All eight fighters participating in “Detroit City Gold”, the Showtime televised card headlined by two-time Olympic Gold Medalist Claressa Shields, participated in a final press conference on Wednesday in advance of Friday’s four-fight telecast from MGM Grand Detroit.
Shields (1-0) will face former world title challenger Szilvia Szabados (15-8, 6 KOs) in just her second fight since winning gold at the 2016 Olympics and in the first women’s boxing event in premium television history, live on Showtime at 10 p.m. ET/PT.
Shields vs. Szabados is a six-round middleweight bout.
In the ShoBox co-feature, top-10 ranked bantamweight contenders Antonio Nieves (17-0-2, 9 KOs), of Cleveland, and Russia’s Nikolay Potapov (16-0-1, 8 KOs) will put their undefeated records on the line in a 10-round matchup for the NABO bantamweight belt.
In an eight-round televised bout, welterweight Wesley Tucker (13-0, 8 KOs) of Toledo, Ohio, faces Detroit’s Ed Williams (12-1-1, 4 KOs) in a matchup between two former amateur standouts. In the televised opener, Detroit-based bantamweight prospect James Gordon Smith (11-0, 6 KOs) will take on Chicago’s Joshua Greer, Jr. (11-1-1, 4 KOs) in an eight-round bout.
Here’s what the fighters had to say on Wednesday:
“I started boxing at age 11 and all I really wanted was an opportunity. This is one of those big opportunities.
“Her having 124 professional rounds doesn’t mean anything to me. Her being 15-8 with 6 KOs doesn’t scare me either. But I am glad she took the fight and didn’t pull out.
“She’s a challenge and, on paper, she’s not supposed to be someone that I can just walk through. But I’ve been in training camp for three months and I had a great training camp.
I’m not going to let her beat me in front of my family. I’m not going to let her beat me in front of my nephews and cousins and my mom and dad. I just don’t roll like that.
“If she doesn’t have the talent and skill to go six rounds with me, she will not go six rounds. So, I hope she had a very good training camp. I know I did.
“This is the first time that a woman has been the main event on SHOWTIME and I’m not coming to make women look bad when I get in there on March 10.”
“I’m ready to fight. I’ve been waiting a long time for this fight. I feel good and I’m in great shape.
“I think everyone has a destiny in life and I’m glad I chose to be a boxer. This is a huge opportunity for me and I plan to take advantage of it.
“I know she has the amateur experience, but I have more experience as a pro. We’ll see what’s more important on Friday.”
“I trained and did everything I have to do. I’m ready for war.
“Coming out of Cleveland, nobody gives us a chance. We have to fight for everything we get.
“I respect Potapov. He’s a good fighter. He said he’s going to take my belt? He’s going to have to take it from me. I’m here to fight. I’m not going to just give it up. Come try and take it.
“When I get in there Friday, it’s all business. I respect him – I don’t have any problems with him as a person.
“I’ve fought a lot of Russians and Europeans. They’re straight-up, come forward, and try to put on a lot of pressure. They bring the fight and I’m ready for that. I’m ready for anything he brings to the table.
“Anything can happen in a fight, but I’m focused and ready and I know what I have to do. I’ll be able to adjust to whatever he brings.”
“I will be a much more aggressive version of myself for this fight. I trained to be very aggressive. I have a lot of surprises in store for Antonio Nieves.
“I learned a lot training at Kronk and I’m very ready. I had a great training camp and I really enjoyed living here in Detroit.
“In Russia, there is a traditional Russian style. Over here, it’s totally different. The American style is much more aggressive. I loved training with Javan SugarHill Steward at Kronk and learned a lot.”
“I come to fight every time and everybody knows when I fight, it’s fireworks.
“He may be from here, but Detroit is my home, too. And I’m planning on winning here at home.”
“I’m glad to be home. I had a great camp and it’s going to be a hell of a fight.
“Wesley Tucker is coming to fight, but I’m home. You don’t let nobody take you at home. That’s it.
“He may be in for a short night. Or a long one. We’ll see.”
James Gordon Smith:
“I’m knocking you out. I’m not here to play games. I’m coming straight for you. I bet you I knock you out.
“You can’t punch. What are you going to do?
“I’m coming to throw bombs, so I hope you trained for this because I’m going to knock that smile off your face. Your coach can’t fight for you.”
Joshua Greer, Jr.:
“I’m ready. You’re getting knocked out. We didn’t come here to lose.
“This is a fight I’ve been waiting for. We’re ready. Come Friday, I hope he’s ready, too.”