Boxing superstar and former heavyweight world champion Deontay “The Bronze Bomber” Wilder and hard-hitting contender Robert “The Nordic Nightmare” Helenius officially kicked off fight week events Wednesday as they showed off their skills during a media workout before they headline a FOX Sports PBC Pay-Per-View this Saturday, October 15 from Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
Weights: Deontay Wilder 214.5 vs Robert Helenius 253.25
Caleb Plant 167.25 vs. Anthony Dirrel 167.75
The event also featured former world champions and super middleweight rivals Caleb “Sweethands” Plant and Anthony “The Dog” Dirrell, who meet in a WBC Super Middleweight Title Eliminator in the co-main event. Also on hand were unbeaten heavyweight Frank Sanchez and Puerto Rican Olympian Carlos Negron, who battle in a 10-round attraction, plus unbeaten contender Gary Antonio Russell and former world champion Emmanuel Rodriguez, who square off to open up the pay-per-view telecast at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT.
“You can always expect nothing but the best from me. And I don’t get paid for overtime. I’ve been known for the knockouts and I’m going to end my career continuing to get those knockouts.
“Every fight makes you a better fighter. You always have to go back and change certain things. Me and Tyson Fury had three memorable fights, especially for the fans, and I’m looking to keep delivering that moving forward.
“There are a lot of things that I’ve been trying to perfect. What you see from me on Saturday night isn’t going to be anything new. We’ve just been adding to what we have. We’ve been going back to some fundamentals, working on our movement and combining all those things together.
“I feel good and that’s all that’s going to matter. The energy is going to be there in the arena. I’m looking forward to feeding off the crowd.
“It’s going to be fun. Robert is a great guy and we both have warrior’s heart. We’re both willing to go out on our shields. This is our first time getting in the ring when it really counts. It’s going to be electrifying to finally step in the ring with him in that scenario.
“I’m in the game to fight the best. That’s not going to stop. I want the champions and the top contenders. I want all challengers. You name them, I want them.
“I want my legacy to be that I was a great man, a motivator and someone who abided by his word. He gave everything he had in every fight. I want people to say that Deontay Wilder stood for something.
“All of my accomplishments have been set in stone with a statue in my hometown. Seeing all the people that came out to unite with me and my family, it meant a lot to me. It allowed me to understand that I’m very important to a lot of people all over the world.”
“I’m really happy to have this opportunity. I’ve been training in this sport for 25 years and I’ve had my ups and downs and now everything is connecting and I feel great.
“I don’t like to think that he’s lost anything since the three fights with Tyson Fury. He’s had a year since that last fight. Of course people can change after a long time, but I’m prepared to go 12 rounds with the best Deontay Wilder.
“I can’t give away too much, but we’ve seen what people do to disrupt Wilder. We have a plan and now we need to execute.
“When I was sparring with Deontay we were both preparing for our own fights, so I wasn’t really training for a guy like him. Of course I learned some tricks, but I’m not relying on that alone. It can only be an advantage though.
“He is powerful yes, but I don’t believe that I’m without power. The hardest punchers I’ve faced are Lamon Brewster and Samuel Peter, and I expect Wilder to be similar. The difference with Wilder is that he’s much faster.
“I didn’t feel my best against Gerald Washington and I shouldn’t have gone through with the fight. Because I knew that I wasn’t myself, it wasn’t hard for me to bounce back from that loss.”
“I’m feeling good. The energy is great, weight is good and everything is on point. We had a great training camp. Everything has been smooth and couldn’t have been better.
“I always work hard, but Stephen Edwards definitely brings that hard work to the gym. When we get there, we know it’s no messing around. That’s how we like it. We stay at work until we’re finished. We’ve had seamless energy ever since we linked up. We had fun and we got a lot of work done.
“It’s going to be a show. It’s been a minute since I’ve been in the ring, but we never stopped working. We cleaned up some stuff from our last fight and kept what we had a lot of success with.
“Everyone knows what I bring to the ring. I bring creativity and excitement. I can fight a lot of different ways and everyone watching can expect to see me with my hand raised.
“I’m not thinking past this fight. I have to focus on the task in front of me. I’ll get to what’s next when the time is right. I just want to stay fully focused on Saturday, and winning that fight in spectacular fashion.
“Every fight is personal to me. That man standing across from me is standing in the way of me accomplishing my dreams.
“Dirrell has never had a successful title defense in all of his fights and he won’t have one in his entire career. Because after Saturday night, he’s retiring.”
“I’ve proved myself many times. So I don’t need to prove myself to anybody. I showed what I needed to. I’ve come back from everything that I’ve ever had to come back from.
“You have to have different game plans for different fights. We’re going to stick to what we worked on and come out of the ring victorious.
“Everybody has their pros and cons. I’ll have to see what Caleb has when we get in there. This is going to be nothing new. A fight is a fight and every fight is different. You have to approach every fight differently than the last one.
“Caleb has fought two people. And everyone knows that and they know who those two people are. But you have to respect everyone who steps into that square and tries to fight.
“I’m not worried about the Canelo fight that he had. That’s the past now. We’re going to have to see what he brings. Styles make fights.
“Just know that I’m going to beat his ass on Saturday. I don’t respect him. It’s not that he’s not a hard worker, that’s irrelevant. We’re all fighters and we’re getting into that ring to entertain people. Outside of the ring, I don’t have to hang out with you.”
“He can say that he’s prepared for me and that Luis Ortiz has got him ready, but actually doing it is much more difficult. My style is to win and to knock him out.
“My prediction is that I’m going to win and move on and fight the top heavyweight in the division. I want to keep moving up the ladder.
“I feel that my technique and speed can beat any heavyweight out there. I’m just going to keep displaying my skills inside the ring.
“I’ve fought good fighters before. No matter what’s in front of me, I head into the ring with the mindset that I’m going to leave the ring with a victory.
“The main event is going to be a very good fight and I’d slightly favor Wilder. I would love to fight him next if we both win.”
“I’m coming into this fight very confident. Five-straight wins will do that. Overall we’ve just had better training and we’re more prepared heading into this fight.
“This is a very important fight for me. We know that a win is going to do a lot for my confidence and my career. Moving into this fight I’m just very ready to get into the ring.
“If Frank is the next great heavyweight then so am I. Because I believe we have very similar attributes. Skill-wise, ability-wise and size-wise I feel like I should be right there as well.
“I’m a very proud Puerto Rican fighter and my dream to become world champion has pushed me in camp to run longer and train harder. I’m very confident and I have no excuses coming into this fight.
“I’ve been familiar with the Cuban-style of boxing in the amateurs and in the pros. I also train alongside Luis Ortiz and some other Cuban fighters, so I’ve worked against it a lot. I’m 100% ready for Frank Sanchez.”
GARY ANTONIO RUSSELL
“I’m versatile. Our father named our gym The Enigma Gym for a reason. I’m going to be an enigma in the ring on Saturday night.
“I feel good and I feel strong. I’ve gotten all the rounds in that I needed for this fight and I’m well prepared.
“Sometimes it’s still hard to deal with the passing of our father Gary Sr. You see all the pictures of him up in the boxing gym. I’m just glad that he molded me and the rest of my brothers. He molded us into men. It’s a bittersweet thing, because I’m definitely still coming to perform. My dad is the mad scientist behind everything that I’m going to display on Saturday.
“My feelings about this fight are the same as they were the first time. If anything, I’m looking to go in there and hurt him. This is the hurt business. After the fight, I’ll wish well and take my hat off to him as a fighter. But the mission doesn’t change.
“If anything I’m motivated even more now since the passing of my father. He instilled so many great things into us, up until the very moment of his passing. He would want me to be in this position right now and he wouldn’t want me to take my foot off the gas.
“All of my brothers have stepped up. We’re a dynasty and we’re a unit. We work together, because iron sharpens iron.
“We don’t overlook anybody. I don’t make any stage bigger than what it appears to be. I treat every fight as if it’s a championship fight.”
“I’m really looking forward to Saturday night. We spent time training hard in the altitude and Mexico and we’re just eager to get back into the ring.
“In the first fight, we knew that we were going to win. Everyone knows what happened, but for this fight we’ve prepared much better. I’ve had great sparring that simulates Russell’s style, so with every single day that passes, I’m more and more confident that I’m going to win this fight.
“For me it’s an honor and privilege to have my first time fighting here in New York. I know this is home for a lot of Puerto Ricans and I know that I’m going to have a lot of people supporting me.
“We know that he’s got a good jab. It’s going to take about three rounds to adapt to the jab, then we’re going to take the strong hand away and there won’t be anything else he can do.
“Since my fight against Naoya Inoue I believe that I’m a much better fight.er I’ve faced better opposition and I’m a former world champion than Russell. I don’t take anything away from him, but I just believe that I’m the better fighter all around.
“We’re ready. All I can say, is that this fight won’t go the distance. You’ll have to tune in and catch the action on Saturday night.”
VITO MIELNICKI JR.
“This is another big opportunity for me. I’ve had a great training camp with ‘Chino’ Rivas and I’m ready to go. We’re coming to put on a show.
“I’ve had great sparring this training camp with a lot of top guys and I’m just getting better and better and learning more and more with each fight.
“I love fighting on these big cards and I’m excited to be headlining on FS1 for Deontay’s comeback fight. I’m going to keep improving and growing my name even more.
“This is my third fight with ‘Chino’ Rivas and we’ve had great sparring with Jeison Rosario, Keeshawn Williams and a lot of other quality guys. Whatever Limberth brings to the ring on Saturday night, we’ll be ready for it.
“I’m still young and I’m still growing, but I want to keep fighting better opposition. I know there’s a lot of big names that could become available and I’m looking forward to making those fights happen.”
On what he expects from Helenius…
“I always want a good matchup. Robert (Helenius) has been on a winning streak and he’s here. I’ve been hearing he’s supposed to be the mandatory for (Oleksandr) Usyk and however that’s laid out, but I know he’s coming with his A+++ game. They always do when they fight me.
“With Robert, I think he’s gotten even more confident because he’s been sparring with me for many, many years. So we kind of know each other. At this point in camp, we’re trying to do some things that he’s never seen before. And I’m sure he’s trying to do some things that I’ve never seen before. And the one thing I like about Robert is that he has a warrior’s heart, just like me.”
On training nonstop for long lengths of time…
“We’ve been doing 30 or 40 rounds nonstop. Only time I get water is during the break. I’ve just been doing things like that to challenge myself, doing things that have never been done before, or that you don’t really do in boxing. I wanted to see how my body adjusts to the long length of time without a break. When you can go a long time without taking a break, you’re in shape.”
On what’s special about fighting at Barclays Center…
“It’s not only just the beautiful arena that they have there, but they pack so many electrifying fans in there… I think Barclays Center has some of the best fans around. Every time I’ve been there, I’ve had an open-armed welcome, and I’m going to receive the same, or even greater, this time around. And I’m all smiles. I’ve been ready to come back to Barclays Center for some time now, and I get that opportunity… I’m coming back Brooklyn!”
On Usyk potentially being ringside on October 15 and a possible showdown against him in the near future…
“It’s music to my ears. I hold Usyk to be a very honorable person and a man of his word. So I’m looking forward to that. I’m not looking past Robert by any means. It’s good to know that Usyk will be in the arena. Welcome to a great show. And to all the fans, welcome to a great show for whoever is watching and attending, but I’m not looking past Robert.
“For Usyk to be able to bless me with a title shot when I’ve blessed so many during my reign, it’s a great feeling. So we’re going to get past October 15, and then after that we can see what happens. I’ve got a lot of things lined up, a lot of options in the works for me… But when it’s dealing with a title shot you’ve got to jump on it when the opportunity presents itself.”
On a renewed energy and doing things ‘his way’ in the second half of his career…
“It feels good. Even in my first reign, a lot of it was my way. But this right here is totally 100% Deontay Wilder’s way. I’m in a different position right now. And it just feels great to be in the position I’m in with no pressure. I don’t need the business anymore. When I do it, I do it for my own personal reasons. I’m doing it for the people and I’m doing it for some hardware, some titles.”
MALIK SCOTT, Wilder’s Trainer
On how training camp has been going overall…
“We’ve put in over 500 rounds on the pads and 500 rounds just with intent shadow boxing. What I’m impressed with the most by Deontay, whatever it takes to make himself a complete fighter, he’s willing to try. He’s willing to put a gallant effort into that, and that’s what we’ve been doing.
“There are so many different dimensions to this guy’s game. I just want the world to see it because I’ve been seeing it for the past few years. And what I mean by that is he’s not just a one-punch knockout artist. He can do so many different things in the ring and then set them up for the one-punch knockout. He’s a good body puncher. He has a great left hook. It’s just about him having tons of discipline, sticking to a gameplan, having humility and doing these things with importance.”
On a reenergized Deontay Wilder and what motivates him now…
“Deontay is fighting for himself, as well as for the inspiration that he gives so many people. Deontay is the real people’s champ. It’s not about money. It’s not about materialistic things. It’s about him being extremely motivated and inspired by so many people that he’s touched across the world and across the nation that he’s willing to do it again. And honestly, he hasn’t taken his foot off the gas in training.”
On Wilder and Helenius having been sparring partners in the past…
“Yes, Deontay has sparred Helenius. I was there, and I saw how well Deontay did with him, but Helenius is not a good spar. He doesn’t spar very well. Anybody could have an Okay day with him. He’s very technically sound and he knows how to protect himself, but he’s not a good spar. He’s a good fighter when the lights are on, when it’s time to throw a monkey wrench into the apple cart and to upset people, this is when he comes alive. And this makes him more dangerous in this fight because if anyone is going to train as hard as they ever trained and be more alert than they’ve ever been is when they’re fighting Deontay Wilder. He brings the best out of his opponents.
On a possible Wilder vs. Usyk showdown in the future…
“Coming from a coaching standpoint, it works perfect for me because Deontay Wilder is big time boxing. Robert Helenius, in my opinion, this is a big, dangerous fight. Deontay is going to pass this test with flying colors. After that, my opinion of his next opponent is that it should be Oleksandr Usyk or Anthony Joshua possibly… These are the kind of fights he gets up for.
“I truly believe that Deontay Wilder is the only heavyweight in the world that can beat Oleksandr Usyk, and I have so many reasons to back that up.”