Boxing superstar and former heavyweight world champion Deontay “The Bronze Bomber” Wilder and hard-hitting contender Robert “The Nordic Nightmare” Helenius officially kicked off fight week events Wednesday as they showed off their skills during a media workout before they headline a FOX Sports PBC Pay-Per-View this Saturday, October 15 from Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
The event also featured former world champions and super middleweight rivals Caleb “Sweethands” Plant and Anthony “The Dog” Dirrell, who meet in a WBC Super Middleweight Title Eliminator in the co-main event. Also on hand were unbeaten heavyweight Frank Sanchez and Puerto Rican Olympian Carlos Negron, who battle in a 10-round attraction, plus unbeaten contender Gary Antonio Russell and former world champion Emmanuel Rodriguez, who square off to open up the pay-per-view telecast at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT.
Rounding out Wednesday’s lineup was exciting rising prospect Vito Mielnicki Jr., who will take on Limberth Ponce in a matchup that headlines PBC Prelims on FS1 and FOX Deportes beginning at 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT.
Tickets for the event, which is promoted by BombZquad Promotions and TGB Promotions, are on sale now and can be purchased through seatgeek.com and barclayscenter.com. Tickets are also available for purchase in-person at the American Express Box Office at Barclays Center.
Here is what the fighters had to say Wednesday from world famous Gleason’s Gym in Brooklyn:
“You can always expect nothing but the best from me. And I don’t get paid for overtime. I’ve been known for the knockouts and I’m going to end my career continuing to get those knockouts.
“Every fight makes you a better fighter. You always have to go back and change certain things. Me and Tyson Fury had three memorable fights, especially for the fans, and I’m looking to keep delivering that moving forward.
“There are a lot of things that I’ve been trying to perfect. What you see from me on Saturday night isn’t going to be anything new. We’ve just been adding to what we have. We’ve been going back to some fundamentals, working on our movement and combining all those things together.
“I feel good and that’s all that’s going to matter. The energy is going to be there in the arena. I’m looking forward to feeding off the crowd.
“It’s going to be fun. Robert is a great guy and we both have warrior’s heart. We’re both willing to go out on our shields. This is our first time getting in the ring when it really counts. It’s going to be electrifying to finally step in the ring with him in that scenario.
“I’m in the game to fight the best. That’s not going to stop. I want the champions and the top contenders. I want all challengers. You name them, I want them.
“I want my legacy to be that I was a great man, a motivator and someone who abided by his word. He gave everything he had in every fight. I want people to say that Deontay Wilder stood for something.
“All of my accomplishments have been set in stone with a statue in my hometown. Seeing all the people that came out to unite with me and my family, it meant a lot to me. It allowed me to understand that I’m very important to a lot of people all over the world.”
“I’m really happy to have this opportunity. I’ve been training in this sport for 25 years and I’ve had my ups and downs and now everything is connecting and I feel great.
“I don’t like to think that he’s lost anything since the three fights with Tyson Fury. He’s had a year since that last fight. Of course people can change after a long time, but I’m prepared to go 12 rounds with the best Deontay Wilder.
“I can’t give away too much, but we’ve seen what people do to disrupt Wilder. We have a plan and now we need to execute.
“When I was sparring with Deontay we were both preparing for our own fights, so I wasn’t really training for a guy like him. Of course I learned some tricks, but I’m not relying on that alone. It can only be an advantage though.
“He is powerful yes, but I don’t believe that I’m without power. The hardest punchers I’ve faced are Lamon Brewster and Samuel Peter, and I expect Wilder to be similar. The difference with Wilder is that he’s much faster.
“I didn’t feel my best against Gerald Washington and I shouldn’t have gone through with the fight. Because I knew that I wasn’t myself, it wasn’t hard for me to bounce back from that loss.”
“I’m feeling good. The energy is great, weight is good and everything is on point. We had a great training camp. Everything has been smooth and couldn’t have been better.
“I always work hard, but Stephen Edwards definitely brings that hard work to the gym. When we get there, we know it’s no messing around. That’s how we like it. We stay at work until we’re finished. We’ve had seamless energy ever since we linked up. We had fun and we got a lot of work done.
“It’s going to be a show. It’s been a minute since I’ve been in the ring, but we never stopped working. We cleaned up some stuff from our last fight and kept what we had a lot of success with.
“Everyone knows what I bring to the ring. I bring creativity and excitement. I can fight a lot of different ways and everyone watching can expect to see me with my hand raised.
“I’m not thinking past this fight. I have to focus on the task in front of me. I’ll get to what’s next when the time is right. I just want to stay fully focused on Saturday, and winning that fight in spectacular fashion.
“Every fight is personal to me. That man standing across from me is standing in the way of me accomplishing my dreams.
“Dirrell has never had a successful title defense in all of his fights and he won’t have one in his entire career. Because after Saturday night, he’s retiring.”
“I’ve proved myself many times. So I don’t need to prove myself to anybody. I showed what I needed to. I’ve come back from everything that I’ve ever had to come back from.
“You have to have different game plans for different fights. We’re going to stick to what we worked on and come out of the ring victorious.
“Everybody has their pros and cons. I’ll have to see what Caleb has when we get in there. This is going to be nothing new. A fight is a fight and every fight is different. You have to approach every fight differently than the last one.
“Caleb has fought two people. And everyone knows that and they know who those two people are. But you have to respect everyone who steps into that square and tries to fight.
“I’m not worried about the Canelo fight that he had. That’s the past now. We’re going to have to see what he brings. Styles make fights.
“Just know that I’m going to beat his ass on Saturday. I don’t respect him. It’s not that he’s not a hard worker, that’s irrelevant. We’re all fighters and we’re getting into that ring to entertain people. Outside of the ring, I don’t have to hang out with you.”
“He can say that he’s prepared for me and that Luis Ortiz has got him ready, but actually doing it is much more difficult. My style is to win and to knock him out.
“My prediction is that I’m going to win and move on and fight the top heavyweight in the division. I want to keep moving up the ladder.
“I feel that my technique and speed can beat any heavyweight out there. I’m just going to keep displaying my skills inside the ring.
“I’ve fought good fighters before. No matter what’s in front of me, I head into the ring with the mindset that I’m going to leave the ring with a victory.
“The main event is going to be a very good fight and I’d slightly favor Wilder. I would love to fight him next if we both win.”
“I’m coming into this fight very confident. Five-straight wins will do that. Overall we’ve just had better training and we’re more prepared heading into this fight.
“This is a very important fight for me. We know that a win is going to do a lot for my confidence and my career. Moving into this fight I’m just very ready to get into the ring.
“If Frank is the next great heavyweight then so am I. Because I believe we have very similar attributes. Skill-wise, ability-wise and size-wise I feel like I should be right there as well.
“I’m a very proud Puerto Rican fighter and my dream to become world champion has pushed me in camp to run longer and train harder. I’m very confident and I have no excuses coming into this fight.
“I’ve been familiar with the Cuban-style of boxing in the amateurs and in the pros. I also train alongside Luis Ortiz and some other Cuban fighters, so I’ve worked against it a lot. I’m 100% ready for Frank Sanchez.”
GARY ANTONIO RUSSELL
“I’m versatile. Our father named our gym The Enigma Gym for a reason. I’m going to be an enigma in the ring on Saturday night.
“I feel good and I feel strong. I’ve gotten all the rounds in that I needed for this fight and I’m well prepared.
“Sometimes it’s still hard to deal with the passing of our father Gary Sr. You see all the pictures of him up in the boxing gym. I’m just glad that he molded me and the rest of my brothers. He molded us into men. It’s a bittersweet thing, because I’m definitely still coming to perform. My dad is the mad scientist behind everything that I’m going to display on Saturday.
“My feelings about this fight are the same as they were the first time. If anything, I’m looking to go in there and hurt him. This is the hurt business. After the fight, I’ll wish well and take my hat off to him as a fighter. But the mission doesn’t change.
“If anything I’m motivated even more now since the passing of my father. He instilled so many great things into us, up until the very moment of his passing. He would want me to be in this position right now and he wouldn’t want me to take my foot off the gas.
“All of my brothers have stepped up. We’re a dynasty and we’re a unit. We work together, because iron sharpens iron.
“We don’t overlook anybody. I don’t make any stage bigger than what it appears to be. I treat every fight as if it’s a championship fight.”
“I’m really looking forward to Saturday night. We spent time training hard in the altitude and Mexico and we’re just eager to get back into the ring.
“In the first fight, we knew that we were going to win. Everyone knows what happened, but for this fight we’ve prepared much better. I’ve had great sparring that simulates Russell’s style, so with every single day that passes, I’m more and more confident that I’m going to win this fight.
“For me it’s an honor and privilege to have my first time fighting here in New York. I know this is home for a lot of Puerto Ricans and I know that I’m going to have a lot of people supporting me.
“We know that he’s got a good jab. It’s going to take about three rounds to adapt to the jab, then we’re going to take the strong hand away and there won’t be anything else he can do.
“Since my fight against Naoya Inoue I believe that I’m a much better fight.er I’ve faced better opposition and I’m a former world champion than Russell. I don’t take anything away from him, but I just believe that I’m the better fighter all around.
“We’re ready. All I can say, is that this fight won’t go the distance. You’ll have to tune in and catch the action on Saturday night.”
VITO MIELNICKI JR.
“This is another big opportunity for me. I’ve had a great training camp with ‘Chino’ Rivas and I’m ready to go. We’re coming to put on a show.
“I’ve had great sparring this training camp with a lot of top guys and I’m just getting better and better and learning more and more with each fight.
“I love fighting on these big cards and I’m excited to be headlining on FS1 for Deontay’s comeback fight. I’m going to keep improving and growing my name even more.
“This is my third fight with ‘Chino’ Rivas and we’ve had great sparring with Jeison Rosario, Keeshawn Williams and a lot of other quality guys. Whatever Limberth brings to the ring on Saturday night, we’ll be ready for it.
“I’m still young and I’m still growing, but I want to keep fighting better opposition. I know there’s a lot of big names that could become available and I’m looking forward to making those fights happen.”
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