m looking forward to adding another one to my resume Saturday night.

“Dominic Breazeale asked for this. I didn’t seek him out. He came for me. This isn’t a gentleman’s sport. We have bad blood and it’ll be in the ring Saturday night.

“I learned from the Tyson Fury fight to stay patient. It was my moment and my time. I wanted to put on a great show and deliver the knockout. I rushed but Fury had to be perfect for 12 rounds, I just had to be perfect for two seconds.

“I’m a person who’s passionate about what I say and passionate about what I do. I’m the realest champion in the business. I show love everywhere I go. Love is the key to the world.”

 

Photo Credits- Amanda Westcott/SHOWTIME