Thanks for joining us on this call. We wanted to give all the press an opportunity to speak to all six fighters that will be televised on NBC on Saturday night April 16. The TV fights will begin at 8:30 pm ET/5:30 pm PT This event’s taking place at the beautiful Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.
Tickets for the live event, which is promoted by DiBella Entertainment in association with Star Boxing and sponsored by Corona, start at $25, and they can be purchased online at ticketmaster.com, barclayscenter.com or by calling 1-800-745-3000. And they’re also available at the American Express Box Office at the Barclays Center.
Thanks all for joining us. We’re going to get started with the co-feature of the evening, which is the WBO Cruiserweight Championship between champion Krzysztof Głowacki and Steve “U.S.S.” Cunningham. Głowacki made a big splash with his fight of the year performance against Marco Huck when he spectacularly knocking Huck out in the 11th round to capture the world title after having been knocked down himself and rising like the Undertaker does in WWE promotions. It was really one of the more remarkable turnarounds I’ve seen in a world title fight.
You can expect the 29-year-old Głowacki to receive heavy support on April 16 from the large Polish population in Brooklyn as he fights in the U.S. for the second time. He had a sensational record of 103-9 as an amateur before turning pro in 2008. Polish Peter is on the line and he’ll function as Krzysztof’s translator. I’m going to let the champion Krzysztof Głowacki say a few words first.
First of all I am so happy I’m able to fight again in the United States. I am expecting to deliver another great fight. I hope both Polish and American fans are going to be watching me and supporting me, because I want to deliver a great fight. I have more than 110 sparring rounds already behind me, with very tough fighters. I’m perfectly healthy and absolutely ready to come to the United States and defend my title.
Thank you Krzysztof. Steve “U.S.S.” Cunningham, I’m not going to say a lot about him this time. Enough has been said. He’s one of the most known commodities in boxing. Two-time World Cruiserweight Champion, 39-years-old but with a lot left in the tank. Trained by brother Naazim Richardson, a veteran of the Navy. This is absolutely a very, very strong challenge to Głowacki’s title and a fight that I expect to be extremely entertaining.
I’m very excited to have another opportunity and world title. Coming back down to cruiserweight wasn’t difficult at all. I was a cruiserweight who was fighting heavyweight and I’m just ready. I’m always ready, I’m always prepared, I’m always in gym. We are preparing for Głowacki. He’s a formidable foe. He made, like everybody’s seen, he made a big splash in his American debut and people are going to want to see him live up to that.
We want to get together, we want to make some fireworks, and my goal is to be three-time world champion and please the fans and television. So there we have it. I’m going back in, and this is not new territory for me but it’s a new opponent, so we take him very seriously and we don’t look past anything.
I was just wondering what you thought of Głowacki’s performance in his last fight. What did you think about what he did against Huck in that fight?
It was impressive. You got a guy who went down early in the fight against Marco Huck as a champion that he was working on breaking a record that fight. So he had a lot of steam behind him. Marco Huck is a formidable champion. He will be remembered as a great cruiserweight champion. But Głowacki stepped up. He got up off the canvas and he just stayed the course. And he stopped the champion. That’s how you beat the champion. A lot of people want to see champions beat like that, and Głowacki gave everybody what they wanted.
So like I said, he’s nothing to look down on because we hadn’t seen him fight in America before. We always take every opponent seriously. So we’re going to come prepared.
Steve, how much respect do you have for a guy like that who got off the deck against a guy he wasn’t supposed to beat? You’ve been in that position yourself and done that. So what do you think of that?
I think he’s awesome. I’ve been in that position myself so I know the motivation and drive he had behind him in order to go through and fight a guy like Marco Huck in front of so many fans from him home country here in America. So he was driven. That fan base drives him. I know he’ll be driven on the 16th, but I’m driven also.
Like I said, this isn’t new territory to me. I’ve been there. I fought in Poland twice. I fought in Germany numerous times, South Africa too. So I’m really not used to fighting at home, but when I fight at Barclays Center I will be closer to home but it’s going to still feel like Poland because those fans, his fans are going to engulf that place and then frame it with cheers for their guy.
Like I said, it’s not new to us, it’s not new territory but a new opponent, little things we tweak up in camp, and come April 16 it’s time to get in there and show it off.
Steve, when you were fighting at heavyweight, did you always think that you would give cruiserweight another try and go back down?
No I didn’t. I never thought I’d be heavyweight. My initial goal was to stay cruiserweight and do my best and do my part to put the cruiserweight division on the map here in America. Because, as you guys know, when I was a cruiserweight champion, there was no attention, no wealth, no television, no anything for cruiserweight.
So my goal was to try to help this cruiserweight division on the theme, be the best cruiserweight and make good fights, but it’s like I got elbowed out of the cruiserweight division. Even with a belt I couldn’t unify it. Then I lost my belt and these guys wouldn’t fight me even then. They still knew how I lost my belt wasn’t right. So the only way I could go was up. I couldn’t make light heavyweight so heavyweight was it.
But after heavyweight, after I was there and I was able to compete and these guys became national USBA champion and I felt I got robbed a few times from stopping me from getting that number one spot, I felt I was going to stay heavyweight. But then we realized that hey these judges, they’re not understanding what you’re doing to these big guys. They like their heavyweights to knock guys out, to throw a couple punches and somebody’s on the ground.
You’ve got Steve Cunningham in there running punches. I’m throwing 700, 800 punches a fight, moving, flipping, countering and that’s not a heavyweight to them. So the team, my wife, my manager, we all sat down and just like, “Hey let’s just go, let’s do the cruiserweight thing now and make it happen from there.”
Do you feel you’re done with heavyweight at this point?
No I’m not. I still think there’s a possibility, because you guys know I can go back and compete with those big guys. I floored the heavyweight world champion right now with one punch. That’s Tyson Fury. So I can compete. Even though he won that fight, I can compete with these guys. I beat some big guys, some good, some heavier guys, some good heavyweight fighters.
When we win this fight and we beat this man, which could give me a quick shoot right to some titles, right to a title fight at heavyweight. But, that’s always a possibility but the major thing is beating Głowacki April 16.
Krzysztof, after the fight with Marco Huck, the great comeback against him, were you at all disappointed that you had to stay out as long as he did because my understanding is you had some injuries that you suffered in that fight?
It was very frustrating. I wanted to be back sooner than later but my doctors were telling me that this was a 7-millimeter break in my hand so I couldn’t do anything. I was trying to do everything. I was running, I was spending some time in the gym, but obviously not boxing. But maybe there was a silver lining in disguise because it makes me so unbelievably hungry to actually be back right now. So this is my time and this time away made me even more hungry than usual. I want to thank everyone for getting me the opportunity to fight again in the states.
I would like to know from Krzysztof which hand did he break and was it only his hand? I also had thought maybe there was an elbow injury involved. Was it just the hand and which hand was it?
So this injury actually was a left wrist injury. It actually happened last week of sparring before Marco Huck. Part of the bone was missing, 7-millimeters of bone, which has to be transplanted again into his left wrist after the fight. So this was the extent of the injury, and this was – it looked very bad for a long time but now everything is perfectly well. So it actually happened before Marco Huck fight.
How big of a deal was it back in Poland? How well received were you when you went home? Are you a big national hero now?
Yes the difference was unbelievable. When I arrived in Poland in the airport there were people with flowers. There was a police escort to my hometown. Everybody was so happy. It’s an unbelievable feeling to be a world champion. I want to have this feeling again coming back after this fight. I want to say that before, I was relatively unknown but it happened and it changes everything unbelievably right now. People are smiling at me. On the streets, they approach me. They want to talk boxing. It’s unbelievable and a great feeling to have.
The Marcus Brown vs. “Hot Rod” Kalajdzic fight will be a 10-round light heavyweight fight. Radivoje Kalajdzic is 21-0 with 14 KOs, fights out of St. Petersburg, Florida, originally from Zenica, Bosnia and Herzegovina. Turned pro in 2011. He’s fighting in New York for the first time. He has wins over Donta Woods, Otis Griffin, Lionel Thompson, Rayco Saunders, Gilberto Domingos, and Fabio Garrido. He had a good amateur career and he’s an accomplished young light heavyweight.
This is also going to be the most difficult fight and the biggest fight of “Hot Rod’s” career, because he’s taking on a terrific fighter in 25-year-old southpaw, 2012 U.S. Olympian and three-time Golden Glove champion Marcus Browne. Marcus is 17-0 with 13 KOs. Turned pro in 2012. Eight of his thirteen knockouts have come in the first round and he’ll be fighting at Barclays Center for I think a record 11th time. He had four impressive wins in 2015 over Aaron Pryor Jr, Cornelius White, former world champion Gabriel Campillo, and Francisco Sierra.
I’ll start with “Hot Rod”. Despite his very difficult to pronounce name, Radivoje Kalajdzic speaks beautiful English and has been here for a while and he doesn’t need any kind of translation at all, as you will hear. So Hot Rod, say a few words, please.
Hello. I’m just happy to be fighting at Barclays Center. It’s a big show. I don’t really have much to say. I’m just ready to fight and I hope Marcus Browne is. I’m just here to answer any other questions that they got.
Yes. I’m happy to fight at the Barclays. I’m ready. This is another step on the road to becoming a world champion and everyone wants to make it seem like he’s the best fighter I’ve faced. I will say, “come the 16th, we’ll see.”
Marcus, I just wanted to ask, you seem to be aggravated with what you’ve been hearing in the media in terms of Hot Rod being your best opponent. If you could just elaborate a little bit as to why you don’t feel he’s not your best opponent to date.
I’m not aggravated at all actually. Best opponent in a professional fight? Yes. But I’m talking about the best guy I’ve been in the ring with, no, not at all. Come April 16, like I said, I’m going to do the talking with my hands because that’s how we conversate in boxing.
Hot Rod I just wanted to ask since you’re from St. Petersburg, are you familiar with Keith Thurman? Have you been to the gym there with Dan Birmingham and what kind of sparring have you gotten in that St. Petersburg area?
Yes I was there with them for one fight, with Keith Thurman training, about a six to eight-week camp. I got in the ring with him for about four rounds. It was a good work because he’s a hard hitter. That’s about it. A hard-worker. I’ve been in there with him eight weeks for one camp. A great humble guy.
Now for preparation for this fight, who have you brought in for sparring?
Lennox Allen, a super-middleweight.
For those who don’t know, Lennox Allen is an undefeated super middleweight who campaigns out of New York City.
Marcus, I’d like your scouting report on Hot Rod. If I haven’t seen him fight before, tell me about how he fights.
I see what I see, and come April 16 I’m going to exploit it, and that’s about it. I’m not about to sit here and get detailed on what I see as a fighter. He’s talented, he’s young, he’s undefeated. He doesn’t want to lose his 0, just like I don’t want to lose my 0. At the end of the day, that calls for fireworks in a fight, and that’s about it for me. As far as me seeing anything or any little details, why would I tell you and tell him at the same time?
Hot Rod, back to you. What’s your scouting report on Marcus Browne? What’s your assessment of him, strengths and weaknesses?
Well I’ve seen him fight on YouTube also. So, he’s got speed, he’s got power, he’s stopped a lot of guys in the first round. But the weaknesses, I’m not going to tell you that either. Just wait till fight night and I’ll show you.
When they brought this fight to you and your trainer Gary Stark and they said you were fighting Hot Rod, was Hot Rod even on your radar at that time?
They threw his name at us like a couple months ago and we said yes. They threw his name at us again and we said yes again. So. I mean at the end of the day, this is a fight that for both of us in our career, it’s essential. You have to fight guys like this on the road to become the champion. As far as him being on my radar, I don’t know him, you know what I’m saying, I never really heard of him. But, he’s young, undefeated and he’s strong. I got a lot of power too, so come April 16 we’re going to be on both of each other’s radar for sure.
Marcus does your confidence and your boxing ability also stems from your Olympic experience?
Not really. The Olympics are the Olympics, the amateurs are the amateurs, the pros are a totally different game. So you cannot go in there thinking like, “Oh I was an amateur starm I’m going to be a great pro.”
Two totally different games. All it takes is one punch. At the end of the day, I’ve been in there with, , a lot of good guys at a young age. There’s a lot of strong guys, a lot of champions.
I’ve been around guys, you know, for as long as I can remember. Growing up as a kid, being in the gym with all these guys. So I mean that’s just the type of pedigree and the type of confidence that you’ve got to have being around those kinds of guys.
But for the most part, no, the amateurs are totally different from the pros, and I’m not even looking at what I did in the amateurs as like that’s going to help me in the pros, because it really doesn’t. It all comes down to who really wants it more at the end of the day.
Do you guys both follow the philosophy of not studying styles but picking up the weaknesses, having seen each other fight on film?
I’ve seen a couple fights on YouTube and I know weakness, so we’re not really focusing on that, we’re just focusing on what I’m going to do and focus on my game plan and how do you exploit his. I’ve seen a couple weaknesses, so we’re mostly we’re working on the mitts with my coach on his weaknesses and stuff like that.
One of my Olympic coaches, he always told me that a guy always is going to make the same mistake. So you just let him make his mistake and worry about what you’re going to do.
I really don’t get real study guides like that because at the end of the day, it’s all about what we’re going to do. I’ve taken a look and I see what I see and that’s about it for me personally. I’m not going to stand and go on a limb and say like I come home after the gym and put him in my laptop and watch him. That’s not what I do.
Just curious if you had heard of Marcus Browne coming up and what were your thoughts about him and just what were you hearing about Marcus as he was coming up as a prospect?
I hadn’t really heard about him until a couple of months ago. They offered me the fight and I didn’t take it a couple months ago. I have my reasons but, they offered the same fight again this time and I took it. But that was the first time I heard of him, a couple months ago. I didn’t really hear about him before.
When they offered you the fight the first time, how come you didn’t take it?
I wasn’t with my right coach. I was with Pete Finese. I’m with my original coach from the amateurs that taught everything and I feel like he’s the best in the world. So when they asked me about the same fight I felt confident and took it.
Is there any fear from fighting in Marcus’ hometown?
No, I’m actually excited. I fight a lot of my flights in my hometown and I want to get away, , have the crowd against me, see how that feels. So I’m excited because there’s only going to be him and me in the ring at the end of the night, so I’m actually excited.
Marcus do you take it as kind of a slight that everyone is calling this your toughest fight and everyone is making a big deal about the fact that you’re facing another undefeated guy?
No, not at all. I don’t take it personally. This is boxing. This is what this sport calls for. At the end of the day, like I said, he is basically my toughest opponent as a professional.
He’s young, undefeated. He’s strong. He’s hungry. He’s coming from where he’s coming from. He’s got a family to feed and so do I. We’re both undefeated and that calls for fireworks in the fight, plain and simple.
Have you given any thought to the fact that you could be in a good position to maybe become the first member of your Olympic team to become a professional world champion?
Yes, definitely, definitely, definitely. Definitely, definitely, but becoming a world champion has been my dream since I was a kid coming up in the sport of boxing.
You want to be the first out of your team to become a world champion. That’s always something that the guys and me would whisper about here and there.
But most importantly, our focus is April 16th and that fight and that fight only. Whatever happens after that is all part of God’s plan. I can’t look past this guy.
I’m not going to let any little competition between me and my teammates make me look past this guy because he’s live and he’s coming. He’s coming to Brooklyn, he’s excited and so am I. It’s going to be a great fight honestly. That’s how I feel personally.
Chris Algieri is promoted by Star Boxing, Joe DeGuardia at Star Boxing. I’ll let Joe just say a few words, if he’d like, about the main event.
Thank you. I’m just pleased to be back at Barclays Center in Brooklyn where Chris has had so many exciting fights and back on PBC and on NBC. We’re looking forward to this fight.
It’s ironic that it’s been less than two years that Chris burst upon the scene and within those two years, he’s become a real veteran. And now he’s fighting a guy like Errol Spence. So we’re interested and looking forward to the fight and thank you everybody.
Thank you, Joe. Chris Algieri has had a terrific career. He’s beaten the odds in a number of occasions. He rose to fame in June 2014 at the Barclay Center, defeating Ruslan Provodnikov for a super lightweight world title. After being battered around for a round, he showed his heart in overcoming those two first round knockdowns and a swollen right eye to thoroughly outbox Provodnikov and win a world title.
He just beat Erik Bone via a unanimous decision in December and before that, what former champion, Amir Khan, in a close competitive bout last May that was controversial in the eyes of some people. In 2014, he traveled to China to challenge Manny Pacquiao but lost the decision. You know, this is obviously a big step up for the young lion, Errol Spence, Jr. and, you know, it’s a weird situation for Chris who’s been a big name in the sport for a long time.
But here, due to the great talent of his young opponent and the many people that have made him an underdog in this fight, Chris is in an interesting crossroads situation. So I’m going to let Chris Algieri, the pride of Huntington, New York, 21-2 with eight KOs, former world champion, say a few words.
Thank you Lou. Thank you everyone. I appreciate you all coming out today and paying attention closely to this big fight that we’ve got an April 16th. It’s an honor to be back at Barclays Center and looking forward to putting on another great performance.
I had some of my best performance is there at Barclays Center. I believe April 16th will be just another one of those and training is going fantastic so far. I’m actually getting more and more excited as we get closer to fight night which is generally the case during training camp as game plans come together and fitness levels reach optimal. So again, thank you all and looking forward to April 16th.
Thank you very much, Chris. And now this young man, he hails out of Texas. He was named Prospect of the Year for 2015 by ESPN and Sports Illustrated. He’s a 26-year-old former 2012 US Olympian turned pro in 2012, 19-0 with 16 KOs.
This guy’s a tough customer for anyone to face. And despite his relative youth, and professional inexperience, he’s widely considered one of the great young talents and boxing, Errol Spence, Jr.
Errol Spence, Jr.
Thanks. I’m very happy to be fighting April 16th at Barclays Center. It’s a great opportunity for me and just another, you know, stepping stone for my career. I really want to be infighting in the world title.
It is going great. I’m already on weight. I’m just waiting until April 16th to put on a great performance.
Do you believe that you are at the top among all the young talents right now or do something still have to be proven, that includes, against Chris, on April 16th? Continue reading