Fighters competing in a pair of exciting cruiserweight matchups on Saturday’s Premier Boxing Champions on NBCSN event held a final press conference Thursday in advance of their July 25 bouts at The Pearl at Palms Casino Resort. The event is headlined by Beibut Shumenov (15-2, 10 KOs) taking on B.J. Flores (31-1-1, 20 KOs) in a 12-round showdown.
A 10-round battle between undefeated fighters Jordan Shimmell (19-0, 16 KOs) and Isiah Thomas (14-0, 6 KOs) will also be featured. Rounding out the televised action is a 10-round featherweight battle between former world champion Rico Ramos (24-4, 12 KOs) and Claudio Marrero (18-1, 13 KOs) plus eight-round of cruiserweight action featuring undefeated knockout artist Andrew “The Beast” Tabiti (10-0, 10 KOs) taking on Roberto Santos (12-1, 5 KOs).
“I’m very happy to be part of PBC. My training camp was excellent, my best because I wasn’t stressed about losing weight. I’m blessed to have a great coach, Ismael Salas, and assistant coaches Jeff Grmoja and Rodney Crisler.
“All the work has been done for Saturday night. I want to fight the best to prove that I’m the best cruiserweight in the world.
“I’m really happy for this opportunity. I feel reborn since I met my new trainer. I’ve changed and I feel like it’s a new beginning. I want to fight the best fighters in the world.
“Every day we work hard on fundamentals to improve my skills and conditioning. Each day I learn.
“I feel much better as a cruiserweight without stress on my body like I did when I had to make 175 pounds. Now, I just focus on getting better instead of making weight.
“Flores has been a cruiserweight for a long time. Fighting an opponent like him is a good opportunity for me.
“If I pass the test, I want to unify the titles.”
“I want to thank everyone on my team for having faith in me and believing me. This is a great opportunity for my career.
“I’m very excited about this night and this whole event. We have a great night of cruiserweight boxing. I’ve kept an eye on all of these guys because you never know who you’ll fight and now we’re all up here on the dais.
“As I look back in my career there are a lot of things I would have changed and things I would have done differently. I’ve had different promoters and switched things around a lot. I feel like this Saturday, I have the chance to erase all the wrongs from my career.
“Something that is very motivating for me is my one loss, when I traveled over to Australia to fight Danny Green.
“At 200-pounds I’ve never lost and I’m not going to lose on Saturday night.
“I have a lot of confidence and a lot of motivation coming into this fight. Beibut is a good fighter and I’ve taken this challenge more seriously than any other fight in my entire life.
“I know the dangers that this man possesses and I’ll be ready for them on Saturday. I’m going to lay it all out on the line and cement my entire career on Saturday night.
“I’m looking forward to stepping into the ring with Beibut. He’s a very good fighter. They don’t give light heavyweight world titles for free or because they’re easy. He earned it. Everything he’s gotten in his career he’s earned and I’m looking to get mine on Saturday night.”
“I feel ready. I’m prepared. I’ve been looking forward to this moment for quite a while now. I trained hard and feel healthy. I just have to perform well and show everything I have on Saturday.
“From a young age it was always a dream of mine to be on this stage. Making it here now, I just want to further my career and perform well so I can do that.
“Anytime you get to fight in Vegas it’s an exciting thing. This is the boxing headquarters of the world. Being on the main stage on television is very exciting.
“I know Isiah is a quick guy, so we’ve been working a lot of speed, quickness and movement. I pride myself on not getting hit often. I want to continue that and make it an easier fight on Saturday.
“Fighting on this PBC card is definitely a big motivation because it’s where I’ve wanted to be. I want to get another opportunity to fight on television and if I perform well I think that will do it.
“I’m a good well-rounded fighter that can do a bit of everything. That’s what makes my fights easier, because I’m able to switch up styles.
“I represent the whole state of Michigan in this fight. I want to rep the state and eventually the whole country.
“Quite possibly one of those guys who was up on stage with me could a future opponent. Those are the top guys in the division and they’re all great fighters so I would look forward to any fight my team puts together.”
“I’m very excited, it’s great to be fighting in Las Vegas for the first time. I’ve said it before though, it doesn’t matter where I fight, my emotions are always in check and I’m just ready to go to work.
“Training camp was excellent. I was five weeks into training camp when I got this fight so everything is 100 percent.
“I’ve worked on staying busy, throwing a lot of punches and using angles. I’ll outwork him or outland him. I’m going to use my speed and my boxing skills.
“I’m a puncher-boxer with great ring generalship. I’m an all-around fighter. I want to get in the ring and look spectacular.
“I’m just going to work every night, if the knockout comes I’ll go for it. But it’s more about just looking impressive.
“To be a part of the PBC movement means a lot. They’re bringing back the history of boxing and to be a part of the movement is really important to me.”
“I’m ready to fight. I’ve worked hard to prepare myself to fight. Come Saturday it’s just going to be a regular day in the ring.
“Everything I do is setup, it’s like chess. I try to be smart and not take too much punishment. I want to catch guys when they make mistakes.
“I’m prepared for my opponent and the Mexican-style he’ll bring into the ring. I plan on him ending up like the rest of them.
“Being in the Mayweather gym is great because there’s so many different kinds of fighters in there. It feels like a fight every day. It gets your mind ready for the stage like this. There’s all kinds of people looking at you and it helps you get ready mentally.
“I’d like to fight any of the guys on the stage today. I want to make good fights and bring the cruiserweight division back.”