FIGHT week for Premier Boxing Champions on CBS continued Thursday as televised fighters Omar “Panterita” Figueroa, Ricky Burns, Tomoki “El Mexicanito” Kameda, Jamie McDonnell and Austin “No Doubt” Trout spoke to the media at the final press conference before their respective bouts taking place Saturday, May 9 at State Farm Arena.
Here are what the participants had to say Thursday:
“This is the biggest fight of my career thus far. I have my brother on the undercard and it’s here at home. This is it. I think it’s great for people from the Valley to get a huge card like this here. They haven’t seen this since Vasquez vs. Marquez, so I hope to bring that level of boxing back to the Valley.
“I definitely feel more pressure but the good kind of pressure. I’ve thrived on pressure my whole life. I was a pitcher for a long time. I was a closer. So I’ve been in situations where it’s bases loaded and we’re down so many runs and I’ve got to keep the game close. This is what I live for.
“I haven’t seen any film of Ricky Burns. Haven’t watched him at all. But from what I’ve heard he’s a tough fighter in great shape, so if we go 12 rounds it’ll be a good 12 rounds. I’m going to go out there and give it my all and win in the most impressive way possible.
“It wasn’t difficult to give up my title. I don’t fight for titles. I don’t care for titles. I think they’re just aesthetic things. I’d rather please the fans with a good fight. I don’t care if I win a title at the end of the day, but if the fans are happy, I am happy.
“I’m going to be a lot stronger at this new weight. I don’t know what to expect. I’m excited to get in the ring and find out.”
“When you’re in hard fights, that’s what brings out the best of you. I’m looking forward to getting in the ring and putting on a good performance and win some fans over here.
“It’s a very tough fight and we knew that before we took it. Figueroa likes to come forward and be aggressive, but that can be his downside because he takes a lot of shots. We’re prepared for whatever happens on fight night and the best man will win.
“Some people think I’ve come over here just to be an opponent but that’s not the case. I had a bad year but it’s all behind me. I’m going to get back to my winning ways.
“This is everything I’ve ever wanted to accomplish in boxing. It’s going to be a hard fight but by the time the fight comes it will be just about four weeks that I’ve been in Texas.
“I treat boxing as my job, when it comes to training and fighting I always give it 100 percent and leave it all in the ring and hopefully the fans will see that. Omar is never in a dull fight and I’m not one to back out.
“We’ve treated this fight exactly the same as any other. Even though we’re in his hometown, as soon as that first bell goes that’s when it’s going to count. It’s just me and him in that ring.”
“It is a dream come true to fight on a network like CBS. Millions are now going to get to know me, get to know my style. Boxing is changing and to be part of that is a great honor to me.
“It was not easy to relinquish my world title — I was the first Japanese to hold that title. It’s never easy to give up something that you’ve worked so hard for. But I respect the sanctioning body’s decision, they said I had to relinquish it and so I did. Now, I’m going for another title, and after that maybe unification.
“McDonnell is a good boxer. He knows how to box and knows his way inside the ring. Most British fighters do that, move around a lot. Its not an easy style to face, but my team and I have a great strategy and we are going to win, we are going to win by knockout.
“I love Mexico. I moved there when I was 15 with my family. I did all of my amateur and all my professional career there. I’m grateful to Mexico and all Mexicans for giving me so much.
“My team and the guys at the gym started calling me ‘El Mexicanito’ because I embrace Mexican culture as my own. I love the food, the people and of course the Spanish language. I struggle with it at first, but now I think I got it mastered.”
“I think Kameda is a bit scared and a bit intimidated by my size. I genuinely believe I am going to knock him out. I’m too big and too strong.
“I’ve been a world champion for a couple of years now. I’m ultra-confident for this fight. It’s the best I’ve ever felt. I’m really looking forward to it.
“Kameda is a good fighter and I expect the very best from him. He better expect the very best from me. This is life changing, whoever wins this fight gets propelled up a few levels.
“I want the best life possible for my wife and baby daughter. To do that I have to beat him.
“My losses were six years ago and I didn’t even really believe in myself at that time. I’ve gone through every experience that you can in that time and I bring everything to the table.
“Fans can expect to see a lot of heart. I can take a punch, I can give a punch. It’s an interesting fight and it’s a chance for me to showcase what I’m all about on this great stage here in America.”
“As far as my opponent dropping out at the last minute, disappointment is kind of an understatement. But I’m trying to keep it classy, so I’ll stick with disappointed. I’m not surprised though.
“The day I heard that he pulled out it definitely changed my mindset, but I had to find that focus and realize that we still have work to do.
“It’s an honor to be part of this whole PBC on CBS card. I feel like this is the resurgence of boxing – bringing it back to the golden days. For me to be a part of that was one of my goals when I turned pro. I wanted to be a part of the comeback of boxing.
“I’m trying to get a belt. I want my world title back. After I get a world title I’m going to try and avenge those losses. After I avenge those losses I want another title so I can become an undisputed champion. Once that’s done we can consider moving up to another weight class maybe.”