Promoter Don King, and the four fighters who compete this Friday, April 12, participated in the final press conference on Wednesday at Treasure Island Resort & Casino.
In a clash of southpaw lightweight boxers in the ShoBox 12-round main event, unbeaten WBA No. 3-ranked contender Angelo “The Cobra” Santana (14-0, 11 KOs), of Miami, Fla., meets Bahodir “Baha” Mamadjonov (11-1, 7 KOs), of Houston, Texas by way of Uzbekistan.
A solid co-feature will pit light welterweights Amir “Young Master” Imam (8-0, 7 KOs), of Albany, N.Y., against Jeremy “Hollywood” Bryan (16-2, 7 KOs) of Paterson, N.J., in an eight-round match.
In the top non-televised bout, Ryan “The Irish Outlaw” Coyne (21-0, 9 KOs), of St. Louis, and Marcus Oliveira (24-0-1, 19 KOs), of Lawrence, Kan., collide in a battle of unbeatens in a WBA light heavyweight elimination bout. The winner of the 12-rounder will become the No. 1-ranked 175-pounder by the WBA and mandatory challenger to champion Beibut Shumenov.
Barry Tompkins will call the ShoBox action from ringside with boxing historian Steve Farhood and former World Champion Raul Marquez serving as expert analysts. The executive producer is Gordon Hall with Richard Gaughan producing and Rick Phillips directing.
Below is what some of the boxers and King said on Wednesday:
“First I want to thank God and second I want to thank my promoter, Don King, for the opportunity to fight on Friday. I also want to thank my opponent for taking the fight.
“I’m not much of a talker, but I can tell you my camp was great and everything about my preparation has been perfect. This is going to be a great fight.’’
“I’m happy to be here and I want to thank everybody, including Team Santana, for giving me this opportunity. This is going to be an amazing fight.
“I think we’re both taking a chance, but this is the kind of fight that fans love – two young, evenly matched fighters fighting each other. I think experience-wise we are just about the same.
“The timing for me for this fight is perfect, and I am absolutely ready. I’m treating it like a world title fight; that’s how important this fight is.
“Obviously, Santana is a power puncher who believes in his punching power, which he has the right to do. The key for me is to not let him get set.’’
“I want to thank Don King, SHOWTIME and Treasure Island for giving me the opportunity to showcase my talents. I hope this is the beginning of a long marriage with SHOWTIME.
“On Friday, I’m going to put on a show. It’s show time, but it’s the Young Master time, too.’’
“First and foremost, I want to thank God. I’m as prepared as I can be. I trained for a month and a half in North Carolina so I am fit.
“I don’t watch tapes of my opponents, but I know this guy is a lot like me. We were both good amateurs who are trying to step it up as professionals. I’m just going to go in and do what I do.
“There’s no pressure. It’s all on him. This is his first tough fight, but it’s not mine. I hope everyone tunes in to watch, or comes to the fight. I’m really looking forward to this. I’ve been fighting at 140 pounds since 2004, since my amateur days. A win puts me where I need to be in the 140-pound division.’’
“Don (King) talked about frustrations. I’ve had a lot in the last eight months. It was a battle to get this fight. I know my opponent is a very good athlete and puncher. There is no need to demonize my opponent, but I will win on Friday night.
“I’ve said a lot of harsh things over the last eight months but I want to thank everybody, including Don King.”’
“I let my hands do the talking in the ring. My opponent will have to back up everything he said about coming to win the fight. If he does bring it, I will answer back with my fists.’’
PROMOTER DON KING
“When Martin Luther King was assassinated, I was in the penitentiary, so when I named this event ’Fight for Freedom ...The Dream Lives On’ I was thinking of Reverend King’s assassination 45 years ago this month. I embody the belief that anything is possible in this great nation known as America. And the dream of victory lives in the hearts of these fighters.
"Angelo Santana is the living embodiment of the American Dream. He came here on a raft with 27 people from Cuba. This is the only nation on earth where people try to break in rather than break out.’’