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NEW YORK - August 31, 2020 -Unbeaten WBC Middleweight World Champion Jermall Charlo and top 160-pound contender Sergiy Derevyanchenko spoke to the press during a kick-off virtual press conference Monday as they preview the main event of part one of the first-of-its-kind SHOWTIME PPV doubleheader on Saturday, September 26 in an event presented by Premier Boxing Champions.
Five of the six fighters who will be competing in part one of the unprecedented event, which features three world title fights, participated in today's media call. WBA Super Bantamweight Champion Brandon Figueroa will defend his title against 122-pound contender Damien Vazquez in the co-featured bout, while WBO Bantamweight World Champion John Riel Casimero faces off against unbeaten Duke Micah in the pay-per-view opener. Figueroa was unable to join today's call due to technical issues.
Here is what the virtual press conference participants to say Monday:
"It's going to be fireworks and an explosive night of boxing. I can't wait. Everyone is calling this a test and a big step up, so I'm training hard and preparing well.
"He lost both of those fights against Gennadiy Golovkin and Daniel Jacobs. Competitive or not, that's what happened. He's a warrior though and I want him to be sharp so he can give me the best he can give me. This is going to be a real fight, just know that.
"I'm going to be super sharp. That's the message I want to deliver to all of the other middleweights out there.
"I thought I might need to out-perform Jacobs and Golovkin, but as long as I continue to be myself, I will get the victory and I'll have my hand raised. I'm smart, stronger and better than I used to be. Every fight is a different fight. I let my trainer do the studying and I'm just focused on what I have to do.
"He's coming straight to me and fighting. That's what I expect. You want me to go toe-to-toe? That's what I expect to do.
"Everybody is doubting me. I've been doubted for years. It's not anger. I don't care what my opponent or his trainer says about me. I'm a fighter and I'm ready for this. I really want to just get in there and fight.
"After this fight, people are going to say that I'm a great fighter. I'm the best in the world. I know Sergiy feels that way too. So we get to clash in the ring. I'm expecting a fight. I haven't left the gym since February. I've been locked in. I wanted this opportunity to get in there and be me.
"If it goes the distance, I'm prepared for the distance. If he can't take the power, then I'm going to finish him off.
"I'm no Daniel Jacobs, and I know Andre is probably trying to compare that fight to me, because he worked Jacobs' corner. I know Andre has been studying me for a long time and now he gets to see what his other fighter can do against me.
"I've been at home training like crazy. I'm at the top of my game. I'm not worried about what anyone is saying. I know this is a so-called step up fight, but I'm ready for whatever the challenge comes. You'll get a chance to see me be the best Jermall Charlo that he can be."
"My training is progressing. I've been in the gym working out, keeping fit, eating healthy and doing everything that I'm supposed to do. I'm anxiously waiting for September 26. You can expect the same type of fight from me that you saw against Golovkin.
"I've had the experience of fighting at this level against the likes of Jacobs and Golovkin, which gave me the confidence and experience of fighting at the highest level. I have supreme, utmost confidence in myself.
"Charlo thinks he's the best in the world and I believe I'm the best in the world. I think I'm the better fighter. The great thing is that we're actually going to get a chance to settle it and we'll see who the best in the world really is.
"I'm just focused on my opponent and what I have to do on September 26. The goal is to go in there and take the belt from him and bring it home.
"What I've said before is that I have a lot of experience and that might be an issue for Charlo. I never said it would be too much for him, but we will find out on fight night.
"I need to just stick with my game plan. We have a plan in place. I'm going to do what I have to do. If there's a chance to knock him out, I will knock him out. If it goes 12 rounds, I'll do the best that I can and show the judges that I am the winner."
"Training camp during the pandemic has actually been great. We're doing everything by the rules as far as people staying away from public places and we're taking our tests. The fans should be expecting a Mexican war and I plan on stealing the show and being the fight of the night.
"I'm going to stand by everything I've said up until this point and up until the fight. I'm confident in my work, confident in my team and I know what to expect on fight night.
"Figueroa has some weapons, but I know what to look out for from him... It's going to be a full-on Mexican war. All of the boxing [technique] goes right out the window - let's make it a phone booth fight and steal fight of the night.
"This is all the marbles on the table for me. I don't have anything to lose in this fight, I really don't. This fight changes my life and everybody else's life around me. I'm going in there with everything I've got.
"Why would I go in there and be scared to lose? The Payano fight that everybody saw - that wasn't me. I had some things going on outside of the ring, but I'm focused now and I'm ready to go. After that fight, I got my stuff together and I'm physically and mentally ready to give it my all September 26. You're about to see the real Damien.
"I respect Brandon, he's a champion for a reason, but when we step into that ring all my respect for him goes right out the window. I want to show the world that I'm a force to be reckoned with and I'm about to take my throne in the 122-pound weight class."
JOHN RIEL CASIMERO:
"This is a great fight for me to defend my title. I know I'm facing a good undefeated fighter, but I will do everything I can to have my hand raised on fight night.
"I'm training very hard in camp. I'm glad I have plenty of time for this matchup and I plan on being in great shape to compete on fight night.
"If I get through this fight, I'm still hoping to fight for a bantamweight unification fight. That's my dream. I'm fighting for my daughters and my whole family, so I'm ready to do my best.
"I've had a long time to train because of the pandemic. I'm really excited to get in the ring and focus on this win. After that, I can move onto the next opponent.
"This is big for me to be on SHOWTIME PPV. I'm excited to get in there and put on the best performance that I can.
"Despite the Inoue fight being cancelled, I'm still very hungry. I'm excited to fight on this card and I look forward to all the big fights that are out there. First I have to get by Micah."
"I'm coming there to win. This is my dream. This is what I've set my mind on since my childhood. I've always dreamed to be a world champion and I'm so thankful to be taking on Casimero, one of the best boxers from the Philippines, because I know he's a very good opponent. That's what I want and what the fans want to see, so we have to make it exciting.
"Training was fantastic. Everything is good. We've been training hard for this fight because we know Casimero is a very good boxer. He knows what he's doing and I also know what I'm doing so I've been preparing myself to come to the ring in the best shape possible. I've watched Casimero before and I know the way he fights so that's why we've been training hard and doing everything right so we can bring the victory back home to Ghana.
"This is my dream. This is what I've been looking for because I know he's a good boxer. I'm doing this for me and my family, my daughter and my son. I've been trying for a long time. I'm hungry for this. People will see good boxing and I'm confident that I'll bring the title back to Ghana. My goal is to be one of the best boxers from Ghana.
"The people who think I don't have a chance are not in my shoes. I know he's a good boxer but this is what I've been doing since my childhood. Whatever anybody else thinks, I'm the one in the ring, so nobody else's thoughts really matter. I know this won't be an easy fight for me, but it's what I've always wanted.
"I was so happy when I got the call for this fight, it's like a dream. I'm fighting somebody who is a world champion, so I have to be happy. You have to fight the best to be the best. That's why I'm so excited for this opportunity."
RONNIE SHIELDS, Charlo's Trainer:
"Jermall trains very hard. It's going to be a great fight. Sergiy is a really good fighter, and I can't take anything from him. We know he has an extensive amateur career and a pretty good pro career. We're expecting a really good fight.
"The thing about Jermall Charlo is, he's always in the gym, training hard and looking to be the best he possibly can be. That's all me or anyone else can ask for him.
"We're looking to fight the best guys out there. Sergiy is one of the best. We didn't have to fight Sergiy. He's ranked number one, but he wasn't the mandatory. Jermall wanted this fight. He said, give me Sergiy. He wanted to fight the best guy in the division.
"During training, we train for 12 rounds, because that's what it calls for. We can't train for less than that. We have a game plan that we work on every day. If the knockout comes, we'll be happy. But we have no problems with a 12-round fight. Jermall has been there before and he's come out victorious."
ANDRE ROZIER, Dereveyanchenko's Trainer:
"It's been tough getting ready for fights because our gym has been closed until recently, but we've made it work during that time. Sergiy is a consummate professional and he's ready to turn it up. He's going to be ready for an exciting fight on September 26.
"Jermall has done a fantastic job as a world champion in two weight classes. He's growing as an individual and I appreciate that. But Sergiy works so hard. He's a special individual. It's going to be an incredible fight, but I expect Sergiy to be the victor.
"We worked hard on Sergiy's capabilities and technique. we have a serious opponent in front of us. We're going to train to be ready for a 15-round fight, so that we can rise to the occasion. There are going to be explosive bombs. May the best man win, but we're planning to be the best man.
"I'm looking forward to the competition. But these fighters are also going to provide great entertainment. You can hear that these guys are ready to show the world what they're all about."
STEPHEN ESPINOZA, President, Sports and Event Programming, Showtime Networks Inc.:
"This truly is a one of a kind pay-per-view doubleheader. Certainly, in my career here at SHOWTIME and during my lifetime as a boxing fan, I don't remember any pay-per-view event like this - six fights, five of which are world title fights, all on one night for one price. It's interesting that the four undercard matchups across the two shows feature some of the best talent in the 118 and 122-pound divisions. We have an excellent bantamweight world championship fight for the WBO title in Casimero vs. Micah and we have a super bantamweight title fight with Brandon Figueroa taking on Damien Vazquez. And in my opinion, the Jermall Charlo vs. Sergiy Derevyanchenko matchup is a matchup of the top two boxers currently fighting in the middleweight division. It's a matchup that doesn't need hyperbole or exaggeration or hype - simply put, it's the best fight you can currently make in the middleweight division.
"One of the reasons that boxing fans love the sport is because boxing is often described as a metaphor for life - we're all fighting for something. We all have a struggle. For Jermall and Sergiy, a win on September 26 would be the crowning achievement in their careers, an achievement that they've literally been fighting for their entire careers."