Eddie Hearn, Matchroom Sport Chairman:
“Welcome everyone to London ahead of this huge press conference, this huge moment for the sport, the biggest prize in the sport of boxing – the World Heavyweight Championship. August 20th, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Two Heavyweight icons, Oleksandr Usyk – the reigning World Champion and the defending champion here against the challenger Anthony Joshua – former two-time Heavyweight World Champion. This fight has it all, one of the most eagerly anticipated events in boxing. We look forward to the ‘Rage on the Red Sea’.
Oleksandr Usyk, Unified Heavyweight World Champion:
“I am pleased to be here today. I am very happy to get the opportunity to fight in Saudi Arabia and help open new horizons for the sport of boxing. I love to travel around the world and fight in places for the first time. I am not fighting for money or any recognition. I am just doing my job now and will continue fighting until my heart keeps beating. I am not expecting anything from Anthony Joshua, but I know that he will be different, but so will I.”
Alexander Krassyuk, promoter of Oleksandr Usyk:
“It’s a pleasure to see everyone here at this event. As Egis mentioned, London is a really special city for Usyk. He became the Olympic Champion here and he became the Unified Heavyweight World Champion here. We started our journey with Usyk 9 years ago in the professionals. We did have a lot of fun on our way to success. He became the Undisputed Cruiserweight Champion, he became the Unified Heavyweight Champion. Now his objective is to become Undisputed. We have a very serious man to deal with on August 20th. The fight takes place in the new destination of sports, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. A country that is transforming itself and transforming the world of sports and the world of boxing in particular.”
Egis Klimas, manager of Oleksandr Usyk:
“Good afternoon everybody. Thank you London for having us here. We’re very excited to be here. UK London is Oleksandr’s hometown. He won a gold medal in 2012 here. He had pretty good wins against Tony Bellew, Mr Chisora. He has a lot of fans here in the UK. Thank you for having us here. In Jeddah we saw something different, something interesting, something new for the sport. We were treated like kings there. We did a lot of promo shoots. We can’t wait to go back to Saudi. We want to thank Prince Khalid and thank everyone from Saudi for this event and for supporting this sport and we’re looking forward to August 20th.”
Anthony Joshua, former Unified Heavyweight World Champion:
“It’s hard to say from a head to head who’s going to win a championship fight. So I don’t tend to look into head to heads so deeply, but for some they could think that’s a 1-0 victory. That’s down to opinion anyway. Shout out to everyone in Saudi Arabia as well! It is going to be my second time there; first time was lit and it is going to be even better this time for sure. Going down to the old city was unbelievable. I am sure you have seen some of the videos on social media. Anyone that is going, I am sure you are going to be in for a great time in Saudi Arabia.
“In terms of old AJ, same old G, I’m just doing what I’m doing. Grafting away. It is a rough and tough sport. Fighting these lefties is a nightmare! And I cannot make the same mistake twice. I am hungry and desperate but at the end of the day how I perform will speak.”
Robert Garcia, trainer of Anthony Joshua:
“The whole team, everybody around us, is very positive. We have to do whatever is takes. We have to come out with different strategies in case one doesn’t work. We’ll be ready for the fight. Anthony is listening. He believes in us and that’s the most important thing. In the ring he’s got to come out and do what we tell him to do. Usyk is a great fighter. I’ve known him since a few years back when he came to my gym a few times to train. He’s a very talented fighter. He’s got very different ways to fight. Seeing the size difference, the height, the reach, the weight – everything is in Anthony’s advantage. We’ve got to take advantage of that. We’ve got to train him to focus on that and come fight night do what we need to do to win.”
Photo credits: Mark Robinson/Matchroom Boxing