LAS VEGAS - The four boxers who’ll appear this Saturday, Sept. 8, live on SHOWTIME® (9 p.m. ET/PT, delayed on the West Coast) from Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, Nev. pronounced themselves fit and ready to go during Thursday’s final press conference. Photos by Tom Casino/Showtime.
In what should be a terrific, hard-fought main event between two eager, determined and hungry fighters, undefeated Olusegun Ajose (30-0, 14 KO's) of Nigeria will face hard-hitting Argentine Lucas Matthysse (31-2, 29 KO's) for the vacant WBC Interim Super Lightweight World Championship on SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING.
Promising, unbeaten middleweight J'Leon Love (12-0, 7 KO's) of Las Vegas will risk his perfect record against Chicago's Ramon Valenzuela (7-1, 1 KO) in the co-feature.
Preceding Saturday’s doubleheader on SHOWTIME will be two live undercard fights on SHOWTIME EXTREME (7 p.m. ET/PT): Daquan Arnett (6-0, 4 KO's) of Orlando, Fla. meets Jesus Tavera (3-2, 1 KO), of Mexico City, Mex. in a six-round junior middleweight scrap and Ishe Smith (23-5, 11 KO's) of Las Vegas takes on Puerto Rico's Irving Garcia (17-7-3, 8 KO's) in a 10-round junior middleweight bout.
Ajose vs. Matthysse, a 12-round fight for the vacant WBC Interim Super Lightweight World Championship taking place Saturday, September 8 at The Joint At Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Las Vegas, is presented by Golden Boy Promotions in association with DiBella Entertainment, Gary Shaw Productions and Arano Box Promotions and sponsored by Corona and AT&T. The SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING telecast will air live at 9:00 p.m. ET/PT (delayed on the West Coast) with middleweight prospects J'Leon Love and Ramon Valenzuela squaring off in a 10-round co-featured bout presented in association with Mayweather Promotions. Preliminary fights will air live on SHOWTIME EXTREME® beginning at 7:00 p.m. ET/PT (delayed on the West Coast).
Tickets, priced at $200, $100, $75, $50 and $25, along with a limited number of VIP suite seats priced at $150, are on sale and may be purchased at the Hard Rock Hotel Box Office, all Ticketmaster locations, online at www.Ticketmaster.com or by phone at (800) 745-3000.
Here is what the SHOWTIME fighters, their promoters and representatives said during the final press conference at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino:
“I’m grateful that I am fighting on SHOWTIME. I am thankful to be back on their network. I was on ShoBox last year in my American debut. This is an opportunity for me to show everyone what I’ve got. I give Matthysse a lot of respect. I think he is the best in the division. That makes me the best of the best in this division.
“The fans should expect fireworks. He is an all-out guy and I am an all-out guy. My advice to people is they shouldn’t blink. Whatever power he has, show me. He has to land first. I am not worried about his power. I’m not even thinking about his power. If he hits me, I am going to hit him too.
“My aim is to come in, win the title and take it back to Nigeria. In Nigeria they think I am invincible. They think no one can beat me. I think so, too. I want to use this as an opportunity to teach younger fighters about boxing. There is a lot of talent there. I want to make boxing bigger than what it is now. It used to be very big. Boxing used to be the national sport for Nigeria and then football took over. Boxing is still big but I want to make it bigger.’’
“Thank you SHOWTIME and thank you Golden Boy Promotions for this opportunity. What can I say? I am ready to fight. I am ready to win and take the belt back to Argentina. That is all.’’
ERIC GOMEZ (Vice President/Matchmaker, Golden Boy Promotions)
“When we approached Team Matthysse about fighting Ajose, the first thing they said was that he is pretty tough. There are no other guys out there, no other possibilities and we said this is going to be a good fight. Matthysse has had some experience with that kind of fighters. He thinks that Ajose is tougher than Devon Alexander and Zab Judah and I agree with him. He really is a better fighter and he’s hungrier because he has been waiting a long time for this title shot. So I want to say thank you for being patient, making this happen and I wish both of them luck.’’
MARIO ARANO (Arano Box Promotion, Co-Promoter of Matthysse)
“Matthysse’s time has come. He has had a tough road but he is ready. He has fought former World Champions and they all are tough. Obviously we feel the Judah and Alexander fights were hometown decisions and we consider Lucas Matthysse a world champion and undefeated. Hopefully this Saturday Lucas is going to be victorious. We respect Ajose very much but unfortunately he has to dance with the toughest opponent he has ever faced.’’
RON RIZZO (Vice President, DiBella Entertainment)
“I don’t think there has been enough credit given to Golden Boy and SHOWTIME for saving this show and elevating this fight to the main event. This fight does stand by itself as a main event. With boxing there are always complications, but there is a lot of credit to give to these guys for making the show go on. Ajose has been looking forward to this for a long, long time. He has had to wait for this opportunity for a long time. He has been the No. 1 guy and had been passed over and over. He has been patient, but now he is ready to seize his opportunity. I want to thank Matthysse for taking this fight because no one else wanted to fight Ajose.’’
“I believe in myself and my ability and I have a team that I am surrounded by that believes in my ability as well. I am the future of the sport. J’Leon Love will be a future champion. This is a blessing and I want to thank God for this opportunity. This doesn’t happen every day. One minute we were fighting an eight-round fight on SHOWTIME EXTREME and now we are fighting as co-main event in a 10-round fight.
“We have been training so hard, day in and day out. All I know is how to work hard. We met in the amateurs years ago, I think I was maybe 14 or 15, but professionals and amateurs are so much different. We are going to go out there and definitely handle business. That’s all I know is to fight. We are going to give a good one. I am going to show you that I’ve been waiting for this all my life. We wait years and years for this and now I have my moment and I’m not going to let it pass. I am going to solidify myself and show the world who I am.’’
“I just want to say this will be a really good fight. I am going to be victorious. I am pleased that I’m going to fight on SHOWTIME as the co-main event.’’