Press Conf Quotes: Sergey Kovalev vs. Eleider Alvarez, Bivol vs Chilemba
“We are pleased to once again work with the New Jersey State Athletic
Control Board on this fight. Here with us today is commissioner Larry Hazzard.”
Larry Hazzard, Commissioner New Jersey State Athletic Control Board
“It’s really great having Bernie, Main Events, Kathy and all of the team back here in New Jersey again. This propels us, I think, back into big time boxing here in the state of New Jersey.
“I first came to Atlantic City in 1978 as a young referee, and I have had the great blessing and great experience to have been around for all of the great fights that have taken place here, either as a referee or as the commissioner. It is great to see one of my favorites, the great Roy Jones Jr. here today, who created so many exciting events with his performances.
“Furthermore, it has been a great and exciting adventure for us in Atlantic City. It is great to have Bernie Dillon back as one of the casino entrepreneurs, because as I have often said, we need boxing people back to bring boxing back. So, we are feeling good about this event, an outstanding event that makes us feel great about the future of boxing again here in New Jersey. Especially since we have real promoters back, Main Events and Atlantic City, it is just a great combination and an outstanding event they have put together.
“I have sat in my office looking at these bouts, and I told Jolene, you make my job very easy. One of the easiest parts of my job is approving bouts, because everything that comes in here looks like a home run.
“Therefore, it is no surprise to me that tickets are close to sold out, showing further that this is going to be a great event! We are really hoping that with this event and many more to come, New Jersey will once again springboard into the big-time boxing world, where it has been for so many years and where it belongs. I want to congratulate you Kathy and I also want to congratulate you too, Bernie, because with you two working together, in the future, I think that we are going to have some exciting events and New Jersey will once again reclaim its place as the boxing capital of the world. Thank you.”
“Finally, to the media present today and watching live, thank you for your time and your interest. You are in for a real show – the kind of show only Atlantic City can deliver! Years from now you will be able to say ‘I was there’ when boxing made its big comeback in Atlantic City.
“On to our co-main and main event fights. The light heavyweight division continues to burn bright. I challenge you to name any other division this competitive at this moment. Any one of the top 20 ranked fighters is a dangerous opponent. And we have the best of the best for you.
“Isaac Chilemba of Malawi in Africa has come a long way for this shot. He is currently 25-5-2 with 10 knockouts. But there is something the record doesn’t show. This man has a reputation for making opponents prove themselves. Just ask Sergey Kovalev and Eleider Alvarez. They are both here today, so you can ask them.
“Chilemba takes on WBA Light Heavyweight Champion Dmitry Bivol of Russia. Bivol has 11 knockouts in 13 fights and is undefeated. Chilemba, as we have learned in our long association with him at Main Events fears no one. But his opponents need to have a little healthy fear — or they will be in for a shock.
“Let’s hear a few words from Isaac and team. First, I want to wish manager Jodi Solomon a very happy birthday today! I think we all know what she wants as her birthday present. Isaac, no pressure!
“But you might have heard of Isaac’s trainer his name is Roy Jones, Junior. Let’s welcome him to the podium to introduce Isaac.”
Roy Jones Jr., Trainer of Isaac Chilemba
“First, I want to say – thank God for giving us all the pleasure of being together to fellowship and to see this thing, keep it often in Atlantic City. I want to say. “what’s happening?” and thank you to my man Larry. And so good to see Bernie again, because these guys were around in my heyday. And to see them again just automatically lights a fire in your heart. Because, to me, when I came up, Atlantic City was almost the Vegas of the East.
“It was the only place that had casinos, and the only place that had the casino feel. So, when you got to Atlantic City to fight, you feel like you pretty much made it. I got here my second fight, and I dished out a lot of punishment along this boardwalk. It was fun, so I look forward to seeing it again.
“You could not ask for a better card to start it off because you have two world championship fights and four really high-class athletes, Isaac being one of them, who is definitely hungry for a title. And when he first mentioned the fight to me, I said ‘Bivol is a pretty tough character. Maybe we should wait a little longer.’ And he said, ‘No, I want a world title. I want to take my chances and go at it.’
“So, if he wants to go at it, we will go at it. And we are here. He wants to win, so we are coming to win. It is a great fight night for everyone. I am looking forward to seeing even the main event, because we know a lot about both Eleider Alvarez and Sergey Kovalev – which is another fight that on any given day, people would think either man could win.
“All four fights that Kathy put together for you are fights that are remarkable and competitive, giving any man a chance to win the fight. With that being said, everyone here is looking to win, two guys are looking to keep their titles and two men are looking to take their titles. You cannot ask for a better night, and without further ado, I want to bring Isaac to the podium to tell you all what he thinks.”
Isaac Chilemba, WBA Light Heavyweight Contender
“Thank you. First of all, I just want to thank God, HBO and Main Events for this opportunity. I would like to thank my team, Jodi Solomon, Roy Jones Jr., Shadow (cornerman Sibusiso Shabane), the fans, and everyone else out there who is behind me. It was a long road to get here. I had two rough years since I last fought here in the states, when I tore the ligaments in my arm against Oleksandr Gvozdyk. I had to take time off from boxing for more than a year. It was rough for me to go through all that. I made it through all of that and my team did not give up on me. They stood behind me and supported me. They kept telling me that I would be back.
“Thank God, my very first fight when I came back was a title fight in Australia. Anyone who has ever fought there know how hard it is to win with the politics in Australia. You have to be on top of your game to convince the judges. We did it and won the WBC International Title.
“I was very grateful for that, and now in the very next fight instead of defending my title, I have a world title shot against a tough opponent, Bivol. I really want to thank Bivol and his team for this chance, and Main Events and HBO for the opportunity. I thank God, and I am glad I am here. This time, I am not going to let this opportunity slip through my hands. I am going to win it. I am going to walk out of the ring on the 4th of August as a winner, as a world champion.”
“I want to take a moment to thank Andrei Ryabinsky’s World of Boxing for giving Main Events the chance to work closely with Dmitry and introduce him to the fans in the United States. He is the definition of a knockout artist. Dmitry knows his boxing history. In fact, he knows the legacy of the great fighters here in Atlantic City.
“Dmitry said recently in an interview he wants to have one of those fights fans always remember. Guess what fight he picked as an example? Gatti versus Ward. It is a pretty high bar, but you never know what might happen here on Saturday.
“Dmitry’s English, I have to remark, continues to improve dramatically after training in Los Angeles. We also have Dmitry’s manager Vadim Kornilov who would like to say a few words. Vadim, will you share your thoughts about this fight here in Atlantic City and also introduce Dmitry to the crowd?”
Vadim Kornilov, Manager of Dmitry Bivol
“Thank you, Kathy. Always a pleasure. First, I want to say a few words about Main Events. A very special company, the whole team, everyone is on top of everything it is so impressive. Fight week with Main Events is so much easier than usual and I thank you for that. Of course, World of Boxing and Andrei Ryabinsky, they have done so much for Dmitry and for us and we would probably not be able to be here without them and I just want to thank them for that.
“Of course, HBO, just as Roy said the three letters in boxing that are most important, HBO. We have had Ruslan Provodnikov, Viktor Postol, many others and now, Dmitry Bivol. Most of these guys are all names that once you say the name everyone in boxing knows. Everyone has seen them, and everybody has heard, and that is what HBO does. And they just really know how to get the PR and the attention the fighter needs and everything else is up to the fighter.
“Thank you to Sergey and his team. It is a pleasure to be on his main event. We enjoy being here and being able to watch Sergey on his main event. The whole country is proud of Sergey for being one of the top fighters from Russia.
“Of course, Atlantic City and the Hard Rock, to be honest we did not expect this. This is a great venue and a great hotel, and we really hope that this is the return that everyone has been waiting for. I am sure it will be. Now, I would like to introduce the humble and respectful champion Dmitry Bivol to say a few words. I am very impressed with the way his career is moving forward and he really knows how to stay professional and use his intelligence, which his English will speak for. I appreciate your time.”
Dmitry Bivol, WBA Light Heavyweight World Champion
“Hello, first of all, I want to say, thank you everyone for coming here and I’m grateful that Chilemba took this fight and he decided quickly. I respect him for this, and his team I want to say thank you everyone who organized this fight, Kathy Duva – thank you – Main Events, Andre Ryabinsky and the World of Boxing and of course HBO.”
“Thank you for this chance for me to show my boxing skills to many people. I’m really glad. And I’m glad to be here in Atlantic City, because I know there were many great fights, like Arturo Gatti against Micky Ward. I’m glad to be part of boxing’s return in Atlantic City.
“When I got my belt, I make one small step to my dream. To be a big name, to make a big name in boxing. Of course, I’m not going to give my belt to someone. I’m not giving my belt to Chilemba. I’m going to keep it a long time. I will try to do my best for boxing fans, for people who watch our fight. I hope it will be an enjoyable fight for you.
Marc Ramsay, Trainer of Eleider Alvarez
“Thank you, Yvon, first of all I would like to thank HBO, Main Events, and Groupe Yvon Michel for coming together to give us that great opportunity. I would like to thank also Sergey, he has no obligation to give us that chance. Win or lose, he is always going for the biggest challenge possible. And as a coach, as a boxing guy, I respect that, I have a lot of respect for this.
“Eleider Alvarez had an amazing training camp. We have no injury, no excuse. He is ready to perform, ready to go, and I can guarantee you Saturday we are going for our realm.”
Eleider Alvarez, WBO Light Heavyweight Contender
“Good afternoon to all of you, First, I want to thank God for being able to actually be here. Thank you, HBO, Main Events, Kathy Duva, Groupe Yvon Michael, to the members of my team, and my manager who’s not here right now. Thank you for giving me the opportunity.
“With my trainer, I had one of the best, hardest trainings in the world. It’s made me in the best shape I’ve ever been right now. Having this opportunity to go up against a fighter with one of the greatest reputations of any contender I could think of, Sergey Kovalev, it’s an incredible opportunity. I’m very full of pride and joy to let the world know who Eleider Alvarez is. It’s time.
“I have a great training team, with Marc right here. We will be ready to go and fight. I have the talent, I am what I am. All I can do is wait to get in the ring Saturday and go for it. I give my respect to Kovalev. I want to let him know it’s a great honor. But on August 4th, I’m going to be the next world champion.
“Thank you to the journalists from Quebec for your support. I will bring home the victory.”
“You know, the last time there was a big fight in Atlantic City was just about four years ago when Sergey had one of those legendary nights with Bernard Hopkins here and walked away with three world titles. You think about it and here he is bringing it back, and when you think about it, it kind of makes sense. In my lifetime in this sport, the fighters who probably were the absolute favorites here in Atlantic City were Mike Tyson and Arturo Gatti. What those two have in common with Sergey Kovalev, other than being knockout artists, is they kind of have an attitude. Okay, and we know Sergey has an attitude, but it makes sense because this is Jersey. We all have an attitude, and I think that’s why this guy from Russia fits in so beautifully here!
“And Egis just said to me he’s got four ringsides for the highest bidder, if anybody wants it. Tickets are in very short supply.
“And so finally we move on to the man. And you have all heard that saying. right? ‘To be the man, you have to beat the man.’ Well, Sergey is the man in this very competitive division. And you don’t have to just take it from me; just ask any of the light heavyweights whenever they win a fight and gets asked, “who do you want next?’ They say Sergey Kovalev — you know, until Jolene calls them up and offers them a fight.
“But he is hungry, and he is looking forward. He has one goal left before he retires, and that is all of the belts. So, let’s hope all of the other champions cooperate this time. And if they do, we are in for one hell of a good time.
Sergey is here along with his manager and my dear friend Egis Klimas, who I call Manager of the Year for life. Because I really think they’re going to have to retire that award for you soon. Sergey and Egis, we at Main Events were just meant to meet them the day we did, and it has been glorious ever since. We’ve had our ups and we’ve certainly had our downs, and it has been one of my greatest experiences of my life to work with them and it continues to be. And I’m going to bring Egis up here to please give us our thoughts about Saturday’s bout.
Egis Klimas, Manager of Sergey Kovalev
“Hello everybody and welcome to Atlantic City, with a venue nobody thought we would be seeing, this Hard Rock. So, thank you for the hospitality.
“Great news! First of all, I have the best seat in the house between two champions. Second, Kathy just mentioned they have four ringside tickets, which I can sell for $800. she didn’t mention the price… going once, going twice No? Okay, we’ll deal later.
“What can I tell, what can I tell, that’s going to be a big test for Sergey Saturday night. Because he is going to be facing, as Yvon Michel said, one of the best. They are champions, but when we talk they are not champions – but one of the best light heavyweights today in boxing. I have no doubt. I believe in Sergey, I saw his preparation, and I saw the way he prepared for this fight. And I’m not going to talk much; Sergey is going to show us Saturday night in the ring. And I just want to say: Krusher is back. Thank you.”
“And again, it is my profound pleasure to be able to introduce to you the light heavyweight champion of the world, Sergey Kovalev. The Krusher.”
Sergey Kovalev, Two-Time Light Heavyweight World Champion
“Hi everyone. What can I say, but I am really glad to be here at one of the famous places of boxing, Atlantic City. I am very happy to be fighting here.
I want to first of all say, thank you very much to my team, my newest promotions of Krusher Promotions, HBO and Hard Rock Hotel for organizing this fight, this event and to all of my boxing friends who follow me. It is very important to me, because it gives me motivation moving forward. And all that I do right now and continue to do after my two crazy losses.”
It was a kick from life to awaken me and put my mind on the right trail. I lost my mind when I started to get famous. And I also didn’t have a coach in my training camp. I now have coaches in my training camps. (Before) all of my training camps were done myself, and of course some training camps were good, and some were not. There were some mistakes, of course there are always mistakes, and of course my performances were right, some a little good, and some not.”
Right now, with my coach working with me for the fight, Abror Tursunpulatov, I feel much more professional, because we’ve delivered and went through mistakes. I hope this Saturday, I will show my best skills and what I came to do.
Thank you to the team of Eleider Alvarez to take this fight, because this fight is going to be really interesting. And I’m really proud because he is an undefeated guy and he is professional and fights strong. I just want to say, watch HBO this Saturday, and come to Hard Rock Hotel and watch a nice evening of boxing. Thank you very much, and thanks to God for everything.”
“Atlantic City is back in the boxing business and business is good! Once again, tickets start at just 50 dollars and we’re definitely heading for a sellout. Frankly, the 50s are mostly all that’s left. They are available through Ticketmaster, through Hard-Rock-Hotel-Atlantic-City-dot-com. Or you can watch live on HBO World Championship Boxing starting at 10 p.m. Eastern and Pacific Time.
“My thanks to all of the talented and dedicated people working hard to put on this impressive show Saturday – that includes HBO, Hard Rock, New Jersey Athletic Control Board, World of Boxing, Krusher Promotions, Groupe Yvon Michel, and Main Events.
“But I do need to single out one person. That is 2015 NABF Matchmaker of the Year, Jolene Mizzone. The guys have to do the fighting, but Jolene makes the magic happen and does most of the sweating. There is simply no matchmaker in the world with her eye. Will you please give Jolene and the rest of our team a round of applause?