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  Omar Figueroa Jr. vs. Sergey Lipinets
Final Press Conference


All-action former world champion Omar “Panterita” Figueroa Jr. acknowledged the difficult test in front of him when he faces former world champion Sergey Lipinets in a 12-round WBC Super Lightweight Title Eliminator headlining live on SHOWTIME this Saturday, August 20 from Hard Rock Live at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Fla. in a Premier Boxing Champions Event. At Thursday’s press conference, Figueroa admitted he was teeming with excitement and eager to show the fruits of a great training camp, while Lipinets believes he and Figueroa have the styles to produce a fan-friendly clash.

The press conference also featured top 140-pounders Alberto Puello and Batyr Akhmedov, who square off for the vacant WBA Super Lightweight World Championship in the co-main event, WBA Super Featherweight World Champion Roger Gutierrez and unbeaten Hector Garcia ahead of their world title showdown and unbeaten prospect Brandun Lee and Will Madera, who kick off the SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING® telecast at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT. Puello and Garcia, both hometown friends from the Dominican Republic, are hoping to bring about arguably the greatest day in Dominican boxing history with title-winning efforts, while Akhmedov and Gutierrez hope to stymie them and produce their own highlights and milestones.

Additionally, SHOWTIME SPORTS® will offer live streaming coverage of unbeaten Cuban heavyweight standout Lenier Peró battling Joel Caudle in an eight-round bout and undefeated middleweight Fiodor Czerkaszyn taking on Gilbert Venegas Jr. in an eight-round duel via the SHOWTIME Sports YouTube channel and SHOWTIME Boxing Facebook page prior to the start of the televised quadrupleheader. The streaming show begins at 6 p.m. ET/3 p.m. PT and will be called by SHOBOX® analyst and MORNING KOMBAT host Brian Campbell alongside former unified welterweight world champion Keith “One Time” Thurman joining as guest analyst.

Stepping in for four-division world champion Adrien Broner on short notice, Lipinets promised action on Saturday night, while Figueroa remained steadfast that he will bring the fight, no matter who his opponent is. Here is what the fighters had to say Thursday from Hard Rock Live at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino:

OMAR FIGUEROA JR.


“Obviously we were preparing for a certain style, but the fight fell through, so I just have to take all my experience and the things I’ve learned all these years and apply it toward Sergey. He’s no pushover and he’s a former world champion. We know we have our hands full.

“All the troubles with camp, and dealing with the weight cut and all that camp entails, I was hoping to take it out on Broner. And now I have to take it out on Sergey. It’s me against him.

“I’ve been a fighter for 27 years now, and the sport hasn’t always been the nicest to me. We all know about my mental health struggles, but for the first time I got to enjoy training camp. I got to enjoy dealing with all that a training camp provides. If this is my last fight, I’d be happy with that. But I know I’m not done, and I have a lot left in the tank. I love this sport too much and there’s not anything else that would fulfill me the same. I’m excited for Saturday. I’m pumped like I’ve never been before. I finally got to enjoy myself and I think I’m going to enjoy Saturday night. I’m looking forward to a war with Lipinets.

“We have seen some video of him. It hasn’t been hard to find. So we know more or less what to expect.

“I have no problem with Broner not taking the fight because of mental health. I’m trying to advocate and get more people to take care of their mental health. But for him to use it as a cop out, that’s what annoyed me.

“With anyone struggling with their mental health, the most important thing is to reach out to a friend or neighbor and know that you’re not alone. Life’s not easy. It’s a constant struggle and an everyday battle. We have to stay strong and rely on each other and have each other’s back. Just love each other and that’s the best we can do.”

SERGEY LIPINETS


“I first want to thank Omar, and Broner, for making this happen. These things happen and sometimes there are pull-outs at the last moment. We were getting ready for whatever comes. We’re ready and we just want to show the best fight for the fans of boxing.

“My last loss [to Jaron Ennis] was at 147 pounds, so I’m going back to 140 and I want to be world champion again and show that I’m a force to be reckoned with.

“We just made a decision as a team and realized that 147 was not right for me. I’m more comfortable at 140 and made weight no problem. We had a great camp and had different opponents thrown at us and at the end of the day, I feel great. It took some time and I’ve had many different opponents thrown at me. It’s been frustrating at times but I never complained and I knew that hard work always pays off.

“Everyone knows what I do in the ring and what Omar does in the ring. It’s going to be a great scrap stylistically. We’re not going be looking for each other and not dancing around. It’s going to be a straight-forward fight and may the best man win.”

ALBERTO PUELLO

“I want to thank my whole team and everyone who is here today. Becoming a world champion on Saturday night would mean so much to me.

“A win would change my life forever and change my family’s life forever. It would just mean so much to me. Becoming a world champion would be life-altering.

“If he’s so confident and he thinks he’s going to beat me, then let’s do it. That’s why we’re fighting on Saturday.

“There’s no doubt that Hector Garcia and I are going to win on Saturday. It will be a great victory for our families, for ourselves and for the Dominican Republic. It will be a time to celebrate and a day to never forget.”

BATYR AKHMEDOV


“First of all, I want to say thank you so much to SHOWTIME for this opportunity. For me, this is a really important fight for my career and winning a world title would be a huge deal.

“The first time I fought for a world title, I thought I was robbed of a decision. I believe I won that fight.

“Nothing will stop me this time in this fight. It doesn’t matter who’s against me – King Kong could step into the ring against me, and it wouldn’t matter.

“Just make 140 pounds and meet me in the ring and I’ll be ready to fight.

“My priority is to make sure this fight ends in a knockout. I don’t want to let this fight go to the judge’s scorecards and I will try to make sure the fight ends that way.”

ROGER GUTIERREZ


“We’re prepared, mentally and physically. I’m ready to take this challenge.

“It doesn’t matter what Garcia says. Every boxer has to have that mentality. I’m ready to show that I can beat him. He can’t look past me.

“I respect him as a fighter, I respect all fighters. I know he’s confident because he just beat Chris Colbert. I’m confident too and I’m ready.

“The year layoff doesn’t affect me at all. When I fought for the world title, that was also a one-year layoff. You saw what happened there. It probably helped me. I feel great and you’re going to see on Saturday night.

“Garcia and Chris Colbert had a great fight. Garcia did his thing. I don’t want to take anything away from him, but I think anyone that night would have beaten Colbert. Colbert was overconfident. Once his fight against me got postponed, he overlooked Garcia. That’s what hurt him.

“I don’t base myself on just one thing. I know the statistics show that I’m powerful, but I bring a lot of things to the ring. My focus is on Saturday night. Our goal is to win round by round, but if the opportunity for a knockout comes, I’m ready to take it.”

HECTOR GARCIA


“I’m going to prove the oddsmakers wrong again. That motivates me to do better in the ring and to become a champion. I want to be that man Saturday night. I want to win.

“I’m challenging to become a world champion for the first time. It means a lot. It means everything to my country to become the fourth world champion there.

“I want to be a world champion. This is my opportunity. I have always had confidence in myself. When I beat Chris Colbert, my confidence grew even more, so I believe in myself now more than ever.

“Alberto Puello and I are old friends. We’ve been friends since we were younger and came from the same town in the Dominican Republic. We’ve both had pretty good careers. If he wins, I’m going to be happy and if I win, he’ll be happy. It’s all love. Both of us winning titles would be something great for each of us personally and for our families and then for our country. We know we have a whole country behind us, and we want to do it for them and for ourselves.”

BRANDUN LEE


“My last fight showed me I can go 10 rounds strong. I never really deteriorated throughout the fight and there was never a question that I could be strong from round 1 to round 10.

“I never overlook my opponent because at the end of the day, he has two hands and you have to respect anyone that steps in the ring. I’m going to go in there and do what I do, which is get the knockout. So today I’m 25-0 and come Saturday night it will be 26-0.

“I just have to keep doing what I’ve been doing. I have to go in there with a brain, don’t be dumb and look for the knockout right away. If it comes, it comes. I’ve already gone 10 rounds and I have no problem going another 10. Just be smart.

“I love being here on SHOWTIME. Every time I come near SHOWTIME they give me the full red carpet experience and I just really appreciate everything that SHOWTIME has done for me.”

WILL MADERA

“I plan on showing that I’m the veteran fighter on Saturday night. Tune in and I’ll show you what I can do. I feel they’re overlooking me because I’m coming up from lightweight, so I’m a smaller guy naturally. I’ve been overlooked in most of my fights.

“Being the underdog is something I look forward to. Upsetting opponents is my thing. I’m going to steal the show, so tune in Saturday night and don’t miss the first bell.

“Brandun Lee is a strong, young, up-and-coming-fighter. I expect him to come in strong, especially early in the fight.

“This is the second time I’m fighting at 140. I do feel more comfortable at 140 but this is all about the opportunity here. This is going to be a firefight.

“A win here would mean a lot. It will move me closer to a world title fight. Whether at 135 or 140, that’s what I’m aiming for.”



 

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