Heavyweight world champion Deontay Wilder, two-time heavyweight title challenger Chris Arreola, undefeated welterweight Sammy Vasquez Jr. and Olympic Gold medalist Felix Diaz participated in a media workout Wednesday as they near their respective Premier Boxing Champions on FOX and FOX Deportes matchups taking place Saturday, July 16 from Legacy Arena in Birmingham, Alabama.
Televised coverage begins at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT and features unbeaten rising star Erickson Lubin battling once beaten brawler Ivan Montero in addition to the Wilder vs. Arreola and Vasquez Jr. vs. Diaz bout. The televised action will switch over to FS1 and FOX Deportes immediately following the conclusion of the FOX telecast.
Tickets for the event, which is promoted by DiBella Entertainment in
association with TGB Promotions and Bruno Event Team, start at only $20 and are on sale now. For tickets please visit www.alabamatitlefight.com and www.ticketmaster.com.
The fighters worked out at Round 1 Boxing in Vestavia Hills, Alabama as they prepare for the card headlined by the hometown favorite, Wilder, making the fourth defense of his heavyweight title.
Here is what the fighters had to say Wednesday:
“When it comes to Deontay Wilder, people look for the knockouts and I deliver. What separates me from other heavyweights is the fashion in which I knock guys out. I don’t just knock you out, I really put you out.
“Arreola definitely has a style prone to a knockout. He’s a pressure fighter who will come forward all night. That plays to my style. I love pressure fighters who give me a challenge. They keep me moving and thinking. I love the sweet science and the art to it.
“I never look at films of opponents because I want to be surprised and I want to give myself a mental challenge in there. That’s what makes this sport so great.
“Birmingham has showed me love from day one. I don’t just represent my city; I represent the state. Everywhere is my home. Birmingham understands entertainment and excitement and that’s what I’m trying to bring to people here.
“I’m here to defend my title against a very hungry fighter. It’s a life-changing event for the man who holds the belt at the end of the night.
“I never look past anybody. But I can look through them. Before I became a champion, I said I wanted to be an active champion. Just like I was active coming up. This has been my longest time away from the ring, so if all goes well on Saturday, I want to be back in the next few months.
“I have an ability to get out of bed and fight. I can do things that regular fighters can’t do. I don’t do miles of roadwork. I’m blessed with stamina.
“This is my gift to give back to my state. Boxing is growing fast here. Me and Jay Deas have always wanted to do this. It warms my heart that we’re living our dreams.”
“Deontay is a very tough opponent so I have to come hard this time. This is my third world title shot and I have to make it count. The first time I was too young, the second time I got caught with a shot, but this time I’ll be ready for anything.
“Fighting a guy like Wilder, I have to be ready for anything. But he has to be ready too. I’m no slouch. I have fire and he’s another person in my way. I’m here to get it.
“There’s no challenge to get ready for a fight. I’m a boxer. This is what I do and this is what I love to do. Boxing is the most gentlemanly sport there is. You beat each other up then you shake hands like nothing happened. I’ve been grinding every day in the gym for this.
“This is a big night for both of us. It’s a great opportunity to be on primetime television. People are going to be watching for free at sports bars and it puts us out there. They’re going to watch two big men on display going for it all.
“I took it one day at a time in camp. I had to grind and get better every single day. I fear no man. I respect the man, but I don’t fear him. Everybody knows that I fight coming forward. I have to be smart and I have to move in angles.
“I want to leave a legacy behind. When they talk about Chris Arreola, they’re going to say ‘he did it.’ I took the long road but here we are now.
“I expect him to have a lot of fans and he’s very deserving of that. He’s made things happen in this state and this state is lucky to have a fighter like him. But no one can get in there with him. The fans can’t fight for him. I love the fans, but they’re just there to watch. It’s just me and Wilder in there Saturday.
“Beating Bermane Stiverne and defending the title how he has, I definitely respect Deontay. The humility that Deontay has shown has been impressive. He was more brash coming up the rankings and flamboyant. Now he’s come into his own and he understands who he is.
“The biggest difference between now and earlier in my career is that I’m comfortable with myself. My main motivation is being a boxer. I’m a boxer first. It’s not about who has the better six-pack.
“Weaknesses are something that I have to bring out of Deontay. Someone different shows up every fight. We have a plan but we’ll have to expose him while I’m in the ring. You can see videos all day, but it might not be the same guy in the ring.”
SAMMY VASQUEZ JR.
“I think this fight goes eight rounds at the most. It’s tough to predict and he’s a shifty guy but I’m confident. I’m going to key in on the body and try to wear him out. I’ll be smart about it, because I have to make a statement in this fight.
“My reach and my height will give me an advantage but he’s a slick fighter. All of these things can be advantages, but they can also work against you. I like to box and keep my opponent at range. I can’t let him smother me. We’re very prepared for his best shots.
“I think it’s going to be a great fight. He has a great amateur pedigree but I think I’ve made more impact as a pro. We’re equals and it’ll make for an explosive fight.
“Diaz is a slick southpaw, just like Luis Collazo. He’s had a couple decent names on his resume. I think Lamont Peterson fell into Diaz’s trap a little bit, which made that a close fight. He’s coming up to my weight, but he brings it and he’s dangerous.
“It feels good to be here. It’s been a long training camp leading up to an unbelievable card like this. I’m very grateful for the opportunity to be here. My coach (Charles Leverette) is from Alabama and he represents the state hard, so I’ve been on the ‘Roll Tide’ bandwagon.
“When I was young I remember watching great heavyweight title fights and now to be on the undercard of one is incredible. There are kids out there looking at me and Deontay in the same way. It’s amazing. It’s a blessing that really boosts my career and lets people get to know me better.”
“Sammy is a very good opponent of course. He’s undefeated right now, but he won’t be after Saturday.
“Moving up to 147 is going to be great for me and allow me to be at my very best. I think I can do big things in this division and Saturday night will be the start.
“What you train for and what happens in the ring are two different things. I’m prepared for anything that could happen in the ring.
“I have a great team and training camp has gone very well. I’ve been ready to fight for a long time and I can’t wait to get in the ring.
“Everyone should come out, because it’s going to be a great fight. I’m very confident in my ability to pull off this victory.”
WBC Heavyweight World Championship
Birmingham, Alabama – Legacy Arena
July 16, 2016
This will be the 1,937th fight sanctioned by the WBC in its 53-year history.
DI BELLA ENTERTAINMENT AND TGB PROMOTIONS PRESENT:
DEONTAY “The Bronze Bomber” WILDER (United States)
WBC Heavyweight World Champion
Age, date of birth: 30 (October 22, 1985)
Residence: Tuscaloosa, Alabama
Birthplace: Tuscaloosa, Alabama
Record: 36-0, 35 KOs
World championship fights: 4-0, 3 KOs
Total rounds: 99
Advisor: Al Haymon
Managers: Jay Deas, Shelly Finkel
Trainer: Mark Breland
CHRIS “The Nightmare” ARREOLA (United States)
Ranked WBC #9 at heavyweight…
Age, date of birth: 35 (March 5, 1981)
Residence: Riverside, California
Birthplace: Los Angeles, California
Record: 36-4-1, 1 ND, 31 KOs
World championship fights: 0-2
Total rounds: 193
Manager: Al Haymon
Trainer: Henry Ramirez
WBC HEAVYWEIGHT WORLD CHAMPIONS
1. Sonny Liston (US) 1963 – 1964
2. Muhammad Ali (US) 1964 – 1967
3. Joe Frazier (US) 1968 – 1973
4. George Foreman (US) 1973 – 1974
5. Muhammad Ali (US) * 1974 – 1978
6. Leon Spinks (US) 1978
7. Ken Norton (US) 1977 – 1978
8. Larry Holmes (US) 1978 – 1983
9. Tim Witherspoon (US) 1984
10. Pinklon Thomas (US) 1984 – 1985
11. Trevor Berbick (Can) 1986
12. Mike Tyson (US) 1986 – 1990
13. James Douglas (US) 1990
14. Evander Holyfield (US) 1990 – 1992
15. Riddick Bowe (US) 1992
16. Lennox Lewis (GB) 1993 – 1994
17. Oliver McCall (US) 1994 – 1995
18. Frank Bruno (GB) 1995 – 1996
19. Mike Tyson (US) * 1996
20. Lennox Lewis (GB) * 1997 – 2001
21. Hasim Rahman (US) 2001
22. Lennox Lewis (GB) * 2001 – 2003
23. Vitali Klitschko (Ukraine) 2004
24. Hasim Rahman (US) * 2005 – 2006
25. Oleg Maskaev (Kazakhstan) 2006 – 2008
26. Samuel Peter (Nigeria) Interim 2007 – 2008
27. Vitali Klitschko (Ukraine)* 2008 – 2014
28. Bermane Stiverne (Haiti-US) 2014 – 2015
29. Deontay Wilder (US) 2015 –
* Regained title
WBC TOP 10
1. Muhammad Ali
2. Lennox Lewis
3. Larry Holmes
4. Mike Tyson
5. George Foreman
6. Joe Frazier
7. Evander Holyfield
8. Frank Bruno
9. Sonny Liston
10. Tim Witherspoon
GENERAL INFORMATION ON THE HEAVYWEIGHT DIVISION IN THE HISTORY OF THE WBC
23 heavyweight world champions have been recognized by the WBC, five of whom have regained the title: Muhammad Ali (US), Mike Tyson (US), Lennox Lewis two times (GB), Hasim Rahman (US), Vitali Klitschko (Ukraine).
139 heavyweight world championship fights have been held in WBC history.
This will be the third WBC heavyweight world championship fight held in Alabama in WBC history.
MEMORABLE WBC HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP FIGHTS
May 21, 1966 Muhammad Ali TKO6 Henry Cooper – London
Dec. 10, 1968 Joe Frazier W15 Oscar Bonavena – Philadelphia.
Mar. 8, 1971 Joe Frazier W15 Muhammad Ali – New York
Oct. 30, 1974 Muhammad Ali KO8 George Foreman – Kinshasa
Oct. 1, 1975 Muhammad Ali TKO15 Joe Frazier – Manila
Jun. 9, 1978 Larry Holmes W15 Ken Norton – Las Vegas
Sep. 28, 1979 Larry Homes TKO11 Earnie Shavers – Las Vegas
Oct. 2, 1980 Larry Holmes TKO11 Muhammad Ali – Las Vegas
Apr. 11, 1981 Larry Holmes W15 Trevor Berbick – Las Vegas
Mar. 22, 1986 Trevor Berbick W12 Pinklon Thomas – Las Vegas
Feb. 11, 1990 James Douglas KO10 Mike Tyson – Tokyo
Mar. 18, 1991 Mike Tyson TKO7 Donovan Ruddock (Eliminator) – Las Vegas
May 8, 1993 Lennox Lewis W12 Tony Tucker – Las Vegas
Sep. 2, 1995 Frank Bruno W12 Oliver McCall – London
Mar. 19, 1999 Lennox Lewis D12 Evander Holyfield – New York
Apr. 22, 2001 Hasim Rahman KO5 Lennox Lewis – Brakpan
Nov. 17, 2001 Lennox Lewis KO4 Hasim Rahman – Las Vegas
Jun. 8, 2002 Lennox Lewis KO8 Mike Tyson – Memphis
Jun. 21, 2003 Lennox Lewis TKO6 Vitali Klitschko – Los Angeles
Apr. 24, 2004 Vitali Klitschko KO8 Corrie Sanders – Los Angeles
Mar. 8, 2008 Samuel Peter TKO6 Oleg Maskaev – Cancun
Oct. 11, 2008 Vitali Klitschko TKO9 Samuel Peter – Berlin
Jan. 17, 2015 Deontay Wilder W12 Bermane Stiverne – Las Vegas
WBC Statistics by Luis Medina.