Hollywood, Ca. --- Undefeated WBA Lightweight champion Brandon "Bam Bam" Rios, Oxnard, Ca. poses at the speed bag during media day in at the Fortune Gym in Hollywood as he prepares for his upcoming world Lightweight title fight against top-rated contender Urbano Antillon, Maywood, Ca. on Saturday, July 9 at The Home Depot Center in Carson,Ca. Top Rank promotes this event which will be telecast live on SHOWTIME Championship Boxing. --- Photos by Chris Farina/Top Rank
LOS ANGELES – Although they were kept apart and at opposite sides of the building, the bad blood and war of words between unbeaten World Boxing Association (WBA) lightweight champion Brandon “Bam Bam” Rios (27-0-1, 19 KOs), of Oxnard, Calif., and two-time world title challenger Urbano Antillon (28-2, 20 KOs), of Maywood, Calif., continued during a Media Workout Tuesday at Fortune Gym.
This Saturday, July 9, in the main event on SHOWTIME® (10 p.m. ET/PT, delayed on the West Coast) at The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif., Rios will make his eagerly awaited first defense against Antillon in a 12-round fight that has become personal and has Fight of the Year candidate written all over it. Rios is extremely upset at comments Antillon made about the defending champion’s wife.
In the Top Rank-promoted co-feature on SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING, former International Boxing Federation (IBF) welterweight champion Kermit Cintron (32-3-1, 28 KOs), of Carolina, Puerto Rico, will be opposed by Mexico’s Carlos Molina (18-4-2, 6 KOs), of Chicago, in a 10-round junior middleweight scrap.
The telecast also will include highlights from overseas as IBF super middleweight champion Lucian Bute (28-0, 23 KOs) defends his title for an eighth time – but first in his home country of Romania – against mandatory challenger Jean-Paul Mendy (29-0-1, 16 KOs) of France.
In a top undercard, non-televised fight this Saturday at the Home Depot Center, undefeated, No, 2-ranked World Boxing Organization (WBO) lightweight contender Mercito Gesta (21-0-1, 11 KOs), of Cebu, Philippines, faces had-hitting Jorge “El Tigre” Pimental (23-11, 17 KOs) of Sonora, Mex.
Tickets, priced at $125, $75, $50 and $25, are available at all Ticketmaster outlets and online at www.Ticketmaster.com as well as The Home Depot Center Box Office (Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.). Suites are available by calling (877) 604-8777.
What they said Tuesday:
PROMOTER BOB ARUM
“This is just a tremendous fight card and Rios versus Antillon is just the kind of non-stop action fight that boxing needs and deserves.
“I am very proud of our card on Saturday. There are a lot of stars on it, top to bottom. As exciting as Rios and Antillon will be, the Cintron-Molina fight will be absolutely great, too. There are some outstanding fighters on the undercard worth watching, talented guys like Mercito Gesta and Mike Lee.
“Fans at the Home Depot Center or those watching on SHOWTIME are in for a real treat.’’
"It’s not like I hate him, but I don’t think we like each other. I don’t like him. He says he is going to test me and that I’m not ready for what he is going to bring to the table. I hope he tests me, but he had better be bringing a really big table. If it’s a small table, he is definitely getting knocked out.
“I feel very good, I’m ready to fight and I’m totally relaxed and focused. This is a great fight for television and the fans. We are both going to be getting after each other.
“I worked very hard to win the belt. No way I’m giving it up in my first defense. Not against this guy.’’
ROBERT GARCIA (Rios’ Trainer)
“I know Brandon and it is not a big deal for him to be mad at an opponent going into a fight. Actually, it’s a good thing for him. If it wasn’t, I would worry about it, or say something. But Brandon needs it and it won’t affect how he performs. I would be more concerned if he wasn’t on edge before a fight.
“Brandon is a true fighter who is 100 percent healthy and fit. He’s looking forward to this fight very much and he’s ready for 12 hard rounds if that’s how long it lasts. We had a tough camp, but camp is always fun when Brandon is involved. We’re all looking forward to Saturday night.’’
"I am totally confident and ready and deep down know I am going to win this fight. Rios is a strong guy but he leaves himself wide open a lot.
“He’s an idiot for continuing to still talk about what he says I said about his wife, and I’m surprised he’s still talking about it. He’s an immature kid who is going to get taken to school.
“People know what they are going to get in our fight. Fans want action, and that’s what they are going to get from the opening bell -- non-stop action.
“I’ve put in the time, I’ve put in the work and I am ready to become world champion. I hope Rios is prepared to bring his best because that’s what he’s going to get from me. It will just be a matter of time before I stop him.’’
ABEL SANCHEZ (Antillon’s Trainer)
“This is going to be a great fight for as long as it lasts. I just hope Rios is ready for it. If he needs to come in with a big chip on his shoulder, if that’s what is motivating himself for this fight, then I think he’s making a mistake. I definitely think that’s been a distraction for him.
“He better be totally prepared because Urbano has never been more confident. We had a tremendous camp.’’
“I’m happy about the way my career is going and very excited to be fighting for Top Rank for the first time. I just work and train and continue to wait for my big opportunity.
“I know my time is coming. I just have to be patient.’’