UNDEFEATED IBF lightweight world champion Robert Easter and Puerto Rican contender Luis Cruz hosted a final press conference before Easter makes his first world title defense as he headlines Premier Boxing Champions: The Next Round on Bounce at the Huntington Center in Easter’s hometown of Toledo, Ohio.
Televised coverage on Bounce begins at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT and features bantamweight world champion and three-time U.S. Olympian Rau’shee Warren battling once-beaten contender Zhanat Zhakiyanov.
Here is what the fighters had to say Wednesday:
“As everyone knows, I don’t like doing too much talking. I like to do my talking in the ring with these hands. February 10 is going to be an exciting night with a tremendous undercard filled with local talent.
“These guys up here and on this card are people I’ve grown up with. It means a lot for me to share the stage with them. I’m excited for them.
“I’m so grateful for all of the support I’ve received from fans here in Toledo. You keep me going forward and you keep me motivated.
“My dad and I have come a long way. It’s been a long road and we’re finally here, on top. I couldn’t have done this without him.
“Toledo has been showing up like crazy for my last two fights so it’s got me feeling very comfortable and confident.
“I have a very tough fighter in front of me. Cruz is going to come to fight and put on a show, but I’m prepared to deliver a knockout.
“I can’t wait to get into the ring for this fight. This is something I’ve been waiting on for years. I’m a world champion just like I knew I always would be.
“Having Adrien Broner here means a lot. He is a big brother to me. He showed me the ropes and he’s somebody I always looked up to.
“Being able to bring this title back home to Toledo is really exciting. I hope you all are as excited as I am, because on February 10 you’re going to see fireworks. It’s going to be short.”
“I’m very thankful to everyone who helped me earn this opportunity. I’ve been training really hard and I’m planning on taking full advantage of this.
“I hope that all the people who come out on Friday are ready to see a great fight. I’m going to leave it all in the ring.
“I know that everything is up against me going to his hometown, but it is my dream to fight for a world title and I will give it everything I have.”
“This is a very important fight for me. I’m a world champion but I have a lot more work to do. I’m looking to grab more titles.
“My first obstacle is taking care of this mandatory. After I get him out of the way I’ll be ready put my titles up against other champions.
“I have to be sharp in this fight. I have to stick with my game plan because this guy is coming to take my title.
“My opponent is a pressure fighter. He’s trying to come forward. With the abilities that I have, I’m going to try to make it look easy.”
ADRIEN BRONER, Former-Four Division World Champion
“I have on my promoter hat today for my first major card and I’m really excited about it. Being able to promote a card like this with two world championship fights is amazing, especially because of the fighters on this card.
“These fighters are guys that I’ve been in the gym sacrificing with. These guys came from water and cornflakes just like I did. It’s going to be a real surreal moment seeing them up in that ring.
“I could tell stories about me, Robert and Rau’shee all day. Now we’re all on the same stage as champions, representing this sport. I’m excited to give the fans of Toledo a great show.”