Featherweight world champion Leo Santa Cruz and exciting challenger Miguel Flores went face-to-face Thursday at a press conference in Los Angeles ahead of their world title showdown that headlines Premier Boxing Champions on FOX & FOX Deportes Saturday, February 16 from Microsoft Theater at L.A. Live in Los Angeles.
Also in attendance at Thursday’s press conference was hard-hitting John Molina Jr., who faces unbeaten former champion Omar Figueroa in a 12-round junior welterweight clash as part of televised coverage beginning at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT.
Tickets for the show, which is promoted by TGB Promotions and Ringstar Sports are on sale now, and can be purchased at AXS.com.
Here is what the press conference participants had to say Thursday from the Conga Room at L.A. Live:
LEO SANTA CRUZ
“He may think I’m underestimating him, but I’ve never underestimated any fighter I’ve faced. Media and fans may think differently, but I don’t think I’m superior to anyone else, I just do my work.
“I get all of my confidence from my training. I learn everything in the gym. I work hard and train like I’m the challenger. I want to go and give the fans a great fight and continue to grow my name.
“When I retire I want to be known as a great Mexican fighter, so I’ve trained very hard with my dad. Even though he’s sick, he still is in the gym pushing me and telling me what to do. It’s a huge motivation to see him there supporting me. I know that if he sees me pushing myself, it’s going to motivate him too.
“When I say that I want to unify the featherweight division, I’m not looking past Miguel Flores. I have to be positive and always look toward the future. I’m not looking back. I’m just training hard to get that win and become the best at 126-pounds. First that means beating Miguel Flores.
“This is going to be a great fight. Miguel Flores is a tough fighter who throws a lot of punches and comes forward. He’s got a big right hand and he works the body well. He’s a fighter who leaves everything in the ring.
“I want to unify against any of the champions. I want any of the champions in 2019 and I want to become the featherweight king.”
“It’s been a long road for me. I’m going to put on a good show on February 16. Leo and his father are professionals and they’ll work hard in the gym, but I have a feeling they’re overlooking me.
“I know all the hard work I’ve put in the gym and I know that I deserve this opportunity and I’m going to prove it by making the most of it.
“This is a great night of fights and I’m thankful to everyone that made it possible. My trainer, Aaron Navarro, has been with me and is really a father figure for me. The support from back home has been amazing.
“I’m excited to be starting off the year with this great opportunity. I’m going to give the writers an easy task, because on February 16 I’m going to give them the Upset of the Year and the Fight of the Year on the same night.
“People are going to be in for a treat on February 16. We have two Mexican fighters going toe-to-toe. You’re going to want to show up to see this one.”
JOHN MOLINA JR.
“February 16, there is going to be a war. It’s a great night of fighting. This is a fight that I specifically asked for. I believe stylistically it’s going to be all-action.
“I saw Figueroa say that he’s not going to see me get out of the fourth round. Well he’s not going to see that, because he’s going to be asleep.
“Talk is cheap, like I always say. I could talk until I’m blue in the face about how I’m going to hurt this kid. But it’ll sound naïve until I show you on February 16.
“I like Figueroa’s confidence. It’s going to make for a great fight. I don’t ever want to face a guy who’s going to come to lose. I know he’s coming to win. I’m glad to share the ring with great fighters like Leo, Miguel and Omar for this special night.”
TOM BROWN, President of TGB Promotions
“Premier Boxing Champions have made a major commitment to bringing some of the best and biggest fights to Southern California.
“L.A. has always been regarded as one of the best fight cities in the world and home to some of the greatest fights in boxing. We believe that Los Angeles, including right here downtown, can become a major hub for the sport of boxing.
“Southern California has long been a hotbed of slugfests between great Mexican-American fighters, and with Leo Santa Cruz and Miguel Flores, plus Omar Figueroa vs. John Molina Jr., we have the makings of another all-out war on February 16. This is going to be a great night.”
RICHARD SCHAEFER, Chairman & CEO of Ringstar Sports
“Los Angeles is once again the fight capital of the world. There are some great matchups coming here for the passionate Southern California fight fans.
“The Microsoft Theatre is a fantastic venue for boxing and it hosts signature events throughout the year, and on February 16 it will host a great doubleheader. They say that styles make fights, and I don’t think there are better matchups than these two fights.
“These fighters are warriors. No one on this card is ever in a boring fight. It’s like throwing oil in the fire. This is going to be a night you don’t want to miss and a great crowd watching these fights.”