Welterweight contender and Minneapolis-native Jamal “Shango” James and former world champion Antonio DeMarco went face-to-face Thursday at the final press conference before they meet in a 10-round welterweight attraction that headlines FS1 PBC Fight Night and on FOX Deportes this Saturday night from The Armory in Minneapolis.
Also in attendance at the press conference were heavyweight contenders Robert “The Nordic Nightmare” Helenius and Gerald “El Gallo Negro” Washington, who meet in a 10-round attraction, plus former heavyweight world champion Charles Martin and Daniel Martz, who battlein a 10-round heavyweight fight also featured on the telecast beginning at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT.
Tickets for the event, which is promoted by Warriors Boxing and TGB Promotions, are on sale now and can be purchased at the Armory at http://ArmoryMN.com/ and through Ticketmaster.
James was joined on-stage during the press conference by Minnesota Twins legend, eight-time All-Star and James’ family friend, Tony Oliva. Here is what the fighters had to say Thursday from the Generals Hall at The Armory:
“I am feeling good right now. I had a great camp. I am fighting a gentleman and a professional. When you have nice guys like us, you know we’re going to try to kill each other in the ring because that’s the only place we can get all of that aggression out.
“I want to thank DeMarco for accepting this fight. It’s a big name for me. So going in here and doing my thing and getting that victory would definitely put me up there hopefully for that title opportunity.
“I definitely am not overlooking him, we are going to out here and give a great show for all my hometown fans.
“I feel that I am ready for a title fight, but whatever my team comes up with, they’ll sit down with me and talk with me and we will figure it out. So if there is another step, then that’s the step I need to be taking on my way to a world title.
“At the end of the day as long as you keep winning, eventually they have to fight you. Every fight in my eyes is a title fight because as soon as you miss out, then now you have to build back up and rebound.
“My first time fighting back at home was a little nerve racking because everybody is here to see you and you want to put on the best show possible. But in doing that, if you don’t know how to control your nerves, you can fight overly cautious and make bad mistakes. Since I have been doing doing this several times now, I have that under control.
“DeMarco is going to be a strong fighter. He has been in a lot of wars. I just expect him to bring it. He is coming here to my hometown to fight me, so that tells you something about him. He has nothing to lose and that could be dangerous. But, I feel like that’s the same with me. Despite being at home, I don’t have anything to lose either. Boxing is a short lived career.
“The Armory is like a second home now to me. Fighting here feels like I’m in my own gym. You get the best sparring and the best fights in your gym because you are super comfortable. I’m totally comfortable fighting at home.
“If I get this victory over DeMarco, hopefully we can get a title opportunity or another big name that will put us right there.”
“I’m very excited for another opportunity on this stage and to be in a fight like this again. I want to thank Jamal and his team for accepting this fight. I also want to thank my team for everything they do for me.
“Don’t miss this fight. Jamal is going to bring everything to the table and I will do everything in my power to take this victory home to Mexico. As I always say, let god take care of both of us inside the ring and ensure our health. Let the best man win.
“I’ve worked very hard in training and I have an edge in experience, so I know that I’ll be ready for what Jamal can do. We will see how he handles that in the ring.
“I’m not worried about fighting in his hometown. I bring the same mentality into the ring no matter what. At the end of the day, the fans can’t fight for him. It’s just me and him in there.
“My motivated for fighting is very clear, I fight for my wife and my daughters. Knowing that I’m providing for them and can give them a great life is the best motivation anyone could ever have.”
“It’s nice to be in America for my first fight here. want to thank everyone involved in bringing me over here. This is the first time I’m going to fight here in America and I’m excited. I’m going to bring my A-Game and it’s going to be a really good fight.
“What I have seen from Washington is the Deontay Wilder fight and his fights against Adam Kownacki and Jarrell Miller. But I think he is still a very good fighter, so this is going to be a tough fight. It has been a good camp and everything is looking good, so I don’t see any problem with beating him.
“I want the fans to be able to see that I am a true Viking in this fight. I will always bring that spirit and energy into the ring.
“I promise you a really good fight on Saturday and I am going to win and after that we can negotiate the future.”
“I’m excited for the show and to be back in another fight again and working towards my goal of being the heavyweight champion of the world. This is step number one for me. I have to start over and start fresh and clean.
“I am looking forward to a good performance this Saturday night and having fun in the ring. I know I have everything I need to win this fight.
“I’m ready and willing to go through whatever is in front of me to reach my goals. I have a challenge on Saturday night and a chance to get closer to where I want to be.”
“I want to thank my team for helping me with everything and putting me in this position. I have been through a lot with this sport and I just want to get back to a world title. There is nothing like that feeling. I have just been working hard and growing every day and I can’t wait to display that on Saturday night.
“I am in phenomenal shape. We are working really hard. We are doing 20 rounds a day and having good sparring sessions. I have been eating well. No fried foods and I am ready to get it in. I have to take it out on somebody. I have been walking the straight line. I have been learning and I am so excited to display my growth.
“I had just got with my new team and things weren’t really fluid in my last fight in March. I am letting off combinations now. It’s a lot of good stuff and I can’t wait to show it.
“We want to get the fight against Manuel Charr. I want that belt. If the stars are aligned, then that will happen.”
“I really appreciate this opportunity. PBC has given me a second opportunity to fight on FS1 and it’s up to me to take full advantage of it.
“I had a good camp, I was supposed to fight last month, but the fight got cancelled about a week before, so I just rolled into the next camp. I’ve had about 8-9 weeks to get ready for this.
“It’s always great to get in with a former world champion, and I feel ready. I’m going to go out there and have fun. I’m definitely ready for this fight. “