A HUGE fight week featuring the first two heavyweight world title fights in Brooklyn in 115 years kicked off Tuesday with media workouts at world famous Gleason’s Gym in Brooklyn.
This Saturday, January 16 at Barclays Center, WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder will make the third defense of his title against Polish bruiser Artur Szpilka while unbeaten heavyweights Charles Martin and Vyacheslav Glazkov battle for the vacant IBF heavyweight title. The doubleheader will air live on SHOWTIME® at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT.
“I’m just happy to be here in New York. There’s so much great history, especially in the heavyweight division, in this city so I’m really happy about the opportunity. It’s the media capital of the word and I get to fight at Barclays Center. It’s an exciting time.
“2016 is going to be a huge year for Deontay Wilder. The fans are going to be very excited and impressed with what I do this year. I’m not playing around. My goal is to be the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world and whoever has those belts is going to have to deal with me.
“We’re on a mission. Everything that has happened has been planned. Everything seems to happen at the right time in my career and my life. I was meant to do this. Boxing was my calling in life.
“I consider myself the most athletic heavyweight in the division today. I’ve surrounded myself with good people and they’ve helped me get to this place where I am now. I’m happy for it.
“I’m from Tuscaloosa just like the Alabama Crimson Tide and they call Tuscaloosa ‘Home of the Champions.’ There’s no better place to be a champion and I’m very proud of the National Champs.
“I’m happy that Szpilka got this opportunity. I’m sure he’s excited and overwhelmed. Most fighters don’t get this kind of chance. At the end of the day though, he’s never faced a fighter like me.
“I’m mobile and agile. My accuracy and my power is the best out there. Artur Szpilka is in for a world of pain.
“2016 is my year. I mean what I say. I feel it inside of me. Szpilka says he’s ready but he’s just trying to promote himself. I really mean what I say.
“This is big for me. Being in New York and making history, that’s a dream come true. I’ve been looking to come to Brooklyn for a long time to display my talent. Barclays Center needs a face and I’m looking to make it a home away from home.”
“I want to be the first Polish heavyweight champion of the world. I’m ready. This is important for Poland and my Polish fans.
“Wilder is very tough. He’s tall and strong. This is boxing. He’s human. I know I can beat him. He makes mistakes and I know what I have to do. I know him. I’ve studied him and I see what he does badly.
“I can’t wait. This is so important because the Polish people have supported me so well. I know I will be a hero after the fight. I know it and I believe it. Only four days.
“This opportunity to fight for a title and on SHOWTIME is something great. I’m here to make history.”
All photos: Stephanie Trapp/Showtime