LOS ANGELES (July 25, 2018) – IBF Lightweight World Champion Robert Easter Jr. participated in a media workout to kick off fight week in Los Angeles Wednesday as he nears his 135-pound title unification showdown against WBC champion Mikey Garcia this Saturday, July 28 live on SHOWTIME from STAPLES Center in Los Angeles in an event presented by Premier Boxing Champions.
Joining Easter Wednesday and competing on the three-fight SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING telecast (10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT) were Cuban heavyweight slugger Luis “The Real King Kong” Ortiz and former title challenger Razvan Cojanu, who meet in a 10-round bout plus unbeaten super lightweight contender Mario “El Azteca” Barrios and hard-hitting Jose Roman, who compete in a 10-round showdown.
Rounding out the workout participants was unbeaten prospect and 2016 U.S. Olympian Karlos Balderas, who competes on SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING COUNTDOWN, which will stream on the SHOWTIME Sports YouTube channel and SHOWTIME Boxing Facebook page beginning at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT.
Tickets for the live event, which is promoted by Ringstar Sports and TGB Promotions, begin at $50, plus applicable fees, and are on sale now. To purchase tickets, visit AXS.com.
Here is what the fighters had to say Wednesday from City of Angels Boxing Gym:
ROBERT EASTER JR.
“Training down in Florida allowed me to get away from distractions and just focus on myself. Kevin Cunningham stayed on me every day. We focused on my skills, using my advantages and you’ll see it all on July 28.
“We have a game plan, but we’re professionals in there and we both know we’ll have to make adjustments as the fight goes on. I’m going to fight my fight and leave it all in the ring. My focus is 100 percent on Mikey Garcia Saturday night.
“Early in my career I fought a lot on the West Coast and my first pro fight was actually at STAPLES Center. So I’m very excited to be back in front of a big exciting crowd.
“Coach Cunningham had me really working on the skills that I hadn’t been using as much in past fights. He’s helped me put together a great game plan that focuses on the advantages I have. He knows what kinds of things will give other fighters trouble.
“Big fights like these are important to me. Champion versus champion speaks loudly about who we are as men. It’s the two best guys out there fighting to decide who’s the best in the weight class.
“I’ve been dreaming about fights like this since I was a little kid. It’s finally here and I’m going to show the world what Robert Easter Jr. is really made of.”
“I feel great and I’m happy to get back in the ring on Saturday night. I moved past the loss after a day or two and got right back in the gym. I always knew I would fight again this year, because this is what I love to do.
“I’m excited to be fighting at STAPLES Center and I’m thankful to my opponent for accepting the challenge. I just want to show off my skills and prove again why I’m one of the best heavyweights in the world.
“I’m going to go in there on Saturday and do my job. I’m prepared to take care of the opponent in front of me, whether it’s in round one or round twelve. It’s going to be the same mission that I have going into every fight.”
“We worked during training camp and sparred with a lot of southpaws to prepare for this. I feel good about our strategy and the shape I’m in.
“My fight against (former heavyweight champion) Joseph Parker was an interesting fight. I only found out that I was facing him two weeks before, so I was not as ready as I wanted to be heading into it. But it was an opportunity I couldn’t miss and I believed in myself and fought all the way until the end.
“Ortiz is a strong fighter and a big challenge. I’m looking forward to another tough fight and putting on a great performance for the fans.”
“I’ve finished off training camp the last four weeks in the Bay Area with Virgil Hunter and I’m feeling great. We had fantastic sparring and everything is looking great heading into fight night.
“I’m excited for this opportunity. I have a really good, experienced opponent in front of me, and I’m coming into his backyard. I have a lot to gain coming into this fight. This is going to be a very explosive fight.
“I’m ready to showcase my talent and dominate with the game plan that we’ve put together. We’re focused on this fight, but I’m looking to climb the ladder and get a title fight or title eliminator by the end of the year.”
“I trained really hard for this great opportunity that I have here. It was very exciting to find out I’d be on SHOWTIME, especially on a big show like this headlined by a fight everybody wants to see. Now I get to display my talent in front of everybody.
“We had an effective training camp. We worked hard each day and everything really went smoothly. Everybody wants to be in this position, but not everyone gets to experience it.
“Barrios has a really good record and he’s very talented. He’s undefeated for a reason. We’re coming here to win. I’m going to be at my very best on Saturday.”
“When I first made my pro debut I felt like I was rushing things in the ring and trying to do things too fast. Now as I get more fights in I’m going to be able to take my time and break these fighters down little by little. You can’t knock everybody out in the first round.
“I’m only 22-years-old and I still have a long way to go. More than anything I just need to remain patient throughout the bout. We’ve put in the work so I know what I have to do on Saturday night.
“I fought at STAPLES Center last month, so this is nothing new to me. I’m going to go in there and fight my fight, be smart and take him out of there. We’re doing things the right way and we’re planning on being here for a while.”
Photos from Scott Hirano/SHOWTIME