Unified 154-pound world champion Jarrett Hurd and Cuban heavyweight slugger Luis Ortiz hosted separate media workouts in Washington, D.C. and Miami on Thursday for their upcoming matchups on Saturday, December 1 on SHOWTIME PPV® from STAPLES Center in Los Angeles.
Hurd returns to the ring to defend his IBF and WBA belts against Jason Welborn in his first bout since becoming unified champion, while Ortiz takes on Travis Kauffman in a 10-round heavyweight attraction. The PPV undercard also features rising heavyweight Joe Joyce battling Joe Hanks. The Premier Boxing Champions event is headlined by the Deontay Wilder vs. Tyson Fury heavyweight championship showdown.
Tickets for the event, which is promoted by BombZquad Enterprises and Queensberry Promotions, in association with TGB Promotions and DiBella Entertainment, are on sale now and are available via AXS.com. Wilder vs. Fury will be produced and distributed by SHOWTIME PPV. The suggested retail price (SRP) for the pay-per-view telecast is $64.99 for standard definition.
The Accokeek, Maryland-native Hurd, who unified titles against Erislandy Lara in April on SHOWTIME, was joined at the Hillcrest Boxing Gym in Temple Hills by his trainer Ernesto Rodriguez and fights for the first time since undergoing rotator cuff surgery.
Ortiz, along with trainer Herman Caicedo, held his media workout at Caicedo Sports Training Center in Miami ahead of another opportunity to enter the ring and earn a potential rematch against Deontay Wilder after they engaged in a memorable heavyweight clash in March on SHOWTIME.
Here is what the fighters and their trainers had to say Thursday:
“I can’t wait to get in there on December 1 and show everybody that ‘Swift’ is back at 100 percent. I’m expecting to show my versatility. I’ve shown that I can walk guys down and that I have a full tank of gas through 12 rounds. This time I want to show that I’m also strong defensively and can use my range and height.
“I’m going to really focus on using my jab in this fight. I want to establish that punch and also test out my rotator cuff and prove to everyone that I’m feeling great.
“Jason Welborn is a former British champion and I know that he’s going to be game. He’s coming off of two good wins against Tommy Langford. I know Welborn is going to leave everything in the ring because he has nothing to lose.
“The target is definitely on my back holding two titles. I’m in the position I want to be in. When you’re at the top, everybody is coming for your spot.
“The win over a long-reigning champion like Erislandy Lara solidified in everyone else’s mind what I already knew. Now I’m getting the respect I deserve.
“I showed against Lara that I can dig deep and pull out a win late if I need to. I have that inside of me. I also showed that I have power in both hands because usually I get a knockout with the right hand, but I was able to put Lara on the floor with a left.
“My goal for 2019 is to definitely get one more belt, and I’d also like to fight at home. I definitely want to fight Jermell Charlo for his WBC belt. Unification is what the division needs. I know for sure that me and Charlo both want this fight.
“Every time I’ve had an opportunity presented to me in this sport, I’ve taken full advantage of it. My family pushed me through all of the tough moments and helped get me to where I am today.”
“I’m 100 percent ready for this fight. We never stopped working after my last fight and I’m going to show it on December 1. I love staying active. I just want to keep fighting and showing off my skills.
“I’ve only taken off about a month total since fighting Wilder in March, so I still feel sharp and like my training is just continuous. The training stays the same, and once we get the opponent locked in we can focus on a game plan.
“Travis Kauffman is a strong fighter who came up fighting in Philadelphia. I know that’s he’s a tough guy who’s going to come to fight and I’m going to be prepared it.
“I think that my performance against Wilder and since that fight have warranted a rematch. I had Wilder hurt, I just made mental mistakes during the fight. I was fatigued, but I did not get knocked out flat. The referee did his job, but I feel that I did enough to merit another shot. I’ve worked hard to correct the mistakes I made and in a rematch, it would be a different ending.
“Wilder vs. Fury will be an interesting fight. Wilder is fighting someone taller than him for the first time and that could make it go a lot of ways. But I really do believe Wilder is going to win and win by knockout.”
ERNESTO RODRIGUEZ, Hurd’s Trainer
“Training camp has gone very well. It was a bit different for this camp because of the injury but I think everything has been completed and right now we’re just sharpening up so we can peak fight week.
“I laid off of some of the shoulder strength and conditioning that I would usually do with Jarrett because of the injury. We had to do that to let the shoulder heal. He still got in all of his normal strength and conditioning.
“I think Jason Welborn is going to try to come forward and impose his toughness. He has everything to gain in this fight. I think he’ll throw hard shots and try to rough it up. He may just run into a punch and get knocked out, or we’ll pick him apart and stop him late.
“I think what makes Jarrett Hurd so special is his demeanor. He’s a humble kid who works hard and knows what he has to do. Every minute he’s in the ring he’s aware of what he has to do. He communicates well and he follows instructions as well as any fighter I’ve trained throughout the years.”
HERMAN CAICEDO, Ortiz’s Trainer
“Luis Ortiz went through the experience of what happened in the Wilder fight and that’s the best way to overcome it in the future. He lived it, he breathed it and now, he’s going to go out and earn a chance to change the outcome.
“We have no excuses for the way the Wilder fight ended. I thought Ortiz was doing fine, but Wilder’s punches certainly had an effect. It’s heavyweight boxing, so being knocked down first in the fifth round definitely drew from the power supply.
“Unfortunately when he let everything go in the seventh round against Wilder, and almost knocked Wilder out, that drained him completely. Wilder was able to recover and capitalize. But we now know what we have to do in a rematch.
“Ortiz told me that when he first buzzed Wilder he really saw it all right there. He saw himself with the WBC championship. He saw himself knocking out Anthony Joshua and becoming undisputed champion. So he decided to go for it all right there.”