Photo Credit: Esther Lin/SHOWTIME
CHICAGO (Oct. 29, 2014) – Hometown favorite Andrzej “The Polish Prince” Fonfara, France’s Doudou Ngumbu, WBO Bantamweight World Champion Tomoki Kameda and Interim WBO Bantamweight Champ Alejandro Hernandez worked out for the media on Wednesday at Oakley Fight Club in Chicago as they reach the apex of preparation for Saturday’s SHOWTIME Boxing: Special Edition from UIC Pavilion in Chicago.
Fonfara (25-3, 15 KOs) and Ngumbu (33-5, 12 KOs) will square off in the 10-round light heavyweight main event while Kameda (30-0, 19 KOs) will defend his belt against mandatory challenger Hernandez (28-10-2, 15 KOs) in the 12-round co-feature.
Saturday’s tripleheader, which will air live on SHOWTIME at 9 p.m. ET/PT (delayed on the West Coast), is promoted by Warriors Boxing. In the opening bout of the telecast, undefeated super featherweight contender and former Interim WBA Featherweight World Champion Javier Fortuna will take on Puerto Rican Abner Cotto in a 10-round super featherweight bout.
Kameda was joined in the gym by his two brothers, Koki and Daiki, who made history when all three recently held world titles at the same time. While Tomoki held the WBO Bantamweight Championship, Koki was the WBA Bantamweight Champion until he voluntarily relinquished the title in December in order to move down to flyweight. Daiki was the IBF Junior Bantamweight Champion until he lost by decision last December. Koki will fight on the non-televised undercard on Saturday.
Here’s what the fighters had to say on Wednesday:
“I’ve seen a couple of his fights. I know he’s quick and has a different boxing style, an odd style. He’s fast and sneaky, but if I want to be the best and get a rematch with [Adonis] Stevenson then I need to beat guys like him.
“Training camp in Big Bear [Calif.] went well. We had good sparring partners and good preparation for this fight. We had two weeks in Big Bear after a nice camp in Chicago so I’m ready for this fight.
“I know he’s fought tough opponents in Europe, and he’s used to fighting 10 or 12 rounds. He doesn’t have the strongest punch, but he has solid technique and he’s fast.
“It’s very exciting to be fighting back in Chicago, to be fighting in front of my fans. It’s a huge motivation for me.
“I want to show everyone that I’m in great shape. We’ll see, if I get a chance to knock him out I’ll knock him out. If not, I just want to win the fight. It doesn’t matter how, I just want to win the fight.
“My next step is the rematch with Stevenson because I feel I can beat him. I don’t know if he’ll take the fight, but if I win this one and become a mandatory challenger at some point then he’ll have to fight me. I want to be the champion.”
“Training camp went very well. We took Fonfara very seriously because he’s a well-known boxer, not just in the U.S. but in the world. So we didn’t take him lightly.
“The fight is going to happen in the ring. You can’t predict what is going to happen in advance. There will just be two of us in there on Saturday.
“I’m not concerned with his power. If I was concerned about it I wouldn’t have come all the way to Chicago.
“I actually think I’ve faced the tougher fighters than he has. And I think I’ve faced a few guys that are stronger than Fonfara.
“I came here to do my job, which is to box, and I came here to win.
“It’s a huge honor to be able to box on U.S. soil. The time difference and travel isn’t an issue for me. I’ve fought all over the world so I know how to adapt.”
“All fights are different, all opportunities are different, but we are always prepared to win. We’ll take what we get in the ring, but if the right hook to the body is there we’re going to take it.
“I’ve always dreamed of fighting in the U.S., and I’ve always dreamed of fighting on TV. Now that I’m here and I’ve signed with Al Haymon, I know all the doors will open for me. But our main goal is to win on Saturday and put on a good show for the fans.
“I sparred with him [Hernandez] about six years ago, but we’ve both changed a lot since then. He’s matured and I’ve matured. But the difference is that I’m the champion now.
“Training camp was great. We put in all the work in the gym and now we’re ready to get in there and put on a show.”
“I prepared very well for this fight. I had a very strict and rigorous routine. Definitely the hardest training camp I’ve ever had.
“Tomoki and I have sparred in the past, and that might help. But not as much as everybody might think. It’s been a while since our sparring sessions and we’ve both changed our styles and techniques. I have changed and matured as a fighter, and come Saturday night, it will show.
“I’m going to implement a different game plan. I’m not going to be focused on one particular area or punching style. I just have to go at him with everything I have. I’m going to surprise him; he won’t see me coming.
“It’s a dream of any boxer to leave a mark and make an impact in this sport and I’m grateful I have my chance on SHOWTIME this Saturday.”
Homecoming: Fonfara vs. Ngumbu is a 10-round light heavyweight fight promoted by Warriors Boxing. In the co-main event, WBO World Bantamweight Champion Tomoki Kameda defends his title against interim WBO Bantamweight Champion Alejandro Hernandez in a 12-round bout, and opening the telecast, former interim WBA World Featherweight Champion Javier Fortuna will face Abner Cotto in a 10-round super featherweight bout. The SHOWTIME BOXING: Special Edition will take place at UIC Pavilion in Chicago, Ill., and will air on SHOWTIME (9 p.m. ET/PT, delayed on the West Coast).
Tickets for “The Homecoming” start at $31 and are available at Ticketmaster outlets, Ticketmaster.com or call: 1-800-745-3000, the Warriors Offices: 312-622-7668 or the UIC Pavilion Box Office: 312-413-5740, or visit the UIC Box Office (Thursday or Friday 9:00 AM – 4:00 PM). They can also be purchased the night of the event. On fight night, doors open at 6:00 pm and the action starts at 7:00 pm. All bouts are subject to change. For more information, visit www.warriorsboxing.com.
For more information, visit www.warriorsboxing.com, www.sports.sho.com and http://www.uicpavilion.com/pavilion, follow on Twitter at @andrzej_fonfara, @DoudouNgumbu, @TomokiKameda, @SHOSports, and become a fan on Facebook atwww.facebook.com/SHOBoxing.
Doors open at 5 p.m. and the first non-televised bout starts at 5:30 p.m. All bouts are subject to change.