CLARESSA SHIELDS VS. IVANA HABAZIN FINAL PRESS CONFERENCE QUOTES
Unified middleweight world champion Claressa Shields and former world champion Ivana Habazin went face to face Thursday at the final press conference two days before they battle for the WBO and WBC 154-pound world titles live on SHOWTIME from Dort Federal Credit Union Event Center in Flint, Mich.
Also featured at Thursday’s press conference and competing on the SHOWTIME BOXING: SPECIAL EDITION telecast were undefeated welterweight prospect Jaron Ennis and Argentina’s Demian Daniel Fernandez, who square off in the 10-round co-feature, and unbeaten heavyweight prospect Jermaine Franklin and once-beaten Pavel Sour, who battle in the televised opener at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT
At Thursday’s press conference, Gordon Hall, SVP, Production, SHOWTIME Sports and Event Programming and Executive Producer of Saturday’s telecast, presented Claressa Shields with a $10,000 donation to the “Claressa Shields Community Project.” The project is a summer camp designed to help Flint youth learn how to cope with stress, anxiety, anger, sadness and depression, and provides educational tutoring services to dozens of children. With this $10,000 donation, Shields will surpass her current fundraising goal for the project.
Tickets for the event, which is promoted by Salita Promotions, in association with T-REX BOXING PROMOTIONS, can be purchased at Ticketmaster.com and at the Dort Center box office.
Here is what the press conference participants had to say Thursday from the Dort Federal Credit Union Event Center:
“Starting my community project with the kids and spending a lot of time with them really taught me a lot. It reminded me of the childhood that I didn’t have. My whole life has always been about boxing. That’s why these girls can’t beat me. Growing up, boys didn’t matter. Punching the bag the fastest mattered. Punching the bag the hardest mattered. Doing 25 pushups faster than the boys mattered.
“I always knew I would be the one to do it for women’s boxing. Yeah, we had Laila Ali, respect. But she can’t do for women’s boxing what I’m doing. I put a lot on the line, I started my career at 168. This fight on Saturday is going to be at 154. I had to lose a lot of weight for this fight because I cleaned out the division at 160. Every time I came out of a division, there’s somebody else telling me I’m not the greatest woman of all time. I love when they say that because I want you to come show me I’m not the greatest woman of all time. Ivana is here to do that.
“I don’t know what Ivana came here to do, but I’m telling you right now it’s going less than five rounds. She said her game plan was to stand there and bang with me. Not with muscles like this. She’s going to sleep and her coach is going to be carrying her out on a pillow.
“I watched every fight of hers. Her last six or seven fights, nothing changes. It’s the same combinations. Same hand speed. Getting caught with the same shots. When you see me box, you see improvement. I’m not coming here to Flint to play no games with her.
“I’m a 168 fighter. And I have to keep coming down to these girls’ weight because they’re scared to come see me. So I came to 154 and I came to see her. I’m going to show her. As you can see, this is the Claressa Shields show. It’s about me. There’s no friction in my camp. We are about business and we’re about the money. Pay me.”
“I’m definitely ready for this fight. I had a very tough four-month training camp. This is the best preparation I’ve ever had in my life for a fight. I’m in the best shape of my life.
“I am 100 percent focused on this fight. I trained harder than I ever have before. I had the ability to work on a lot of new things. I had five different sparring partners who brought a lot to help me improve. I gave everything into this camp and I believe I will receive something in return.
“None of the pre-fight talk bothers me. I’m not going to make a big show and trash talk. For me, this is just part of the job of what I have to do before I fight. All that matters is what is going to happen in the ring.
“This win on Saturday is going to change my life. This is my biggest fight ever. She’s right now the top women’s boxer, so there couldn’t be a bigger victory.
“I didn’t come here to lose. I came here to win. I don’t want to waste my energy talking before the fight, but I just want to say I’m excited to see how happy everyone here is right now for Claressa, because they’re going to be sad on Saturday when I win.”