At TAO Chicago on Thursday afternoon, the boxing world saw a preview of what will prove to be a fully stacked Oct. 6 Matchroom Boxing USA fight night, as headliner Jessie Vargas will face off against Thomas Dulorme at the Wintrust Arena in one of four title fights on the card.
In a press conference, Saturday night’s fighters gathered to discuss their preparation and predictions ahead of the big night – which will be the first live U.S. boxing event for DAZN, which will be broadcasting it exclusively.
“We are building something strong and I’m en route to becoming a world champion once again. The WBC gold belongs to Shawn Porter but I look forward to challenging him very soon, in the near future. Then again, I’m not looking past Thomas Dulorme. He’s a tough task and I have to make sure that I come out victorious and continue my path to success. He’s a tough fighter and I know I have to be on point, every minute and every second of the fight.”
“I’m ready for the fight. Everybody, put your eyes onto Puerto Rico vs. Mexico. It’s the best fight Saturday night.”
Eddie Hearn, Matchroom Boxing Managing Director
“I’m very proud to be before you today for the first Matchroom Boxing USA event. Obviously we have a lot to thank DAZN for, the new home for boxing and for giving us the opportunity to build 16 fight cards across the U.S., and to build a great stable of fighters. I think by just looking up here you can see what we’re trying to do in terms of entertainment and value for money for the sport of boxing. It doesn’t matter if you’re in the Wintrust Arena or watching on DAZN, I promise you, you will not leave without a smile on your face!”
Joseph Markowski, DAZN SVP, North America
“This is a historic moment: the first ever Matchroom USA event, broadcast live on DAZN, following our launch a few weeks ago. Our U.S. boxing journey starts here in Chicago, with a stacked fight card and what’s sure to be a memorable night in one of America’s greatest sports towns.”
“If you signed up for DAZN before the Sept. 22 Joshua vs. Povetkin bout in the UK, you’ll get 14 boxing and MMA events before your free month wraps up. That’s tremendous value and entirely indicative of what’s to come. We came in to disrupt the status quo, and it’s been interesting – to say the least – to see how boxing evolves with various broadcasters stepping up or switching up their game. It’s an exciting new era.”
“It’s been a long road. Every fight is more important than the next. I did not look past Adamek because of his age, or because he’s gotten his butt whooped a couple times in the ring. Did not look past that! I made sure I went to the gym, trained hard, to make sure I put on a good show for you guys. I’ve said before sometimes as a fighter, the wrong story comes across because we talk smack. I have nothing but respect for this guy…It’s nothing about disrespect, it’s about two fighters coming together and beating his behind.”
“You had too much food in here man, this is ridiculous! You have a bunch of guys in here who can’t eat no food, you got chicken lo mein, and sour chicken, and chicken duck, and everything chicken. This is messed up.”
“Thirteen years ago, I came to the United States in Chicago and got the title shots. I won, thank you god. Thirteen years later, I get proposed to fight again in Chicago…and I said “Absolutely!” I’m here, we had a good camp, and I’m ready for the show. It should be a good fight for everyone.”
On why he wanted 12 rounds instead of 10: “I’ll never go into ring not in shape because I’m a smart man. Twelve is twelve. When I win the show I want to give you something bigger. When I go into the ring I want to be best and show who is better.”
“I’m not a big talker, but hopefully in the ring on October 6th, I’ll show you everything.”
When asked by Eddie Hearn on if the fight will go long or short against Johnson: “Eddie, I’m interested myself, and that’s why I’m here.”
“I’m ready to come here and upset the odds. I’ve done everything in preparation to be able to do that and it’s something I’m really, really looking forward to Saturday night. It’s a dream come true for me – fighting for a world title in America – and I plan on taking that belt home and shocking the world.”
On why he stepped up to challenge Beterbiev: “It took me all of half a second to say yes. I’m not in the game to turn opportunities down like this. I know I’m fighting a real good fighter, he’s a feared man, but I fear no man. When it’s all said and done, we’re both human beings, we’re both going to be in that ring, we’re both looking for power and it’ll be what it’ll be.”
“Expect a great fight from me. It’ll be my third defense and I plan on taking the belt home, no disrespect to Gavin. I know he’s a great fighter. He fought for the world title before so he’s going to come at me with everything hungry, but we’ll be ready and we’ll be taking the belt back home.”
“As a fighter we always want to fight in America. It’s been a dream of mine to fight here in Chicago. It’s a lovely place and this is where my dreams are going be made.”
“It’s up to me to go out there Saturday night and achieve my dream, which is what I plan on doing. I plan on stepping on the world scene and making a big statement Saturday night. My journey is just going to start and Britain is going to get a new champion.”
“I’m very excited to be here, the first time I’ve been in the United States. It’s a dream come true to represent!”
“I’ve always thought about when I would have the opportunity to fight in the States. Now, it’s here with this amazing card and amazing event, and it will happen Saturday night with these great champions and facing Jessica McCaskill.”
“I’m really excited about this fight. I love the atmosphere that all the boxers bring. It’s nothing about disrespect. We have high goals for female boxing, boxing in general, and there’s nothing but love up here but we do want to beat each other up. That’s just how it goes. So thank you for coming.”
“To all my friends and family in St. Louis, get DAZN if you want to see my fight! Get DAZN, it’s on-demand afterwards. You can rewind, watch it, rewind, watch it.”
On potentially becoming a world champion is Chicago: “It means everything to be part of history. I feel if you’re going to do something like this and put your body on the line, it should be for great things. It’s great to win and it’s great to have a belt, but it’s amazing to be part of history and that’s what I’ve been trying do my whole career. Because of the lack of female boxing there’s been a lot of opportunities to do that, so I’m excited for the opportunity and excited to fight!”
Tony Bellew, Interviewed Offstage by DAZN Hosts Ak & Barak
On his Nov. 10 unification fight against Usyk on Nov. 10: “This is a really, really hard fight, a defining fight in my career and his. He’s trying to make his name big in the UK, because the UK audience is huge and the US audience is now also open with DAZN. So, this is a mega fight. I’m a name, he’s a name, I talk, he listens, and we’re going to see how it’s going to go on November 10thand I can’t wait. I know I can beat him. I can beat any cruiserweight in the world. There’s only one cruiserweight that would have whooped me and he’s long gone and that’s Evander Holyfield.”
On rumors of his retirement after the Nov. 10 matchup and what that would take: “Boxing’s a hard game because even when you win, you lose a piece of yourself. I’m hoping to lose the fight in me on November 10th. I’m going to win, but I’m hoping that it’s so hard that I’ve had enough.”
On why he’s in Chicago other than his fight camp nearby: “I’m here to support my gym mate, Gavin McDonnell, in a world title fight against Daniel Roman. It’s a stacked card and a brilliant event. I’m looking forward to not just my gym mate winning a world championship, but there’s also many other fights on the bill…I’m looking forward to seeing it all.”
For more information, fans can follow DAZN’s U.S. social channels:on Facebook, for Twitter, and for Instagram.
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