Lomachenko & Sosa Talk About
Their D.C. Area World Title Battle
TODD duBOEF: On behalf of Top Rank we would love to thank
HBO, the No. 1 premium channel in the world with great
programming all the time, and MGM, who we have a great
relationship with in Las Vegas and all over the world; and
obviously both fighters -- Jason Sosa has had an incredible
rise especially over the past year and gotten himself a
title and Vasyl Lomachenko, having only eight professional
fights, has people declaring that he is pound-for-pound the
best fighter in the world and was also considered by many
the Fighter of the Year last year. We love making matches
like this. You are talking about two of the top, top
fighters in the division. We know itís going to be an
incredible fight between two guys deserving of the accolades
they have received.
RUSSELL PELTZ: Thanks, Todd. We are really looking forward
to this challenge. Jason had a terrific year last year and
he won the title in Beijing, defended it in Monte Carlo and
will now be fighting the man that everyone is calling the
best fighter in the world which I guess we will find that
out on April 8th. Jason is up for the challenge Ė he is a
real fighter and real fighters fight. We will see if he can
match his skills with Lomachenko and I believe that Jasonís
trainer, Raul Cheno Revas is as good a trainer as there is
in the world today. You may not have heard a lot about him
but I think you will in the coming years. We are going into
this fight, obviously as we would in any fight, to win.
I met Chino is 2012 Ė I went to another promoters fight in
the Northeast section of Philly -- I was there to scout a
lightweight named Anthony Bergen who turned pro that night
and I was impressed and when the fight was over I met Chino
and we made an agreement that night to sign Anthony Bergen
and he said to me at the time Ďif you want Bergen you have
to take Jason Sosa.í Jason had about 7 or 8 fights at the
time and I had seen him a few times and said ĎI really donít
want to do that.í He said, ĎItís part of the package.í And I
donít want to say I reluctantly agreed because Jason always
made great fights and I knew it. So Jason came along as part
of the package. Like, when was Tom Brady drafted? So thatís
what happened to Jason, he turned out to be the main fighter
in my stable ever since. Like I said before, guys like
Freddie Roach and Virgil Hunter may get more recognition but
Chino has turned Jasonís career around and the career of
another junior lightweight named Kevin Farmer with a
completely different style from Jason Ė a slick boxer
compared to a slugger. Chino has completely turned both of
their careers around.
RAUL CHINO RIVAS: I thank Top Rank and Russell Peltz, and I
want to thank HBO for believing that Jason Sosa is worthy.
Jason Sosa is a throwback fighter. He is very aggressive
with a lot of heart and determination. He is something
really special. He reminds me of Marvin Hagler. He keeps
coming and coming and coming because he believes and has the
will to win. This is an opportunity and a challenge for us,
his fundamentals and skills and angles and defense. I have a
lot of respect for Lomachenko. I believe he is the best
pound-for-pound fighter and it wonít be easy, not a walk in
the park -- weíve always been the underdog but all of the
pressure is on him. He is the two-time world champion. We
will have to execute the game plan to the best of our
ability, and I believe I have the best man. And they believe
they have the best man. So on April 8, the whole world will
see, on HBO. Every fight Lomachenko is getting a learning
experience and a confidence boost. I have been watching for
a long time -- through the Olympics. His father is a great
trainer and why he does not have all of the Ukraine fighters
I have no idea. We are in Puerto Rico training and getting
in extremely good work. I know that Lomachenko is going to
be in great condition and Jason will be in great condition
so you are going to see something special.
JASON SOSA: I would like to that God. I would like to thank
Top Rank, Russell Peltz and HBO and also Lomachenko and his
team for accepting this opportunity. I am very excited for
April 8th and I am going to be in the best condition of my
life. I have to be to fight one of the top pound-for-pound
fighters in the world and the best amateur fighter that ever
lived. At the end of the day, my team and I have got to be
prepared. I am excited and very humbled and looking forward
to everyone meeting the new Jason Sosa. I only had three
fights as an amateur and the fights I am getting as a
professional are keeping me hungry and focused and
maintaining my craft. First and foremost I have one of the
best trainers in the world and to have the opportunity to
learn from him is a blessing for me. A lot of people say
that I am blessed because I have him in my corner and I
really believe that because without him I would not be
champion today. So I am very excited and looking forward to
TODD duBOEF: I would like to introduce Egis Klimas, a
manager who has more courage than anyone and also has quite
a stable of fighters that he brings from Europe to the USA.
EGIS KLIMAS: Hello everybody and thank you for being with us
on this call. First of all I would like to let everybody
know that I am very proud and very blessed to present one of
the best fighters in the world, Vasyl Lomachenko. I want to
thank Top Rank for bringing us back quickly for another
opportunity to fight and I want to thank HBO for showing the
fight around the whole nation, and thank Sosa for taking
this fight. Itís not easy when you have a good fighter to
get somebody in the other corner, but Top Rank is doing a
very good job getting the best fighters possible to make the
best fights. Looking forward to April 8 to go to Maryland
for Vasyl to defend his title. He is always in the best
shape and he is training hard and heís going to be ready.
The fans are going to see a great fight. And here is the WBO
champion of the world, Lomachenko.
VASYL LOMACHENKO: Hello everybody, I just want to say I am
happy to be back in camp and I am enjoying every single day
I am preparing for my fight. I want to thank Jason Sosa for
training to come for the victory and he is going to bring a
great fight for the fans. Thank you very much and we will
see you on April 8.
How do you feel about finally winning the [WBA] title, but
made to vacate it, against [WBO champion] Lomachenko?
JASON SOSA: My thoughts are, this is boxing and that
happens. I just have to maintain focus and just keep moving
on. Just like my first loss. Iíve got one career loss and I
never just focus on that loss, I just move forward. Same
thing, they stripped me of the title and it hurt me because
I would like to unify my title. I think thatís what every
world champion would love to do. I would like to apologize
to the Lomachenko team as well because I am sure they would
like to fight for another title, but at the end of the day I
am focused and looking forward to April 8 and hopefully win
the WBO belt.
So this is not about unifying titles Ė you want a fight on
the big stage against a top level opponentÖ
JASON SOSA: We want to fight the best. Lomachenko is the
best in our weight division right now. Thatís what boxing is
all about -- at the end of the day a world champion wants to
fight a world champion. We are more than eager to take the
challenge on April 8. We are going to put the game plan to
perfection. We take it day by day and keep getting in better
shape getting ready for April 8.
No one is going to questions Jason Sosaís toughness but how
do you deal with the skill level?
JASON SOSA: Very simple and short -- I have the best trainer
in the world and I believe he is going to have the perfect
game plan and I am going to execute the game plan to
How does Lomachenko feel about that this is not going to be
for the title that Sosa had?
VASYL LOMACHENKO: I understand that this is not Sosaís
decision Ė it is the WBA and they took the title from him.
Of course I would rather unify titles. At this point I am
happy to fight one of the best in the division and he is the
one that took this opportunity. The other champions were
running like rats from a sinking ship and not coming into
the ring. Nowadays itís not about the sport Ė all of the
boxers have become businessmen and they are looking just to
get the money and not the glory.
Why have the fight in a venue that seats only 3,000 people?
TODD duBOEF: We donít necessarily agree with the size of the
venue being indicative of the size of the match. I remember
as a child the Pavilion here in Las Vegas used to have some
of the biggest fights out there. Benitez, Hagler and
Antifermo all fought there and sometimes on the same card.
Size does not matter, not this situation, but one of the
things we wanted to do was bring this match to the east
coast because of Sosaís fan base and wanted to spread
Vasylís brand also, and we want to offer that to a new
facility and itís an honor to be able to go there.
How many times would you like to fight this year and do you
plan to move up to 135?
VASYL LOMACHENKO: I was always for fighting three or four
times a year. I am ready to fight and I want to fight three
or four times a year. It doesnít always depend on me, it
also depends on opponents and the TV and the promoter. I am
looking this year to fight at least three times. As far as
moving up in weight class, if the thing is going to go like
it is today, everybody is running away and not fighting me,
I will be forced to go to 135 pounds and I would hope that
the guys at 135 would be standing up and coming to fight.
Is it difficult to find opponents for Vasyl?
EGIS KLIMAS: Well, as you can see, the champions are not
coming. That question would probably be better to go to the
promoter. I am not the one that is finding opponents.
Are you learning English and do you feel it is important to
VASYL LOMACHENKO: I am talking in the language of boxing.
EGIS KLIMAS: Yes he is learning English but he is not going
to speak it until it is perfect English. He wants everything
in his life maximized, so if he is going to start speaking
English it is going to be perfect English.
What do you think about the venue and do you think you would
be bringing more high profile events there?
TODD duBOEF: I physically have not been there but I have
spoken to the executives at Las Vegas about the venue and
their enthusiasm is very high in regards to us bringing the
boxing community there. Boxing has so much symbiotic
behavior to the gaming customer and fighters and fans from
the local area excites them. We have had numerous
conversations on a corporate level but we have not been
there. There is no formal commitment but we are going have
kids from the DC area on the card such as Mike Reed and
Patrick Harris, and Jessie Hart is going to be coming down
I-95 from Philly. We are not locked into anything in the
future, we will see how this comes off Ė itís a high level
fight on HBO.
Were you disappointed that the Salido fight fell through?
VASYL LOMACHENKO: Yes I was a little disappointed because as
far as I knew everything was moving along and everything was
agreed to then all the sudden they turned around and said he
wasnít going to fight. But, you know, such is life.
Do you still want to face him or have you moved on?
VASYL LOMACHANKO: Yes, I would still like to fight him, but
it doesnít depend on me. We will see how it goes.
Why are you training in Puerto Rico for this fight?
JASON SOSA: I have tried to train in New York and also
Florida but I have found that my best training is done in
What do you think about Lomachenko?
JASON SOSA: He is the closest fighter to perfection in
When do you plan to go to 135?
VASYL LOMACHENKO: If I have the opportunity against any of
the champions at 135, if they are willing to fight and my
promoter can put the fight together, I am looking forward to
When you look in the mirror, do you see yourself as the best
fighter in the world, or the top 10?
VASY LOMACHENKO: It is very hard to answer the question
because when I look in the mirror I donít think about who
the pound-for-pound fighter is. I am usually working on my
hair at that moment.
What do you think of the talk that puts you in the Top Ten?
VASYL LOMACHENKO: If you want to just talk regarding me, as
a pound-for-pound fighter, I would probably say that I will
probably be the No. 1 pound-for-pound fighter after I beat a
couple of champions at 135.
Since a couple of fighters turned down the opportunity to
fight Lomachenko, can you take us through the making of this
TODD duBOEF: We have a long relationship with Russell Peltz,
the co-promoter of Jason Sosa, and when the date came up for
the fight for Lomachenko, the offer went out to a few
different fighters -- one being a rematch with Orlando
Salido and one being the champion Jezreel Corrales and the
other one being Sosa. Russell was truly a professional and
has a great relationship with us and we could make a deal
pretty easily. When you say about me having a tough time
making fights -- I think what happens in this business, I
think Vasyl said it right -- the fighters are becoming
businessmen -- not ones that are willing to roll up their
sleeves and become prizefighters -- so thatís a dilemma that
we deal with especially when you take the risk/reward of
fighting Lomachenko. Jason and Russell understood that they
wanted to take advantage of this opportunity. That door
opened and they are going to step through it. We applaud
that and you applaud when guys take those challenges.
RUSSELL PELTZ: Top Rank called us, offered us the fight, and
we said yes -- because thatís what fighters do -- fight. I
talked it over with Chino and talked it over with Jason, and
listen, we know weíre not the first choice -- we get that.
We know Salido turned it down for more money. We know
Corrales turned it down for more money -- because as
everybody said, boxing is more of a business than a sport.
We understand that we are here because no one else wanted
the challenge. The point is, we are going to take advantage
of that. Because when I was a kid, I loved a fighter named
Harold Johnson. Johnson was the light heavyweight champion
of the world and he was scheduled to fight a kid from Peru
and about six weeks before the fight the kid failed the eye
test. So they brought in Henry Hank and two weeks before the
fight Hank got injured. So they brought in Willie Pastrano
on 10 days notice. Pastrano knew he wasnít the first choice
but he took advantage of it and he won the title. Thatís
what itís all about -- fighters fight.
TODD duBOEF: What a great way to finish this call. Tickets
go on sale Monday at 10 A.M.!