WBC Featherweight World Champion Gary Russell Jr. and unbeaten prime contender Joseph “JoJo” Diaz Jr. went face-to-face Thursday on the ultimate press convention two days earlier than they enter the ring May 19 stay on SHOWTIME from MGM National Harbor in Maryland.
The battle between the 2008 U.S. Olympian Russell Jr. and the 2012 U.S. Olympian Diaz Jr. is a part of a split-site SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING telecast that can function WBC Light Heavyweight World Champion Adonis Stevenson defending his title in opposition to two-division world champion Badou Jack in a essential occasion from Toronto.
Both fighters had been joined on stage by their fathers who additionally practice them, with Gary Russell Sr. and Joseph Diaz Sr. sitting by their sons forward of Saturday’s matchup. Here is what the press convention members needed to say Thursday from MGM National Harbor:
GARY RUSSELL JR.
“We’re 120 % prepared for combat evening. We’re hungry. As lengthy as I’ve this strap, no one is strolling in right here and taking it. I do know Diaz goes to deliver his finest to the desk, however we’re prepared. The strap is staying at residence.
“Me and my little brothers Gary Antuanne and Gary Antonio are on the undercard and so they’re going to point out the work they’ve been doing. Our dad’s birthday is the day after the combat so you realize we’ve got to make it particular for him.
“It’s cool that each me and ‘JoJo’ are skilled by our fathers. Because on the finish of the day, while you take a look at your coach, that’s your final line of protection. When every little thing else goes incorrect, it’s a must to go the nook. You should have a stage of belief and perception in your nook, so who higher to have than a dad or mum there?
“It’s troublesome for me to know if ‘JoJo’ is my hardest opponent since Vasyl Lomachenko as a result of I by no means practice with plenty of fear about my opponents. I feel that the largest factor is getting ready myself to the most effective of my capability and being the most effective that I can presumably be.
“I imagine in my capability to make the mandatory changes, it doesn’t matter what my opponent brings to the ring. If he needs to return in and field, we’re equally as snug boxing lengthy ranged as we’re making the combat rugged. In order to be nice at something, it’s a must to have a stage of versatility. That’s one thing I deliver to the desk that plenty of fighters don’t deliver.
“Diaz labored his method up the ranks to get this combat. He did every little thing it’s a must to do to get in place to combat for a world title. He’s already talked about that I’m the most effective fighter within the division and he is aware of that every one the opposite champions within the division are afraid to step up and compete in opposition to me.
“Any fighter who has two months or extra to organize for one opponent is certainly harmful. We by no means overlook anybody. I imagine in my hand velocity, my punching energy, my ring generalship and in my capability to make changes.
“If we will get by means of this bout, I’d like to get within the ring and unify with any of the opposite featherweight champions. The timing is ideal proper now for any of those unification fights. If they nonetheless don’t need it, I’m prepared to maneuver up in weight to fulfill any of the blokes who’ve a reputation. It’s time to make it occur.
“I take my hat off to him and to his crew for having the heart to step into the ring. There are solely sure individuals who will be made for this sport and it speaks volumes about him as a person. I don’t count on something lower than a worthy opponent.
“It’s a pleasure being here for this fight right near my hometown. We had a very long training camp and everything is feeling good heading into the fight.”
JOSEPH DIAZ JR.
“It’s proper right here and across the nook. I’m very excited for the second to be right here. I’ve been ready for this my entire total life and I’m not going to take something with no consideration. I skilled extraordinarily laborious for this combat.
“I completely assume Gary is overlooking me. I feel he underestimated me. I’ve skilled for this my entire total life. This alternative has been introduced to me by my laborious work and it’s actually the chance of a lifetime. I can’t wait to point out all people my abilities and what I’m actually about.
“It’s all about timing. Gary has the quickest arms in boxing however we’ve watched plenty of tape and we see plenty of flaws. Every fighter has flaws. We’re simply going to capitalize on what we see and take full benefit on Saturday evening.
“I don’t assume Gary having not fought since final yr will probably be any sort of benefit. I would like Gary Russell Jr. to be at his finest come combat evening. I do know that I’m at my finest and the most effective man ought to win on combat evening. There shouldn’t be any excuses after this combat and after I win the title.
“I imagine after I win this title on Saturday evening that I’ll be on prime of the throne within the featherweight division. Hopefully I can get some huge fights quickly after that.
“I’m ready for every little thing he’s going to supply. He’s going to return out and field a little bit bit and look to make use of his jab, create angles and use his velocity to maintain me out of vary. It’s going to return to the purpose the place he’s not going to need to transfer as a lot and he’ll beginning combating on the within. That’s the place I need to be. We’re going to ship some nice blows and will the most effective man win.
“I do know what Gary Russell Jr. brings to the desk. I do know he’s the hardest fighter within the division however I’m able to go on the market and produce again the WBC title. I’m able to combat the most effective and unify all of the titles.
“It’s going to be fireworks on Saturday evening. I’ve had an ideal coaching camp and I’m on weight. Everything feels nice and I can’t wait to step into the ring.
“I’m prepared for something. If it stops early or goes the space, I’m going to maintain pushing every spherical greater than the final.
“It would mean everything to win this world title. Not just for myself, but for my whole family. All the hard work and struggles that we’ve been through, it’s finally here. I’m going to do everything I can to come out victorious. Our lives are going to change and I’m going to inspire the youth and the people around me. I want people to know that if you put your mind to it, anything is possible.”
GARY RUSSELL SR., Russell’s Father & Trainer
“The purpose for the inactivity is simply politics. We at all times have the intention on combating however we need to discover the most effective opponent for Gary. ‘JoJo’ is the necessary so we’re going to combat him and after we get this win, we’re Leo Santa Cruz, Abner Mares, Carl Frampton. We need to unify.
“Before Gary retires from the game, he’ll transfer up and do no matter it takes to get a rematch with Lomachenko.
“We like to say that this is just Gary’s occupation. He gets paid to fight and he’s able to support his family because of that. All of the accolades don’t really mean anything to him or to us. The WBC belt is definitely the most prestigious, but like Gary said, we’re not really into the little trinkets. He would take it to the pawn shop if he could. We’re not really into those type of accolades. We just want to conduct ourselves as gentlemen, set an example and get paid.”
JOSEPH DIAZ SR., Diaz’s Father & Trainer
“It’s a blessing to be on this place. I actually imagine that god didn’t deliver us this far solely to deliver us this far. I actually assume the journey goes to proceed. I’m very happy with my son. He has labored actually laborious and has proven plenty of will and willpower. It means the world to me that he’s pursuing his profession and is doing one thing that he loves doing.
“It’s thrilling to lastly have a combat on the east coast. It’s stunning out right here. Joseph has been desirous to combat out right here and now he has that chance to fulfill among the followers he has out right here that he hasn’t had the possibility to fulfill.
“Russell Jr. is a quick fighter. He’s expert and he’s sensible in there. We’ve been engaged on Joseph’s timing. Joseph’s a little bit deceiving as a result of he sort of strikes a little bit sluggish however he’s truly a lot sooner than folks assume he’s. The velocity of Russell doesn’t have an effect on us in any respect. Joseph has sparred and fought quick fighters particularly within the amateurs.
“The plan is to go in there and beat Gary Russell up. And we’re hoping this win sets up bigger and better fights with the Santa Cruz and the Selby’s of the world. All of the champions. We’re hoping to get some of those opportunities because it will bring a lot of attention to the boxing world. Joseph will be a very good ambassador for the sport of boxing.”
STEPHEN ESPINOZA, President Sports & Events Programming, Showtime Networks Inc.
“We’re thrilled to be right here at MGM National Harbor. MGM is an unimaginable model which means so much in boxing. It is a model that’s identified all through the game on the highest stage and we recognize your complete MGM group and their help for the game.
“Gary Russell Jr. vs. ‘JoJo’ Diaz which is an excellent matchup. Gary is with out questions one of the vital expert—if not probably the most expert fighter in any division. He’s identified for having the quickest arms within the sport. ‘JoJo’ Diaz is a younger rising star who I’ve identified personally since he turned professional. These are two motion fighters. They’re fan-friendly fighters who will ship an motion packed evening.
“It’s been an fascinating couple of weeks in boxing. Plenty of bulletins, new ventures and massive guarantees. But right here at SHOWTIME we simply preserve doing what we’ve been doing, and what we’ve been doing is delivering the most effective fighters, the largest fights, week after week and month after month.
“SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING is the house of extra world champions and extra world championship fights than wherever on another community. Speaking of title fights, we’re going to have three of them, from three totally different international locations. At 5 p.m. ET streaming on the SHOWTIME Facebook and Social Media platforms, we’ve got IBF Featherweight Champion Lee Selby in opposition to challenger Josh Warrington. At 10:05 p.m. ET, we may have Russell Jr. vs. Diaz Jr. for the WBC Featherweight title, and instantly following that we’ll take you to Toronto for a light-weight heavyweight world title combat between Adonis Stevenson and Badou Jack.
“All six of these fighters competing in Saturday’s world title fights are ranked in the top 10 of their division and have a combined record of 157 wins with only four losses.”
PETE BRASCIA, Senior VP of Marketing & Operations, MGM National Harbor
“We’re very excited to welcome these fighters and everybody concerned on this occasion, again to MGM National Harbor. One yr in the past I used to be on an analogous stage as we ready for Gary Russell Jr. to defend his world title, and he didn’t disappoint his followers.
“The followers right here in Prince George’s County and the entire area love a superb present and a superb combat. They like it much more once they can root on their hometown hero. Saturday evening, will probably be no totally different.
“This will be an incredible show between Gary Russell Jr. and the undefeated Olympian ‘JoJo’ Diaz. I’m hoping for good weather Saturday night, but I’m certain we’re going to get a good show.”
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