The four boxers in the first heavyweight championship bouts to be fought in Brooklyn for more than 115 years were at the final press conference held at the Edison Ballroom in Manhattan on Thursday afternoon. The rare show will take place at Barclays Center on Saturday evening, January 16, and the two heavyweight title clashes will also be televised live on SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING at 10 pm.
In the main event, the current WBC World Heavyweight Champ Deontay “The Bronze Bomber” Wilder (35-0, 34 KO’s) of Alabama will put his championship on the line for the third time, since winning the title over Bermain Stiverne 12 months ago, against Artur Szpilka (20-1, 15 KO’s).
Although Szpilka is four years younger than the champ both began their professional careers in 2008. Wilder’s final amateur fight won him the Bronze medal in the heavyweight division of the 2008 Olympics. The champion at 6’7” has a reach advantage, but the challenger fights out of a crouch and is a southpaw. Wilder is making his debut in New York City, which is very pleasing to him, “There’s so much rich history in New York, and they need a face there at Barclay’s Center. Why not me? I know the people there would embrace me as one of their own. I’ve got many friends in New York. I’ve got family everywhere, there too, so why not?” The challenger from Poland fought once in New York at Madison Square Garden where he suffered his only pro loss, to Bryant Jennings in January 2014.
Both spoke very confidently of winning the upcoming bout, but Wilder gave credit to his forthcoming opponent, “When you have foreign guys who want to be the first of their country to become heavyweight champion, they come to fight.’
Charles Martin (22-0-1, 20 KO’s) of St. Louis and Vyacheslav Glazkov ((21-0-1, 13 KO’s) of Ukraine will be vying for the vacant IBF Heavyweight Championship in the second heavyweight title encounter. Both will be attempting to win the title and avoid their first defeat in the ring. Galzkov, a 31 year old had an extensive amateur career that culminated in his winning the Bronze Medal in the Superheavyweight division of the 2008 Olympics. The currently ranked #1 contender in the IBF will be fighting a larger American at 6’%’’ and 250 pounds known for his knockout prowess.
The two 12 round title tilts are a fry cry from the last heavyweight championship fought in Brooklyn. On May 11, 1900 at the Seaside A.C. in Coney Island, a crowd of 8,000 saw James J. Jeffries defend his crown for the third time. The 25 year old knocked out his 33 year old challenger, James J. Corbett, in the 23rd round of a scheduled 25 round affair. Two of Jeffries’ earlier heavyweight title bouts were also fought in Brooklyn.
Another legendary heavyweight champ, Lennox Lewis, was present at the press conference. The last undisputed Heavyweight Champion who defeated Mike Tyson, Evander Holyfield and Vitali Klitschko among many others, wished good luck to all four heavyweights on the card. Lewis lost only two fights and drew once, but later defeated all three boxers who had put a blemish upon his superlative career.
The show is being promoted by DiBella Entertainment in association with Warriors Boxing and Sferis Knockout Promotions. Tickets, starting at $25, can be purchased at www.ticketmaster.com and www.barclayscenter.com.