The six fighters who will compete on a tripleheader tomorrow, Friday, Aug. 9, on ShoBox: The New Generation live on SHOWTIME® (10 p.m. ET/PT, delayed on the West Coast) at Fantasy Springs Resort Casino in Indio, Calif., are set and ready to go after weighing in Thursday at Fantasy Springs.
In the 10-round main event, unbeaten, hard-hitting Deontay Wilder (28-0, 28 KO’s), of Tuscaloosa, Ala., will try to extend his winning and knockout streaks when he meets former world heavyweight champion Sergei “White Wolf” Liakhovich (25-5, 16 KO’s), of Scottsdale, Ariz., by way of Vitebsk, Belarus.
In two terrific 10-round co-featured scraps, Francisco “El Bandito” Vargas (16-0-1, 13 KO’s), of Tijuana, Mexico, opposes left-handed Brandon “The Untouchable” Bennett (16-0, 7 KO’s), of Cincinnati, Ohio, in a clash of undefeated junior lightweights, and unbeaten junior middleweight Jermall “The Hitman” Charlo (14-0, 10 KO’s), of Houston, Texas, gets tested for class when he takes on Antwone Smith (23-4-1, 12 KO’s), of Miami, Fla.
The event is presented by Golden Boy Promotions and sponsored by Corona. Tickets, priced at $25, $35 and $45, are available at the Fantasy Springs Box Office, by calling (800) 827-2946 or online at www.fantasyspringsresort.com. Doors open at 4 p.m. PT. The first live fight is at 4:05 p.m. PT.
Barry Tompkins will call the ShoBox action from ringside with boxing historian Steve Farhood and former World Champion Raul Marquez serving as expert analysts. The executive producer is Gordon Hall with Richard Gaughan producing and Rick Phillips directing.
WEIGHTS: Wilder tipped the scale at 224 pounds, Liakhovich weighed 232. Vargas weighed 130 pounds, Bennett 129. Charlo weighed 154 pounds, Smith 159 (Smith was fined 20 percent of his purse for coming in heavy).
Below are some final thoughts from the ShoBox fighters:
“I think this is going to be a great fight. I don’t think they could have picked a better opponent for me. Liakhovich is a very tough guy. I know he is coming to fight. I don’t expect this to be easy. He’ going to put in all on the line, and that’s what I want. I want to see where I’m at. I always feel I have something to learn. At the same time, I’m looking forward to putting on a great show.
“If he shows up like he supposed to, and fights like he’s supposed to, this could be my toughest fight to date. But I know what I can do and I want people to see that. It’s great fighting in the main event on ShoBox. I expect many of my fans will be watching. I hope to make some new fans, too,
“The hard work is in the gym, in the training. I go 100 percent and I expect the same from those around me. I don’t have ‘yes’ men in my camp. If I’m doing great they let me now. If not, they say I can do better. This is a stepping stone for me, fighting the best of the best. I’m excited.
“My approach going in is to be patient, establish my jab and use my distance to keep him away. I don’t go in looking for a knockout. They just happen. I don’t put pressure on myself to knock anybody out. I like to keep my mind clear and focused.
“This is a 10-round fight and I’m ready to go all 10 rounds. Part of me wants it to go all 10, part of me doesn’t want to put it in the hands of the judges. But at the end of the day, all I want to do is win.’’
“I’m going to take him into deep waters. We’ll see if he can take as much as he can give.
“I’ve trained off and on with Mike McCallum for almost five months, but eight weeks for this fight in particular. I don’t want to make any excuses, but I had a lot of problems with my previous training camps. There was so much B.S. This may have been my best training camp ever.
“I still feel I’m a dangerous fighter. I’m very confident. Only time will tell if he made a mistake fighting me. But we will know tomorrow night.
“It’s hard to say what Wilder will bring. He’s got a very strong right hand, but he’s very predictable. I don’t see a lot of things special about him. I just know I’ll be ready for every second of every minute.
“I’ve been off 17 months, but I was off 16 months when I won the world heavyweight title. I’m happy to get a big fight like this at this point in my career.’’
“This is a tough opponent. I’ve trained super hard. This is going to be a great fight.
“I think pressure and good defense are the keys for me. He’s a quick southpaw, but I’ve fought two southpaws in my career, including one in my last fight. Southpaws are always a problem; you always have to make an adjustment.
“I hope he comes at me and fights inside, but I expect him to box.
“My dream was always to make the Olympic team. It’s a tough process being a pro, but my motivation to win a world title is the same as it was in the amateurs. You can only win so many medals in the amateurs.
“Fighting an undefeated fighter, this is a big step up, but we’re ready.’’
“This is a dream come true fighting on SHOWTIME. Growing up I watched a lot of great fighters fight on SHOWTIME. I just want to look great, make it look easy and come away with a victory.
“At this point in my career, I just want to be the best. It is not about the money. I’m doing what I like to do. It’s my job and I like to fight. It’s tough to get great fights, so I am very grateful for this opportunity.
“I’m glad to be fighting often again. Fans may not know me now, but they will tomorrow. I hope to take the fight to him. I’m going to give it everything I’ve got and see if I can frustrate him.
“Vargas had a lot of amateur fights, but I feel I have as much experience as he does. Conditioning-wise, I feel I can go 10, 12 rounds with no problem.’’
“I can’t wait to fight him. I wish the fight was right now. He’s going to pay for not being ready to fight. I worked hard to make the weight. It makes me wonder what kind of camp he actually hard.
“I’ve been working too hard not to fight. I didn’t struggle or kill myself to make weight, but I had to work to make 154. He didn’t do his work. If I can do it, why can’t he? It’s the principal.
“Every fight is a big step for me. Smith has been in with a lot good people, but they were all guys who I feel I can beat. I don’t think he’s fought anybody as strong as me.
“I’ve trained very hard for 10 hard rounds. This is my fifth fight this year so I’m never worried about going the distance.’’
“I got here around 10:30 pm Wednesday night, and thought I’d be OK with my weight but my body locked down and I got cramps. If I could have lost the weight, I would have. I’ll see how I feel when I get in there and make every adjustment I have to.
“At the end of the day, he’s never gone a distance of rounds and he’s never fought anybody. He doesn’t know if he can go 10 rounds. I want my experience to take over. I have to be smart and get into a spot where I am comfortable. I just hope I don’t go in there and hold myself back.
“There’s no doubt I’ve fought better than he has. I’ll do what I have to do to win. I don’t think this is going to affect me at all.’’