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Kovalev-Alvarez & Bivol-Chilemba Media Conference Call Transcript


Sergey Kovalev vs. Eleider Alvarez and
Dmitry Bivol vs. Isaac Chilemba International Media Conference Call Transcript
Kathy Duva, CEO Main Events:
“Thanks so much for joining in on this beautiful summer day. It is terrific to be putting a show back in Atlantic City. Back in the Etess Arena. Back in a place where a lot of us started out working with our good friends Bernie Dillon, Sharon Pearce and all the other nice people from Hard Rock who we know from way back when. It is always comfortable and feels right for me whenever we end up in Atlantic City where we began. Where we had so many terrific fights. Where Sergey has had so many terrific fights, including his double-title-winning battle with Bernard Hopkins. Where all the great Gatti fights took place. It’s been a while. We’ve been away for four years and we’re really happy to see the city coming back on an upswing. That has a lot to do with the good people at Hard Rock who have hit the ground running in the last few weeks with this newly renovated – to the point of you can’t recognize it anymore – property.

“The advent of sports betting in New Jersey is another big hook that is going to make Atlantic City a destination for boxing again and we’re really happy that we can be part of it. Now that we’re back in New Jersey, we have a truly international card and fighters from all over the world, literally fighting for light heavyweight supremacy. Two world title fights. One, of course, Sergey Kovalev versus Eleider Alvarez. Krusher versus the Storm. We also have Dmitry Bivol versus Isaac Chilemba in another terrific light heavyweight title fight. I’ve said all there is to say. It is a really outstanding card from top to bottom, including our undercard fights but today we’re going be talking just about the fighters in the main event and the co-feature.”

Dmitry Bivol, WBA Light Heavyweight World Champion:
“First thing I’d like to say is to say thank you. I’m very happy to box again. Not a long time ago I was boxing in New York City and now I get to box again in the tri-state area. I want to thank, certainly, all the people that put the fight together such as the Kathy Duva, of course, World of Boxing Promotion and Main Events promotion. And of course, my opponent’s team for accepting this fight.”

Vadim Kornilov, Manager of Dmitry Bivol:
“Thank you everybody. It’s a pleasure to be here and I appreciate everybody who took part in putting this fight together. The is another great event and we’re looking forward to a great new casino and fighting live on HBO. It is a pleasure to be part of the Kovalev card again. Definitely, we appreciate Kathy Duva and Andrey Ryabinski and World of Boxing and Main Events for having a great partnership together.”

Kathy Duva:
“Thank you so much Vadim for your kind words. We’ve been working with World of Boxing now for a little over a year and it’s been a pleasure and we look forward to having it continue.”

Question:
“Dmitry, there are no shortage of fans and media who believe that right now, you are the best at 175 pounds. I wonder if you believe that, right now, are you the best at 175 pounds?”

Dmitry Bivol:
“I do not think that now I am the best light heavyweight but I am now one of the best. One of four guys but I hope in not far future, we will know who is the best.”

Question:
“Dmitry, are you on a collision course with Sergey Kovalev. You’re not going to look past your foe August 4th but most people expect you to win. Are you on a collision course with Sergey Kovalev?”

Dmitry Bivol:
“Most likely this fight is gonna happen since both Sergey and I are HBO boxers and as long as that’s what the people want, most likely the fight will happen. Me and Sergey will make sure to give this fight to the people. And as far as it goes for winning on the 4th, of course I do believe in my victory on the 4th of August.”

Question:
“Dmitry as one of the best light heavyweights in the world, do you feel that it’s time that you headline your own HBO telecast before you fight Sergey Kovalev?”

Dmitry Bivol:
“It would be great, of course, to be a headliner. It’s a great status thing but honestly, I don’t really think about that. I’m not really worried about being the headliner. What I want to do is show good fights to the fans and make sure that they like my fights.”

Question:
“What do you think about Isaac Chilemba as a fighter? Do you believe that he could pose any difficulties that you haven’t seen yet as a professional?

Dmitry Bivol:
“I respect Isaac Chilemba because he took many fights against the best fighters like Sergey Kovalev. He fought for three belts with Sergey Kovalev and this fight was 12 rounds. I know he has good experience. He can move backward and he can move forward. He can fight all 12 rounds. Of course, he is serious opponent for me. But I believe in my victory because I have a good team and I have a good training camp. I win my belt and want to keep it long. I don’t want to give my belt to someone.”

Question:
“Kathy, how important is it for Main Events to possibly hold all four of the light heavyweight titles at the same time? Is that a goal of Main Events?”

Kathy Duva:
“That’s certainly a goal of Sergey’s and he’s made it very clear to me that that’s what he wants to do. He wants to do unification fights if he is successful with Eleider Alvarez. That’s what he wants to do next; he’s been very clear about that. That’s what he’s wanted to do ever since he won the first title and I don’t think he’s lost his desire to achieve that goal.”

Question:
“Would you rather see it as a unification fight between Dmitry Bivol and Sergey at some time or would you rather see it somebody outside of Main Events?”

Kathy Duva:
“It doesn’t matter. What I have learned in all these years is making fights happen has to do with a whole lot of things that are outside of our control. So, first we have to get through a fantastic card and both guys in very competitive fights on August 4th and then we’ll see what happens when we move on.”

Question:
“Dmitry, after your fantastic performance last time out against a really crafty veteran, have you found you’re getting more attention? Do you feel more pressure going into the Chilemba fight on August 4th?”

Dmitry Bivol:
“Yes, of course. Many more people are asking me questions. Many more people are paying attention to my boxing. I was prepared for that. I wanted to be recognized, but I don’t mind the fact that there’s more attention on me. I still continue to train very hard because mentally I’m a very stable person and I’m a stable fighter. If mentally I’m prepared and I’m physically prepared, then I shouldn’t be worried about any distractions besides concentrating on the fight itself.”

Question:
“Dmitry, is it more important for you to get a stoppage or just a win in this fight against another crafty veteran?”

Dmitry Bivol:
“Most important that people enjoyable fight. Enjoy the fight. That’s most important.”

Jodi Solomon, Manager of Isaac Chilemba:
“I’d just like to say thank you very much to Main Events for giving us this opportunity and as always you’ve been a first-class promotional company and I’m very happy to be working with you again.”

Isaac Chilemba, WBA Light Heavyweight Challenger:
“I would like Dmitry Bivol for giving me this opportunity. I want to thank Main Events and I want to thank my team. I would like to thank my manager, Jodi Solomon, for her good work. I want to thank Roy Jones. I want to thank all the fans, Hard Rock and HBO for this opportunity.”

Question:
“Jodi, I get the sense from a lot of the media and the fans that they really see Isaac as an underdog here. He has had the opportunity to fight for titles before but it hasn’t happened for him. Why do you get the sense that maybe this time will be different? Are we correctly assuming that he is a heavy underdog here?”

Jodi Solomon:
“I think you are correct in assuming he is the heavy underdog. If you look at Isaac’s past and his history, that is when Isaac performs the best. When he has been favored to win, unfortunately, that has been when things seem to go wrong. I am very happy that he is being assumed as the underdog in this fight.”

Question:
“Jodi, what can he do differently? What has he done differently in his preparation so he can get the win here?”

Jodi Solomon:
“As far as I am concerned, I believe Isaac’s speed and agility in the ring, and his experience, will be enough to help him get through the fight. I don’t believe that Dmitry Bivol has faced anyone like Isaac but I do believe that Isaac, in his 32 professional fights, has faced a fighter like Dmitry Bivol.”

Question:
“You have had the opportunity to fight both Alvarez and Kovalev and I was curious, do you have a prediction for how that will go or any comparison about the two of them as opponents?”

Isaac Chilemba:
“They are both tough fighters. One is more of a boxer and one is more of a puncher. The one who will win the fight on August 4 is going to be the one that comes out with their A game. The one that is going to bring their A game will be victorious. I cannot say which one that will be because I don’t know how they are going to be on August 4. But the one that brings their A game will be the winner.”

Question:
“Do you feel pressure in this fight to have a big showing and to put on a big fight because of the importance of this fight for your career and the possibility of fighting the winner of the main event?”

Isaac Chilemba:
“Yes. I am fighting a youngster. He is a hard-hitting young fighter. The only thing I can do is work harder. I want to become a world champion. I rely on my team, Jodi and Roy, to help me bring my A game and this is my chance to showcase my skills. This is my opportunity to show the world what I can do.”

Yvon Michel, Promoter of Eleider Alvarez:
“We are very, very thrilled to be part of this great event. We are thankful to Main Events, HBO and Sergey Kovalev for the opportunity. I want to personally thank Kathy Duva and her team for their great collaboration. Eleider Alvarez was an amateur star in Columbia. He won a gold medal in the Pan-Am games. He turned pro in 2009. He is undefeated with a record of 23-0. He just came back from three weeks training camp in Bogota. He is at the peak of his career. He has his best training camp of his career. He has great talent. He has a great team. He is highly motivated. He is hungry. He has all the ingredients to be the new WBO Light Heavyweight World Champion.”

Eleider Alvarez:
“First of all, thanks to Kathy Duva, Main Events and Sergey Kovalev for accepting this fight. And thank you to Yvon Michel and my manager. I am very thankful for the opportunity. I am very excited for this fight and the opportunity to fight for the WBO Champion of the World.”

Question:
“There was a lot going on. Eleider was supposed to fight Adonis Stevenson and, obviously, that didn’t happen. How easy was this fight to make?”

Kathy Duva:
“From my perspective it was extremely easy. I gave Yvon a call and he asked for one day. He got back to me and accepted the deal. We had a contract signed in a few days.”

Yvon Michel:
“During that day, I called Eleider and his manager and trainer. We had a meeting. I came back from that meeting with the mandate to go forward. It was that easy.”

Kathy Duva:
“When the guys want to fight each other, it is not that hard when you have two fighters who want to get in the ring and fight.”

Question:
“Eleider, what is it like psychologically facing someone who has so much momentum? It is sort of like going up against Tyson in his prime. What is it like going up against Sergey as the underdog? What is it like for you psychologically?”

Eleider Alvarez:
“This is a big challenge for me. This is something very big. Each time I usurp myself. I had a lot of fights that were against opponents that were not the same quality of Kovalev but I always give 100% in the ring. This is no different. I am going to give 100% and I will be at the top. When the challenge is bigger, I always perform better. If this is the biggest challenge of my career then I will be up to the task.”

Question:
“Eleider, your best punch is your jab. You control the distance in the ring in your last several fights with that jab. However, in the last few fights you haven’t faced a devastating puncher like Kovalev, particularly with the right hand. Are you concerned that you might not be as effective with the jab against Kovalev because of his right-hand punching ability?

Eleider Alvarez:
“My jab is my best weapon so I am going to use it against Kovalev.”

Question:
“Eleider, you said nothing has come easy for you. After being the #1 contender, he defended fighters like Lucian Bute and Jean Pascal and still could not get the fight enforced as the WBC mandatory. Does he view this fight, as Kovalev, as a do or die situation for him career-wise based on how difficult it’s been for him to get his first title shot?

Eleider Alvarez:
“Yes, I think this is my biggest opportunity. I waited for three years and a half for my chance. This is my biggest fight. I never let the past decide me. I’m gonna be ready for this. When I fought Isaac Chilemba, it was a do or die fight. When I fought Lucian Bute, it was the same thing. I had the same pressure when I fought Jean Pascal, so I am used to have the kind of fight that it’s a do or die.”

Question:
“What does it mean to you, Eleider, to appear in Atlantic City on this card, to join all the many other great fighters through history who have fought there and who are now bringing boxing back to Atlantic City? What does that mean for your place in history?”

Eleider Alvarez:
“Yes. Simple, it’s one of my dreams to be on that level. It’s one of my dreams to fight on the biggest scenes of boxing, like Las Vegas MGM, Crystal Palace. The big scene. Then this is something super big for me and it’s another challenge and it represents something very, very big for me, for my career and for all my team.”

Egis Klimas, Manager of Sergey Kovalev:
“I am here. I’m traveling, so I’m sorry. I’m now in different time zone, but anyway, we are very glad and looking forward for August 4. I believe Sergey is coming to the new chapter and he wants to prove he’s a still best light heavyweight in that division. We’re looking forward for August 4th in Atlantic City.”

Question:
“Mr. Kovalev. I just wanted to know, you waited a long time and didn’t fight Adonis Stevenson. Now you have a guy from the same promoter. What can you tell us about Alvarez?”

Sergey Kovalev, Two-Time Light Heavyweight World Champion:
“I can say about Alvarez that I’m waiting for very interesting fight and I am sure that it’s gonna be not easy to fight Alvarez, because he is undefeated and he is a number one in WBC. Stevenson awarded him already like it two or three times and he’s the proof that he [Stevenson] is scared. But I’m not scared him and I’m interesting to fight him and get victory over him. Just get attention on August 4 and be ready. I will defend my title.”

Question:
“Would you still wanna fight Adonis? Do you still wanna fight him?”

Sergey Kovalev:
“I’m ready to fight any champion, because my goal is to get all four titles, to be undisputed champion.”

Question:
“Sergey, I am wondering, 35 years old. You’ve had these high-level fights and good paydays and have been a long time in this sport. How much do you still love, or how much do you still like boxing?”

Sergey Kovalev:
“I don’t feel that I am old or something like that. It’s just a number for me, 35. God blessed me and gave me an opportunity as still fighting on this level, like a champion, and I’ll be fighting, I hope, ’til I get all four titles. It’s my goal and when I get this goal I am done. That will be like a goal to retire.”

Question:
“Egis, what do you see outside looking in? How much does your guy still like or love boxing?”

Egis Klimas:
“Well, if I see him every day in the gym, working for two, three hours, sparring with a bigger guy and not saying much about it, I think it’s still in him what he had. He’s not complaining. He’s always ready and every time he sees me he’s always asking about possibilities about who’s gonna be next. I think he’s still interested in this sport and I think he’s still gonna bring something to it.”

Question:
“Sergey, I don’t want to disrespect your foe for this fight. I’m wondering, does it get frustrating for you that we, the media and fans, still ask about people like Andre Ward and Adonis Stevenson and guys that are not at the table right now? Is that frustrating for you?”

Sergey Kovalev:
“No, it’s okay, because it already was; this is part of my career, you know, and I understand everything. I got a big experience from Andre Ward, the fight, you know, like and what was around this fight. Also, I’m happy that I’m still fighting, but Andre Ward already retired.”

Question:
“I know you answered earlier about how easy it was to make this fight. Is there now hope that you guys can work together more often and bring us these types of fights, ’cause there was a blockage there for many years. We were not able to get a lot of these fights done because of the way Al Haymon was managing his business. Did you have to get his okay, his approval, in order to get this fight done and do you feel like it’ll be easier from now on?”

Yvon Michel:
“Look, I have a good relationship, I believe, with Kathy. Things are changing very quick in boxing. We are going in a direction where I fit the most to our fighters on short term, but every champion is hoping to become unified champion. There are two champions in the in Main Events stable, there are two champions in ours. Hopefully we will find a ground sometime, somewhere to be able to have this super fight against one another.”

Kathy Duva:
“I certainly feel the same way.”

Question:
“Eleider, you are fighting a guy who has pretty much destroyed everyone he has faced in his career except for Andre Ward. Is there any fear facing a puncher like Kovalev?”

Eleider Alvarez:
“If I was scared then I wouldn’t be boxing. That’s the reason why I picked this sport. Despite the fact that I haven’t faced any world champs in the fight in the past, I have faced guys who were power punchers so it’s not an issue for me.”

Question:
“Sergey, have you fought in Atlantic City before and are you looking forward to fighting there after all the other great names like Lennox Lewis, Ray Mercer and Arturo Gatti? And do how you feel about adding your name to that list appearing there?”

Sergey Kovalev:
“I’m very happy to be in this league of famous boxers in the boxing history. I’m very happy, back to Atlantic City, because I don’t care where to fight, but I am most happy where is famous arenas like Atlantic City, Madison Square Garden. It’s very big motivation to prove that you’re the best and I’m going to show August 4th that I deserve it.”

Question:
“Kathy, how do you feel about bringing the sport back to Atlantic City?”

Kathy Duva:
“The last big, major fight in Atlantic City involved Sergey Kovalev when he fought Bernard Hopkins and so it’s been a while. That was the last time I believe Main Events was there, so we’re really happy to be back. I think I did address it a little bit earlier, but particularly happy to be working with our friends at Hard Rock, Bernie Dillon, Sharon Pearce, and all the other people that we’ve known there for so many years. It’s really nice and comfortable to be back with friends.

“It’s a great show. This is what’s boxing is supposed to be. It’s fun to be a promoter when you get to put on fights like this where the number one fighter in the world is fighting the man in the light heavyweight division. Then you have the best young light heavyweight in the world, another world champion, who’s fighting a real test in Isaac Chilemba. It’s all really … It’s a pleasure and so I look forward to seeing everybody there.”

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