DAVID ITZKOWITCH: Thanks for joining us on the first conference call in the history of Roc Nation Boxing for this Friday’s throne boxing event January 9 at The Theater at Madison Square Garden and will be broadcast on FOX Sports 1. In the main event is Dusty Hernandez-Harrison taking on Tommy Rainone for the vacant WBC Continental Americas Welterweight Championship and a great co-feature bout featuring Tureano Johnson versus Alex Theran and they will fight ten-rounds for the WBC Silver middleweight championship and the vacant WBA International middleweight championship. We also have a great undercard which has been previously announced. We have some great musical acts performing. DJ Mustard will be spinning for the TV portion of the event. Hosting is the Voice of New York Angie Martinez and a special performance in the ring between the co-feature and the main event will be Fabolous.
Michael Buffer will be the ring announcer and Gus Johnson blow-by-blow alongside Rich Morotta. Special guests at the fight include JAY Z, Rihanna, Carmelo Anthony, CC Sabathia, Victor Cruz, Sam Dew, Sentigold, Melany Fiona. Wardell and Big Sean.
Tickets are available starting at $30 and are available at the MSG Box Office and all Ticketmaster outlets and on-line at www.thegarden.com and on www.ticketmaster.com . One dollar from each ticket sold will be donated to the Muhammad Ali Center. We also have a very impressive list of sponsors, including Budweiser, D’USSE™, GEICO, HUE For Every Man, Jaybird, PUMA, SONIC® Drive-In, TapouT Muscle, Tequila CAZADORES®, TOWN Residential and Wyndham® New Yorker Hotel.
I would like to introduce Alex “El Principe” Theran, from Barranquilla, Colombia with a record of 17-1 with 9 KOs, coming of two knockout victories. A 6th round KO on December 6 in Barranquilla, Colombia.
ALEX THERON: I am very excited and very motivated. I know this is a very important fight here in New York and I am very well prepared.
What is your style?
ALEX THERON: I have very fast legs and you will see a lot of movement. I don’t like to come with too much bite at first but my movement is very impressive.
What do you know about your opponent?
ALEX THERON: We did have a match-up in 2008 in an elimination bout for the Olympics and I did beat him. I don’t think he has a very strong defense. I have studied his fights and his movements and I am very prepared for him.
You had a los before your last fight and the third was a tough round. How far have you moved away from that?
ALEX THERON: It was a very hurtful round but I feel good and am mentally prepared for this fight and I plan a much different approach going in to this fight.
David, can you tell us about the entertainment aspect you are bringing to the sport?
DAVID ITZKOWITCH: We have looked around at fights and at boxing in general and if you look at a boxing event now it really hasn’t changed a tremendous amount in the last however many decades. We want to really amp up the fan experience at the event. There will be other bells and whistles at the event that I have not even gotten into that are going to make things even more enjoyable for fans and to keep the fans engaged. We want to make the in-arena experience more appealing to fans – yes they are coming in to see a fight but we want to give them more than the fights when they go to see a fight.
How important is the event for Jay Z?
DAVID ITZKOWITCH: He will be at the weigh-in and at the fight. I think that should say how important it is to him.
How did you go about selecting the fighters for this event?
DAVID ITZKOWITCH: It was a mix between fighters that we have a relationship with, promoters we have good relationships with and making good fights. Building a car that will be appealing to fans in New York, which is obviously an ethnic melting pot. SO it was a variety of factors.
How about Dusty who has fought at the Garden recently?
DAVID ITZKOWITCH: Dusty is a big attraction is DC and brings a lot of fans and has a history of fighting at the Garden and you put him in a fight against a guy like Tommy Rainone who is a New York guy and sells tickets himself, always comes to fight and is tough as nails you are going to have a good fight and one that is an attractive fight.
Did you sign Dusty?
DAVID ITZKOWITCH: You probably read a report on-line and that report is accurate.
RON BERKOWITZ: JAY Z is involved in every aspect of ROC NATION Sports and ROC NATION as a whole. So it would certainly not come as a surprise him being there and if fact it would come as a surprise if he were not coming. As David said, it 100% speaks for itself and it’s important for everyone that has dealt with ROC NATION and ROC NATION Sports in general, what kind of businessman and what kind of an owner that he actually is. He is an owner that is involved in every step of the way and in every decision.
How do you put all of this star power in to the Theater?
DAVID ITZKOWICH: We have worked the financials out so that everything makes sense.
RON BERKOWITZ: I just wanted to say that Rihanna is attending and not performing. And not having enough seats is a good problem to have. This is only our first event and we have plans for many, many more shows.
Alex, how do you combat against Tureano, who is a big puncher and has a lot of experience?
ALEX THERON: I am very well prepared and know that he will come at me with big punches. I am ready for the strong rounds and it is going to be a very entertaining fight.
Did you watch the fight against Curtis Stevens?
ALEX THERON: I did watch the fight and I notice that his technique lacks. I studied that fight and saw he is a slow mover compared to me – I am very quick.
Alex, when you speak about movement, what type of movement do you mean?
ALEX THERON: It is not so much running, at all. My movements are lateral movements and maneuvering around the ring.
Have you done a scouting report on Theron and how do you expect to beat him?
TUREANO JOHNSON: Yes we did a lot of research and we are doing more research on my opponent. He is a boxer / puncher but doesn’t like to mix it up so much but can if he gets the opportunity. My plan when I get into the ring is to pretty much out-box him. He has more lateral movement and not one to get in there and mix it up, like Alex.
Is going for a knockout in your game plan or not?
TUREANO JOHNSON: It isn’t in the game plan but it is my natural instinct. I like to go int here and I like to bang to try to get the knockout. We want to bring more spice to my boxing technique. I am a boxer also and I am going to try to use a little more technique that I have learned over the years. Many folks haven’t seen me do much boxing and not many have even seen me use the jab. You should see more graceful boxing inside the ring on Friday night. But my whole intention is that if I get the opportunity, I am going to knock him out.
What lies ahead if you win this fight?
TUREANO JOHNSON: From what I am told, holding the WBC Silver title, which is one of the titles that we are fighting for – that is a prestigious title. It is a title that will enable you to fight the N. 1 contender or the world champion. So yes indeed, this is the biggest step of my life. This is the most important fight of my life and this I don’t take lightly. In this fight the fans can expect to see the most explosive Tureano Johnson they have ever seen before.
How has the Curtis Stevens loss affected you and how have you recovered?
TUREANO JOHNSON: The fight with Curtis Stevens indeed, I am not going to say I am not pleased with the way it ended. The fight in itself was a disaster. It crashed and burned, the biggest accident that ever happened in my life. What has it done for me lately? There is no doubt it sill leaves a bitter taste in my mouth but indeed it has made me more eager and given me more energy. But it has also given t=me the energy to say ‘you know what Tureano? You are not from the United States. You may reside here and live here as a n American but the fact is you are not fighting in your backyard so every time I fight expect no one to be on my side. My whole intention is to go in there with blood in my eye. I want to make a dominant decision, winning every single round if it has to go to a decision but my goal is to knock out my opponent and not leaving anything to the judges. So yes, I am more eager and determined, and I say again, I have blood in my eyes and I will never again be gassed out inside the ring.
Are you better from the Curtis Stevens experience?
TUREANO JOHNSON: If you have done your research, I can box. I have been doing a little boxing for twelve years. It would all depend on my opponent and if he would allow me to box or if he would allow me to go in there and bang. But I can’t judge to tell you if I am better, but I know that I am going to be that Tureano to come in the ring to be destructive, whether I am technical or just a bully. I am going to come in there and throw my hands to get that guy out of the ring, so you be the judge whether I am better or not. I am coming in there to do my job and that is to knock my opponent out.
GARY SHAW: The one thing that Tureano is not saying about himself is that he is a very fan-friendly fighter and he is right that that stoppage was, in my mind, improper and if there was a different referee in there at that time then Tureano would have won that fight. He on the first eleven rounds hands-down. But because he is a fan-friendly fighter, he wants to fight and he wants to give the fans something to cheer about. I don’t think you should be harsh on him, and I don’t think you are, but I want you to understand the tye of fighter that Tureano is once he enters the ring.
What will you do, on this big stage once again, to make sure you look your best in the ring?
TUREANO JOHNSON: I am going to be three times the Tureano I was in the Curtis Stevens fight. In fact, if you look at me now compared to when I fought Curtis Stevens, I was a nice boy. This time Tureano is going to come out meaner, stronger, more faster, more smarter, more slicker. I am going to come out even more dangerous and the fans can expect an exciting fight. Non-stop, fist throwing, and sorry to say, it is going to be a nasty, blood-shedding kind of fight and I will agree on that one.
What specific changes have you made in training?
TUREANO JOHNSON: I have added more power, more speed and a little bit of technique like slipping and moving my head. We have added more of what I have not been good at doing.
What have you done regarding not gassing-out / the stamina issue?
TUREANO JOHNSON: We have had to go the extra mile – put more mileage in. Get my nutrition and eating properly. A weight program to able me to get some power and some strength and getting into the boxing game so I can box when needed. To go in there to beat up a guy when needed. So yes, we went the extra mile for this fight. This is a big fight for me personally. It is going to tell me just where I am at in the boxing world – whether I will be a world champion and a world champion forever.
TUREANO JOHNSON: While with Gary Shaw as my promoter he has been very generous to allow me to fight on many occasions even fighting back in the Bahamas. Now with the merger of ROC NATION and Gary Shaw, leaves me with phenomenal possibilities. It is the biggest move in the boxing world today. I think with the publicity with Mr. Jay Z and ROC NATION, they are out there with all of the sports and all of the entertainment they are going to grab a lot of attention as well as with Gary Shaw and his knowledge in boxing. I believe it is the most dynamic move in my life – the merger being complete and actually happening.
Is your final goal a Golovkin fight?
TUREANO JOHNSON: Ultimately, yes. Gennady Golovkin, in my book, is the number one fighter. And Miguel Cotto and Andy Lee and so one but I think Golovkin is the best fighter in the division and I believe that champions have to fight champions. I believe I deserve the opportunity to fight Golovkin and if the fans find it worthy that I fight him now, I agree with them 100%. But if they are saying Tureano, you need one or two fights more, so be it. But I know for sure, as a champion, I want to fight the best and Golovkin is one of the guys that I would like to put my power, my speed to show the fans that I am the one that can beat Gennady Golovkin.
GARY SHAW: When you see who Tureano is, like when he fought on ESPN against Gavronsky, it was a spectacular fight. There are not many boxers today that come out of a knockout loss, like the fight against Stevens, and come back and fight an undefeated fighter. I think a fight with GGG would be a spectacular fight. I think there are other fighters out there at 160 pounds, including Miguel Cotto that would be a big fight for him. David Lemieux out of Canada – these are all big punchers and what I would call TV-ready and big time TV.