Puello vs Akhmedov and Garcia vs Gutierrez in double WBA world title bouts
A pair of top contenders representing the Dominican Republic will look to secure world titles as Alberto Puello confronts Batyr Akhmedov for the vacant WBA Super Lightweight belt, while Hector Garcia faces WBA Super Featherweight World Champion Roger Gutierrez, in action live on SHOWTIME Saturday, August 20 in a Premier Boxing Champions event from Hard Rock Live at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Fla.
The SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING® telecast is topped by four-division world champion Adrien “The Problem” Broner returning to take on all-action former world champion Omar “Panterita” Figueroain a super lightweight showdown. Coverage begins at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT with Brandun Lee, one of the sport’s most exciting prospects and biggest punchers, taking on Will Madera in a 10-round super lightweight bout.
Tickets for the live event are on sale now and can be purchased at Ticketmaster.com.
Puello and Garcia previewed their respective showdowns as they draw closer to their upcoming opportunity to achieve their world championship dreams. Here is what they had to say about those matchups, representing the Dominican Republic and more:
“I feel great. I’m focused on what has been an intense preparation with brand new challenges that I had never encountered before, but I am very satisfied with the results we have obtained ahead of the fight so far.
“This week is a lot more relaxed. We have been lightening our load as the fight gets closer. What’s left is keeping up our winning mentality, the one we always have, to then come out and shine on August 20.
“This is going to be the most important fight of my career so far, no doubt about it. The biggest opportunity I’ve had. I’m ready to seize it against a quality opponent that has given people a lot to talk about, that’s for sure. However, I’m ready to be crowned as champion and take the title.
“I don’t know much about Batyr Akhmedov. I saw his last fight against Argenis Méndez and the one he had previously against Mario Barrios, but not much more than that.
“My coach and I have Batyr studied up, having watched video of him, but that isn’t the most important thing for me anyway. I’m focused on me and on being 100%, because at the end of the day he could come out fighting in a totally different way.
“My family is currently in the Dominican Republic, and that is kind of tough for me. However, I talk with them every day and we are happy, because we know all of this is for the greater good and the future of the family.
“I expect this fight will be like my previous one and that I’ll be absorbing a lot of pressure from my opponent. I’ll be ready for it just like I was last time, since I’m a counterpuncher by nature.
“If I tell you that I don’t feel any pressure, I would be lying to you. You feel those butterflies, and that’s an awesome feeling, along with that commitment to make your countrymen and women happy by winning for your people. My mentality remains the same, I have to go out there and do my job.
“I have always felt the love and support from my entire country, and I’m sure that Dominicans will come out to show their support on August 20.”
“I’m feeling good, very strong and in great shape. I’m in my optimal condition both mentally and physically. Now we are making the final touches and adjustments to be 100% on August 20.
“I’ve been thinking about what being in your prime is all about. I hadn’t had this kind of chance before, and keep in mind that I had always dreamt of being a world champ by 25, 26 years old, 27 max. However, my career has been an uphill battle that has taught me valuable lessons along the way while taking me on a wonderful ride I’m still enjoying at 30.
“I am my best self at 30 years old. The maturity, the experience, and the grit I have acquired through the years have brought me here. The time has come to take full advantage of this opportunity, and you would have to be crazy to think I am not about to take advantage of it to the fullest.
“The story will be the same as when I won last time against Chris Colbert. I couldn’t possibly thrill my family and my fans more than I did in my previous fight. It was sublime.
“I still train as if this was the last time I will ever fight. I never, ever take anything for granted, that’s forbidden. I train with the same effort and intensity as my first time, and I can’t afford the luxury of underestimating my opponent at any time.
“My preparation has been like night and day this time around with more time to get ready. Now I feel at 200%, while I wasn’t at 100% against Colbert. To be totally honest with you, I was more like at 80%. However, I knew that would be enough to defeat Colbert.
“I also did part of my training camp in Miami, and I felt right at home over there. The Dominican fans will definitely come out to support me, the mutual love was definitely there.
“My family is in the Dominican Republic, but my brother Oriolis García is always by my side. Their unconditional support is priceless for me, and I will do anything I can to make them proud.”