Josh Taylor vs. Teofimo Lopez
Final Press Conference
A heated rivalry comes to a head in New York City this
Undefeated junior welterweight king Josh Taylor (19-0, 13
KOs) will defend his WBO and Ring Magazine titles against
former lightweight kingpin Teofimo Lopez (18-1, 13 KOs) at
The Theater at Madison Square Garden.
In the eight-round co-feature, Puerto Rican junior
middleweight phenom Xander Zayas (15-0, 10 KOs) will take on
Ronald ďDiabloĒ Cruz (18-2-1, 12 KOs).
Taylor-Lopez and Zayas-Cruz will be broadcast live on ESPN,
ESPN Deportes and ESPN+ at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT.
The ESPN+-streamed undercard (5:15 p.m ET/2:15 p.m. PT)
includes lightweight contender Jamaine Ortiz (16-1-1, 8 KOs)
and rising junior lightweight Henry Lebron (17-0, 10 KOs) in
10-rounders, along with the returns of Polish heavyweight
Damian Knyba (11-0, 7 KOs) and featherweight prospect Bruce
Carrington (7-0, 4 KOs) in separate eight-round fights.
Unbeaten junior welterweight prospect Omar Rosario (10-0, 3
KOs) steps up against Jan Carlos Rivera (8-1, 6 KOs) in an
eight-round Puerto Rico vs. Puerto Rico showdown.
At Thursday's press conference, this is what the fighters
had to say.
ďHe means what he says, and I mean what I say. There is
genuine dislike here. Heís been disrespectful. Iím going to
make him pay for his words on Saturday. I canít wait to get
in there. You will see a Josh Taylor win, possibly by KO,
and nice and early as well.Ē
ďI know heís a good fighter. The version that beat
Lomachenko is a very good fighter. Thatís the version Iím
preparing for. Itís all about your preparation. Iíve
prepared diligently and to the best of my ability. Youíll
see the best of me on Saturday night.Ē
ďThis is dream come true. You always dream of coming
stateside and fighting in venues like this. This is the
'Mecca of Boxing', Madison Square Garden. I canít wait to
get in there to make this dream become a reality, and this
clown here is in my way.Ē
ďWhat is ĎThe Takeoverí if he doesnít take over the guys
that are the kingpins of the division? So, when it comes to
Josh Taylor and the junior welterweights, he is the guy.
Thatís the guy that you have to beat to be the greatest.
Thatís what we aim for all the time.Ē
ďI worked my a** off. Eleven weeks of camp. This is going to
be the best version of me. Practice makes improvement. Weíve
improved since my last fight. Weíre ready to put on a show.
Iím going to be a two-time lineal world champion.Ē
ďIím excited about this. This is like a dream come true.
What more can you really shoot for? Nobody has really called
out Josh Taylor. Who knows why? Maybe because he beat
everyone already. But Iím here. Iím here to come in there
and take everything that youíve got.Ē
ďThis is the first time that I will fight during Puerto
Rican Day Parade weekend. Iím excited for this one. Itís
awesome to see all these different cultures come together
and bring an excellent show to MSG and to New York. Iím
ready to put on a show for all of my Puerto Rican fans
ďHe is motivated. Heís been waiting for this opportunity his
whole life. So, I expect him to come out and try to put on a
show. When the fight got postponed, we contacted Top Rank
and said that this is the opponent we wanted to fight. They
allowed me to do that, and now here we are. Iím excited to
showcase what we have been working on.Ē
ďIím beyond excited. This is an opportunity Iíve been
waiting for my whole life. Iíve been preparing really hard.
I canít wait. Iím excited to go out there and have fun. Iíve
spent a lot of years getting to this point. Iíve been in the
ring with great world champions like Mike Tyson, Sergey
Lipinets and Janibek Alimkhanuly. Itís my time. I canít wait
to get in there.Ē
"Iím very excited to make a statement here at Top Rank and
be one of the top competitors here and chase a world title.
I donít really listen to media during fight week. Iím just
focused on my opponent, my training and what I have to do on
Saturday to come out victorious. After that, we can talk
about my plans. Every opponent has his set of challenges.
Humberto Galindo is a power hitter, so I have to stay sharp
ďI like to take things one step at a time in my career. Iím
just going to focus on this fight. Nicolas Polanco is a
great fighter. Iím super confident that Iím going to put on
a great show this Saturday. After that, I want to fight
Oscar Valdez again because I still to this day donít
understand how I lost that fight.Ē
ďItís always special to be here because I get to perform in
front of my family, my friends and my fans. This is home.
Itís also the ĎMecca of Boxing.í Itís always a great
opportunity to get to fight here.Ē
ďThis is the second time that I am on a card like this at a
place where many great fighters have performed. I will give
100 percent on Saturday. We moved to Florida to train for
this fight. It has been a super good training camp. We
worked with Javiel Centeno. We worked hard, and you are
going to see the result."
ďIím extremely proud of my heritage and where I come from.
The Polish people are waiting for the next Andrew Golota,
and I hope thatís going to be me. Getting to a world title
is a process for me. I didnít have a long amateur career. We
have a great plan. I think in about three or four years Iíll
be reaching my prime, and Iíll be ready to attack.Ē
ďThis is my second time fighting here at MSG during Puerto
Rican Day Parade weekend. I am ready to make a statement and
demonstrate that I am the future of the 140-pound division.
Fighting in New York is like fighting in Puerto Rico because
a lot of Puerto Ricans are coming to MSG. Last year, I felt
the energy, and I like it. I know that Saturday night will
be the same.Ē