Media Interview w Junior Witter & Timothy Bradley
CONFERENCE CALL QUOTES
JUNIOR WITTER AND TIMOTHY BRADLEY
WEDNESDAY, MAY 7, 2008
ShoBox: The New Generation returns to the United Kingdom this Saturday, May 10, with an outstanding world title showdown and a promising undercard bout featuring two undefeated prospects.
On a special Saturday night edition of the popular SHOWTIME boxing series, World Boxing Council (WBC) Super Lightweight Champion Junior Witter will defend his crown for the third time when he takes on WBC No. 1 contender Timothy Bradley at the Trent FM Arena in Nottingham, England (same day tape delay at 10:45 p.m. ET/PT on SHOWTIME).
If triumphant, Bradley will become the 25th ShoBox alum to capture a world title.
In a spectacular co-feature pitting two young, unbeaten Brits, hard-hitting John Murray will take on the slick John Fewkes in a 10-round lightweight bout. The event will be promoted by Hennessy Sports.
Question: Junior, can we have opening comments on you? How is training going? What are your thoughts on defending your championship on “ShoBox” on SHOWTIME, and your thoughts on the challenger, Timothy Bradley.
Witter: It’s great to be getting back in the ring. It feels like a while since I’ve been here. Training’s gone very well. It’s been a long hard slog, and I’m just raring to go. Timothy Bradley is obviously accomplished in his own right. He’s done quite well for himself, and he’s going to find out on Saturday night that he is in with the champ.
Question: You have improved like 1,000 percent since the last time you fought on SHOWTIME. What do you credit that to?
Witter: I put it down to dedication, hard work and listening to my trainers.
Question: Timothy, what are your thoughts on finally fighting for the world championship and trying to become the 25th ShoBox alum to win a world title?
Bradley: This is a dream come true. I’ve been waiting on this pretty much my whole life. It is going to be a very exciting fight, and I am expecting the best. Junior Witter is not the same fighter he was eight years ago. He is at the top of his game, and I feel I’m in the prime of my game right now. It’s going be an explosive night. I am confident I can win the fight and that I’m going to win. I’m just really anxious to get in the ring right now. Because the (Jose Luis) Castillo fight fell through, the warriors that we are, we decided, ‘hey let’s get in there and let’s do this you know.’ So, everybody pretty much is running for Junior Witter. He has something that I want and that’s the WBC title. I’m going to go get it.
Question: Junior, is there anybody that you fought that you can compare style‑wise to Bradley? What kind of a fight do you expect from him?
Witter: I’m not really counting on anything. I’ve seen Bradley box. He is aggressive enough. He’s got quick hands. He’s got decent power. I’m just taking it as it comes.
Question: Timothy, what’s it going to be like fighting in England? Have you prepared differently because basically you are going to be the bad guy wearing the black hat? Does that bother you at all?
Bradley: No, it doesn’t bother me at all. Coming from California, and California being predominantly Latinos and me fighting a lot of Latino fighters, I am like the underdog anyway. They always cheer for their guy. I’m use to it. So, I’m used to the oohs and ahhs, and the boos, and people telling me that I am nothing. It doesn’t really bother me, man. Once I get in the ring and just start doing my thing, I earn my respect that way. So, I’m not really worried about that.
Question: Timothy and Junior, can you talk about your opponent and what impresses you from the films?
Bradley: What I notice in his film is that Witter is multi‑versatile. He can fight from any position. It doesn’t matter where he is in the ring or what position’s he’s in. He has really good power and speed. So, it’s going to be really challenging to get in there, figure Witter out and break him down.
Witter: Bradley has good hand speed. He works well when he goes to work. He has belief and desire. He is going to be good to face, and one who thinks he can do it.
Question: Timothy and Junior, does it concern you that neither of you has been in the ring for awhile? What are you trying to do to overcome the lack of ring time?
Bradley: I put in the work in the gym. So, it’s like I sparred over 100 rounds for this fight. So, that will be out of the question. My timing is on. It’s on point. I’m not really looking forward to having any ring rust on May 10.
Witter: Ring rough is not even a question or a thought in my head. When I won the world title I had 11 months out of the ring before that, and I got in and I boxed fine. My last fight was in September, but the way I train, I am in the ring all the time training. It’s not like it’s something under consideration.
Question: Timothy, who were some of your sparring partners for this fight? Were they trying to emulate Witter’s style?
Bradley: I sparred against Dominic Salcedo. He’s a very good fighter. He switches a lot. He can punch from any angle. He has a really known style. He has fast feet and gets out of the way like Witter. I had really good preparation for the fight. I sparred a lot of rounds with him and made sure my time was going on be to point.
Question: Is Witter more of just a switch‑hitter though? Would you consider him to be unorthodox or unpredictable?
Bradley: Witter is unpredictable. He can punch from any position he is in. If you think you are in the clear, you’re not because he is so fast he can leap in with punches. So, he is a very dangerous champion, and that’s why nobody wants to fight him.
Question: Do you feel that maybe you are taking this fight a little bit too early?
Bradley: I really don’t care about the critics, man. It doesn’t really bug me at all. I know what I can do. I know when I get in there with someone that’s really good, I will step up to the plate and take the challenge and beat him. You don’t know until you get in the ring. I am at the peak of my career right now. I am 24 years old. I’ve had 21 fights with 11 KOs. I am a hard worker. I have been working hard for the past three years to get to this point.
Question: Do you wish you had more quality rounds under your belt, or do you just feel ready?
Bradley: No way. I’m ready, man. I’ve had some tough fights. It’s all prepared for me for this. Mentally, physically, and emotionally, I’m ready for this next stage. You guys will see on May 10th. You’re definitely going to see.
Question: Junior, does the tremendous amount of attention on this fight affect the way that go in to the fight? Do you feel the need to not only win, but make a statement?
Witter: It’s (media attention and television coverage) not going to change the way I fight. I’ll be focused on what I’m doing, the way I prepared for it. I know it’s an opportunity to show the world what I can do, and reinforce the fact that I am the best light welterweight there is throughout all the federations and so forth. I have just been focusing on what I’m going to do. I’m going to get in the ring and I’m going to do what I do best.
Question: Why has it been so long since you have been in the ring? Was it because of the politics of boxing, or was that planned?
Witter: It’s the politics of boxing. I had a slight injury that I had to deal with straight after the Vivian Harris fight (September 2007). It took me a little bit to get back to fitness where I thought I was ready to fight. Since then, we’ve had a couple of people pull out, like Demetrius Hopkins.
Question: Timothy, how is it going to be for you to challenge a world champion on his home turf without having a lot of experience on a professional level?
Bradley: I will stay focused, stay with the game plan, listen to my corner and listen to my trainers. I’m just here to do a job. I’m just going to be completely focused on Witter.
Question: What is the source of your confidence knowing Witter’s record and his experience?
Bradley: I’m just confident in my abilities. I’m just confident. I am a hard worker. I have talent and I put in the work. I put in the miles. I put in the hours of studying videos. I’m just dedicated to the sport. That’s what builds my confidence. I’m ready for this big stage.
Question: Timothy and Junior, do either of you want to make a prediction for the fight?
Bradley: My prediction is I just want to win. That’s it. That’s just hands down. I don’t care how I get the ‘W,’ I just want to win. I don’t really make predictions. Fighters can sit here and say I’m going to knock Witter out. But, it’s a whole different ball game once you get in the ring.
Witter: I predict an exciting fight, and the champion will remain the champion. I’m going out there and will deliver some pain. I am not about to give in.
Question: Timothy, since you are fighting on foreign soil, do you feel like you have to knock Witter out to win? Are you concerned about a close fight not going your way?
Bradley: No, I don’t have any thoughts about that. They have judges who judge the fights, and they have the fight fans who judge it. They have their own opinion. Whoever wins the fight should win the fight definitely. It doesn’t bother me at all. I never really think about. At the end of the day, I have to live with the decision.
Question: Is your mindset then to go out and win rounds and leave no doubt?
Bradley: I definitely think that way. You have to go out and beat the champion. You just can’t dance around the ring and not do anything at all. You take it to the champion. It has to be precise, and that’s what we’re planning on to do.
Question: Junior, when did you injury your knee, and how is it holding up in training camp?
Witter: I injured my knee about six weeks before I boxed Vivian Harris. Surgery was the week after. I’m fine now. I have not had a problem with it.
Question: How much do you know about Bradley as a fighter?
Witter: I don’t know loads and loads about Bradley, but I’m not a studier of boxing and what everyone is doing. I look at who you are right now. I find a weakness exploit it.
Question: Why did it take six years after you fought Zab Judah in June 2000 to show the boxing world that you are a world champion?
Witter: The politics of boxing is scary. That’s why it took so long. No one wanted to give me a shot after Judah. They realized that I was good. They were managing to find a way to avoid that. But, I went on to win the European International title, and I did everything I had to do. I took the long road because it was the only road that was really left for me and it’s just gone that way.
Question: Timothy, do you feel any kind of nerves being in a fight like this?
Bradley: You are going to have some nerves. This is a fight. It’s not dancing. I’ve had people around me to keep me focused and keep me on the quest that’s ahead. So, I’m all right. I’m just relaxed and really anxious to get in the ring.
Question: Junior, is there any chance that you may be taking Bradley a little lightly? Are you looking forward to calling some of the other guys in the 140-pound division out?
Witter: I am not taking Bradley lightly at all. I’ve called out a couple of people. No one’s really stepped up to the plate the way I would like them to. I accept that and I will do the job on Saturday night.
Question: Junior, if you win this fight, who would you like to fight? Do you think Hatton will ever fight you?
Witter: I think the Hatton fight will happen. It’s that much of a big demand in the U.K. from the boxing world unit. The pressure is on him to take the fight.
Question: Timothy, what kind of adjustments have you made to prepare for this fight now that you are in England? What’s this week been like so far?
Bradley: This has just been a pretty light week. All the hard work’s been done in the gym. I have been pretty much just breaking a sweat, and that’s just pretty much it. I have gotten a lot of rest and eaten quality food. I am just staying focused on the game plan, and that’s all.
Question: What did you learn from your first ShoBox experience, and what do you take from that into this fight?
Bradley: I just have to get in there and do my thing. I have to stay relaxed, stay calm, stay focused and fight like a champion. Being on a big network with a new promoter on ShoBox, I felt like I had to prove myself to everybody. Things like that just kind of bit me in the ass. But, I’ve been through that and it’s not a big deal. This is what I do for a living. I’m going to get in there and I’m going to do what I do. I just have to stay relaxed, and that’s it.
Question: Did you have your body fat measured?
Bradley: I’m about three percent body fat right now.
Question: Does it motivate you that people say you are taking this fight too early in your career?
Bradley: That motivates me. Negative comments always motivate me and get me up for the challenge. I really don’t care what people say, or what they think. How many people get a chance to fight for the world title as quickly and as fast as me? It has taken me a little less than three‑and‑a‑half years to get to this point. I worked my way up through the rankings and got to the No. 1 challenger spot. It’s either sink or swim. It’s either you do it or you don’t do it. I’m going to do it.
Question: Did you do anything to compensate for the time difference in your preparation?
Bradley: No. I trained at the regular time and trained like I normally do. I am ready.
Question: What were the circumstances like for you on the actual day before word of the cancellation of the Castillo fight came out? Did you get a little bit of inkling beforehand?
Bradley: The cancellation did not really bother me at all. You know, it bothered me a little bit. But, my dream was always to fight for the title and win the title, to become the WBC world champion. So, the WBC granted me the No. 1 challenger spot. I was not punished because Castillo likes to eat a lot of burritos and stuff. I got what I wanted, and now we’re here.
Question: Timothy, who does the desert area in California (Palm Springs) have so many good fighters? What breeds all these great fighters over there?
Bradley: The heat. (Laughing). I guess it’s the heat. I’m not sure. Just having about six or seven local gyms in the area helps. It’s just having Palm Springs and every location, every city in the valley. We just have some great trainers come through that desert that push fighters. We train in the heat, and it’s really challenging for us. So, we come in great shape. We are hungry fighters because we definitely want to be the best.
Question: When you are out running, do you ever worry about rattlesnakes and stuff?
Bradley: No, I never worry about that. I do a lot of my running in the hills, the mountains and on the track. So, when I do my distance, I like to run on the street. I run too much in the sand. Rattlesnakes like to come out in the heat, so I really don’t do too much running when it gets to be midday. That’s when they’re out.
Question: Timothy, have you embraced the role of being the underdog, and do you feel any kind of pressure or anything?
Bradley: No, I don’t feel any kind of pressure. I really don’t get into all the odds and stuff like that and listen to all that stuff. I pretty much think positively the whole time. I am on Witter’s home soil. I’m definitely not going to be the favorite. So, I expected that. It doesn’t bother me at all.
Question: Is there any kind of pressure going in to this fight, or is this just another fight? Is this the fight of your career at this point?
Bradley: This is the fight of my career. This is the big stage, man. It doesn’t get any higher than this. I am taking it as an opportunity. I thank Junior Witter and Mick Hennessy for putting this show on. It’s exciting for boxing, and it’s exciting for me. It’s going to be a great fight.
Question: Junior, since they are basically two different fighters height and style-wise, how do you go from training for someone like Demetrius Hopkins to training for Bradley?
Witter: I basically do the same training route to the end. Then, I’ll just tweak my style for my opponent. I got to that level where I’m just about to tweak and the fight got cancelled. I took a little bit of time off and just eased off a bit. I kept fit, kept sharp and then just tweaked things at the end for Bradley. So, I’m cool.
Question: Timothy, what was it like going from getting ready to fight Castillo to fighting Junior Witter, a far more better fighter at this stage of their careers?
Bradley: I just trained for the Castillo fight and took about a week off. I heard they were negotiating and stuff like that and I went back to the gym and been in the gym ever since. Now, we’re at this point. When you train so much, you train so hard and you get hungry. You want to fight. You need to release. Witter and I are both going to be in prime time May 10th. You are going to see some fireworks.
Question: Junior, do you have a particular routine for fight days that you’ve developed over the years?
Witter: I chill. I’ll have something to eat, go for a little walk, have a rest, and have something else to eat. Bob comes over and cuts my hair. Then I just relax and do very little.
Question: What time do you like to get to the venue?
Witter: I like to get to the venue about two hours before the fight. I like to play the music, get into the zone, and get ready to do my stuff.
Question: Timothy, how long have you been in England?
Bradley: I’ve been in England since Sunday.
Question: Have you been able to acclimate to the time change?
Bradley: I’m sleeping at night, and waking up early. I am fine.
Question: Junior, do you have any plans on coming into fight here in America?
Witter: Yeah, I want to headline a big card over there. For me, it’s a case of getting the next fight. The next fight can be done as soon as it can be done. If you can do one over there, brilliant. If the next one can’t be over there, it can’t. Just get me another fight.
Question: Junior, is this just another fight for you?
Witter: It’s another dangerous fight. It’s not the biggest. It’s not going to be the last. I’m going to remain champion. That’s what I’ve got to do.
Question: Junior and Timothy, do you have any closing comments?
Witter: Timothy, I am glad you took the fight. I am glad you came over. It is not your night. It’s not your month. You might come again. I’m still going to remain champ.
Bradley: I want to thank my promoter Gary Shaw and Thompson Boxing Promotions for making this fight possible. I just want to thank Hennessy Sports and Mick. I just want to thank the champion for giving me a shot at his title. All praises to the Lord Jesus Christ. Let’s do this.