Top heavyweight Luis “King Kong” Ortiz and former world champion Charles Martin, plus rising heavyweight star Frank “The Cuban Flash” Sanchez and Puerto Rican Olympian Carlos Negron, previewed their heavyweight showdowns during a virtual press conference Tuesday before they step into the ring in FOX Sports PBC Pay-Per View action Saturday, January 1 from Hard Rock Live at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Florida.
Ortiz and Martin will meet in a 12-round IBF Heavyweight Title Eliminator in the main event, while Sanchez and Negron clash in the 10-round co-main event as part of the action beginning at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT.
The pay-per-view action will also see heavyweight contenders Jonnie Rice and Michael Coffie battle in a 10-round rematch, former title challenger Gerald “El Gallo Negro” Washington in a 10-round showdown against Turkish Olympian Ali Eren Demirezen and unbeaten Viktor Faust facing Iago Kiladze in a 10-round attraction to open the pay-per-view.
Here is what the press conference participants had to say Tuesday:
“I’m just thankful and happy to be in this position. It’s great to be on this stage. I’m ready to do my job and shine on New Year’s Day.
“It’s very exciting to be fighting so close to my adopted hometown in South Florida. I’m always motivated to fight, no matter what. My training camp is so intense that I still don’t have much time to see my family, but I’m looking forward to this fight in my backyard.
“My mind and my body are in tip-top shape. If anyone thinks that I won’t be up to the challenge, they’re dead wrong. I welcome any challenger, and that includes Charles Martin.
“My strategy and goal has not changed. I want to face the best and be the best. Whatever path that takes me on, I’m fine with it. The goal will still remain the same.
“Everybody that knows me, knows that I don’t mess around in the gym. Throwing punches is what I do best. I take it very seriously. If someone bests me one day, then I say good job and learn the lesson and get better the next day.
“I’ve been able to help Carlos Negron in training, especially because I know he’s fighting a Cuban opponent. I think that will help him and I wish him the best on January 1.
“Nobody is ever going to be able to take away my dream of becoming world champion. I’m going to continue to prepare for my next challenge against Charles Martin. Then I’m going to keep going up from there. I have no reason to believe that my dream won’t come true.
“I’m ready for war. I’m going to come out there and give it all that I’ve got. I’m not worried about any size advantages my opponent might have. My mentality is to just be ready and take on all challengers.
“My name doesn’t get mentioned by other heavyweights because they’re avoiding me. I don’t know why they’re avoiding me, but I’ll be ready when they do call my name.”
“Training camp has been wonderful. I’m just working hard. I’m used to this by now. All I know is hard work. I’m putting in the effort each day. That’s what we do.
“This is the most focused I’ve been in my career. This fight is everything for me. A lot of people didn’t want to fight me. I give Ortiz credit for stepping up and taking the fight.
“People are going to be shocked with what I do in this fight. I’ve always had what it takes, and now I’m adding the main ingredient into it, which is the dedication. I know that’s what it takes to become world champion again.
“It’s like night and day for myself since I lost the title. I used to eat fast food and now my diet is completely different. I always worked hard, but now I’ve put everything together. I feel unstoppable.
“Manny Robles has helped me become a well-rounded fighter. I can do a lot more things and I have more tools in my arsenal. I’m a much more disciplined fighter both inside and outside of the ring.
“At this point, I’m just focused on Luis Ortiz. I can’t look beyond this fight. I’m focused on getting Luis Ortiz out of there. I wake up in the morning and I see Luis Ortiz. I’m going to handle this business on January 1, then I’ll be able to talk about the future.
“I’m in my prime right now. I’m ready to compete. I don’t want to fight low-level fighters. I want the best fights. I want to become two-time world champion and I have big expectations for myself. I don’t want to waste any time at this point in my career. I’m ready to rock and roll.”
“We’re so happy to be fighting in South Florida on January 1. We’re having great preparations with team Canelo right now. It could not be going any better. I want to show the Cuban fans in Florida that I’m going to be ready for the world title next year.
“My fight in October was easier than I had expected. I left unscathed. So when I was asked about fighting January 1, I did not hesitate. I fought well in my last fight and I wanted to carry that momentum over to 2022.
“This is a very important fight for me. I want to keep climbing in the rankings, but I also want to stay active and continue to prove my worth. This is a great stage for me to do that.
“Carlos has been on my radar and I had a feeling I would be fighting him at some point. I’ve studied him closely in the past. I feel like I’m the better boxer and that he’s going to be another stop on my way to fighting for the title next year.
“The most important thing I learned from the Efe Ajagba fight was to not listen to the outside noise. All I heard about was how he was a guy who knocks everyone out. But I realized that in boxing, it’s not just about how hard you punch, but it’s about your technique. During the fight, I realized that I was able to steamroll him.
“I’m ready to face the best. Everything I have learned from Eddy Reynoso has made me stronger and brought me to this point. I’m ready for anyone standing in my way. I’ll take on any challenge at any time.”
“I’m very thankful for this opportunity. I feel great right now. We’re having very positive training and top notch preparation as we prepare for January 1.
“I’m really glad that we’re able to make this fight happen. The winners are going to be the fans. We both want to show what we’re capable of.
“I’m proud to be fighting a great fighter like Frank Sanchez. He put on a show in his last fight. I’m excited for the challenge. I’m very confident and I have no nerves heading into January 1.
“I have to thank my team for keeping me active like they have recently. It’s been important for me. As long as I’m healthy, I want to be in the ring. I’m hoping that activity will carry over into this fight.
“I felt like me and Frank’s paths were going to converge at some point. We didn’t know when, but we knew it would happen. I respect him as a boxer and I’m looking forward to this fight.
“I’m ready to adapt to whatever happens in the ring. I’m just going to take it round by round and base my style off of that. I’m going to figure it out in the moment. Anything I say beforehand will have little effect on what happens in the ring.”
TOM BROWN, President of TGB Promotions
“Heavyweight is the most powerful division in the sport. There’s nothing like a great heavyweight fight and I’ll put a great heavyweight fight up against any sporting event in the world. Heavyweight boxing is back, and on January 1, we have top ranked heavyweights, top heavyweight prospects and a former heavyweight champion on this all-heavyweight card.
“The main event is a very intriguing fight and it’s all part of an excellent lineup. The goal of every fighter is to become world champion. Luis Ortiz, at six-foot-four, has twice vied for that title and knows he needs to beat Charles Martin for another chance at the crown. Charles Martin, at six-foot-five, is the highest ranked IBF contender and he’s been champion before. He wants to get back there again with a statement on January 1.
“In the co-main event, ‘The Cuban Flash’ Frank Sanchez, undefeated and standing at six-foot-four, comes in off of a big win on the Fury vs. Wilder III undercard, and he’s taking on the six-foot-six Puerto Rican heavyweight Carlos Negron, who is on a five-fight winning streak.
“It’s nothing but heavyweights on New Year’s Day. They’re the kings of the ring and you won’t want to miss it.”