PREMIER Boxing Champions on Spike returned to Chicago’s UIC Pavilion on Friday night (June 12). The opening televised bout saw Artur Beterbiev (9-0, 9 KOs) manage a seventh round knockout against Alexander Johnson (16-3, 7 KOs). The second televised bout featured Erislandy Lara (21-2-2, 12 KOs) as he secured a unanimous decision victory over Delvin Rodriguez (28-8-4, 16 KOs).
Below are comments made by the televised fighters following their performances tonight:
“Thanks to my whole team and to Delvin for being a great competitor. Thank you Al Haymon.
“This was a great performance tonight. I was able to land my left. Delvin was really just trying to survive in there, so I knew what I was doing was working.
“I was trying to bait him to come in, but it wasn’t working. So I had to get aggressive in there.
“It’s never a comfortable feeling leaving it up to the judges. I’d like to win every round and get the knockout if possible, but at least I got the win tonight.
“It was very uncomfortable in there for me tonight. He was sharp and giving me lots of weird angles to work with.
“He was always looking to land his left. He caught me once to the body though and that took three or four rounds to shake off.
“I think PBC is great for the sport. They’re taking boxing to a whole new level. Some of the things they do are really going to catch on with the fans. Keeping the focus on the fighters is a big part of that.
“It’s hard to say what’s next right now. There are still some great fights for me. Just because I lost to a skilled, technical fighter like Lara doesn’t mean there aren’t great fights left for me.”
“This is a big plus for me and great experience for my pro career. I’m very happy to have gone past four rounds tonight.
“Nothing was really working that well for me tonight though. I like to box smart and find the right openings. Maybe the righty to lefty switch in the last week made a difference.
“I’m very happy and proud to have been part of another PBC card and to have had a fight here in the United States. The last time I was in Chicago was back in 2007 in the same venue. So it felt great to be back.
“I’m a boxer, but I don’t like to call people out and insult them. I can’t predict the future, but I’ll work hard to make my winning streak even better than this one. I want the biggest belt that I can get. That’s my goal.”
“Short notice doesn’t matter because it’s part of the game to always be prepared. I have no excuses. He was the better man tonight.
“He got in one rabbit punch behind the ear that affected me more than some of the other shots, but overall he was just the better fighter tonight.
“I think PBC is great for the sport of boxing. I can’t take anything away from them and I’m just grateful for the opportunity to fight on their card tonight.
“I’m heading back to the gym and I’ll discuss what comes next with my family.”