Press Conference Notes: Jared Anderson set for heavyweight showdown against Andriy Rudenko
Anderson-Rudenko and Efe Ajagba-Zhan Kossobutskiy heavyweight co-feature will be broadcast live on ESPN, ESPN Deportes and ESPN+ at 10:30 p.m. ET/7:30 p.m. PT
Photos Courtesy: Mikey Williams/Top Rank via Getty Images
Roughly 1,000 pounds of heavyweight muscle will roll into the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tulsa on Saturday evening for an action-packed doubleheader.
In the 10-round main event, Toledo native Jared "The Real Big Baby" Anderson (15-0, 14 KOs) looks to notch his second victory in as many months against Andriy Rudenko (35-6, 21 KOs). Anderson thrilled his hometown crowd on July 1 with a 10-round decision over former world champion Charles Martin.
The 10-round co-feature will see Nigerian knockout artist Efe Ajagba (17-1, 13 KOs) seek to end the unbeaten run of southpaw puncher Zhan Kossobutskiy (19-0, 18 KOs).
Anderson-Rudenko, and Ajagba-Kossobutskiy will be broadcast live on ESPN, ESPN Deportes and ESPN+ at 10:30 p.m. ET/7:30 p.m. PT.
The ESPN+-streamed undercard (6:50 p.m. ET/3:50 p.m. PT) features Brooklyn-born featherweight phenom Bruce “Shu Shu” Carrington (8-0, 5 KOs) in an eight-rounder, Tulsa-born heavyweight Jeremiah Milton (10-0, 7 KOs) taking on Craig Lewis (15-6-1, 8 KOs) in an eight-rounder, and middleweight Nico Ali Walsh (8-0, 5 KOs) against Sona Akale (7-1, 4 KOs) in a six-rounder.
Promoted by Top Rank, in association with Holden Productions, tickets starting at $49.50 are on sale now at www.hardrockcasinotulsa.com.
At Thursday's press conference, this is what the fighters had to say.
Jared Anderson: “It was easy to get back into things after my last fight. We never stop, really. We might have taken a week off, but then we went right back to it. We took our time by sharpening our skills before sparring. But everything was great. We’re ready to go to work.
“My coaches have been training me like a little guy since I was eight years old. So, it kind of comes naturally to just move like I’m at a lighter weight. That’s what I do every time I step in there.
“This Saturday you will see me sticking to my plan. I’ll be using my jab, my speed. I’m always willing to do whatever I need to do in order to win. And I will continue being who I am because I am great.”
Andriy Rudenko: “Today is Ukrainian Independence Day, and we are here thanks to our Ukrainian army, thanks to our Ukrainian soldiers who defend our country. It fills us with glory to represent the bravest country in the world.
“I’m very happy to be in the United States. It’s been my dream to have a professional fight in the U.S. When I started my career, I dreamed of having a fight at the mecca of professional boxing, so I am very happy.
“I know that my opponent is one of the best heavyweight prospects right now. I will show you what my plans are for stopping him this Saturday in the ring.”
Efe Ajagba: “I know this is a big fight. I made sure to prepare hard and get everything done in training camp. I know he is a good fighter, but I will do everything possible to win the fight.
“I want to thank him for accepting the fight. I’ve been training hard for this fight because I know who he is. I will get things done on Saturday night.”
Zhan Kossobutskiy: “I have been waiting for this opportunity for a long time. This is a great opportunity for me to debut on ESPN.
“I’m very happy to have this fight. I have faced very strong opposition. It’s been a lot better for my career to have fought strong opposition. I believe the same is the case with my opponent for this Saturday.”
Nico Ali Walsh: “We were working on a lot of different things in this camp. Head movement was a big part of it. Defense was a big part of it. I’m no stranger to taking a punch. Everyone knows I can take a punch. But that’s not what is important to me. What is important is not taking the punch and still being able to come back. This camp has been completely different, and I can’t wait to show that improvement.”
Jeremiah Milton: “I’ve been staying busy and learning from each fight. I’ve been progressing and climbing up the rankings. I’ve been making an impact on the heavyweight division. It’s been amazing.
“This is my city. We got all these heavyweights out here. So, it’s going to be nothing but knockouts. Tulsa loves knockouts. They love big performances. And that’s what they are in for.”
ESPN, ESPN Deportes & ESPN+ (10:30 p.m. ET/7:30 p.m. PT)
Jared Anderson vs. Andriy Rudenko
10 rounds, Heavyweight
Efe Ajagba vs. Zhan Kossobutskiy
10 rounds, Heavyweight
ESPN+ (6:50 p.m. ET/3:50 p.m. PT)
Bruce Carrington vs. Angel Antonio Contreras
8 rounds, Featherweights
Jeremiah Milton vs. Craig Lewis
8 rounds, Heavyweights
Nico Ali Walsh vs. Sona Akale
6 rounds, Middleweights
Abdullah Mason vs. Cesar Villarraga
6 rounds, Lightweights
Ablaikhan Zhussupov vs. Wiston Campos
8/6 rounds, Welterweights
Charly Suarez vs. Yohan Vasquez
10 rounds, Junior Lightweight
Top Rank YouTube (6:15 p.m. ET/3:15 p.m. PT)
Bakhodir Jalolov vs. Onoriode Ehwarieme
8 rounds, Heavyweight
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