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Photos: Sammy Vasquez Jr. Putting in Work For Felix Diaz Clash

BIRMINGHAM, AL - Undefeated contender Sammy "The Sergeant" Vasquez Jr. and Olympic gold medalist Felix Diaz are deep into training camp for their pivotal welterweight showdown on Saturday, July 16 as part of Premier Boxing Champions on FOX and FOX Deportes live from Legacy Arena in Birmingham, Alabama.  Photos by Premier Boxing Champions.

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PBC on FOX and FOX Deportes action begins at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT and is headlined by heavyweight world champion Deontay "The Bronze Bomber" Wilder defending his belt against two-time title challenger Chris "The Nightmare" Arreola.

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Tickets for the event, which is promoted by DiBella Entertainment in association with TGB Promotions and Bruno Event Team, start at only $20 and are on sale now. For tickets please visit www.alabamatitlefight.com and www.ticketmaster.com.

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Vasquez and Diaz both have world title aspirations but will have to navigate difficult southpaw opponents in the hopes of reaching the top levels of the welterweight division. Here is what both fighters had to say about each other, training camp, the 147-pound division and more:

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SAMMY VASQUEZ JR.
 
On his opponent change from Luis Collazo to Felix Diaz ...
"It's unfortunate that Collazo got hurt, but Diaz is a very good fighter and I know he's going to bring it. I've been sparring with nothing but lefties, and since both Diaz and Collazo are southpaws, it's business as usual.  Diaz is coming off a close majority decision loss...his first defeat, so I know he's hungry to get back in that win column. This is a dangerous fight and I'm not taking it lightly. Like always, I'm willing and ready to fight anyone they put in front of me."

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On his recent training camp at the Triple Threat Boxing Gym in Colorado Springs...
"It's been a grueling camp with a lot of hard work being put out. Sparring has been fantastic and I'm feeling really sharp right now. My weight is good and I'm feeling strong. We have a few more days left and then it's on to fight week." 

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On fighting on FOX with a global audience expected to be tuning in...
"This is what it's all about, fighting on the big stage with millions of fans looking to see a great fight. FOX is an incredible network to be showcased on and I want to let the world know I'm here to take over the welterweight division. The fans can expect to see a lot of power punches.  Hopefully I can score the knockout."

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On his relationship with his team members...
"I have an unbelievable team behind me.  First off my dad Sammy Sr. is there watching my every move, so I'm very comfortable with him by my side.  Charles Leverette is the head coach, with Ryan Rimsek working the mitts.  Jason Barber is my strength and conditioning coach.  Everyone is doing a great job.  We have a great game plan that we feel we can execute against Diaz.  I'm very happy with my team."

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On when he thinks he'll be ready to challenge for a world title...
"I feel I'm ready now.  I'm ranked in the top ten in three of the major sanctioning organizations, so I can see the light at the end of the tunnel.  I know a victory against Diaz will get me closer to a title shot.   I have to keep winning to fulfil the goal I set for myself when I first started boxing, and that's to become a world champion."

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On the current landscape of the welterweight division....
"The division is loaded with great fighters.  With the exception of Jesse Vargas, all the champions are undefeated.  The road to get to the top is very tough because everyone in the top ten is an exceptional fighter.  I think it's the toughest division in boxing."

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FELIX DIAZ
 
On fighting Sammy Vasquez on short notice...
"I stay ready in the gym.  I had a fight scheduled with Miguel Vasquez that fell through so now it's on to another Vasquez.  I had to switch to southpaw sparring but that is nothing new to me.  I fought a lot of southpaws on short notice in the amateurs.  I'm grateful for this opportunity and I'm going to make the best of it."

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On his current training camp ...
"I'm having a great camp.  Everything is coming together for me.  My punches are accurate and my timing is better than ever.  I'm looking very good in sparring and I know I'll be at my best on fight night." 

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On the opportunity to get into world title contention...
"This is a big fight for me.  Sammy Vasquez is a highly rated fighter.  A win against him will put me right up there with all the other contenders.  I live for these occasions."

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On what he thinks of Sammy Vasquez as a fighter...
"He's a very smart fighter with good power.  Although he does a lot of things right in the ring, I see some flaws in his style that I know I can expose.  I believe my style will give him a lot of trouble.  I know he wants to keep his undefeated record intact, but my hunger to start another winning streak is greater."
 
On bouncing back from his first defeat in his last bout...
"In my last bout I suffered my first loss against Lamont Peterson, a majority decision.  It was a very close fight and I really felt I came out on top.  When you're undefeated and loss for the first time, you want nothing more than to get back in the ring and prove to everyone that you belong with the elite fighters in the division. I've been training in the gym like an animal, waiting for an opportunity like this to come my way.  Now that it's here, I'm going to take full advantage of the situation."

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