Two-division world champion Danny “Swift” Garcia and exciting contender Jose Benavidez Jr. went face-to-face at a final press conference on Thursday and gave verbal clues of the explosive action they plan to dish out in a super welterweight clash set for this Saturday, July 30 headlining live on SHOWTIME from Barclays Center in Brooklyn in a Premier Boxing Champions event.
Also squaring off on Thursday at the press conference were Polish star and Brooklyn’s all-action Adam Kownacki and Turkish Olympian Ali Eren Demirezen, who battle in the heavyweight co-main event, plus unbeaten rising star Gary Antuanne Russell and former two-division champion Rances Barthelemy, who duel in the SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING® telecast opener at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT.
Thursday’s event also featured rising prospect Vito Mielnicki Jr., who faces tough veteran Jimmy Williams as part of the SHOWTIME BOXING COUNTDOWN show streaming live on the SHOWTIME SPORTS YouTube channel and SHOWTIME Boxing Facebook beginning at 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT.
Tickets for the live event, which is promoted by TGB Promotions and DSG Promotions, are on sale now and can be purchased through seatgeek.com and barclayscenter.com. Tickets are also available for purchase at the American Express Box Office at Barclays Center.
Here is what the press conference participants had to say Thursday from Barclays Center:
“It’s been 19 months since I’ve been in the ring and I’ve been enjoying my life in and out of the ring. I’ve spent time with my family, but I’ve still been staying in the gym the whole time. I trained with young guns Chris Colbert and Stephen Fulton Jr. To be honest, it feels like I never left.
“We had a tremendous training camp in Philly. We’ve done everything we were supposed to do and my body feels great. I knew that I was coming up to 154 pounds, so I built more muscle. But most importantly I feel good mentally.
“Once Danny Garcia is mentally and physically strong, no one can touch him. I’ve proved that before. I’m just excited to be back at Barclays Center.
“I’m excited to be on this card with a lot of young fighters. It’s tremendous and I can’t wait. The ‘Danny Garcia Show’ is back. I definitely feel good and come Saturday night you better make sure you get your tickets or tune in on SHOWTIME.
“It feels good to be back. I’m back because I love to fight. I’m a fighter and I love boxing. I knew once I took that break, that I’d come back at 154 pounds. A lot of people don’t know how I’ve been squeezing my body down. I think people will be surprised about how strong I am.
“I want to chase a new dream. I want to be a three-division champion. I have the skill and I have the will and I’m not going to let anyone take it away from me.
“Nothing ever comes easy against Danny Garcia. Don’t try too hard, because you might knock yourself out (to Jose Benavidez Jr.).
“I’m going to go out there and have fun and do what I do best. I’m going to find a way. It’s going to be the same thing you always see. I’m going to get this ‘W’.”
JOSE BENAVIDEZ JR.
“I’m ready. I feel strong and I’m happy to be here. It’s exciting to be fighting in this big arena. I’m ready to show the world that I’m the one at 154 pounds.
“I’m the bigger guy at this weight. I’m confident, I’m strong and I’m ready. This is a new and improved me. Nobody is going to touch me.
“I don’t have to look impressive. I’m going to show what I am. I’m a beast. I know where my talent is and I’m going to make it look easy.
“This is going to be a good fight. It’s going to be fireworks. I respect Danny Garcia, but his dad talks too much. I’m thankful for the opportunity, but we’re going to let the fists talk.
“I’m done with the trash talk. I’m happy and I’m excited. I can’t wait to get it on Saturday night.
“They can think what they want to think. I know what I’m capable of and I’m going to prove it on Saturday. I’m only focused on my work ethic and I’ve been training hard for this fight.
“To me, the talk is just a game. I respect everyone. I’m more mature now. I’ve grown and I only care about what I’m going to do on Saturday.
“This is going to be the end of the ‘Danny Garcia Show’.”
ANGEL GARCIA, Garcia’s Father and Trainer
“We don’t fear anybody. We never turn down any fights. This isn’t anything new to us.
“When these guys are eye to eye, they’re the same size. Don’t underestimate Danny.
“Jose Jr. doesn’t have the skills. We’re ready for him. July 30 on SHOWTIME, the ‘Danny Garcia Show’ is back. It’s the greatest show on earth.”
JOSE BENAVIDEZ SR., Benavidez’s Father and Trainer
“This is a great opportunity for Jose to show his talent. He has to look impressive in order to go to the next level.
“I want to thank team Garcia for the opportunity. We’re facing a monster. But that just motivated us even more. When Jose beats Danny Garcia, he’ll be at the top and open up for bigger opportunities.
“Jose has matured a lot and he’s super motivated. It makes me feel comfortable and more secure that we’re going to have a good fight Saturday.”
“It means everything to be back here. I’m focused and I can’t wait to get a knockout victory and then go see my family in Poland
“I don’t come to play, I come to fight. I’m trying to break my own record with punches thrown. I’m here to fight, welcome to Brooklyn Ali.
“I’m facing an Olympian. He’s a tough guy. He likes to keep coming forward just like I do. I know he has a strong chin. He beat a good heavyweight in Gerald Washington. He stopped him. So this is definitely going to be a tough test.
“I’m going to have the same strategy as always. Come forward and try to stop him. Welcome to Brooklyn, baby. I don’t like to make predictions, but I don’t see this going the distance. I want to come back with a bang and stop him.
“Right now, I’m just focused on Ali. I can’t look past him because he can mess with all my plans. Right now, I’m just looking forward to knocking him out.
“Fighting at Barclays is always quite an experience. For anybody who hasn’t witnessed it, you’ve got to experience it. Get your ticket. There are going to be a lot of red shirts making a lot of noise on Saturday. It’s going to be a fun night.”
ALI EREN DEMIREZEN
“I’m so happy to be here in New York. I understand I’m facing an experienced fighter coming off losses, but I’m here to win as well. My goal is to not give him a chance to beat me.
“I’m here for a battle. I’m expecting the fans who watch this fight to come ready to see a war for as long as it lasts.
“This is a very important fight for me. This fight can get me into the top 10 and to the fight with the world champions.
“This is a chance for me to step up. I’m so happy to be here in the U.S. It’s every boxer’s dream to fight in the U.S. and I’m going to make the most of it.
“I’m not worried that I’m fighting in my opponents’ hometown. I feel that I’m known enough that I’m going to be treated fairly and I’ll be able to execute my game plan on Saturday.”
GARY ANTUANNE RUSSELL
“I’m more tunnel-visioned now. That support system that I once had with my dad is not there. But he gave us a lot of tools to keep us going. It’s made me more focused on the things that he did teach us.
“We all had an initial goal as a family. My father gave us the blueprint, so we’re just trying to strive and keep it going.
“I know Barthelemy is trying to make things happen for his country, but I’ve got goals too. It’s will versus will and goal versus goal. This Saturday night, you have to be there.
“I’ve been training and going back and forth in my mind on what I have to do. I have to win this fight so that I can move on to my next mission. We’re drawing lines and then keeping it going.
“We’re going to keep the knockout streak going. He’s going to have to do his best. I’ve been grinding. I know he’s been training, but is it the training that he needs to get through me? He’s gotta bring his A-game.”
“I’ve had a goal for a long time to become a three-division world champion. I had the dream snatched away from me when I lost, but now I’m here and I’m thankful for the opportunity.
“I’m ready to show that I’m capable of winning this fight for the Cubans and for all my fans tuning in to watch me on Saturday night.
“Styles make fights and we’re definitely going to give the people what they want. It’s going to be a spectacular fight. I know what Russell is about, but I believe in myself and I know what I’m capable of doing.
“It’s all about my preparation, my experience and the great team that I have around me. I won’t let my guard down. I know that my opponent has heavy hands and that I’m going to have to be focused during the entire fight.
“I can guarantee that I’ve left everything inside of the gym to get ready for Gary. I’m going to show you what I’m capable of when we get into the ring.”
VITO MIELNICKI JR.
“I’m thankful for this opportunity on a big platform. It’s my first time fighting in Brooklyn and I’m excited to put on a dominant performance.
“We had a great eight-week camp with my coach ‘Chino’ Rivas and we’re ready to go. We want to put on a show, so make sure you tune in early.
“Expect a dominant performance. I’m an explosive fighter and you’re going to see why on Saturday night.”
STEPHEN ESPINOZA President, Sports & Event Programming, Showtime Networks Inc.
“Having Danny back is good for Barclays Center, good for SHOWTIME and most of all, it’s good for boxing. We all know by this point who Danny is. He fears no one. He doesn’t hesitate to take any fight. He’ll fight anybody and everybody and he’s proven that.
“Fourteen of Danny’s last 19 opponents have been world champions. Among his opponents – Zab Judah, Amir Khan, Lamont Peterson, Paulie Malignaggi, Keith Thurman, Shawn Porter, Errol Spence Jr. It’s literally the best in the division during this era. Thirty-nine fights with 15 current or former world champions. He’s gone 12-3 against world champions in his career. I don’t know about you, but that sounds like a Hall of Fame resume to me.
“Jose Benavidez Jr. has very impressive credentials of his own. His only loss is to one of the pound-for-pound greats in Terence Crawford. Benavidez was an amateur prodigy and an 11-time National Champion. We’ve got two guys with great resumes, but at the end of the day, none of that matters when the bell rings. What we’re going to have, I promise you, is an all-action fight. Neither one of these guys knows how to take a step backwards.
“If you’ve never been to an Adam Kownacki fight at Barclays Center, you’re in for a treat. It’s one of the best atmospheres in boxing. The following that Adam has built is something to behold. He brings out the Polish fans from throughout the Tri-State area and it is a great atmosphere. But you cannot overlook the Turkish Olympian Ali Eren Demirezen. He is a tough competitor and a dangerous opponent.
“Gary Antuanne is one of the few undefeated ranked fighters who has won all of their fights by knockouts. Of the ranked fighters, only four have won all of their fights by knockout. In my opinion, Gary Antuanne is the most underrated fighter in his division. Rances Barthelemy has his own credentials. A two-division world champion. Experienced, skilled and an excellent technical fighter. He’s trying to become the first Cuban fighter to win titles in three divisions.
“I’m about as excited for this card as any as we have done recently. Why is that? Top to bottom, we’ve got great storylines. We’ve got name fighters, popular, fan-friendly fighters in high-stakes fights. It’s not just the fights on SHOWTIME. In the prelim stream, we have Sergiy Derevyanchenko and we have Vito Mielnicki Jr. We have quality top to bottom on this card.”