WBA Light Heavyweight World Champion Dmitry Bivol (13-0, 11 KOs) of Russia hosted a media workout at the Legendz Gym in Norwalk, California on Tuesday, July 24 in preparation for his title defense against light heavyweight contender Isaac “Golden Boy” Chilemba (25-5-2, 10 KOs) of Malawi. Bivol and Chilemba will fight in the co-main event on the Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev vs. Eleider “Storm” Alvarez card at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City on Saturday, August 4. The doubleheader will be televised live on HBO World Championship Boxing beginning at 10:00 p.m. ET/PT.
Promoter Kathy Duva, CEO of Main Events, Vadim Kornilov, Bivol’s manager, and Gennadii Mashynov, Bivol’s trainer, also attended and spoke with boxing media.
Dmitry Bivol WBA Light Heavyweight World Champion:
About his opponent, Isaac Chilemba: “I’ve seen his many fights. I’ve seen his fight against Kovalev, Gvozdyk, Eleider Alvarez. He fights through all fights, no problem, except Gvozdyk. But he has never been knocked out. He gives me a good experience. He is a good challenge for me. I will be ready.”
About future opponents: “I want to fight the best guys in my division. Now, (Sergey) Kovalev is one of the best guys. Of course, I want to fight with him, but I prefer not to fight a guy from the same country as me. Of course, if people like this fight, then I think it will happen. Kovalev wants to fight against the best, like me. It depends on the boxing fans. If they like it, it will happen.”
About his desire to fight in front of a big audience: “I want a lot of people to see me fight. I want a lot of people to enjoy my fights. Who my opponent is, doesn’t matter. This is what I want.”
About his goal to unify the light heavyweight division: “It’s very important for me. It’s every boxer’s dream to be the champion, the unified champion. It’s a big step to dream about. Like (unified cruiserweight champion) Oleksandr Usyk last week, he went for his dream.”
About the need to become better known before a major unification bout: “We need more promotion before our fight. Because I think my skills are ready. I want to show my boxing skills in front of as many people as possible. And the unification fight, if it’s good, gives me that chance.”
About the variables in boxing and why you can’t count on predictions: “I know every boxer have mistakes. And every boxer can be knocked out. It’s not like running, for example, where somebody is a little quicker and somebody is slower. This sport is different. Anybody can knock anybody else out, in any round. And that’s what makes this sport so exciting. You don’t know what to expect.”
About his modesty regarding his athletic talent: “Maybe it’s my nature. Maybe it’s my qualities, they come from within. Probably it is also from my parents, my upbringing and the way they raised me. Also the area where I come from, a lot of the qualities and values back home – not saying things and not answering for your words. That’s why I don’t like to say things that I wouldn’t be able to stand up for and perform. These are the main reasons for why I am the way I am.”
About where his confidence comes from: “I’m not the quickest. I’m not the strongest. I’m not the smartest. I’m not somebody who moves the most. But something in me here, it helps me. I know I have the best manager, the best trainer, the best promoter. Everybody, you think your mother is the best mother. I know my team is the best team. My team helps me.”
About his mental strength and drive in the ring: “I don’t know what it is, but it helps me before a fight, when I take my gloves and I think, it says to me, ‘You can do this. Don’t forget about his power, don’t forget about his speed, you can, you can, just do it. You have a good team to help you, you have a family who believes in you, you can do it.’ And I will go in the ring and have a good performance.”
About the desire to make history in a memorable fight: “I want to make history like Micky Ward and Arturo Gatti, in the type of fight that will never be forgotten from history. No one knows how to write history, but you have to try to do it. It wasn’t even a title fight. But it was a fight that will always be remembered.”
About his role model in boxing: “My favorite fighter is Sugar Ray Leonard, he’s the best.”