The participants of Saturday’s big NBC broadcast TV boxing show met for the event’s final press conference Thursday in Bethlehem, PA. The conference was hosted by promoter Kathy Duva, CEO Main Events, and included the fighters and teams involved in the heavyweight double header.
In the 12-round main event, Tomasz Adamek, 47-2, 29 KOs, faces Steve Cunningham, 25-4, 12 KOs, in a highly anticipated rematch of their classic first encounter in 2008. Adamek won that fight by close split decision. In the 8-round co-feature, Vyacheslav “Czar” Glazkov, 13-0, 9 KOs, takes on Tor Hamer, 19-1, 12 KOs, in a battle of rising prospects.
KATHY DUVA (CEO, Main Events):
“Welcome everyone to “Bigger, Better, Stronger” at the Sands Hotel and Casino, here in beautiful Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. And what better place to be than Bethlehem over Christmas weekend. There are two heavyweight fights on this card, and they’ll both tremendous. We’ve seen one of them before, so we know what to expect, and the other one is going to be a nice little Christmas surprise I think. I know that everyone up here is determined, they’re heavyweights, they’re bound to throw punches, and when you have a combination like that and as much at stake as we have here, you get fireworks. It’s just got to happen.”
“Just to be clear, this is on NBC network. That’s Channel 4 in New York, and different channels across the country. This is a big thing. Back in the afternoon, 4PM. That is the primetime spot in Saturday afternoon sports.”
(About the main event) “We’ve seen this fight before, and yet it’s going to be all new. They are both in a different weight class. They both have different trainers. They both have taken the long path back to each other from very different directions. So this is one of those fights that when the bell rings, I’m going to sit back and just try to enjoy it.”
“I’m feeling very blessed to be in this position to fight on network television. My team is great. I feel confident. I feel good. I’m just ready to fight. It’s show time, or I guess it’s NBC time. I hope you guys enjoy what you see on Saturday. I’m going to bring my best. I’m sure he’ll bring his best, and hopefully we’ll live up to the hype.”
ZIGGY ROZALSKI (Event Co-Promoter):
“Thank you Kathy, it’s a pleasure working with you. We’ve worked (together) for many years. Thank you Main Events staff; thank you NBC. Also Steve Cunningham, thank you for taking the fight because this is good for us and good for you. Whoever wins is going to go forward. Whoever loses is going to go fishing. And may the best man win.”
ROGER BLOODWORTH (Head Trainer of Tomasz Adamek):
“It’s great to be back on NBC, on network. Everybody gets to see a fight. I said before that there are not going to be any losers in this fight, because we expect Steve to bring his best. We’re bringing our best. We had a great camp. The fans are going to love it. It’s going to be a great fight. I don’t have to tell you to buy tickets because it’s on free TV.”
“I know everybody is waiting for Saturday. I’m waiting too. I’m ready. We had a good camp. This is Steve’s big chance, the rematch from (our fight in) 2008. But I’m working very hard. I started with Roger (Bloodworth) in 2009, and I am a different fighter, as everybody will see. I’m feeling good. I had good sparring. And I’m ready for war.”
DON TURNER (Head Trainer of Vyacheslav Glazkov):
“He’s been over here about three and a half weeks. We’ve been working hard. I know the guy he’s fighting. I’ve seen him. It’s a good test. It’s should be a great fight, but this kid (Glazkov) is in good shape.”
VYACHESLAV “Czar” GLAZKOV:
“Sorry, my English is poor. (Via translator) I’m coming to fight and it’s going to be a great show. Thank you. ”
“Nice to meet you guys. I look forward to a good fight. I think it’s going to be a great show. It’s good to perform on NBC. It’s going to be a very great night for boxing nationwide. I hope we live up to it, and (that there are) not too many surprises.”
QUESTIONS FROM THE PRESS:
What was your first reaction on getting this fight and how do you feel about getting the rematch now?
“It just came out of the blue. It’s just one of those things, opportunity presents itself. You can either sit back and watch it go down without you, or you can do something about it and be part of it yourself. This is a very good opportunity for me. If I beat him, I take his ranking, I take his belt, and put myself in position to be heavyweight world champion, which is my goal now. So I couldn’t pass it up. What heavyweight would pass it up? Of course in an ideal world, we would like more fights at heavyweight to build up, but let’s do it.”
“My career is long, since 1999. For me, looking for the heavyweight title (shot) again, I have to beat everybody. I was happy when I heard that Steve got the chance because we can have the rematch. I think he was angry after our fight in 2008. That fight was very good, interesting for TV, for fans, and I believe it will be the same on Saturday afternoon.”
Will this fight be like the fight of four years ago (2008)?
“Well the poster says it all – “Bigger, Better, Stronger”. I feel I’m a little bigger. I feel I’m stronger. I feel I’m better. It’s the same thing with him. It’s the same with him. It’s going to be different, it’s going to be similar. I can’t tell the future. I’m going to go out and perform my best, just as I know he is. We’re going to see what happens.
“We’re going to see what Cunningham brings to the ring. I’m ready for everything. For war? I love war because the fans love watching war, and I’ll have more fans after these kinds of fights. I’m ready for everything. It’s my job.”
How important is this fight?
“I look at every fight like that. Of course this is like every other fight – the biggest fight of my career. I look at it like that. I train with that mindset, and I pray to perform.
In what round is this fight going to end?
“I’ve never been a guy to predict. I leave that to Muhammad Ali. I fight. I fight to win. If I see that I can end the fight, I’ll go for it. If not, I’m still working. I’m still fighting to win. So I’m not predicting.”
“Only God knows what will happen on Saturday. I’m healthy. I’m ready to fight. God gave me talent, a big heart. Let’s go do it. It’s my job.”
What do you think the main difference in the fight will be given the higher weight class?
“Of course a little more power. I feel stronger. I feel more comfortable at this weight. I feel confident. I’m just ready to go. Like he says, we fight. That’s what we do. That’s what we get paid to do. That’s our job. I’m ready to fight. I can show you better than tell you. Then after the fight we can talk.”
“As you’ll see, I’m a different fighter. I have a new coach. I don’t stand in front of an opponent. I stand side to side and slip a lot of punches. I can hit harder too. It depends what Steve brings to the ring. If he wants a war, I’m ready. I’m a tough mountain boy.”
(For Adamek) How do you handle being the favorite in this fight?
“For me it doesn’t matter. I’m the favorite, not the favorite. I’m going into the ring, bring my heart, show my class, and win this fight. I was many times, not the favorite, and (still) won the fight. I’m never looking for this.”
(For Cunningham) Is this fight personal for you?
“No. It’s not personal at all. The first fight he won fair and square. Two judges said he won, and one said I did. He gets the decision. I didn’t harbor any hate, or any anger. I don’t have any hate or anger. Shoot, I was rooting for him in some of his fights. We have much respect for the man and his team, but we have to face each other again. No hard feelings. It’s the business. It’s what we do. We put on a show for America and hopefully they accept it, and enjoy it.”