MASHANTUCKET, CT – The final “Diamond Elite” press conference was held today at Comix in Foxwoods Casino Resort. The WBC Middleweight Diamond Championship showdown, featuring 2010 Fighter of the Year Sergio Martinez and Sergiy Dzinziruk, will be on HBO World Championship Boxing along with Andy Lee vs. Craig McEwan in a “Celtic War.” All four fighters and representatives from their respective camps were in attendance.
Below are quotes from the participants:
Lou DiBella, promoter of Martinez and Lee: “I think it’s going to be a tremendous night of boxing. I can’t tell you how impressed I am with the property. Foxwoods is great and it’s been a pleasure working with the staff here.”
“This will be on television – HBO Sports – and it’s a very competitive card with the two fights on TV real TV fights. Sergio Martinez is the Fighter of the Year and had the Knockout of the Year. He’s fighting a guy who is a technically sound fighter with a great jab and defense. Sergiy will find out that he’s not in with just another fighter. I expect a very competitive fight.”
“I want to thank our sponsors: Corona, the Dominican Republic Tourism Board and Hennessey.”
“We have as terrific undercard off TV with some terrific fighters. We have a female heavyweight from New York, Sonya Lamonakis, fighting another fighter from New York (Tanzee Daniels). If you like women’s boxing, this is going to be a war.”
“This sport needs everybody pulling together. We’ve had four major promoters working together without a single problem. That’s how to elevate boxing and bring it back.
“We’re having ‘Celtic War’ five days before St. Patrick’s Day. I’m proud to promote Andy Lee. The winner of this fight will establish himself for the fighter he is. It’s the first opportunity for Craig and Andy on HBO and its stage and legitimacy.”
“My partner and one of the best judges of talent in the world is Sampson Lewkowicz. He scours the world looking for the next Sergio Martinez.”
“Some people will be a little surprised – Gabriel Sarmiento won’t be in Sergio’s corner because of a personal issue. His brother, Pablo, will be in Sergio’s corner. He’s trained Sergio before. Gabriel ran the camp until the final day of camp last Friday.”
“It’s no secret that I didn’t like this fight. HBO twisted my arm but I give them credit. This is the best possible opponent in the world to fight Sergio. Sergio agreed to fight him despite giving up his middleweight belt. He wants to leave a legacy of fighting the best and there’s no doubt that Sergiy is the best 154-pounder in the world.”
“This is what’s at stake (Diamond belt). It costs about $50,000 and has diamonds all over it. The stakes are big.”
“This (Martinez) is one of the most talented athletes and people I’ve ever worked with. Sergio is concerned with people and he has a sense of community and integrity. His nickname, ‘Maravilla,’ marvelous and he is indeed, marvelous.”
“Sergio promised me to speak in English at the next press conference. He has a great teacher and he’s done a great job.”
Sergio Martinez: “I thank HBO, WBC, my promoter, advisor, trainers Gabriel and Pablo, and my team. This Saturday you will see the best Sergio Martinez. This fight is for Argentina.”
Kery Davis, HBO: “We really have a special night of programming with the premier of the Runnin’ Rebels documentary immediately followed with world championship boxing starting at 10:30 eastern, 7:30 pacific. Sergio was a relatively unknown boxer but he beat Kelly Pavlik and followed that with unquestionably the Knockout of the Year against Paul Williams. Sergio is good looking, intelligent and he has charisma. The sky is the limit for him. He is fighting the challenge of his life. Many feel Sergiy Dzinziruk is the No. 1 154 pounder in the world. He is relatively unknown. When you put the best middleweight in the world against the best junior middleweight in the world, you should never apologize, and we don’t. Lee and McEwan are trying to make names for themselves and statements. They’re looking forward to fighting the winner of the main event. Sergio and Sergiy are stepping-up to take the challenge. Sergiy is stepping-up in weight. Sergio is fighting the toughest guy. We’re looking forward to a great night of programming.”
Scott Butera, Foxwoods Resort Casino, President & CEO: “Here at Foxwoods, we have a long-standing tradition with the sport of boxing and have hosted some of the boxing world’s most high profile fights and some of the world’s greatest athletes. As North America’s largest resort casino there are few venues in the Northeast more fitting to host this World Middleweight Championship bout featuring Sergio Martinez and Sergiy Dzinziruk than MGM Grand at Foxwoods and our world-class MGM Grand Theater. The event’s equally exciting undercard, dubbed the ‘Celtic War,’ pits the Andy Lee and Craig McEwan.
“And we have a ‘Who’s Who’ of industry vets on property for the big event, including Lou DiBella of DiBella Entertainment, Arthur Pelullo of Banner Promotions, and Gary Shaw of Gary Shaw Promotions, as well as none other than Oscar de la Hoya’s Golden Boy Promotions.
“We’re always thrilled to showcase Foxwoods to a national audience, and HBO’s live broadcast of Saturday’s event will provide a great vehicle for us to do just that. We’re grateful to everybody in this room. Let’s have a great night on Saturday.”
Robert Diaz, Golden Boy Promotions: “This is what boxing is about – four promoters working together to give the public two great fights. McEwan is in a tough fight but he’s more than ready. I can tell you that for a fact. He is fighting for his family, country and himself. Remember, there years ago what happened not too far from here (Lee was knocked out by Bryan Vera).”
Craig McEwan: “This is a big stage for me. I’m ready to put on a big show and show everybody what I’ve got. Andy’s a great guy but Saturday is business. Afterwards we can go out for a pint. I’ve always wanted the (WBC) green belt and this fight will get me one step closer to that.”
Andy Lee: “Everything has been said. Craig, I know well, but I have a job to win this fight. Afterwards we can be friends. I’ve trained 100-percent and want to thank Sugar Hill and Roger Lee. I’ve had the best camp ever, in Florida, with a lot of sparring and conditioning. We’ve left no stone unturned.”
Gary Shaw, co-promoter of Dzinziruk: “This is a tremendous fight, deserving to be at MGM Grand at Foxwoods. I’m happy because it is a great fight. I want to thank HBO for putting Sergiy on their card because he’s truly a great fighter. It may not turn out the way Lou and his team think.
“I am a cancer survivor. If you’re over 40, get a PSA test. It saved my life and it could save yours.
“To Lou and Sampson, thanks for taking this fight and I give a lot of credit to them because Sergio had the opportunity for an easier fight. But they took the challenge and I have a lot of respect for Sergio. I represent the best 154-pounder in the world, the single best in the world at 154 pounds, and he wanted this fight. It’s a big step up; up in weight for the fight, and they didn’t want it. I know at the end of the day, no matter what Sergio and Sampson say, it is an impossibility to knockout Sergiy. We will leave here with a win; I guarantee it!”
Artie Pelullo, co-promoter of Dzinziruk: “I’ve put on more than 30 shows at Foxwoods since 1992. HBO and Ross Greenburg have a heckuva fight. They went out of their way to make it. They have the two best: best middleweight and best junior middleweight, who doesn’t know how to lose. It’s going to be great – two guys who know they need to win to move on. Boxing rewards you for winning and both know everything’s on the line. After Martinez knocked out Paul Williams, the fight we get is against the best middleweight in the world. We called Sergiy and he said make the fight. Both are in harm’s way. It’s going to be a very good show because they both know they have to win.”
Sampson Lewkowicz, advisor of Sergio Martinez: “This is my first time here at Foxwoods and it’s wonderful. HBO chose this fight because it’s the best money can buy. Gary Shaw says he guarantees he’ll win the fight. His partner, Artie Pellulo, didn’t say that. Sergio Martinez, if he doesn’t knock him out, he will beat him up. He went from 154 to 160 to be the best. There was no catch-weight because the champion is a middleweight. Sergio ‘Maravilla’ Martinez is the champion of the people, champion of the press; the champion of everybody on earth, inside and outside the ring. I am so proud to be part of this team.”
Pablo Sarmiento, trainer of Sergio Martinez: “Every training camp for Sergio gets better than the last. Saturday you will find out that it’s the best Sergio you’ve ever seen. The challenger is a great fighter and we respect him.”
Sergiy Dzinziruk: “I want to thank everybody for this opportunity and Sergio Martinez, especially, for the opportunity to fight in such a big fight. It’s a dream come true for me. I’m very excited. It’s going to be a great fight and I will be victorious at the end of the night.”
Bob Yalen, representing the WBC: “On behalf of the WBC, Jose and Mauricio, to Sampson, Sergio on behalf of the year you had, and Lou for promoting such a great fighter and fighter, let me present these plaques to all three of them.
“I’m a historian. I don’t think people realize how great a fight this is in the ring. Argentina and Europe have a great history of middleweight fighters. The Ukraine has built a great history. These are two great fighters. I thank HBO for allowing it to happen and Foxwoods for bringing it here.”