ESPN+ PPV and FOX Sports PPV (9 p.m. ET)
Tyson Fury 273 lbs vs. Deontay Wilder 231lbs
(Fury’s Lineal and Wilder’s WBC World Heavyweight Championship — 12 Rounds)
Charles Martin 254 lbs vs. Gerald Washington 236.5 lbs
(IBF Heavyweight World Title Eliminator— 12 Rounds)
Emanuel Navarrete 122 lbs vs. Jeo Santisima 122 lbs
(Navarrete’s WBO Junior Featherweight World Title — 12 Rounds
Sebastian Fundora 153.5 lbs vs. Daniel Lewis 153 lbs
(Super Welterweight — 10 Rounds
ESPN (8 p.m. ET)
Javier Molina 141.5 lbs vs. Amir Imam 141.5 lbs
(Super Lightweight — 10 Rounds)
ESPNews (7:30 p.m. ET)
Subriel Matias 142 lbs vs. Petros Ananyan 142 lbs
(Super Lightweight — 10 Rounds)
ESPN APP (5 p.m. ET)
Matt Conway 132.5 lbs vs. Gabriel Flores Jr. 132.5 lbs
(Lightweight — 8 Rounds)
Vito Mielnicki, Jr. 147 lbs vs. Corey Champion 147 lbs
(Welterweight — 4 Rounds)
Alberto Guevara 126 lbs vs. Isaac Lowe 125.5 lbs
(Lowe’s WBC International Featherweight title — 10 Rounds)
Rolando Romero 137 lbs vs. Arturs Ahmetovs 136 lbs
(Lightweight — 8 Rounds)
Here is what the press conference participants had to say Wednesday from the MGM Grand Garden Arena:
“I truly realized my power during my current knockout streak. I looked at my record and realized I was running through guys and knocking them out. You don’t just go in and knock a human out based on will, you really have to have the power to do so, and through that I realized I had something different. I am just applying my service to my greatness and I am going to use my power up until I can’t use it anymore.”
“My power is God-given; I don’t have to do anything at all. I don’t have to lift weights or do a special type of cardio; it’s born with me. It’s an amazing feeling to have it and to be in this position, out of all the things I could be doing, God placed me in this position. As fighters, we are free in this sport, we say as we please with less consequences, so when I use my platform, I use it well. If people see what I do in my occupation and see that I bring the greatness out of myself, then that will translate to people that look up to me.”
“Anything is possible in the ring, but it comes down to if he can back up his words. That is where your preparation for the fight comes out. One thing for sure, though, I am a great fighter on my back foot. That’s when I’m able to really time you and set you up, and have you run into my own traps. He has a lot of things going on in his camp so that tells you how nervous he is.”
“I don’t believe anything Fury says. I think he is just trying to butter me up and use a lot of mind games. He did that in the first fight to try and steal rounds, so we were lucky that we had experienced judges that weren’t influenced by that. I am not concerned with what I says, I am more focused on what he does. I am a man of action.”
“I am planning for everything, but I think when coming forward doesn’t work for him, he will resort to what he knows. He may try to come forward at first, but once he feels my power, that will stop quickly.”
“Round 12 has been in his mind since day one, that’s why he ran away from the rematch. In the back of Fury’s mind, he will think about how I gave him a concussion and how he had no idea how he even got on the ground. So, I do believe that round is in his head, and if he says otherwise, he is lying.”
“I deserve to be here because of the talent I have and what I am able to do. I have been knocking guys out for 12 years, so this is nothing new to me. I mean what I say, and I say what I mean, and I am exactly where I am supposed to be.”
“You can see that we’re both emotionally invested in this. We both want to give you all the best of us. Come Saturday night, we’re going to release all of our energy in the ring and it’s going to stay there.
“This is the moment I’ve been waiting for, and I’m sure he’s been waiting as well. There are so many odds looking in and helping to put the heavyweight division on notice. This division has had tremendous action these last few years. Our first fight was amazing, and this is going to be an even more intense.”
“Wanting to go head to head with him is a bold move, but we fight fire with fire. When I went at him in the first fight, though, he could not contain me. If I start doing that in round one, then he will be gassed by round five and hanging on for dear life, if he even gets that far.”
“The 12th round of our first fight was a good round, and credit to Wilder, he got me with two of the best punches I have ever seen thrown in a 12 round heavyweight fight. As we have seen, that has become very famous, the ole’ knockdown of the Gypsy King was very active online and all over the world. But the thing Wilder must be thinking is, I hit that guy with my hardest punch in round 12, and he got up. What do I have to do to keep him down?”
“The biggest puncher who ever lived should have to problem opening my cut up. He could not keep me down in the 12th round, so now I want to see if he is able to get up off the floor. I don’t think he has the guts to get up.”
“I gave Wilder the biggest payday of his life and brought him to the biggest stage. Deontay owes me everything, I brought him to this level, and this is his second fight at the top.”
“He’s going to try to and the right hand. If I’m stupid enough to get hit with it, I deserve to lose. I hit the floor last time, but I showed that I’m truly a fighting man. If he can’t finish me, I’m going to eat him up.
“Kenny Bayless is a top referee; he has refereed me before and he did a good job. I have no objections with the referees and judges, whoever they are they are, they will do a good job.”
“It’s been no secret that I’m looking for a knockout. That’s why I hired SugarHill and went back to Kronk. He gets you to sit down on that big right hand, and that’s the game plan.”
“What I did last time clearly was not good enough, and what better club to go to than Kronk? I know they can bring out of me exactly what I need for this fight.”
JAY DEAS, Wilder’s Co-Trainer
“We don’t worry about weight. We don’t even use the scale at the gym. As long as he’s training hard and eating well, which he always is, the weight just is what it is. He’s a freak of nature, so we’re not worried about what the other guy brings as far as his weight. Deontay has always been the lighter guy. It’s normal for us. It’s usually advantageous for us.”
“Sugar is a great trainer, so we are ready for the best Tyson Fury. When Deontay wins this fight, he will get the credit for beating Tyson at his absolute best. I don’t want any talk about anything else. I want both guys at their best, and I think that’s what we’ve got.”
“Its fight week, this is what is supposed to happen. This is what happens when you have the two best heavyweights in the world, both undefeated and highly motivated. I wouldn’t expect anything less than this type of energy.
SUGARHILL STEWARD, Fury’s Trainer
“Tyson Fury is a very tall heavyweight, so we believe that he can carry more weight, along with his power. He’s a big, strong heavyweight and extra weight won’t hurt him. He still moves around just like a super middleweight. Plus, he still has the ring IQ to set things up. We’re just adding some punching power to his arsenal.”
“I am excited watching the fighter’s reactions today. Up until now it has been quiet and subtle. Today you saw the mood swings, and all the hard work the fighters have put into their training camps. Emotions are going up, and emotions are going down, but this is what big-time boxing is. Both of these fighters have a chip on their shoulder and are expressing themselves as they should.”
“I feel as if I have done everything he asked for. He wanted to be better technically, more aggressive, and be a big dominant heavyweight.”
Wilder ready to knockout Fury again
“I’m happy and I’m excited that the rematch is finally happening,” said Wilder. “I want to give the fans what they want to see. I’ve been doing it with my last three outings – Fury, Breazeale and Ortiz. They’ve been spectacular events – from my ring walks where I gather all the energy of the people, to my uniforms that I wear to help spread that energy.
“Then I give them what they all come for – the knockouts, and my knockouts have been amazing. I proved myself the first time and I’m ready to do it again. It was a very controversial fight. I promise my fans that there won’t be any controversy with this one. I’m going to finish it.”
Fury: Wilder will get what’s coming to him
“There’s no more ducking and diving,” said Fury. “The date has been set, and the ‘Bomb Squad’ is about to be securely detonated and the real champion crowned as the world watches on for the most anticipated fight in years.
“This is unfinished business for me, but come February 22, this dosser will finally get what’s coming to him, and I can’t wait!”
“It’s great to be back for another big event. This is the biggest title fight of this era for sure and I can’t wait. I’m always in my element. I’m always in the zone. Right now I just can’t wait for February 22.
“My body feels like its walking into the sixth week of camp instead of the third week. It’s been amazing to have the quick turnaround after the Ortiz fight in November. I’m coming in shape. I put shape on top of shape and it’s allowed me to prepare even harder for Fury.
“We all know in rematches I’m always sharp because I’ve been in there before and I know what my opponent is capable of doing and what they plan on doing. I’m prepared more than ever for this fight.
“I knocked him out the first time we fought. I told him two years ago I was going to baptize him. Rising up is part of the baptism. But this a different story. This is unfinished business. Because he’s in WWE I’m going to make sure he gets knocked out of the ring, I might even come down with a flying elbow from the top rope.
“Fury not wanting the rematch me immediately definitely made this fight bigger. We had two warmups. I had a lot more dangerous road than he had though. He played it safe, while I went to the mountain top and climbed it. I’m building for my legacy.
“If he beat me, then why all the new trainers? Every day it changes. Firing and hiring. He wants to talk about being out of shape the first time, but he was in great shape. He spent 100,000 pounds on all those camps. I still to this day have the same people with me and I don’t need to change it.
“When you’re facing power there’s no way around it. You can’t prepare for that. You just have to hope that when it lands, it doesn’t do that much damage. He doesn’t even know how he got on the ground or how he got up in the first fight. He’s been dealing with feeling ever since the end of the first fight.
“I’m going to do exactly what I said I would do. I’m going to knock him out. I’m the lion. I’m the king of the jungle. I’m going to rip his head off his body. Everyone sit tight and buckle up. It’s going to be a fun ride on the way to giving everyone the best fight you’ve seen in your lives.
“This is a major fight for the public and everyone should be excited. It doesn’t’ get any better than this. Two giants and two champions, putting it all on the line for everyone’s entertainment. We’re leaving it all in the ring to see who is the king.
“There’s so many things that go through my head as I take my time to adjust and time my opponent’s movements. I’m building the data I need to set him up for that perfect punch. There’s a lot of things that come with skills. Not just the average fundamentals. There are a lot of different things and that’s what makes boxing what it is. My ring IQ is very high and that’s how I set them up. I know everything he wants to do. He gave me 100% of him already.
“He believes in his heart that he’ll knock me out. I always teach people to speak it, believe it and receive it. The magic of it all is in the belief. Though he’s saying those things, I don’t feel in his energy that he believes that. I feel like he’s nervous because of what happened the first time.
“I just learned from the first fight that I need to be calmer. I’m going to be a lot more patient in this fight, just like in the second Luis Ortiz fight. The object of boxing is to win, not just to win rounds. And I win in devastating fashion.”
“The consensus is either he knocks me out, or I win on points. Usually when people have that opinion, it goes the opposite way around. Expect him to box and me to be looking for the knockout.
“He thinks I’m going to come out herky-jerky with my famous style, but I want him to meet me in the center of the ring and have a slugfest, best man wins. I didn’t have the gas to finish him in the last fight, but this time I can turn that screwdriver until he’s gone. Let’s make it a Marvin Hagler vs. Tommy Hearns type of fight. I’ll meet you Inthe middle of the ring on February 22. Just watch out for the right hand, because you’re going to sleep in two rounds.
“We finally have the rematch and I can’t remember a bigger heavyweight fight in a long time. Maybe Lennox Lewis vs. Mike Tyson was the last big one like this and that was another U.S. vs. U.K. showdown.
“Deontay Wilder hasn’t been returning my calls or messages since I beat him last time. He’s trying to keep his distance. He didn’t want to be around me so I can get in his head. But I don’t think you can really get in anyone’s head. At the end of the end of the day, it’s just talk. It doesn’t really matter what we say. It matters what happens on February 22.
“What’s going to happen in this fight is that I’m going to get what I rightfully won last time. I’m going to get the green belt and keep my lineal title. And if he wants to rematch me after, I’ll beat him again. I’ve already beat him once, and I know I can beat him three times in a row.
“I’m going to win, that’s what I do. Deontay Wilder can make all the excuses he wants to make. Everyone on his team can tell him he won that fight, but as a fighting man, you know when you win and lose a fight. I’m going to go out there give him a boxing lesson and knock him out.
“You’re never a finished article, you can always improve. I like to keep freshening things up every now and again. I don’t make excuses. I won fair and square and we get to do it again. I’m ready for a fight today.
“I’m the best of my era and I took that title from Wladimir Klitschko. Nobody disputed he was the best and I took that from him, until someone beats me, that’s my title.
“He’s going to try to and the right hand. If I’m stupid enough to get hit with it, I deserve to lose. I hit the floor twice in the first fight, but it’s all about how you respond, I’m a fighting man. If he can’t finish me, I’m going to eat him up.
“I’m looking for a knockout. That’s why I hired Sugarhill. He gets you to sit down on that big right hand. That’s what I’m looking for. There’s the game plan. If I wasn’t looking for a knockout, I would have sharpened up what I did in the last fight. I’m not coming for that. I’m looking for my 21st knockout.
“When I get him in there again, I’m going to make him feel the fury. I’ve never been as sure of anything in my whole life. As sure as I was this morning putting this suit on. 100 percent he can’t win He’s got a puncher’s chance like anyone else. I’m much sharper and more fit now. I’m ready to rumble right now. I hope he train hard and goes to bed sleeping thinking about me.”
TOM BROWN, President of TGB Promotions
“On February 22, at the MGM Grand Garden Arena, it’s going to be bombs away. We have two superstars here. The best two heavyweights in the world. Both fighters are going to show a lot of passion at this press conference and all the way leading up to this fight because there is so much at stake.
“These are the best in boxing. There is nothing like a big heavyweight championship fight. We have the undefeated hardest punching, the most feared heavyweight in the world and I believe one of the all-time great heavyweights in Deontay Wilder.
“There is a reason Fury and his team didn’t want the immediate rematch right after the first fight. He’s taken a couple of tune-up fights instead because he felt that power on December 1. That’s not going to change this time, he can just ask Luis Ortiz.
I was lucky enough to promote the first fight and I believe we have something special in this rematch. I look forward to a fantastic fight on February 22 and we’ll see everyone there.”
TODD DUBOEF, President of Top Rank
“We talk about boxing having a renaissance, but it’s really about the heavyweight division. That’s what is going to create that renaissance more than anything right now.
“Tyson is so true, so gritty and he backs it up with everything he does. When you combine it with Deontay Wilder, you have two great personalities. This is really the beginning of the next super heavyweight run for the sport of boxing.”
SUGARHILL STEWARD, Fury’s Trainer
“This fight here is one of those fights that you don’t want to miss. The first one was one not to miss as well and I’m sure you all watched the replay. You have two great champions here going at each other. Both fighters left the ring still undefeated last time and still wanting to settle the store. On February 22, the score will be settled.
“The heavyweight division is still the biggest and most powerful division in boxing. It always will be. Everyone wants to see the fighters throwing the big blows. Wilder is one of the hardest hitters in history and Tyson is one of the best boxers. I’m happy to be training. with Tyson Fury. It’s been about 10 years since we trained together. He trained with me and Emanuel Steward and I’m here to complete what Emmanuel started.”
RISING STARS TAKE CENTER STAGE ON DEONTAY WILDER VS. TYSON FURY II UNDERCARD
An exciting lineup of rising stars will enter the ring in undercard action leading up to the highly anticipated rematch between unbeaten WBC Heavyweight World Champion Deontay “The Bronze Bomber” Wilder and undefeated lineal champion Tyson “The Gypsy King” Fury headlining a historic, mega PPV event Saturday, February 22 from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
Wilder vs. Fury II Prelims will feature hard-hitting undefeated contender Subriel Matias in a super lightweight showdown against Petros Ananyan, plus super lightweight contender Amir Imam taking on Javier Molina.
Prelims will begin at 7:30 p.m. ET/4:30 p.m. PT on FS1, ESPNEWS and in Spanish on FOX Deportes and ESPN3. ESPNEWS’ coverage will switch to ESPN at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT.
The Wilder vs. Fury II PPV begins at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT and features former heavyweight world champion Charles Martin squaring off against former title challenger Gerald “El Gallo Negro” Washington for a 12-round IBF Heavyweight Title eliminator in the co-main event. WBO Junior Featherweight World Champion Emanuel “Vaquero” Navarrete, a.k.a “The Mexican Iron Man” will defend his title against Filipino contender Jeo Santisima in the PPV featured bout. Plus in the PPV opener, super welterweight sensation Sebastian “The Towering Inferno” Fundora will face 2016 Australian Olympian Daniel Lewis in a 10-round battle of unbeatens.
Tickets for the event are on sale now and can be purchased at www.mgmgrand.com or www.axs.com. The event is promoted by BombZquad Promotions, TGB Promotions, Top Rank and Frank Warren’s Queensberry Promotions. A Premier Boxing Champions presentation.
A pro since 2015, Matias (15-0, 15 KOs) has stopped every opponent he’s faced in the professional ranks, including three more knockout victories in 2019. The 27-year-old will be fighting in the U.S for the third time on February 22, and the first time in Las Vegas, as he looks for a big 2020 debut. The Fajardo, Puerto Rico native will take on the 31-year-old, Ananyan (14-2-2, 7 KOs), who made his U.S. debut in December 2019, losing a narrow majority decision against Kareem Martin after defeating Arkadi Harutyunyan in April 2019. Born in Abovyan, Armenia and training in Houston, Texas, Ananyan was unbeaten in his first 15 fights after turning pro in 2015.
“I’m very excited for this fight and thankful to my team for giving me this great opportunity,” said Matias. “Just like all of my other fights, I’m going to train to my maximum level, because no matter who the opponent is, we’re all chasing the same dream. I want to thank him for taking this fight, but I won’t let him stand in my way. We’re going to give the fans great action and on February 22, we will know who is the most prepared to win.”
“This is a moment that every boxer dreams about and I can’t wait to demonstrate my skills on a big show,” said Ananyan. “I’m training hard, learning my opponent’s style, his weaknesses and putting together a strategy for fight night. This is a very important fight for me, because with a win I will be able to make my dreams come true. It’s been a long road to achieve my dreams and I’m ready to take another big step on February 22.”
The fighting pride of Albany, N.Y., Imam (22-2, 19 KOs) has resumed his quest for a super lightweight world title. After promotional issues kept him out of the ring for nearly two years following his competitive March 2018 decision loss to Jose Ramirez for the vacant WBC super lightweight title, Imam came back in grand style last November, knocking out Marcos Mojica in four rounds. The Mojica fight was his first under the Top Rank banner, and he’ll return against promotional stablemate Molina (21-2, 9 KOs), a 2008 U.S. Olympian. Molina went 3-0 in 2019, most recently knocking out Hiroki Okada at 1:05 of the opening round in their ESPN-televised showdown.
“I feel blessed to be fighting on the undercard of the biggest fight of the year,” said Imam. “I am prepared to shine and take full advantage of the opportunity and the exposure. I’ve had a great camp in preparation for this fight. I’m excited to get in the ring and I feel stronger and more prepared than ever. Defeating Javier Molina will put myself back in the conversation as one of the top super lightweights in the world.”
“I’m looking forward to fighting in an event as big as this one,” said Molina. “I know I’m facing a tough fighter in Amir Imam, but these are the type of fights that I need to earn a world title shot. I’m excited and ready to make a statement on February 22.”
The action-packed non-televised lineup includes unbeaten prospect Rolando Romero battling fellow unbeaten Arturs Ahmetovs in an eight-round lightweight fight, plus rising prospect Gabriel Flores Jr. in an eight-round lightweight affair against Matt Conway.
Rounding out the card is sensational 17-year-old prospect Vito Mielnicki Jr. in a four-round welterweight attraction against Corey Champion, and unbeaten featherweight Isaac Lowe squaring off against Mexico’s Alberto Guevara.
Fighting out of Las Vegas, Nevada, Romero (10-0, 9 KOs) added three knockout victories to his tally in 2019, including a highlight-reel knockout win on FS1 in April when he stopped Andres Figueroa. A fast-rising prospect in the Mayweather Promotions stable, the 24-year-old will look to extend his five-fight knockout streak on February 22. He will take on the 30-year-old Ahmetovs (5-0, 2 KOs), who turned pro in March 2019 and picked up five victories throughout the year. Ahmetovs was born in Riga, Latvia and fights out of Delray Beach, Florida.
The 19-year-old Flores (16-0, 6 KOs) is one of the sport’s rising stars, an amateur prodigy who signed with Top Rank at the age of 16. Already a proven ticket-seller in his hometown of Stockton, California, he will be making his fourth Las Vegas appearance. Last September, he shut out Miguel Angel Aispuro over six rounds on the Fury vs. Otto Wallin undercard at T-Mobile Arena. Conway (17-1, 7 KOs) is a five-year pro whose only defeat came via split decision to Francisco Esparza last October.
Still a senior in high school, the 17-year-old Mielnicki (4-0, 3 KOs) fights out of his hometown of Roseland, New Jersey and turned pro in July 2019 after a stellar amateur career. Mielnicki has shown his immense skill in back-to-back performances on FOX PBC Prelims, stopping Marklin Bailey on the Wilder vs. Ortiz II prelims show on FS2 in November, then defeating Preston Wilson in his 2020 debut in January on FS1. He will take on the 21-year-old Champion, who fights out of Charlottesville, Virginia and has fought three times since turning pro in July 2019.
Lowe (19-0-3, 6 KOs), Fury’s close friend and training partner, is a former Commonwealth featherweight champion who has won five in a row since a 2018 draw against Ryan Walsh for the British featherweight title. A fan-friendly pressure fighter, Lowe was victorious on the undercards of Fury’s last two bouts and hopes to move closer to a world title shot with another win. Guevara (27-5, 12 KOs), a native of Mazatlán, Sinaloa, Mexico, is a two-time bantamweight world title challenger who pushed then-champion Leo Santa Cruz the distance in December 2012. He fought Shakur Stevenson last July on short notice and gave a valiant effort before being stopped in the third round.