OFFICIAL WEIGHTS FROM NATIONAL PARK, MARYLAND:
Dmitry Bivol: 174.6 pounds vs. Samuel Clarkson: 173.4;
Malik Hawkins: 146 vs. Carlos Soto: 148¼;
Glenn Dezurn: 120¾ vs. Leroy Davila: 119¾
“The plan was to become world champion in my first 10 fights. We’re almost there.
“Clarkson is a big light heavyweight, but I have fought bigger guys. This is a tough fight, but we were willing to take a risk for this opportunity to fight on TV.
“I did have a transition from amateur to pros. The WSB helped that transition and gave me experience. I’ve been able to learn from fight to fight, and I’ve gained experience in each fight.
“I’ve been trying to be more aggressive and control the pace of the fight. I’m comfortable going forward and backward.
“We’ll feel out the power and timing in the beginning. I know what people expect of me – they want the KO – and if the opportunity comes I’ll try to finish him.
“Working at Wild Card has been a big difference. Training in the U.S. is completely different. In Russia it’s mostly amateurs, so you get used to the wrong style. Most of what I’ve learned has been from sparring with pros here in the U.S.
“Clarkson usually comes forward. He seems uncomfortable moving back. We think we can use our advantages to cap on his mistakes and get him out of his comfort zone.”
“I’m not an underdog. I’ve fought my way up here to this position and the winning streak. I feel like I’ve proven myself to be here. My losses have helped me get to where I am. I know I belong here.
“I’ve never been one to get knocked down and stay down. I’m ready for whatever comes. The pressure isn’t on me. I just need to do my thing.
“I’ve been in some wars. I know what it’s like to get knocked down. He hasn’t been there before. I need to stand my ground. I’m not backing up.
“I want to see what the hype is about. His whole career is my winning streak.
“I’ve been sparring with top quality guys. I’m ready for this fight. It’s a big opportunity and I don’t feel any pressure.
“He hasn’t been in wars like we have. It’s hard when you face a guy like me that isn’t afraid of you. He’s one dimensional. We want to make him as uncomfortable as possible.
“We’re coming to take his belt. He’s going to have to stop us from taking it. He’s never faced anyone like me – a really fast fighter with a lot of power.”
“I’ll do whatever it takes. If I have to come forward, I’ll come forward. If I have to box, I’ll box.
“Hawkins a smart fighter, fast, tall. He likes to fight at a distance. I need to pressure him to win the fight.
“I’ve faced fighters as tall as him before. This isn’t new for me.
“I’ve only been in the U.S. once before, and I’ve never fought here. I need to take advantage of this experience.
“My goal is to go for it. I want to be the best in my weight class. Everything starts now for me.”
“I grew up with Gervonta (Davis). I saw him win the title, I’ve seen his success, and now it’s my turn. It’s been great motivation for me. For him to become a champion motivated me even more.
“We’ve sparred 1,000’s of rounds with Gervonta. We’ve been in there with the champ and know it’s our time.
“We’re here to prove we’re ready. We don’t want to take any shortcuts. We’re taking this one fight at a time. We’re building and building.
“I’m tall, but I have an inside game. I fight inside better than a short fighter.
“People don’t want to take the chance to fight me. Credit to Soto for taking the fight, but he’s going to learn the hard way why no one wants to fight me.”
“We knew this was coming some day and now it’s here. We know all about Dezurn. He’s the perfect opponent for us. We know can break him down.
“When I didn’t make the Olympic team, I got right over it. But I wasn’t sure I was going to turn pro. I have a family to take care of and I can’t let anything distract me from being a father. But now I’m 5-0 and fighting on national TV. This is the moment I’ve been waiting for.
“Dezurn is an aggressive and has a lot of heart, but I’m not worried about him. I need to focus on myself.
“A win puts me in the conversation with the other up-and-coming fighters. A win could really change my career.”
“Sparring with my wife helps me. She hits like a dude. She’s taught me a lot – she taught me discipline. We push each other in the gym; we make each other better fighters.
“If you can make an adjustment with a sharp female woman, there’s no reason you can’t do it with a man.
“I like to break down my opponents. I become aggressive when I see a weakness.
“I’m ready to fight. I’m ready to get in there. I worked hard and now it’s time to have fun.
“I sparred with Rau’Shee (Warren) for this fight. He has tremendous talent. He’s an inspiration for me. We also sparred with Vasyl Lomachenko for this fight. You have to be physically and mentally in shape to fight him.”