With a potential world title shot on the near horizon for the winner, undefeated bantamweight contenders Antonio Nieves and Nikolay Potapov both agree their NABO Bantamweight Championship showdown this Friday is the most important of both their careers.
Defending champion Nieves (17-0-2, 9 KOs) of Cleveland and Russia’s Potapov (16-0-1, 8 KOs) will meet in the co-main event this Friday, March 10, of Salita Promotions’ history-making quadrupleheader of fights entitled “Detroit City Gold” at MGM Grand Detroiton ShoBox: The New Generation live on SHOWTIME (10 p.m. ET/PT).
In the night’s main event, two-time Olympic Gold Medalist Claressa Shields (1-0) of Flint, Mich., will face Hungary’s Szilvia “Sunset” Szabados (15-8, 6 KOs) in a six-round battle for the Women’s NABF Middleweight Championship. Their fight will be the first women’s boxing main event to be featured on premium television in history.
In the eight-round televised bantamweight opener, Detroit-based bantamweight prospect James Smith (11-0, 6 KOs) will take on Chicago’s Joshua Greer, Jr. (11-1-1, 4 KOs). In the other eight-round televised bout of the exciting quadrupleheader, welterweight Wesley Tucker (13-0, 8 KOs) Toledo, Ohio, faces Detroit’s Ed Williams (12-1-1, 4 KOs).
Here’s what they both had to say:
“Everything went well in training. Potapov is a solid fighter but I believe giving him some movement and coming in from the side is really going to help me get the victory in this fight. I’m 100 percent ready. I’ve been focused on one guy the entire camp and I’m ready to get in there and get the win.
“We tried to get sparring partners that imitate him as much as possible, so when I get in there with him, there’s no surprises, but basically, I’m just going to stick to what I know.
“A victory means a lot. We’re two undefeated fighters on the verge of a world title shot. A victory over this guy would put me to the stage of being in line to fight for a world title, so this win means a lot.”
“I had a great training camp in Detroit at Kronk gym with Javan SugarHill Steward. It’s been a great learning experience for me. The training, intensity, sparring, living conditions have been superb.
“This is the most important fight of my career. Antonio Nieves is a very skilled, high-level fighter. I am focused on making a statement onMarch 10, and showing that I am one of the best bantamweights in the world.”