Two of the biggest and best talkers in the sport of boxing met face to face Wednesday. WBC Heavyweight Champion Deontay Wilder was on stage at a press conference in Birmingham, AL and two-time heavyweight title challenger Chris Arreola via Skype from his training camp in San Diego to officially announce their heavyweight title showdown taking place Saturday, July 16 from the Legacy Arena live on Premier Boxing Champions (PBC) on FOX and FOX Deportes.
Both combatants were joined by promoters at the Legacy Arena where Wilder and Arreola will meet in the ring on July 16:
Deontay Wilder, WBC Heavyweight World Champion
“Everyone knows what happened to my last fight. I was super prepared. I put my body through everything you can go through in the gym. Of course everyone knows what happened with Povetkin with my last fight. I was super prepared and everything. Traveled to a whole other country and continued training. I was a different fighter – a different Deontay with everything I did.
“I was ready to represent my country too. Things happen. This is boxing. It is a business. The saying is, ‘One door closes and another one opens.’ This is a prime example of that. This opportunity is opened wide. I understand being patient and patience is a virtue. I’ve been patient all my life. I am not an overnight success. I don’t believe in luck.
“As you see Chris Arreola stayed patient. You wonder why he continued to get title fights. It is his time. Some guys get chances after chances and some don’t. You can’t deny him. You can’t look past him. With the circumstances that we were facing, to come back and do a short notice-type fight, as far as looking for opponents, we knew it had to be the right person.
“Placing someone in a category doesn’t define who they are. We needed a fighter that would fit the description that he would fight with his heart, give it his all.
“I’m happy to introduce you to Chris Arreola. He is the perfect person for this opportunity. I don’t think there is anyone else who could take on this situation.
“We love working with the Legacy Arena and Birmingham. Each and every time, we add to history. People have been waiting for this, to have another fight here. It is crazy how you can seed and watch the love grow and now its blooming.
“People are hungry for boxing here. They’re excited. Those that missed the first title fight, came to the second. Those who missed the second are going to come to this one. We are going to sell out the venue.
“We’ve been in camp. I am never out of shape. Just adding on to it. I’m tired, but this is what I love to do. If you love to do something, it isn’t really a job. So this is what I am dedicating my life to. This is what I am trained to do. I think it is what I was born to do.”
Chris Arreola, Two-Time Heavyweight World Title Challenger
“I’m ready for this opportunity to fight Deontay. I’m going to get up there and give everyone in Birmingham a great show. That is my job. I always come ready to fight. I always come ready for a brawl.
“Deontay is one of the biggest names. One of the better names out there because of his skills that he has shown. I have to be prepared.
“I have to make the best out of this opportunity. He is doing what he is supposed to do as a champion. He is defending his title.
“I have to approach this fight different than any others. I have nothing to lose and everything to gain. Deontay has a lot to lose. He is going to come prepared. He knows what kind of fighter I am. I am going to give it my all.
“Deontay is a tough S.O.B. An athlete has to be ready for that right hand and that jab. Be careful and be ready at all times.
“I love boxing. I love boxing fans whether they are with me or against me. They give energy to their fighters and it is just me and Deontay in the ring. There is no one that will be able to help Deontay and no one that can help me when that bell rings. That is what I love about boxing. It is the most gentlemanly sport there is. At the end of the day, it is going to be one-on-one.
Jay Deas, Wilder’s Trainer
“When the Povetkin fight was called off, we were gutted. Then we were told we could have a fight and do it soon. We were already in shape so when we heard about a fight, we could take it.
“The mayor [of Birmingham] called me and said he wanted this fight to be in Birmingham…This is how Birmingham works. This is why Birmingham works. They put the foot on the gas pedal and get the job done. I thank the city of Birmingham and everyone involved in his event. It is going to be fantastic.
“You cannot find a more action-packed fighter than Chris Arreola. If you’re not a Chris Arreola fan, you’re not a boxing fan. He is everything you want out of a fighter. He is tough, he is strong, he punches hard. He is determined. He is resilient. Then you have Deontay Wilder, the most athletic heavyweight in generations.
“You can see thee guys fight for 20 dollars. With an undercard of 15 fights, you’re talking about a dollar and some change per fight and its going to be on FOX for the world.
“Birmingham came through and we are thrilled they did. Deontay Wilder is the reason this is happening. He is the guy that wants to fight every three or four months. He is the guy that wants to be the most active heavyweight and he is well on his way to doing it.”
Kevin Rooney, DiBella Entertainment
“Sometimes in boxing as is in life, fortunate situations come out of unfortunate circumstances, and that is what we have here. While it was a disappointment for all of us, especially Deontay, what happened with his title defense against Povetkin, we are fortunate that Deontay will now be making the next defense of his world title back here at home in Alabama. Live on free network TV as this is a PBC on FOX event.
“From a stylistic standpoint, this is one of the most exciting fights to be made in the heavyweight division. Chris Arreola always brings it and we expect him to come out throwing bombs from the opening bell.
“Chis has twice challenged for the heavyweight world title before and he believes that the third time is the charm as he looks to become the first Mexican heavyweight champion in history.
“As Deontay has said before though, he plans on holding onto that WBC belt for the rest of his career, as well as adding a couple more to put around his waist and we know that he will be even more fired up, once again fighting in front of that hometown Alabama crowd, and we expect absolute fireworks inside an electric arena on July 16.”
Gene Hallman, Bruno Event Team
“The most remarkable thing is that this is the third heavyweight title fight in just over one year in Birmingham, Alabama and that is because of Deontay Wilder.
“The only other city that has ever done this is Las Vegas, Nevada. Birmingham is right there with them with a unique mark in boxing history.
“I truly believe that this will be substantially bigger than the other two heavyweight title fights here. We went on sale yesterday and we are far ahead of the pace that we were at last year. Fans from around the country are buying tickets.”
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June 15, 2016