SHOWTIME Sports and Premier Boxing Champions hosted a big press conference on Wednesday, Jan. 24 in New York, as they unveiled a stellar lineup for the first half of 2018.
Jimmy Lennon Jr. Introduced matchups of 10 premier events, featuring 12 combined world champions, 14 undefeated fighters, such as Deontay Wilder, Danny Garcia, Jermall Charlo, Jermell Charlo, Mikey Garcia, Erislandy Lara, Adrien Broner, Keith Thurman, Leo Santa Cruz, Abner Mares and Errol Spence Jr., who were all in attendance.
Charlamagne the God hosted Wednesday’s event and spoke to each fighter in attendance and was able to pick their brain on what lies ahead.
WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder faces off with former interim WBA champion Luis Ortiz on March 3 at the Barclays Center, and he still seems to be searching for his respect.
“Ever since I’ve been a little boy, I’ve always been doubted no matter what,” said Wilder. “As a grown man now, I’m still being doubted. I like proving people wrong. There’s nothing like proving somebody wrong. As I see it, I’m 39-0 with 38 KOs. Every time I promise I’m going to knock somebody out, I’ve done that. Come March 3, I promise I’m going to knock him out too.”
There has been much discussion going on about WBA/WBC welterweight champion Keith Thurman, as people are dying to see him back in the ring. Many would prefer a clash with IBF champion Errol Spence Jr., who stopped Lamont Peterson this past weekend.
Thurman spoke on his future following his victory over Danny Garcia this past March.
“2017 was a great year,” said Thurman. “Unifying the WBA and the WBC titles was a dream come true. Since then, we had the elbow surgery but 2018 is a get-back year. I’m truly looking forward to being back in the ring May 19. After that, I’m going to bring a more exciting fight later on this year. There are a lot of contenders and champions gunning for my number one spot but I’m going to have to let them know that I’ll be right here at the top.”
Three-division world champion and reigning WBC lightweight champion Mikey Garcia will face off with IBF junior welterweight champion Sergey Lipinents on March 10 in San Antonio and the Riverside native is ready for the opportunity.
“Hopefully I get to accomplish this goal of winning the title in four different weight divisions on March 10,” said Garcia of the Lipinets fight, which was reschedule from its original date of Feb. 10 after an injury tot he champion’s hand.
“It’s an honor to be included on such a short list,” Garcia added. “This only opens up the doors to bigger fights and bigger things for my career. March 10 is just another small step closer to achieving my ultimate goal, which is to become the best fighter of this generation.”
Lipinets seems equally as eager.
“I’m very grateful for the opportunity to be on SHOWTIME and fight in this event,” said Lipinets. “I will give my best before I get in the ring and when I get in the ring. I guarantee it will be a war and a great fight and you won’t be disappointed.”
Perhaps the man with his back to the wall the most is Adrien Broner, who faces off with former champion Omar Figueroa on April 21 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. It’s a dangerous fight for Broner, who is coming off of a unanimous decision loss to Garcia this past July.
“I’m trying to outshine everybody,” Broner explained. “I have to go crazy. I have to rematch Mikey [Garcia]. I have to fight Shawn Porter. This fight is the start of the turn-up. I’m ready. Let’s get it on. He’s undefeated, I’m trying to give him his first loss.”
WBA featherweight champion Leo Santa Cruz rematches three-division champion Abner Mares on June 9 in Los Angeles and that’s a bout that will surely settle a score.
“The fans can expect a full-action fight just like the first one, maybe even better,” Santa Cruz explained. “I know Abner Mares changed his trainer and Robert Garcia is a great trainer who will bring the best out of him. But we’re also smart. My dad is a great trainer who will bring the best out of me. It will be a great fight.”
Mares now works with Robert Garcia and is ready for part two.
“It’s been two years since I fought Leo Santa Cruz and all I’ve been thinking about is redemption,” Mares explained. “With Team Garcia, you’ve seen the change. If they think I’m going to fight the same way, they are in for a surprise.”