Presser Notes and Quotes: Artur Beterbiev, Jerwin Ancajas and Gabriel Flores Jr. Set for Stockton Fight Night Saturday on ESPN

July 21, 2019

Top Rank Press Release

Beterbiev-Radivoje Kalajdzic, Ancajas-Ryuichi Funai and Flores-Eduardo Pereira Reis to headline special Top Rank on ESPN tripleheader SATURDAY beginning at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT

STOCKTON, Calif. (May 2, 2019) – Boxing’s only world champion with a 100 percent knockout ratio (Artur Beterbiev), the longest-reigning junior bantamweight world champion (Jerwin Ancajas) and the sport’s youngest ticket-seller (Gabriel Flores Jr.) took center stage Thursday at the final press conference for Saturday’s ESPN-televised card at Stockton Arena (10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT) .

IBF light heavyweight world champion Beterbiev (13-0, 13 KOs) will take on the hard-hitting Radivoje “Hot Rod” Kalajdzic (24-1, 17 KOs) in the main event, while Ancajas (30-1-2, 20 KOs) will make the seventh defense of his IBF junior bantamweight world title against No. 1. contender Ryuichi Funai (31-7, 22 KOs) in the co-feature.

Flores (12-0, 5 KOs), the 19-year-old Stockton native making his grand homecoming, will fight Eduardo Pereira Reis (23-5, 19 KOs) in a six-round lightweight special attraction. At the press conference, Stockton Mayor Michael Tubbs presented Flores with a key to the city and the NBA G League’s Stockton Kings gave the hometown hero a custom jersey and belt.

Flores and his adviser, Rick Mirigian, did not want this event to pass without giving back. They awarded a local high school senior, Sherwood Ruffin-Turner, with a scholarship check to assist with his collegiate studies. Ruffin-Turner is a straight-A student who works two jobs and dreams of becoming an immigration attorney.

This is what the fighters had to say.

Artur Beterbiev

“My preparation was excellent. I want to thank my new promoter, Top Rank, for this opportunity. I look forward to showing the American fans my talent, and I am glad to be fighting in such a great light heavyweight division.”

“I have a great opponent on Saturday night, but of course, I want to unify the titles. There are many great light heavyweights, and as a fighter, I want to test myself against the best. I want to be No. 1 in the division.”

Radivoje “Hot Rod” Kalajdzic

“About two years ago, I quit boxing. I had a really bad injury, got a job and went up to 225 pounds. Mentally, physically, I was done. Then, I had this procedure, stem cells, and over time it did a miracle. Look at me now. I’m on ESPN fighting for a world title. Life is great.”

On his reaction when he was offered the fight

“I was excited because I had been telling my manager that {Beterbiev} was one of the guys that I would pick if I could. When I got the call, I didn’t hesitate. I took the fight. It’s going to be a fun fight. He comes forward. I come forward. It’s going to be a fun fight for the fans.”

“I tuned some things up, and you guys will see on Saturday night.”

Jerwin Ancajas

“My last fight – my sixth title defense against Alejandro Santiago Barrios – was a hard fight for me. This will be my seventh title defense. We are confident, but we respect the challenge in front of us. Funai is a good, tough fighter.”

On what he hopes to show this Saturday

“The last time I fought, I was not happy with the result. For this fight, we did some different things in training to prepare 100 percent for the challenge in front of us. We prepared for all different types of styles, which will help me adjust as the fight goes on. My sparring partners were excellent, and you will see the result of that training on Saturday night.”

Ryuichi Funai

On his first world title shot

“I am extremely excited to put on a great performance. I have a strong heart, and I will be aggressive. I thank Ancajas for the opportunity, but I am here to become the new champion.”

On Ancajas

“I see him as a very talented fighter who can do many different things in the ring. It is my job to make his job more difficult.”

Gabriel Flores Jr.

“Since I was in elementary school, since I was an amateur, I always looked at this beautiful arena with a dream of fighting here. I was born and raised in Stockton, California. I’ve never lived in any other city. I had tough times here, but I love my city. I lost my mom, I lost an uncle. So, I’ve been through a lot, and I’ve overcome it. I just want to fight in my city, so come May 4, there’s going to be a lot of kids in attendance, a lot of parents, the whole community. They’re going to see me do something great, which is go after my dreams. I’m becoming successful. I’m going after my dreams. They’re going to see that they have a lot of opportunities out there. They’re not limited. They’re in this city and they can stay hungry and fight for what they want.”

On his opponent

“I’m ready. I’ve seen his tape. I see what he’s going to try and do. When I go in there, my boxing IQ is high. It’s definitely something he hasn’t seen before. I’ve fought in national and international tournaments {as an amateur}. I’ve seen every style.”

Rick Mirigian

“Gabriel has come a long way to put this many people in this building. It’s no small achievement. We have a big world championship night of boxing, and there will be a full house come Saturday night.”

ESPN and ESPN Deportes, 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT

Artur Beterbiev (champion) vs. Radivoje Kalajdzic (challenger), 12 rounds, Beterbiev’s IBF light heavyweight world title, MAIN EVENT

Gabriel Flores Jr. vs. Eduardo Pereira Reis, 6 rounds, lightweight, SPECIAL ATTRACTION

Jerwin Ancajas (champion) vs. Ryuichi Funai (challenger), 12 rounds, Ancajas’ IBF junior bantamweight world title, CO-FEATURE

ESPN+, 6:30 p.m. ET/3:30 p.m. PT

Felix Valera vs. Mario Aguilar, 10 rounds, light heavyweight

Brian Mendoza vs. Carlos Rodriguez, 8 rounds, welterweight

Vislan Dalkhaev vs. Vincent Jennings, 6 rounds, super bantamweight

Blake McKernan vs. Joey Montoya, 8 rounds, cruiserweight

Marco Arroyo vs. Jesus Godinez, 4 rounds, flyweight

Swing Bout

Quilisto Madera vs. Osbaldo Gonzalez, 6/4 rounds, middleweight

Promoted by Top Rank, remaining tickets priced at $175, $100, $65, $40, and $25 are on sale now and can be purchased online via Ticketmaster.com or at the Stockton Arena Ticket Office Monday-Friday from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. and beginning three hours prior to event time on event days.


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