This Saturday night on Showtime, former titleholders Robert Easter Jr (21-1, 14 KO) and Rances Barthelemy (27-1, 14 KO) square off for the vacant WBA “world” lightweight title at The Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas, with coverage starting at 10:00 pm ET.
On the undercard, Viktor Postol (30-2, 12 KO) faces Mohamed Mimoune (21-2, 2 KO) in an eliminator for a shot at the WBC junior welterweight title held by Jose Ramirez, and heavyweight prospect Efe Ajagba (9-0, 8 KO) takes on Michael Wallisch (19-1, 12 KO).
On Thursday, the fighters spoke at the final press conference leading up to the show.
ROBERT EASTER JR
“I’m not here to talk about any past or future fights. Right now I’m focused on this fight against Rances. Come Saturday you’re going to see what I’ve put myself through during this camp.
“Not only have I learned a lesson from fighting Mikey Garcia, but I also learn something new after every fight. I went back home to Toledo for this one and got back to basics with my dad and Mike Stafford. We put in the hard work and you’ll see it on display Saturday.
“This fight is going to be a lot of action and I don’t think it’s going to make it to the final bell.
“I’m highly confident right now coming off of the hard work in training camp. The connection with my dad is so great and all the time we spent in camp is going to pay off Saturday.
“We had a tremendous camp. I’m hungrier than ever right now to get back in the ring and show everyone that I deserve to be at the top. The only dance I’m going to be doing on Saturday night is to the bank.”
“I’m excited for this new opportunity that I have in front of me and I’m not going to let it go to waste. I’m taking that belt with me on Saturday night.
“I always have good fortune fighting here at The Cosmopolitan and I believe I’m going to take home the victory Saturday night.
“I take nothing away from Robert Easter Jr., because he’s a great champion. But I can do everything. I can fight on the inside, on the outside, I have power and I’ve fought against great opposition.
“I never dreamed of making it this far, especially coming from where I did. The dream of professional boxing didn’t exist. To be in this position already, it makes me want to keep chasing bigger fights and leave behind a big legacy.
“I have a very competitive fight in front of me. I’ve worked with Joel Casamayor, who has great experience combined with mine. We have great chemistry and I’m ready for everything to come together on Saturday night.
“I thank Robert Easter Jr. for taking the challenge, but I’m going to make him dance to the rhythm of the ‘Cuban Salsa’ on Saturday night. It’s going to get caliente.”
“My team and I had a great camp and I’m excited to be here and see what my opponent is going to bring for Saturday’s fight. I’m ready for a great fight.
“I trained hard like I always do. I have the experience against top fighters and I’m ready to prove that I’m still one of the best.
“I want to become world champion again. I’ve fought much better opponents than Mimoune and it will show on Saturday. My plan is to box, break him down and if the knockout comes, I’ll take it.”
“I’m very excited to fight here in Las Vegas and I want to tell the American fans that I guarantee a great fight on Saturday night. I’m coming to win.
“It was a very good camp, and it fully prepared me for war on Saturday night. I’ve worked hard to be in the best shape of my career.
“Every fighter is different, so we’ll see if he’s my toughest opponent once I’m in there. I respect him and I know that he’s a good boxer, but he doesn’t have anything I can’t handle.
“I’ve studied Postol closely and I’m ready to fight. I have the strategy and game plan prepared to get the win. I’m focused 100 percent on getting this win.”
“This is my first time in Las Vegas and I’m very excited to be here. I’ve been studying my opponent and I know he’s a good fighter. I can’t wait to get in there on Saturday and show off my skills.
“Every time I fight I go back to Texas and start training again. I’m facing a good fighter, but I’ve been preparing for him. I have a powerful jab that I’m looking forward to showing off.
“In one year, or maybe two. I think I’ll be fighting against top guys. We’re going to keep stepping up. This is my first time fighting on Showtime so I’m looking forward to that step.
“It’s up to my opponent how long the fight lasts. I never say I’m going in to knock him out. I have to feel it and find the moment and see what he gives me.”
“I come from Germany to bring a show to the fans. I love this city already and I want to win so I can come back again. I’m fighting a tough guy on Saturday, but I’m also very tough. May the best man win.
“I had a little less than a month’s notice for the fight but I had already been training and sparring very well. I think that I’m going to bring that great work into the ring on Saturday.
“I think for sure I’m the toughest opponent of Ajagba’s career. I will be the first rock that he has to climb. At heavyweight, everybody has power. We will see on Saturday what he has.
“I trained very hard with Alexander Dimitrenko, who is another tall fighter. It prepared me well and I think we’re going to go toe-to-toe for as long as it lasts.”