World Featherweight Champion Gary Russell Jr. faced World Featherweight Champion Mark Magcio on Thursday in the final press conference before they met in the SHOWTIME main event on Saturday, January 22 at the Premier Boxing Champions event from the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa in Atlantic City, NJ
(Photo credit: Amanda Westcott/Showtime)
Also in the press conference were ultra-lightweight contenders Subriel Mathias and Petros Ananyan, who meet in a rematch in the 12-round joint main event, as well as strong featherweight contender Tojstsugt “King Tag” Nyambayar and one-time contender Sakarya Lucas, who Square in the 10-round televsion opener at 9PM EDT/6PM PST.
Tickets for the live event, promoted by TGB Promotions, are now on sale and can be purchased through Ticketmaster.com.
Here’s what the fighters had to say Thursday from the Music Box at the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa in Atlantic City, NJ:
Gary Russell Jr.
“At the end of the day, I’m a wrestler and I love what I do. I love showing off my skill set in the sport of boxing. Nothing came easy for us. This is not an unfamiliar area for me or my family.
“There are no concerns about ring rust. I’m always in the gym. I haven’t stopped training for two months since I was four or five. Boxing isn’t just what I do, it’s a lifestyle for me.”
“If I go out there and destroy Mark on Saturday, then the big fights I want, these fighters won’t be in a hurry to face me, not because they are now anyway. I always try to send the same message when I enter the ring. I believe in intellect more than sport, regardless. Regardless of the situation.
“Mark is really ready to put it all on the line. He’s going to get out there and do his best. A lot of other fighters want to hide from the best. But I know Mark wants it so badly. It’s a pleasure to share the battlefield with him.”
“He said he would show his skills and that’s what I’m looking forward to. I hope the other fighters can progress as he did. That’s what the sport of boxing needs.
“I am competing in the first month of the year, so if we can get through the fight without injuries, we will try to come back this summer. I just need a willing opponent. I am ready to lift my weight, but if I go ahead, I want to compete against another champion.”
“Gary is a really good fighter. I’ve been wanting to fight him for a long time. Now the opportunity is here and I can’t wait to fight. I don’t expect any rust from my throat from Gary Russell.
“I think I’m the fighter he wants to beat more than anyone else. I’m here to give him his second defeat on Saturday night.
“I can fight and I can adapt. I have a speed like Gary does. On Saturday, we will put our skills against each other.
“Mane Pacquiao has been my idol since I was a kid. I started training at the age of eight because of him one day he became the world champion. Now that time is here. I am very happy that Mane signed me into his promotional company and I am grateful.
“I learned a lot from Julio Ceja fighting. I made it clear that I can adapt, that I can fight and that I can box when I have to. This fight has helped me a lot.
“It’s great that Freddy Roach and Marvin Somodio help me every day. I thought I already knew boxing, but when I came to the gym they corrected my mistakes and made me more accurate.
“Filipinos are born strong, we are warriors. I am going to bring that attitude and that mindset into the fight.”
“This is a great opportunity for me to show the world who I am. I’m so excited my mum is here to watch me fight for the first time in the States, I’m excited and I’m ready. Saturday is showtime.”
“On Saturday you will see my improvements. All questions about me and about what happened in the first battle, will be answered in this battle.
“It’s either him or me, but one of us loses. I need this to be a huge victory to redeem myself and my career.”
“I always promised my mother since we started boxing that I would buy her a house of her own. I haven’t done that yet, but I promise I will keep that promise.
“Everyone knows how to fight and that I am a friendly fighter. This will not change, but I am much better in many ways and will display my skills in this fight.”
“This fight is a very good opportunity for me. I am ready to fight a big fight with everyone. I must thank Matthias, for giving me this opportunity to fight him again on a big stage like this.”
“Everyone knows the pandemic has been tough and I’ve been wanting this fight all the time. I promise I’ll be ready Saturday night. I’ve been waiting for this for a long time.
“I only take it one step at a time. I want to be a world champion one day, but these fights don’t interest me yet. It’s all about this Saturday night fight.”
“I believe in my heart that I am ready. I just love to fight. Knockout or not, it doesn’t matter. I will show my skills and do my best to win this fight. This is the kind of fight that boxing needs.”
“I believe in myself and am excited to take advantage of this great opportunity for me. I am ready to give everyone a great fight.
“I saw what I needed to see from Lukas. I will do everything I can to win this fight and I am confident of the result.
“I would definitely like another fight against Gary Russell Jr. I want the winner in the main event. I am focused on my fight, but I want another shot at the title.”
“This is the stage I want to be in. I’m ready to go on Saturday night. I don’t want to go back, I want to stay on this podium and keep climbing.
Patterns make battles. This is short notice for me, so I’m ready to go and do what I do best. Anything can happen. Talk is cheap, it’s a different story when you get hit in the face.
“It has been my dream since I was young to fight in events like this in the States, to leave everything in the ring and make sure there is no doubt about what I can do after Saturday night.”