Things got hot today at the final press conference prior to the rematch between IBF Cruiserweight Champion Yoan Pablo Hernandez (25-1, 13 KOs) and Steve “USS” Cunningham (24-3, 12 KOs). “That is my belt, it is coming back to me,” Cunningham shouted during the face-off. “You better hug it tonight. I am the real champion. Nobody is going to help you this time. I live, eat, sleep boxing. Nobody ever helped me. No referee helped me up off the ground when I got knocked down. I am worried, I am worried for you! I am the real champ.”
After a controversial ending to the first fight, Cunningham is eager to set the record straight. Back in October, the 35-year-old American was knocked down in the first round but came back strong. Before the seventh round, the fight was stopped after headbutts had opened two cuts in Hernandez´ face. “It was the wrong decision to stop the fight,” Cunningham said. “All I ask for on Saturday is an equal playing field. Hernandez is a good fighter but I am better. I will prove that I am the best cruiserweight.”
Hernandez was unimpressed by Cunningham´s words. “That´s no problem for me. He is American and Americans talk a lot. We´re used to it. I look forward to the rematch. Cunningham is a top cruiserweight, a very strong opponent, but I deserved to win the first fight and I will beat him again. If there is any doubt left that I am better, I will erase all doubts on Saturday night.”
Hall of Fame Promoter Wilfried Sauerland expects a thrilling battle. “This is going to be a fantastic fight,” he said. “The first duel was very dramatic. I disagree with some of the things that happened. I thought that the count in the first round - when Cunningham went down - was too long. And I also disagree with the decision to stop the fight due to the cuts, I think they could have fought on. Now we look forward to a compelling rematch. Cunningham and Hernandez are the two best cruiserweights out there. We feel honored that, on top of the IBF belt, the RING belt will be at stake. It is going to be very, very interesting.”
In the co-featured main event, Enad Licina (21-3, 11 KOs) and Alexander Alekseev (22-2, 20 KOs) clash for the vacant European Cruiserweight Title, while European Light Heavyweight Champion Eduard Gutknecht (22-1, 9 KOs) defends his title against Vyacheslav Uzelkov (25-1, 16 KOs).
Watch the Hernandez-Cunningham face-to-face from the press conference on Team Sauerland´s facebook page, facebook.com/TeamSauerlandBoxing.