Photo Credit: Esther Lin & Tom Hogan/SHOWTIME
LOS ANGELES – With Oscar De La Hoya presiding over the festivities, Golden Boy Promotions hosted the final press conference for their exciting, stacked fight card this Saturday, April 26 headlining Keith Thurman vs. Julio Diaz at the StubHub Center in Carson, Calif., live on SHOWTIME® (9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT, following the premiere of ALL ACCESS: Mayweather vs. Maidana Episode 2) and SHO EXTREME® (7 p.m. ET/PT)
“It’s great to be back,’’ said De La Hoya, President of GBP, at the outset. “Great to be back.
“Saturday will be a treat for the fans. This is the real deal here. These are real fighters in real fights and you’re going to get some big-time action on Saturday night. There are still some tickets left, but they are going fast. We are expecting a great crowd at StubHub. I’m really looking forward to it. We have terrific fights from top to bottom
“It’s really exciting for me to be here at StubHub Center. Thank you to Golden Boy for believing in me. This is a testament that we can do it. Get yourself off the canvas, get back up and fight harder. That’s the way you should go.”
The 12-round main event Saturday on SHOWTIME will pit unbeaten,power-punching WBA Interim Welterweight Championship Keith “One Time” Thurman (22-0, 20 KOs), of Clearwater, Fla., against former world champion Julio “The Kidd” Diaz (40-9-1, 29 KOs), of Coachella, Calif.
In the SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING co-main event, hard-hitting former interim 140-pound world championLucas “The Machine” Matthysse (34-3, 32 KOs), of Trelow, Chubut, Arg., will be opposed by offensive-mindedJohn Molina (27-3, 22 KOs), of Covina, Calif., in a scheduled 10-rounder that could wind up as a Fight of the Year candidate. Opening the telecast will be an All-Texas WBC lightweight world title fight between undefeated defending champion Omar “Panterita” Figueroa (22-0-1, 17 KOs), of Weslaco, and a nemesis from his amateur days, Jerry“The Corpus Christi Kid” Belmontes (19-3, 5 KOs), of Corpus Christi.
Promising unbeaten junior welterweight Antonio “Relentless” Orozco (15-0, 9 KOs) of San Diego, Calif., takes on Mexico City’s Martin “El Brochas” Honorio (32-8-1, 16 KOs) in the main event on SHO EXTREME. Other SHO Extreme scraps will include talented Jermall Charlo (17-0, 13 KOs) against Albuquerque’s Hector Munoz (22-12-1, 14 KOs) in a 10-round junior middleweight clash and, time-permitting, 2012 Brazilian Olympian Yamaguchi Falcao(0-0-1), of Sao Paulo, against Carlos Badaldua (pro debut), of Tijuana, Mexico, in a 4/6-round middleweight fight.
Tickets priced at $150, $75, $50 and $25, plus applicable taxes, fees and services charges, are on sale and available online at AXS.com, by phone at 888-9-AXS-TIX (888-929-7849) and at StubHub Center Box Office (Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. PT to 6 p.m. PT). VIP Suites are available by calling 877-604-8777. For more information on group discounts or VIP packages, please call 877-234-8425.
What the boxers and executives said Thursday:
KEITH THURMAN, WBA Interim Welterweight World Champion
“This fight right here for me is a dream come true. This is what I’ve been doing since I was seven. It’s where I want to be, the headliner in a SHOWTIME event.
“Julio has been giving some stiff competition. They call him ‘The Kidd’ because he keeps performing despite his age. He is coming to win, to find those holes and show us young fighters what he knows. I look forward to an excellent fight.
“My motto is KOs for life. I’m going to do it again. To me the judges have the best seat in the house. This is a terrific card. Heavy hitters across the board. Just come and enjoy the show.
“I’m grateful, I have been looking forward to Saturday for a long time. This camp was the longest camp I’ve had –10 weeks. I was getting prepared for anybody, I was preparing for the world. I’m ready to rumble. ‘One Time’!’’
JULIO DIAZ, Former World Champion
“Everyone always says thank you Golden Boy, but I really mean it. I’ve been through everything. This is the best treatment I’ve ever had as a fighter, despite coming from a couple of losses; I’m still headlining an event. I appreciate the opportunity.
“This is a tough opportunity, a dangerous opportunity. I’m facing a dangerous, tough fighter, but he’s not unbeatable. I take my job seriously. It’s going to be a tough fight but I guarantee you it’ll be an exciting fight.’’
LUCAS MATTYHSSE, Former Interim World Champion
“I’m very happy to be here. I want to thank Golden Boy, my promoter, and everyone involved for this fight. I just want to say I am ready to go and glad to be back.
“I know what Molina brings to the table. This will be a great fight. Get ready for an explosion, an exciting fight on Saturday.’’
JOHN MOLINA, Junior Welterweight Contender
“The judges may not be needed. This is going to be a war. Bombs away.
“Matthysse is a feared fighter. With his power, he’s shown he can explode at any time. People tell me I should fight him like Danny Garcia did, but I’m not Danny Garcia.
“I’m going to bring my A-Game, he’s going to bring his A-Game. There isn’t going to be a whole lot of running, just setting down in front of each other and exchanging. Matthysse gives a lot when he hits, and he takes a lot when he gets hit.
“I’m a slow starter, but he’s a notoriously slow starter, too. I definitely plan to go in and gain some respect right off the bat. But when the eggs start to roll, that’s when the real action kicks in.
“Two days out, I feel a combination of things. I’m excited. I’m thankful for this opportunity on such a great stage. I’m confident I can capitalize on all the advantages I possess. I feel my power is better at 140 pounds. There is going to be a great crowd on Saturday. I’m ready.’’
OMAR “PANTERITA’ FIGUEROA, WBC Lightweight Champion
“We are here now, and we are ready. I don’t care about winning or losing. I’m going to go out there and put on a great show and try to punch my opponent as much as possible, which is the best feeling in the world.
“It’s going to be a good fight. We’ve seen each other a few times in the amateur tournaments and we say hi. In the ring it’s a different story.
“It’s an honor to fight in the same card as Matthysse, I look up to him. He’s a power hitter like I am. I know all these guys are going to put on a good show. We’ll see you there.’’
JERRY BELMONTES, Lightweight Contender
“I’d like to thank everybody involved for making this fight. It’s going to be a terrific fight, a styles fight. He’s the brawler, I’m the boxer. We’re both from Texas, so this is a big fight our state.
“We’re good friends. I watched Omar grow up. I hope he doesn’t take it personal when I take the title belt away from him on Saturday.’’
ANTONIO OROZCO, Unbeaten, Hard-Hitting Junior Welterweight
“I want to thank Golden Boy, my manager, Frank Espinoza, everybody for this opportunity on Saturday. I’m ready for a great fight. I’m ready to put on a show.’’
YAMAGUCHI FALCAO, 2012 Olympic Games Bronze Medalist From Brazil
“Today is a special day. It’s a day when I finally can start thinking about my pro career. I spoke with my father and he told me that one day I would become a world champion. I won a bronze medal for Brazil in the 2012 Olympics. That fulfilled a dream of mine.
“Saturday begins another dream come true for me. I take my first step in becoming a world champion. Standing up here with all these great champions is so great. I hope to fight the very best in my career. I’m going to make it big in boxing, and it all starts this Saturday.’’
JARMALL CHARLO, Undefeated, World-Ranked Junior Middleweight
“I’m excited to be part of such an explosive card. To look at these guys around me – Matthysse, Thurman–is an honor.
“I want to thank my team for helping me bounce back and regaining my focus. My opponent took this fight on short notice, but you have to be in great shape all the time. I know I can fight on short notice because I stay in great shape.’’
HECTOR MUNOZ, Veteran Junior Middleweight
“I’m looking forward to going in and putting a lot of pressure on him. Thanks to everybody for getting me this fight.’’
JOSEPH JO-JO DIAZ, Promising, Unbeaten Super Bantamweight
“Thanks to Golden Boy and their staff for putting me on this great card. I’m fighting a guy with a ton of experience. I’m sure he’s ready but I had a strong, hard camp and I’m read to put on a show.
“I hope all the fans tune in. Saturday is going to be great night of boxing.’’
CHRIS DEBLASIO, Vice-President of Sports Communications, SHOWTIME Sports
“In the last two years SHOWTIME has become the leader in televised boxing. I think there’s no mistake about that. We are televising the biggest events in sports, the most competitive fights and quite literally on the most aggressive schedule you can imagine.
“Saturday’s SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING telecast features three incredible fights with all heavy hitters, knockout fighters that are looking to make a statement in really deep divisions at 147 and 140 pounds. There’s lot to be gained and some to be lost from reach fighter, but we know they’ll come out strong.’’
ANDY FOSTER, Head of California State Athletic Commission
“Welcome back Golden Boy. Golden Boy is the No. 1 stakeholder in California and California does the most boxing in the world. We are pleased to be regulating the fight on Saturday and wish the fighters a safe and successful night.”
In non-televised fights on Saturday: Frankie “Pitbull” Gomez (16-0, 12 KOs), East Los Angeles, vs. Orlando Vasquez (12-3-1, 6 KOs), Bayamon, P.R., 10 rounds, welterweights; Joseph “Jo-Jo” Diaz Jr. (9-0, 7 KOs), South El Monte, Calif., vs. Luis Maldonado (38-11-1, 29 KOs), Calexico, Calif., 8 rounds, super bantamweights; Terrell Gausha (8-0, 5 KOs), Cleveland, vs. Charles Whitaker (40-14-2, 24 KOs), Miami, Fla., 8 rounds, super welterweights; and Sharif Bogere (23-1), Las Vegas, vs. Artura Urena (26-16-1, 22 KOs), Mazatlan, Mexico; 8 rounds, lightweights. The first live fight is at 1 p.m. PT.