This afternoon on the University of Southern California campus in Los Angeles, Bermane Stiverne and Chris Arreola held open workouts as they prepared for this Saturday’s WBC heavyweight title match. Please check out the embedded video to see the fighters in action.
Southern California native Chris “The Nightmare” Arreola arrived first around 3pm and after some stretching and shadowboxing, he worked the mitts with longtime trainer Henry Ramirez. Chris was his normal jovial self and was joking with media members as he worked up a sweat. He appeared in good shape and high spirits only days ahead of the biggest fight of his career. After a few minutes skipping rope, he stepped aside to talk with media and leave the ring area open for his opponent to work. Arreola made it a point to tell media he is in much better condition for the rematch with Stiverne than he was in their first bout. He beamed with confidence as he answered questions and seemed very relaxed.
Stiverne arrived around 4pm. Unlike his opponent, the Haitian born heavyweight, who now trains out of Las Vegas, was all business. No laughing, no joking, no playing around. After warming up with light shadowboxing, Stiverne punished the mitts with trainer Don House. The work was intense, with plenty of focus on body shots. Following his mitt work, the man they call “B. WARE” showed outstanding head movement, as he effortlessly slipped a stick that his trainer repeatedly jabbed at his face. Afterwards, Stiverne skipped rope and after a long cool down stretch routine, talked with media.
Unlike his outgoing opponent, Bermane was soft spoken and very serious with his commentary. He made it very clear that he is gunning for the knock out this time around, and that he feels this should be a title defense rather than a vacant title fight. Stiverne’s comments were in reference to his victory over Arreola last April in Ontario, California. That fight was for the WBC “silver” title, which was essentially an interim title that guaranteed the winner an immediate shot at titlist Vitali Klitschko. However, Klitschko retired late last year to pursue politics and instead of the WBC promoting Stiverne into the “full” title spot (as is their normal practice in these situations), they mandated a rematch with Arreola for the vacant title. Stiverne feels that he was screwed over by boxing politics after and he is using that as motivation for this Saturday.
By the way, if you haven’t seen their first bout yet, do yourself a favor and find it online. This writer covered the match for EastSideBoxing; you can read my ringside report here.
Everything is shaping up for an outstanding rematch this Saturday night on ESPN. Keep checking in with EastSideBoxing as we continue to bring you updates from fight week in Los Angeles.
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