Undefeated heavyweight Joe Joyce and former heavyweight world champion Bermane Stiverne sounded off at the final press conference on Wednesday.
The two talked up their 12-round showdown that opens a SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING doubleheader this Saturday live on SHOWTIME (3:45 p.m. ET/12:45 p.m. PT) from The O2 in London.
Joyce (7-0, 7 KOs), Stiverne (25-3-1, 21 KOs) and their respective camps had to be separated as they debated the truth surrounding a 2017 sparring session in Las Vegas.
Stiverne was preparing for his November 2017 rematch with WBC Heavyweight World Champion Deontay Wilder while Joyce was readying for his professional debut after a decorated amateur career.
Manager of Joyce, Sam Jones, was the target of a verbal attack by Stiverne for his comments.
Both Joyce and Stiverne promised to erase any doubt surrounding the sparring session this Saturday.
A 2016 Olympic Silver Medalist, Joyce aims to continue his perfect knockout streak as a professional and inch closer to a world title shot.
A former WBC Heavyweight World Champion, Stiverne hopes to prove he’s still a force in the stacked heavyweight division following a disappointing 2017 loss to Wilder.
In the main event of SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING, former two-time super middleweight world champion James DeGale will face-off with former world title challenger and British rival Chris Eubank Jr. in a 12-round grudge match.
Veteran broadcaster Brian Custer will host the doubleheader from London with versatile combat sportscaster Mauro Ranallo calling the action ringside alongside Hall of Fame analyst Al Bernstein.
Three Hall of Famers will round out the telecast team – Emmy® award winning reporter Jim Gray. Boxing historian Steve Farhood as unofficial ringside scorer, and world-renowned ring announcer Jimmy Lennon Jr.
Here’s what the fighters (📸 Lawrence Lustig) and their camps had to say during Wednesday’s press conference at Intercontinental at The O2.
“I had a really good camp in Big Bear and I’m ready to go and put a dent on Stiverne on Saturday night.
“Bermane Stiverne, all respect to him, he’s a former WBC Champion. I have a lot of respect for him for taking this fight. It’s the perfect fight right now for my situation. It’s a great stepping stone for my career.
“It’s good to be back. I feel great. I came prepared. We can talk all we want right now but what matters is what happens Saturday night. I’m prepared. My team made sure of that.
“I’m not looking past Joyce. That’s what I have to take care of on Saturday. I’m well prepared. We can talk about the future once that business is taken care of.
“I won’t be a stumbling block, not a stepping stone.
“I’m glad he thinks I’m here as a gatekeeper or stepping stone. I’m not really worried about that. They didn’t call me last minute – I was already in the gym. However they view me, I’m ready. I’ll tell you one thing, they didn’t catch me with my pants down. I’m ready.
“I would have packed it up or hung it up if I wasn’t ready. I’m coming to fight.