Thank you very much, operator. We want to thank the media for joining us wherever they are around the world. For those of them here in the United States, we hope all of you had a happy Thanksgiving holiday weekend.
We are looking forward to this Saturday at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, the home of Brooklyn Boxing, for an event presented by Premier Boxing Champions. We have the undefeated WBC Middleweight Champion of the world Jermall Charlo putting his title on the line against the highly ranked contender Dennis Hogan. This Saturday we go live on SHOWTIME starting at 9:00 p.m. ET/6:00 p.m. PT.
We also have a tremendous supporting undercard. We have the British star Chris Eubank Jr. making his United States debut as he battles Matt Korobov for the interim WBA Middleweight Championship. Also, to begin the night we will have Marlon Tapales going head-to-head against Ryosuke Iwasa for the interim IBF Super Bantamweight Championship.
Tickets for the event at Barclays Center are going quickly promoted by Lions Only Promotions and TGB Promotions. They are on sale now and you can get them at Ticketmaster.com or Barclayscenter.com. Or if you are in the Brooklyn area you can go to the American Express Box Office at Barclays Center.
Now, let’s meet some of the luminaries that are on the call today as we have a man who has been a part of some of the biggest names and the biggest events in the history of combat sports. He is the President of Sport and Event Programming for Showtime Championship Boxing, here is Mr. Stephen Espinoza.
Thanks very much Ray. We are very much looking forward to this weekend as the Middleweight Division takes center stage. Two high stakes, 160-pound fights on SHOWTIME as part of the three-fight televised card opening up with an intriguing matchup between two former world champions.
Our main event must-see attraction is undefeated Jermall Charlo, the star of the 160-pound division, defends his WBC Middleweight Title against highly ranked contender Dennis Hogan.
This will be Jermall’s 10th appearance on SHOWTIME from ShoBox through ShoExtreme, through SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING. This will now be his second consecutive SHOWTIME headline fight of 2019. And whenever he is on SHOWTIME or anywhere else for that matter Jermall is most definitely must-see TV. One of the most impressive and athletic fighters in any division.
Dennis Hogan for his part, he is coming off a controversial majority decision loss to Jaime Munguia that I think most people who were looking at it objectively believed that he won. Certainly, I believe that he won. He is a very aggressive fighter with a strong chin.
As he will tell you himself he believes that a move up in weight is going to benefit him greatly and make him stronger. In other words, we’ve got the makings of a great match up, stylistically and personally and we are looking forward to a great fight this Saturday.
Thank you very much Stephen. Greatly appreciate that. And yes, as Stephen mentioned, Dennis Hogan originally from Ireland and now fighting out of Queensland, Australia having come off a, you know, highly controversial loss against Jaime Munguia back in April.
Before that he came into the fight riding a 6 fight win streak. He has fought - I mean, this is a guy who takes on any and all combats he has spotted. Super Welterweight, Middleweight, Super Middleweight and Light Heavyweight during the course of his career. And also for the media if you want to know we actually have Glenn Rushton his trainer also on the call as well.
But ladies and gentlemen, please welcome the rising contender, 28 wins, 2 losses, one draw, 7 wins coming by way of knock out. Here is Dennis Hogan. Dennis, opening comment.
Hi guys. I want to thank everybody for making this possible. Very happy to be speaking with you guys and very, very excited to be a main event with Charlo at Barclays Center in Brooklyn this weekend.
Training is going on very well and I just can’t wait to get in there and put on a show for everybody. So thank you very much.
What were your options for your next fight after Munguia? Did you try to see if you can get a title fight against any of the other champions at 154 or was the move to middleweight always there after what happened?
Yes. I mean, we did chase the rematch and then we found out that was a dead end. So we actually had someone locked in for a title eliminator fight but that fight fell through. And we were lucky enough then that Jermall Charlo being the champion that he is offered me to fight for the WBC.
So it was a tough couple of months trying to make that fight happen and then having another fight fall apart but again, you know, we kept our head down, kept the faith and luckily my team was able to pull off this fight. And big credit to the team, Jermall Charlo also and to everybody for making this fight and I have certainly put my hand up to take it and here we are now ready for a cracking fight.
Is the loss to Jaime Munguia still sort of fresh on your mind? Do you use it as motivation or have you sort of just moved past it and found it is what it is and you are focused now solely on Jermall Charlo?
Yes. Look, I mean, I put it in the past. But again as everybody says, you know, it was a controversial decision. When I left there I really genuinely felt like I won. So it’s not like, you know, I have had a loss before and, you know, I had to do some soul searching and all the rest. But from this I genuinely felt like I won so my chin and my head was held high and I said okay, I can come back up and I can make it. I can do better than that.
And so I got back into training. I had a couple of weeks off. When I got back into training we worked hard to become a better fighter all around and now this opportunity is showing up. So I mean, that’s in the past. I have no resentments with all of that. It is what it is. It just set me up for a bigger success story for the future.
Is there a sort of something different that’s being done to sort of get accustomed back to 160-pound compared to when you were just solely focused on being at 154?
Look, it’s not a big difference. In terms of strengths we have been able to keep my muscle build. My strength stays a little bit longer. But we had a lot of time for this fight so we actually were able to keep that going and gained another kilo of muscle.
I mean, that’s all I need because now it’s really about not having to dehydrate so much. I’m very good at doing this and I can still perform very well. But I have always wondered, do I punch as hard as I used to when I was middle welter-super middleweight before? On Saturday night we are going to find out. I’m excited.
Is it more difficult to get past a loss that everybody believed that you won or is it easier to take a loss that you felt like, okay, I can go back to the drawing board and I can get better?
Yes. I mean, it’s a good question. But the thing about me is that I’m very goal oriented and my goal was always to be world champion. And even when they announced it, I’m still in the ring. Even then my head was booming with just a lot of positives that can come from this because, you know, my goal is to being world champion. For me I felt like this may actually, even though I didn’t get the decision, this may actually set me up for bigger and better.
I always have faith and a belief when following goals and so I was right. I mean, after that, you know, the whole world took notice. The boxing world took notice of what went down and what happened and then here we are.
For me right now if you ask me what your idea was to win your first world title, I would have told you in New York. I would have said, you know, Barclays Center, Madison Square Garden. One or the other. I would have stayed with all my family and friends there, you know, from a six-hour flight from Ireland. I would have stayed with a good team around me like I have got.
Everything around me is exactly as I would have wanted it to be. So you know what, a little bump in the road down in Mexico set me up for something greater. You watch Saturday night and you will see that I will be taking this with everything I have got.
Do you see any similarities with Charlo and Munguia or are they just like two completely different sorts of fighters?
There are similarities. Me and my coach here Glenn have certainly spoken about them and in great detail and I can see there is. So there are little things that we can utilize but overall I mean there is a few good similarities but we have changed a lot up and not a whole lot. I mean, we changed a bit up. We have changed a bit up and that we will be utilizing that but there are a few little differences there for sure.
Do you kind of feel with the way that you were treated in the Munguia fight that you kind of have to probably be a little bit more aggressive than you naturally are or do you feel that you will get a fair shake in terms of a decision over here?
Well, I mean, after the Munguia fight in training we actually pumped up a lot so and you can see that I will be actually twice as fitter as I was for the Munguia fight and I have made all the changes to become a much more rounded fighter.
This is hurricane 3.0 right now. I have put so much work into it to even to get to this point right now, till we finish all the hard work and it being title week I’m actually proud of myself and I have never said that before. The amount of work that I have put into this through sweat and tears to become a better fighter, I’m already proud of myself. So going in there on Saturday night it’s going to be good for me.
But again, you know, with the Munguia fight I put it behind me. You know, I still get tagged and polished like all the time about how they reckon I had won. It’s a little bit heart breaking every now and again. I have to put that to rest in my mind.
But you know what, that has just made me train harder every time that happens so it’s brought something in me every time I get tied in those things and I channel that energy into my training. So on Saturday night you will see that difference in me. No doubt.
After the Munguia fight did it kind of change your perception of like how you need to approach each fight knowing that an opportunity like this is always going to come?
Yes. You know I certainly have. You know what I mean? Again I was fighting a fighter with a six-fight win streak and, you know, I was just so used to being in there and winning. But we have added a lot more ferocity and fearlessness to what I’m doing there. So you will see that and, you know, obviously that will help.
And also the way we train up and try to change for the best to become a lot more competitive up there and in terms of winning rounds and, you know, not just getting worked on. So we have certainly seen that come inside me also to help me be a better fighter and more aggressive in terms of hitting and not being hit. So you will see that on Saturday.
Do you see this as like the pathway to even bigger opportunities and therefore reason to stay at middleweight?
I didn’t really think about it but to be honest right with the power I’m getting in my shorts I think that we are going to make a big statement here on Saturday night and that’s going to be my way. You know, that’s really how I’m feeling right now. You know, for me there is no plan B until that opportunity comes along.
So right now plan A is go out there Saturday night and put on a great fight, become the WBC Middleweight Champion of the world and go on from there. And again my goal is always to be unified world champion. So there are some big fights in that division and right now that’s all I’m focused on. But first and foremost I’m focused on Jermall Charlo only.
Can you tell us about the response you are expecting on Saturday at Barclays Center when you make your ring walk trying to make, you know, your dream become a reality?
I mean, if you look at what happened in Monterrey. It was a 16,000 stadium and you could hear at least 15,000 Mexicans there, you know, shouting and I got, you know, 30 to 50 Irish-Australian that were there was just so loud. You know, they were closer to the ring obviously but any time I landed a shot, you would know about it. And that was down in Mexico.
Right now there is friends that I had in play school that have been hitting me up on Twitter that they are all going and flying over. And wait you’ll see it. You will be able to hear the atmosphere on the TV and I can guarantee you it will sound like I’m the A side fighter on Saturday night. It’s something incredible but it truly is something magnificent and it makes me rise to the occasion every single time.
Well Dennis, we know that you have been - we appreciate you being so generous with your time as you get set for your world championship opportunity on Saturday Live on SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING 9:00 Eastern, 6:00 Pacific from Barclays Center in Brooklyn. Dennis, if you have any final comments as you get set for your match up on Saturday evening against Jermall Charlo?
Again, you know, I’m about to make a dream come true so I want to thank everybody involved, my team, all you guys, everybody that makes this possible I want to thank everybody. I’m very grateful and I’m going to put on a big performance for everybody and walk away with the world title. I want to thank SHOWTIME also Stephen Espinoza, PBC and Tom Brown, Charlo’s team and everybody. But you know what, I’m going to win the world title Saturday night.
Thank you very much to Dennis Hogan. We appreciate it. We look forward to seeing him as fight week progresses.
Now let’s meet his adversary, the champion who is trained by renowned trainer Ronnie Shields, 29 years of age was a world champion first at 154 pounds before coming up to the middleweight division. As you heard on the call here he is no stranger to Barclays Center and he actually won the Interim Middleweight Championship with the highlight real knock out over Hugo Centeno Jr. last year.
After being made the actual the full middleweight champion he defended his championship down in his hometown of Houston live on SHOWTIME against Brandon Adams where he looked tremendous.
This man, undefeated 29 by 29 victories, 21 of those coming by way of knock out. He loves the City of Houston. He represents it everywhere he goes and he is making Barclays Center a second home. Please welcome the World Champion Jermall Charlo. Jermall?
I’m ready December 7. I’m going to deliver something explosive. Something that Dennis Hogan is going to remember for the rest of his life. I promise to give my fans a better Jermall Charlo, the best Jermall Charlo that there is. I have been working hard at my camp.
I want to thank my whole team. I want to thank SHOWTIME for doing this, Ronnie Shields and everyone in camp. Anybody who has been involved in Jermall Charlo from this point on, it means so much to me and for everyone that stayed on my side and hoed me down I want to give you all the biggest hug and the biggest thank you.
In your eyes why does Dennis Hogan standout against any other contenders that may or may not have been on the table when looking at this upcoming title defense?
Dennis Hogan, possesses a lot of skills and a lot of natural attributes that we can exploit and he makes a great opponent for me as far as he wants to fight me and he is a tough guy who wants to be in that fight. I think he makes for a great fight.
Do you feel like you getting this title is being overshadowed because of the whole Canelo Alvarez franchise situation that you pretty much had no control of?
No. Real fans and real boxing fans not the casual or just people who don’t know boxing, they understand and they know that I had nothing to do with it. The WBC calls its own shot and makes their own rules and they have been doing that for years.
I absolutely had nothing to do with Canelo moving up to the franchise but if you think about it - if they say hey, you won a lottery you are like, I forgot I played the lottery. You are not going to like not take the money, right? So think about it like it’s just a world title trophy to me. My legacy means more than me just having a belt.
Everyone in boxing they understand, so for anyone who don’t, they will understand later.
Do you feel like you are now fully integrated as a middleweight fighter and your body is at the best it could possibly be fighting at this division?
I’m one of the biggest middleweights out there. I’m the best middleweight out there and that’s why I’m the WBC Champ. I have things that these other middleweights haven’t been able to show in years. So yes, I’m getting acclimated to the weight.
Of course I have been making 160 pounds for quite some time now because when I was at 154 that wasn’t my natural weight. That’s why I moved up in weight. You only get older and stronger and grow and I have grown to the middleweight division. Me and my team have executed a great game plan to get down to the weight division and we are going to compete at the highest level.
What are the specific challenges that Dennis Hogan presents to you?
Every fighter trains to become the world champion so he is going to be there to fight me. He is going to give his all. I know he is going to be in shape so what does the world champion do? We learn how to keep them off and we learn how to fight to the best of our ability. Don’t worry. I’ll get in there and I will be the best Jermall Charlo and no one dare to beat Jermall Charlo.
What do you think you need to do to further cement that legacy?
As I grow you guys are going to be saying what a legacy I have and what it means to me. I’m young. I’m still learning. I’m still having fun. I’m enjoying my job and I’m continuing to win. So it’s obvious when I say legacy that I mean my whole career and to make a statement in my career is to get to the biggest fights and to capture the world titles that I’m presented with.
We all know that you really want to get the stoppage but isn’t it a good thing to continue to build a full program just to build on that experience? Or would you rather just get in and get out?
I don’t know. I guess that that’s a question for Dennis Hogan. Do you want to stand in there and try to fight with a Jermall Charlo or do you want to try to box and survive? I’m here to deliver the most explosive shots that I have. I’m going to be at my fastest. I’m going to be on my feet.
Me and my team have done a great job in camp to exploit the mistakes that Hogan makes. If you can take the shots then I’m here for 12 rounds and if you can’t, you know I’m one of the best finishers in boxing and I will get the job done and I will get him out of there.
How would you say your relationship with the fans in New York is?
I love Brooklyn. Brooklyn is almost my second home now. Lately I have been fighting here in some big fights in Brooklyn. I had some explosive knockout nights in Brooklyn. I have been 12 rounds in Brooklyn, it’s been a journey.
I’m from Houston so I’m bringing something to Brooklyn that I don’t think, they have seen in a while since the Mike Tyson days, something really explosive. TGB Promotions and SHOWTIME have done a great job of bringing some amazing fights to Brooklyn and I just happen to be a part of it. I like to call it Brooklyn, Texas.
Do you feel that you get the recognition that you should deserve and do you even care at this point as long as you just keep getting the wins?
Not really but I care about it because you care about it. I care about it because you are asking me about it. I’m one of the best fighters in the division. I’m the WBC champ. I’m 29 and 0 with 21 knockouts. I have had my share of greatness. I feel good about where I’m at. I’m avoided.
This is not something that’s overnight, so like throughout the term of my career I’m enjoying the fact that you can get your ups and your downs and I can’t knock everybody out. Some people have got great game plans.
You have seen in my last fight. Brandon Adams really didn’t want to sit there and trade shots with me. This fight is different. I have somebody that wants to sit there and trade shots with me and he is going to want to fight different. Every fight is different. Some of them at the top of the division are fighters and some of them are boxers. I have to be able to do what Jermall Charlo does best and that’s to make the best adjustment.
Talk about how you keep your focus on looking at Dennis Hogan first as you have other bigger fights that are looming with your division?
I don’t want you all to think that I’m overlooking Dennis Hogan. He has been on the calendar for a while now. I haven’t looked at any other fighter outside of Dennis Hogan. My job is to break Dennis Hogan down completely and take him out completely.
Like I said, when I’m the best Jermall Charlo, some of my best fights that you have seen, guess where they end in, knockouts. Dennis Hogan can talk the good game about wanting to be a world champion because that’s what you are supposed to do when you are hungry and you want to be the world champion.
You want to fight against the world champion but you have to make sure the mistakes that you make aren’t the same mistakes that you have been making.
He is not going to be a different fighter than he was in his last fight. He could be the A side, B side it doesn’t matter. I can fight on any side. It’s my ability that will not let him win and will not let me get touched in that ring and make sure that I do what I’m best at.
So don’t think I’m overlooking Dennis Hogan, I’m just looking for the best Jermall Charlo there is.
How did it feel for you and your brother to promote your own show on October and just take ownership of like a real promotional company?
Lions Only is going worldwide. Lions Only is everywhere. When you hear Lions Only you think of some ferocious boxers who stand up and they want it all. So to be underneath that banner, to put on our own show, it means a lot to see other fighters coming up from beneath us.
Me and my team have done a great job of letting the world know what Lions Only meant to us so we have a great following outside of us being the competitors.
Something like this where you have ownership of a company, is that a key reason why you are able to stay put where you are, since this is an opportunity that other platforms can’t present to you?
No. It’s not about our platform. It’s not about any of that. I’m the WBC champ. I’m supposed to be able to call some shots and make my moves the way I make my moves. I have got the best team behind me. My manager has done a great job up to this point. I’m loyal so I’m going to continue to keep my loyalty and I’m going to continue to win and I’m going to prosper.
Do you kind of like having that next opportunity up close and personal, with Chris Eubank Jr. on this card, where you can kind of weigh your options or moving forward?
Yes. I see him talking and saying everything that he was saying. It doesn’t matter. He wanted to talk himself into a fight with me or someone bigger because he is running out of time. Like he ran out of gas, he is going to run out of time and before you know it, I’m going to be right there in his face.
When I get in his face they don’t ever say any of that. They all talk over the Internet and they say these things but they know what’s really up. It’s Jermall Charlo. I’m not one of those fighters who’s going to do the bumping and grabbing and stuff like that. We are going to fight. So let him talk. I’m not from the U.K. I’m from Houston, Texas. You have got to do your research.
They can say whatever they want to say but when it’s time to fight I want to see them talk that same game. Everybody that’s been saying this and that about Jermall Charlo, they have got to live up to it.
All right. Jermall, we appreciate you taking the time out of your busy schedule as you are ready for fight week as you defend your championship on Saturday night against Dennis Hogan live on SHOWTIME from Barclays Center in Brooklyn 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT. Jermall, if you have any final comments for the media that are on the call.
Thank you all for tuning in. December 7 on SHOWTIME is going to be an explosive night. I promise to give Dennis Hogan something he will remember for the rest of his life and that’s it.