Joshua vs. Klitschko | Saturday, April 29
LIVE on SHOWTIME® at 4:15 p.m. ET/1:15 p.m. PT
From Sold-Out Wembley Stadium in London
“I’ve prepared since day one for this… April 29 is just another stepping stone towards greatness.” – Anthony Joshua
“I’m the challenger again. I feel young, hungry, humble and totally obsessed with my goal to raise my hands again.” – Wladimir Klitschko
Click HERE For Photos; Credit Esther Lin/SHOWTIME
LONDON (April 27, 2017) – Anthony Joshua and Wladimir Klitschko came face-to-face on Thursday at the sprawling Sky Headquarters in London as the two 6-foot-6 giants participated in a final press conference for Saturday’s blockbuster heavyweight world championship event.
SHOWTIME will televise the fight LIVE at 4:15 p.m. ET/1:15 p.m. PT from sold-out Wembley Stadium where a record-setting 90,000 fans are expected to be in attendance.
The 27-year-old Joshua (18-0, 18 KOs), who won the IBF belt in just his 16th professional fight, faces his toughest challenge yet in Klitschko but has “prepared since day one for this” and sees the future Hall of Famer as “just another stepping stone towards greatness.”
The 41-year-old Klitschko (64-4, 54 KOs), who has competed in 28 world title fights and is the second longest reigning world champion in history, is “obsessed” with winning back two belts he held during his 11-year reign as heavyweight champion.
Joshua and Klitschko will unify the heavyweight division as they meet for Joshua’s IBF World Championship and the vacant WBA World Championship. The event from Britain’s national stadium will be televised in over 150 countries worldwide.
The ringwalks are set for 4:35 p.m. ET/1:35 p.m. PT with the first bell scheduled for 5 p.m. ET/2 p.m. PT. SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING® pre-fight coverage begins live on SHOWTIME at 4:15 p.m. ET/1:15 p.m. PT with all the grand pre-fight pageantry from London.
“Even though this is such a great event, I always try to strip it down to what it really is and just focus that it’s just me and this man coming to blows and the best man will win. I’m not only prepared physically but mentally as well for any battle.
“April 29 is just another stepping stone towards greatness.
“Any fight is the right fight. I’ve never shied away from any fight, any opponent. I started boxing in 2008; in 2009, ’10, ‘11 I was in the World Championships, and in 2012 I was representing Great Britain competing to be the best in the world in the Olympics. It doesn’t matter who I fight. I just enjoy what I do and I just embrace every opportunity.
“I don’t underestimate any opponent. Through my mistakes I have learned and made myself right.”
“I win. It’s not complicated. Let’s not overthink it. This isn’t rocket science. This is just a fight. Let’s strip it right back to what it is – a young lion, ferocious, hungry, very determined. I left no stone unturned in training camp. We do talk about experience, but even when I was fighting guys with lesser experience I was preparing for this. I’ve prepared since day one for this.
“Carrying the belt hasn’t changed me as a person. I just want to represent myself the best way because I know behind me are a million people that walk the same path as me and come from the same background. I think I’m a representation of these people.
“This is another stop. You can’t sit down and enjoy the fruits of your labor. As you sit down on your throne there is always someone knocking on your door to take you down. For me, it’s just another stepping stone.”
On potentially celebrating after a win:
“You can’t deny it. This is epic. As much as I’m calm, when I look around and see how pumped people are for this fight it gives me energy, it gives me life. So it would be hard for me to hold myself together after such an amazing event.”
On this being a pivotal moment for the sport of boxing:
“Absolutely, this is 110 percent a pivotal moment for boxing.”
“Can you imagine my next opponent is going to fight a guy whose age is exactly the number of how long he has been in boxing – 27 years? Can you imagine that? It’s a pretty amazing task. Is it a degradation that I’m actually a challenger and underdog in this fight after 27 years in the sport? I don’t think so. I think it’s great.
“I’m the challenger again. I feel young, hungry, humble and totally obsessed with my goal to raise my hands again.
“I’m so obsessed with winning. I realized that life is a circle, and I see myself in AJ. I do believe I know how he thinks, how he goes, and how the actual fight is going to be.
“The belts are very important. I’ve been attached to these belts for a very long. I had those belts in my past fight, and I’m fighting for these belts in this fight. The only difference is in my last fight they went to the opposite corner. So my goal and obsession is for those belts to land in my corner, in my hands.
“Obsession is love in extreme shape. I’m in love with my goal.
“Defeat? I’ve been there, I’ve done that. I got up, shook it off and came back stronger. Just a little help (for Joshua) – there’s nothing scary about it.”
WARD-KOVALEV 2: “THE REMATCH” SET FOR SATURDAY, JUNE 17, 2017 AT MANDALAY BAY EVENTS CENTER, LAS VEGAS
PRESENTED LIVE BY HBO PAY-PER-VIEW®
NEW YORK, NY (April 27, 2017) – USBA Middleweight Champion Luis “Cuba” Arias (17-0, 8 KOs) and prime contender Arif “The Predator” Magomedov (18-1, 11 KOs) will lead off the HBO Pay-Per-View lineup for Andre Ward vs. Sergey Kovalev 2: “The Rematch” on Saturday, June 17 at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas. The championship event, presented by Corona Extra, will be produced and distributed live by HBO Pay-Per-View® beginning at 9:00 p.m. ET/6:00 p.m. PT.
Arias will be defending his title and undefeated record against one of the division’s top prospects. Magomedov has previously held the WBO’s Inter-Continental, Youth and NABO middleweight titles with only a single career loss coming against Andrew Hernandez for the vacant WBC USNBC middleweight title. Both fighters are eager to make an impression during their Las Vegas debut.
“Finally my opportunity has come. The road to the big stage has been long but it’s here and I’m ready. It’s time to prove to the world that I am a threat to anyone in this division. I have been saying it for some time, my record shows it, but now I’ll get the chance to prove it,” said Arias. “I’m coming to make a statement on June 17! My opponent has been beat before and will be beat again. Thanks to Roc Nation Sports and my handlers for making this happen. A new star will be born.”
“My goal is to be a world champion. I have been waiting for a fight like this. Arias is a tough opponent but I will be ready for him,” said Magomedov. “I am so excited to work with my new trainer, Marco Contreras and to fight on HBO Pay-Per-View. Be ready for ‘The Predator’ on June 17.”
“If the heat between the Ward-Kovalev rivalry hasn’t been felt yet, then the cross promotional matchup of Roc Nation Sports’ Luis Arias and Main Events’ Arif Magomedov will certainly add fuel to the fire,” said Roc Nation President & Chief of Branding and Strategy Michael R. Yormark. “We are excited to have USBA Middleweight Champion Luis Arias make his Las Vegas debut and open the HBO Pay-Per-View telecast with a title defense on June 17 against Arif Magomedov.”
“Arif has been ready for this fight since the first Kovalev-Ward card in November. We are so pleased to finally give him this match-up,” said Main Events CEO Kathy Duva. “This is a huge opportunity for both Arif and Luis to test themselves on such a big stage. A win or a good showing by either fighter could catapult them in the rankings and put them on the map in this stacked middleweight division.”
USBA Middleweight Champion Luis “Cuba” Arias (17-0, 8 KOs), 26, takes great pride in his Cuban heritage. The Milwaukee-native chose his nickname in homage to his father’s homeland and its people, honoring them each time he steps into the ring. A former USA junior amateur standout, Arias made his professional debut on November 10, 2012 at Staples Center in Los Angeles, California, where he defeated Josh Thorpe via a four-round unanimous decision. Since joining Roc Nation Sports in February of 2015, Arias has advanced his undefeated record, paving way for his first title shot on August 20, 2016. In a homecoming at the Milwaukee Center, Arias captured the vacant USBA Middleweight title with a stoppage of Detroit’s Darryl Cunningham at the 1:11mark of the fourth round. Arias successfully defended his title on March 31, 2017 at the Carnegie Music Hall in Pittsburgh, winning a 10-round unanimous decision over Virginia’s Scott Sigmon. All three judges scored the fight 99-91 for Arias who put on a potent body punching display to settle a long-standing grudge with Sigmon.
Arif “The Predator” Magomedov (18-1, 11 KOs), 24, is a middleweight from Kizlyar, Russia. He made his professional debut in January of 2013 when he earned a decision win over Ruslan Sirazhev in Russia. Magomedov would go on to finish 2013 with a bang, posting a record of 8-0 with 6 KOs and none of those six opponents made it past the third round. He made his US debut in April of 2015 when he unanimously outpointed tough journeyman Derrick Findley. In May of 2015, he earned one of the biggest wins of his career when he scored a first-round knockout over the always tough and durable Darnell Boone. In July of 2015, Magomedov cruised to a unanimous decision win over previously undefeated and rising prospect Derrick Webster. In his most recent bout, Magomedov scored a second-round TKO over Chris Herrmann in Moscow, Russia. Arif is co-promoted by Main Events and Shamo Boxing and managed by Egis Klimas.
Ward vs. Kovalev 2: “The Rematch,” a 12-round mega-fight for the WBO/IBF/WBA Light Heavyweight World Championships, is presented by Roc Nation Sports, Main Events, Andre Ward Promotions, Krusher Promotions and Corona Extra, sponsored by Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, and Powered by Monster. The championship event takes place Saturday, June 17 at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas and will be produced and distributed live by HBO Pay-Per-View® beginning at 9:00 p.m. ET/6:00 p.m. PT. Tickets for Ward-Kovalev 2: “The Rematch” are available on axs.com and at the Mandalay Bay Events Center box office.
It’s an early installment of the FNU Combat Sports Show this week since Co-host “Tornado” Tony Penecale will be busy in his role as the Phillies Superphan tomorrow night at the NFL Draft. We discuss “Raging” Al Iaquinta’s tirade against the UFC and Dana White, recap Bellator 178 and UFC Fight Night 108, and preview the big heavyweight boxing match between Wladimir Klitschko and Anthony Joshua on Saturday. We also discuss the latest season of The Ultimate Fighter and last week’s boxing events.
Joshua vs. Klitschko | Saturday, April 29
LIVE on SHOWTIME® at 4:15 p.m. ET/1:15 p.m. PT
From Sold-Out Wembley Stadium in London
Click HERE For Photos; Credit Esther Lin/SHOWTIME
LONDON (April 26, 2017) – Fight Week for this Saturday’s heavyweight world championship blockbuster began in earnest on Wednesdaywith a Public Workout in front of an excitable pro-Joshua crowd at London’s Wembley Arena, just steps from sold-out Wembley Stadium where undefeated champion Anthony Joshua and long-reigning kingpin Wladimir Klitschko will square off in the most significant heavyweight event in more than a decade.
SHOWTIME will televise the fight LIVE at 4:15 p.m. ET/1:15 p.m. PT from Britain’s national stadium where a record-setting 90,000 fans are expected to be in attendance.
The British sensation Joshua (18-0, 18 KOs) and Klitschko (64-4, 54 KOs) will unify the heavyweight division as they meet for Joshua’s IBF World Championship and the vacant WBA World Championship.
Undefeated IBF Champion Anthony Joshua hosted a media conference call to give his thoughts on Saturday’s heavyweight blockbuster between him and long-reigning kingpin Wladimir Klitschko live on SHOWTIME® (4:15 p.m. ET/1:15 p.m. PT) from sold-out Wembley Stadium in London.
The British sensation Joshua (18-0, 18 KOs) and Klitschko (64-4, 54 KOs) will unify the heavyweight division as they meet for Joshua’s IBF World Championship and the vacant WBA World Championship in front of record-setting 90,000 fans at Britain’s largest stadium.
Here is what Joshua had to say on the call on Wednesday:
“This is a good era for boxing so I try to live the life. Over the years when I started boxing until now I’ve been at training camp. The whole time I’ve been training it has been pretty beneficial, I’ve learned a lot. I’m not a perfect fighter but what I do do, I try to do well. I’m looking forward to the fight.
“If you’re asking about Saturday night, all roads have led to this and I’ve been training for a long time, I’ve stayed injury free. I’ve ran, I’ve sparred I’ve done my bag work and it comes to a stage in camp when I’m looking for the buy in now and that’s where I’m at really. Mentally, I’m excited.”
On how significant this fight is:
“For the sport in general, come on. For what UK-ers are doing supporting boxing globally, it’s massive. I also feel just to sell out the stadium without having to do the traditional entertainment to make a fight it just shows that kids can fight from different backgrounds …Where me and Klitschko are at, we don’t need to be trash talking and we are two half pieces coming together to lay it down on the line. It’s an amazing time for boxing in that sense that it’s mainstream. I’m not going to say win-or-lose, because the focus is to win, but it’s a massive benefit to Klitschko win-or-lose. Either he has another fight in him, or this time he’s done. I wish him all the best. I’m glad we got through training camp and we actually make it happen because as long as my heart was beating I still want to fight. I’m happy to be involved in such a mega showdown.”
Do you feel there is more pressure on you?
“Definitely not. I knew the significance of this fight before I took it. So I would never put that pressure upon myself if I didn’t want to deal with this pressure. I would have taken another route. But I want to fight guys in the division who are good. I don’t want to wait like eight years, nine years, six years before I start making a move on the heavyweight division – let’s get it on now. So if this is what comes with stepping up a level and a division I’m all for it. I’m not going to start saying ‘because I’m champion I’ve got pressure and I don’t think I’m going to perform.’ For me as a champion I don’t feel that pressure but I can relate to where he is coming from. As a champion you’re supposed to throw down like there’s no tomorrow so I’m not going to say because I’m a champion I’ve got so much pressure on my hands.”
How do you bridge the experience gap between you and Klitschko?
“I think it’s just destiny. I’m meant for this. I’m built for this. Let’s say we strip away what you just said, the excitement, the hype and just put us together. Go at it for 12 rounds, get down and dirty. I have the ability to come out on top and that’s how I take it. I don’t look at it like, ‘Oh my God, I’m fighting a guy who has been through it’, I don’t look at it that way. I just look at it as ‘I’m going to fight this guy called Wladimir Klitschko’ and we’ve got 12 rounds. I simplify it.
I practice boxing. Long range jab, jab to the body. I think I’m very capable of hitting someone continuously until they break down. So I think I’ll keep on plugging away, round 6, 7 and I should have him in a bad place. I just have to take the fight and break it down round by round.”
How will to deal with Kitschko’s reach:
“I’ve never fought him so I can’t say for sure. But what will I do about his reach? I’ve got my right hand to parry a jab, I’ve got my left hand to shield and protect me, to deflect his right hand. It’s no problem if he wants to grab. I can whip in a body shot and that would definitely slow him down. If you keep getting hit to the body at 41 that will take the fight out of anyone. On the outside I have got ways to deal with the majority of his shots. On the inside I just have to keep on swinging to the body and round-by-round I’ll start seeing an effect.”
What motivated him to take such a significant fight so early in his career:
“It was bound to happen. I felt the division needed it. I’m not doing it just for myself. I’m always about the industry. A lot of my friends from the amateur system have a chance to express their skill on the undercard, and it’s a massive platform. I think, as I said, the division needed it … Wladimir Klitschko, Deontay Wilder, let’s keep it going. Let’s start mixing it up because we’re in the same division, and it’s our era. What type of era are we if we don’t come together and have some trilogies and bring some excitement. So I’m all for it and that’s why I really wanted to take the fight.”
When was the first time you saw Klitschko and thought you could fight him?
“Not until last year. In 2015 I wasn’t really focusing on fighting Klitschko. I was moving towards maybe after [Eric] Molina we could have done [Kubrat] Pulev as a mandatory and gone that route of dominating the European market, but the opportunity came up. It’s a big fight, it’s a good challenge and let’s get it cracking. As I said, it’s good for the division and the attention it has brought is phenomenal. I think it benefits everyone so let’s be a part of that, and let’s be at the forefront of this.”
On earning more money than Floyd Mayweather Jr.?
“Not in boxing. I don’t think I could do it in boxing. Outside, if I make the right investments I think I can because I have some highly intelligent people around me but I think in boxing I don’t think I will but I think there will be a boxer who can because Floyd Mayweather has definitely set the benchmark, and records are only there to be broken. So I think someone could definitely achieve that financial status. But for me, that’s not so much my goal to try to be richer than Floyd Mayweather. The heavyweight division is so different from the welterweight division in the sense that all it takes is one shot, it’s a lot tougher, a lot more wear and tear on the body so I think it’ll be interesting. I definitely think we’ll make money, there’s no doubt about that but I’m not trying to put myself on the same pedestal as Mayweather.”
When do you think Klitschko was at his best?
“When he fought Marius Beck. He was a bit of a bigger guy and he controlled him with the jab and the one-twos. Remember he went twelve rounds. So he had to control a bigger man who was potentially heavier and stronger and he controlled his boxing skill and I think that’s when he was at his best. As I studied him that’s when I saw him at his best so I have watched fights around that era.”
Do you feel it’s a miracle you’re here?
“Yes. I was talking about it with my coach today. If you would have told me – I’ve only been in boxing eight or nine years – if you would have told me eight years ago, ‘Listen son, if you walk through that door into the boxing gym you’ll do this, this, this, this and this’ I would have been like ‘yeah, right’. It’s been phenomenal and why we do all the promotional stuff and get involved in big fights is for motivational purposes. I know there’s some other kids that are going to come up and be phenomenal because he may have seen myself and my journey and wants to get involved in what we’re creating. I’m all for that. I love it. Today was my last day of training camp and I’m thinking now what am I going to do in my next training camp, how am I going to improve. I’m enjoying the journey. It has been fun, boxing is a good sport.”
What is your history in sparring with Klitschko?
“I’m not a gym fighter so I did not go to try to prove anything with the sparring. I mainly went to go to see how a champion sets up his training camp. While I was sparring, it was good. Wladimir is technical. He will try to maneuver you with his lever hand to put you in a position to throw his right hand. That’s what I got from Klitschko. He is patient, he was just trying to set me up so he could throw his shots and I was just working on moving, jabbing to the body, jabbing to the head and I would go back to the corner and Andy Breshear would say ‘stick it on the champ’ and I would say ‘no I’m not here for that, I’m not here to prove anything.’ I wanted to watch, I wanted to analyze. That’s what I got from sparring with him. To learn how he operates in the ring and I learned how a champion sets up training camp.”
On the strength of Klitschko’s chin:
“He’s got a good chin. How long has he reigned, 10 years? Yeah, he’s got a good chin. You can’t be a championship fighter for 10 years if you have a bad chin. That’s the thing about the heavyweight division, it takes one shot. All these fighters that we claim have got good chins are the ones who get knocked out by Wladimir, so he must be doing something right. I remember Samuel Peters had a granite chin but they still end up getting knocked out down the line and they don’t go on to do great things. So, regardless of the chin, I think he’s got something right that works.”
Opinion of Klitschko’s Career:
“He is underrated. Heavyweight boxing comes with bigger prize money, more attention. To stay that disciplined for that long is a serious task. He and his brother have done well to reign for that long … I would want to go down as one of the greatest because I reigned for so long. No one could beat me for the last 10 years. It’s a good achievement and I would want to be recognized for that achievement.”
On potentially fighting in America:
“I think just fight Wilder, Gerald Washington, [Bryant] Jeninngs as well. These are the hotshots in America right now. I’ve made sure I fought some Americans on my way up so we could get a buzz out there. But I think I have to come out there for a fight for sure that’s important.
“America is the mecca of boxing. If we can cross over into the states and keep the fan base in the UK I think we’ve cracked it. That’s mega stuff, that’s global boxing. You’ve got a big guy, heavyweight with a name that’s easy to pronounce and speaks English well. I can relate to the U.S. market. All I have to do is get out there show them what my trade is and hopefully they’ll appreciate it and hopefully we can start talking about setting up major fights and bringing the same attention in the UK to the U.S. That would be phenomenal.”
How much of a concern is Klitschko’s holding?
“The holding is natural. But what do you do when someone is holding? How do you fight them off? You bring in the upper cut, you whip in a right hand to the body until the ref tells you to break. It’s a fight so I can’t prevent the holding but it makes it interesting to see what fighter does when they’re being held. When I’m being held I’m just going to throw the right hand to the body, left hook to the body and that will start taking the wind out of Klitschko.”
On Klitschko’s last fight against a British fighter David Haye:
“I think my fights will be entertaining. It is important for me to be entertaining. It’s not only winning, but it’s about how you win. I’ve always tried to go in there and perform to that level. It would be sweet to go in there and knock Wladimir out, because that’s what heavyweight boxing is about. So that would be sweet. I’m not into the 12-round boxing.
“David Haye was up against it because you had Klitschko, who was a champion. Emanuel Steward, who trained the champion. Then you had David Haye, who wasn’t a champion and Adam Booth, who wasn’t a heavyweight championship trainer. He was up against it and he found it tough. It just showed that the bigger, stronger man would win. He just got the job done and that’s what led him to here. He got the win and I’m happy or we wouldn’t be here right now.”
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