Photo Credit: Esther Lin/SHOWTIME
LAS VEGAS – “RETURN TO GLORY: Stiverne vs. Wilder” fight week is officially here as WBC Heavyweight World Champion Bermane “B. Ware” Stiverne, undefeated No. 1 challenger Deontay “The Bronze Bomber” Wilder, Hall of Fame promoter Don King, WBC Super Bantamweight Champion Leo “Terremoto” Santa Cruz and all the fighters on the SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING® tripleheader live on SHOWTIME®(10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT) this Saturday, Jan. 17, made their grand arrivals at MGM Grand this afternoon.
Here is what the fighters had to say upon their arrivals in Las Vegas Tuesday:
BERMANE STIVERNE , WBC Heavyweight World Champion
“I really don’t feel any emotions towards Deontay Wilder. The most important thing is for me to defend my world title.
“All the trash talking that he does doesn’t worry me. He doesn’t have anything that I want. I am the champ. This is fighting, this is boxing, this is for real. I keep my concentration on the fight.
“We trained like he was the champion. We didn’t talk about his past experience. We trained like he has gone 12 rounds before.
“I’m here to fight for the people. I fight to inspire people anywhere in the world, that’s my responsibility since I am the world champion.”
DEONTAY WILDER, Undefeated No. 1 WBC Heavyweight Contender
“I need to let this beast inside of me out. I am so ready for this fight. We are bringing back the heavyweight division.
“Once I knock this guy out it will be on to the next guy for me. He will definitely go down, I’m going to hurt him bad.
“He has never faced someone with my athletic skills. My athleticism alone is going to hurt him.
“There is no better place to have a fight of this magnitude than in Las Vegas. The fight will be explosive, exciting and I will be bringing this heavyweight belt back to America.
“When you have so much animosity towards someone it makes for a great fight. Everything that I’ve said about him and all he has said about me will be settled on Saturday.”
LEO SANTA CRUZ, WBC Super Bantamweight World Champion
“I am always prepared going into every fight. I never underestimate any fighter because those are the ones that can hurt you.
“When you give them the opportunity they come prepared and hungry because they want to take the title away from you.
“Any fighter is dangerous in the ring; one punch could change a fight. Ruiz is a good fighter.
“I trained really hard for this fight as I always do. I am mentally and physically strong, and I’ve been working much more on my power heading into this fight.”
JESUS RUIZ, Super Bantamweight Contender
“I am very excited to be here. I promise you, come Saturday you will have a new world champion.
“I am motivated and looking forward to this fight. It’s an honor for me to be here and I am grateful for the opportunity.
“He’s [Santa Cruz] a fighter that we’re well aware of. I know his style and the way he fights but we’re ready and prepared to win.
“He is an explosive fighter and so am I. I don’t think either fighter has an advantage over the other. I think you’re going to see two strong Mexican fighters going at it, it’s going to be an exciting fight.”
AMIR IMAM, Super Lightweight Contender
“I’m really excited to be on the undercard of a big American heavyweight title fight. I’m coming here to take care of business and get out of there. I’m coming here to do what I do best.
“Boxing is what I do and we’re ready. All that matters is that I get the victory, but I definitely want to win impressively.
“I have big things lined up for 2015, but I need to first take care of business on Saturday.
“[Maldonado Jr.] is no pushover. I don’t look over any fighter. I take everybody seriously.”
FIDEL MALDONADO JR., Super Lightweight Contender
“I am very confident going into this fight. This has been my best training camp that I have had in my professional career, I’m ready.”
“This is the biggest fight I have ever been in and my best opportunity to prove that I belong and get exposure.
“I know that [Imam] was an Olympic alternate, he’s a good fighter. People are underestimating me, so I’m going to go in there and knock him out.”
DON KING, Hall of Fame Promoter
“This is the heavyweight title fight. We are bringing Las Vegas back again.
“We are happy to be back at the world capital of boxing. The current Mike Tyson, Bermane Stiverne, will be defending his world title here at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. If Bermane wins, we’re going to bring Tyson back out of retirement to fight him. This fight is the ‘Return to Glory.’ Boxing goes as the heavyweights go, and the heavyweight division is back. This is one of the biggest fights we have had in years.”
“RETURN TO GLORY”: STIVERNE VS. WILDER, a 12-round fight for Stiverne’s WBC Heavyweight Championship taking place Saturday, Jan. 17 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, is co-promoted by Don King Productions and Golden Boy Promotions and sponsored by Corona and Mexico – Live It To Believe It!. In the 12-round co-feature, unbeaten WBC Super Bantamweight World Champion Leo Santa Cruz defends against Jesus Ruiz and undefeated Amir Imam meets Fidel Maldonado Jr. in a 10-round super lightweight bout for the WBC Continental Americas Super Lightweight Title. The event will take place at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nev., and will air live on SHOWTIME® (10:00 p.m. ET/ 7:00 p.m. PT). The telecast will also be available in Spanish via secondary audio programming (SAP). Preliminary bouts will be televised live on SHOWTIME EXTREME (8:00 p.m. ET/PT, delayed on the West Coast).
Tickets for the event are on sale and priced at $500, $350, $250, $125 and $50, not including applicable service charges and taxes. Tickets are limited to eight (8) per person with a limit of four (4) at the $50 price range. To charge by phone with a major credit card, call Ticketmaster at (800) 745-3000. Tickets also are available atwww.mgmgrand.com or www.ticketmaster.com.
For more information visit www.donking.com, www.goldenboypromotions.com and www.sports.sho.com, follow on Twitter @GoldenBoyBoxing, @BStiverne, @BronzeBomber, @SHOSports and @MGMGrand and become a fan on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/GoldenBoyBoxing and www.facebook.com/SHOBoxing, or visit SHOWTIME Boxing Blog at http://theboxingblog.sho.com/.