By Alexey Sukachev
Former three-division champion James Toney (73-6-3, 44 KOs) hit Moscow, Russia to go face to face with his November 4th opponent, WBO #1 ranked Denis Lebedev (22-1, 17 KOs), at the official press conference to announce their fight. Others who were present at the presser - newly crowned WBA "regular" heavyweight champion Alexander Povetkin, Russian/Australian boxing hero Kostya Tszyu, event promoter Vladimir Hryunov, ring announcer Alexander Zagorskiy and notable boxing guru and expert Alexander Belenkiy.
“The Klitschko Sisters don’t want any part of me, so I’m here in Moscow”, told Toney to Andrey Bazdrev from the PBFR. “Lebedev is a very good fighter, and that’s why I’m here. I want to fight the best, and I was told Denis is probably the best cruiserweight around. Who says I’m a 43-year old fart. That’s bullsh*t. I have never ever been knocked out. Never! And look a who I've fought. I’m a real master of the ring. My best fight is still ahead of me!”
Toney has already expressed his opinion of Lebedev and his trainer, boxing legend Kostya Tszyu.
“I have nothing against Lebedev, no issues with him. What should I tell him? I’ll talk to him after the fight. I need no friends in the ring. That’s just not in me. I make no friends among my opponents. Kostya Tszyu, yeah, he is special. His fights were always exciting to watch. But I always thought of him as an Australian. Vasiliy Jirov was also cute, and it was very difficult to fight him”.
Vladimir Hryunov: “Everybody was asking me about who Denis would fight next after he soundly destroyed Roy Jones Jr., one of the best fighters ever. I’m glad to introduce you to James Toney. Lebedev will fight him on November 4, which is a day for Russian unity and a day of Minin and Pozharskiy. James Toney intends to invade Russia to create fear and inflict destruction. Denis is summoned to guard our homeland against a dangerous conqueror.
Speaking about Alexander Bakhtin, I’ll tell you a small secret. We are in negotiations to fight for the IBF super bantamweight title [held by South African Takalani Ndlovu] on November 4th, on the same card with Lebedev versus Toney.
James Toney: “How are you doing here in Russia, hello?! Moscow is a beautiful city, guys. I’m very glad to be here. On November 4 I’ll take on Denis Lebedev to show him my skills and my experience. Also, you know, I want to thank Vlad (Hryunov) for a great welcome and for making this fight. Guys, please come on November 4th to see me becoming a cruiserweight champion of the world once again and to support James “Lights Out” Toney. Thanks to all of you, to everyone
I’m a smart guy. I know who I’m fighting with. When I found out we were fighting Denis Lebedev, I connected to the web and did some research. And, you know, I found Lebedev. Here it is”. [Toney showed a photograph of Russian politician Alexander Lebedev]. But what I found is not the guy that I'm fighting with on November 4. Here is that guy. And it could be a war. Come to arena and check it out.
I respect Kostya Tszyu as one of my most beloved fighters. He is special. But business is business, and I’ll shut him up with my actions in the ring on November 4, and I’ll prove I’m a better guy than his pupil”.
Denis Lebedev: “Toney’s usual trash-talk doesn’t bother me at all. It’s just a part of his plan and nothing more. He tries to get under my skin and to make me nervous but that won't be the case here. Roy Jones was also confident before our fight but it all became worse for him when we got inside the squared circle. I’ll prove to James that the Red Army is still the strongest in the entire planet. Alexander Povetkin, Alexander Bakhtin, Dmitry Pirog – Russian boxing is coming on strong. We are ready to invade! Please, come to arena to support our fight and thank you to everybody for the fantastic support.”
Kostya Tszyu: “Moscow lands another big show. Another big name is coming to our capital. It will be a tremendous fight. Denis, after he defeated Roy Jones, doesn’t need any steps back. He needs to fight the best, and that’s why James Toney is here, in Russia. He is hands down a true legend of the ring. Denis is still a rising star. I think on November 4r Lebedev will become a full-scaled nova and he will outshine a burnt-out star in James Toney.
Alexander Belenkiy: “There is no fighter in the world, and I mean there’s no fighter in the world, regardless of the weight, capable of being listed as a big favorite to defeat Toney inside the ring - even if the boxer is a good fifty or sixty pounds heavier than James Toney. James Toney is 43 years of youth. He is the same type of fighter like Bernard Hopkins, whose best quality isn’t speed but his boxing wisdom. James Toney is still dangerous. He is more dangerous than Roy Jones Jr. He only lost twice in [his last] twenty four fights.
Everybody knows that I picked Lebedev to win in his December 2010 contest against WBO champion [Marco] Huck. But James Toney is a harder opponent than Marco Huck and Roy Jones. He is better than them, and Denis would be strongly advised to be at his best and to show his best on fight night. That’s a hard choice [of opponent], and that is a hard choice for Team Lebedev. Speaking of James, he is a great fighter – just watch his tapes. He is one of the most outstanding boxers of the last two decades, and his mercurial defense and his fascinating ability to avoid any serious punishment can hardly be surpassed.
After I became acquainted with James Toney in person, I've seriously changed my point of view on him. He is a wonderful guy even though he pretends to be a bad boy. He just plays 'Lights Out' – that is his role. I strongly advise everybody to visit Moscow on November 4 to watch this tremendous contest – you will not lose anything. You will lose everything if you don’t attend the show.”
Questions From The Audience
- James, you are known for your razor-sharp tongue. You are known as a person who disrespected a number of fighters. Is there anybody whom you respect?
- I respect fighters who actually fight in the ring. I respect Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather who are fighters. And I disrespect protected guys, who are guided by their promoters and managers. As for me, I love to fight the best. I’m fighting the best like in old, good old-school days. I’m old school. And I’m the best. I don’t like the Klitschko sisters. They really don’t want to give me a chance.
- James, do you feel uncomfortable here, in Moscow?
- Not at all! Am I nervous? Not at all! I had over eighty professional fights, so what should I be afraid of? I live to fight. So, don’t make any mistakes – I’m feeling very good. You can come at me and check this out.
- David Haye didn’t shake hands with Wladimir Klitschko and lost big. Are you ready to shake hands with Denis Lebedev, which you haven’t done beforehand.
- I have nothing against Denis Lebedev. I will shake his hand – no doubt about that. I’m no David Gay. That’s not me. I’m not a little boy. No way, I’m David Gay!
- You were involved into some doping investigations and you have been disqualified a couple of times. Is there any chance there can be a drug-test issue on fight night?
-Are you serious? You’re trying to make a [drug testing scandal] here.
- James, what is your weight right now? Will it be hard for you to make the cruiserweight limit?
- I’m weighing 275-pounds (laughs), and I’m sure I'll have some problems with scale.