John Riel Casimero, Guillermo Rigondeaux all set for big world title clash

Stephanie Trapp

Two-division world champion Guillermo Rigondeaux and WBO Bantamweight World Champion John Riel Casimero went face-to-face Thursday at the final press conference before they headline action live on SHOWTIME this Saturday, August 14 in a Premier Boxing Champions event from Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California.

Also featured at Thursday’s press conference were rising unbeaten contender Gary Antonio Russell and former champion Emmanuel Rodriguez, who meet for the WBA Interim Bantamweight Title in the co-main event, plus former champion Rau’shee Warren and Damien Vazquez, who square off to kick off the telecast at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT

The event is promoted by TGB Promotions. Tickets are on sale now and can be purchased at AXS.com.

Here is what the fighters had to say Thursday:

GUILLERMO RIGONDEAUX

“All these jokers always talk a lot about making me retire, but they have to do it in the ring. Let’s see what you do on Saturday. I’m still right here.

“I’m enjoying this back and forth right now. It’s heating up. He’s going to have to back it up on Saturday night.

“He’s knocked out six guys in a row, but none of them are in the same class as me. He’s going to have the devil in front of him on Saturday.

“I’m only worried about the title that Casimero has. I’m coming for the WBO belt on Saturday night. Everyone who is here knows my story and what I’ve done at 122-pounds. I’m going to do the same thing at 118-pounds. Casimero is no exception, he’s just standing in my way.

“I like all the challenges. I want to face all the champions out there like I’ve done my whole career. I’ll take on any champion who’s willing to face me.

“Casimero is going to be the third Filipino that I’m going to take down. Everyone is going to see what I’m about on Saturday. I don’t have to tell anyone what’s going to happen now, you’re going to see it all in the ring.

“I’m not worried about his talking. I always do my best talking with my fists and in the ring. I’m willing to do whatever it takes to show him the kind of fighter I am.

“I’m going to do what I’ve always done on Saturday night. I’m going to win. I’m not a big talker going around making big statements. I’m just going to do what I do best.”

JOHN RIEL CASIMERO

“This is a very good fight on August 14. Rigondeaux is a great fighter. But this fight is very important to me because I know my next opponent may be Nonito Donaire or Naoya Inoue. Those two opponents may be scared of me but Rigondeaux is not scared. But don’t worry Rigondeaux, this will be your last fight on August 14.

“I know how to manage my game plan against Rigondeaux but I’ll leave it as a surprise for him. Let’s see what happens Saturday. I’m not so much into the talking.

“I’ve stopped my last six opponents and Rigondeaux is next. He’s ‘finito’. If I finish Rigondeaux, then maybe Donaire or Inoue will be next.

“I’m confident I’m going to knock him out because of my training camp. I’ve been training so hard and my coach Nonoy Neri has prepared me for this moment.

“I respect Rigondeaux because he’s a good boxer and a two-time Olympian. But I want to show to the world that I can knock him out and a lot of my fans want to see me knock him out. So that’s what I’m going to do.

“I have a surprise for Rigondeaux on Saturday night. He will maybe last three rounds. Don’t run!”

GARY ANTONIO RUSSELL

“I’m hungry and I’m ready to eat. It’s just that simple. This fight is going to give me a chance to broadcast more skills that I haven’t been able to show so far. You’re going to see more of what’s in my arsenal. He’s a good fighter and I’m not overlooking him at all, but I know what I’m bringing to the table.

“I believe I’m ready for the title. Again, I’m not overlooking Rodriguez by any means. But good luck to Rigondeaux and Casimero on Saturday, because hopefully I’m facing the winner of that fight.

“People are going to see that I’m a great fighter after Saturday night. They’re going to say that Gary Antonio Russell comes from a great pedigree, all his family are winners, and he’s following suit.”

EMMANUEL RODRIGUEZ

“This is my chance for redemption. Everybody knows I got robbed in my last fight with the controversial decision. Now, I’m just trying to do my best on Saturday night and prove that I’m still here. I’m going to show why I deserve more opportunities and that I’m going to be a champion again at some point.

“Of course I’m focused first and foremost on Saturday night, but for the future I’m looking for fights against stellar fighters like Casimero and Rigondeaux. It’s a matter of first taking care of business on Saturday and then looking to fight the best.

“After this fight, I want fans to be able to say that I’m within range of the contenders of this division.”

RAU’SHEE WARREN

“I feel like this fight is going to go my way the whole way. The way I’ve been training and staying dedicated to the sport through the pandemic is going to be the difference. I stayed hungry the whole time. He’s just another fighter standing in my way.

“I’m not going to doubt him as a fighter. Every fighter is out there trying to beat the best, but it’s going to be difficult getting past me. He better be ready as soon as he steps in that ring. He’s expecting a fight, but I’m expecting a knockout.

“I’m trying to get back to being champion again. I was a champion before and we’ve got some champions up here, so why not take on one of them when I win this fight? I’m not jumping the gun though. On Saturday night I have to handle who’s in front of me. You’re going to see a different Rau’shee come fight night.”

DAMIEN VAZQUEZ

“All respect to Rau’shee for being an Olympian and a world champion but honestly, I had a tremendous training camp and I feel like I’m going to come out on top. I feel better at 118 pounds than I ever did at 122 pounds. I feel more powerful at 118 than I did at 122.

“I’m expecting an action-packed fight. I want everybody to watch it because it’s going to be a great fight and I feel like I’m going to come out on top. He can expect whatever he wants, but we’re going to go out there and find out on Saturday.

“I’m hungry just like he is, so it’s going to be one hell of a fight. I expect to come out on top and that’s that.”