MANCHESTER, England (June 2, 2005) – Kostya Tszyu and Ricky Hatton offered their final comments to the press at the Radisson Edwardian Hotel in Manchester before this Saturday’s bout at the MEN Arena. In a matchup that has the makings of a classic, IBF junior welterweight champion Tszyu (31-1, 25 KOs, 1 ND) will defend against enormously popular, undefeated hometown favorite Hatton (38-0, 28 KOs) in the challenger’s backyard on Saturday, June 4, on SHOWTIME at 9 p.m. ET/PT (delayed on the west coast). The highly anticipated event, another potential SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING Fight of the Year candidate, begins LIVE at 2 a.m. in England.
“I have had a very good training camp and I am here to show all my skills. Ricky is a great challenger. I have seen him fight. This is about respect, boxer to boxer.
“Fighting Ricky in his hometown does not matter at all to me because inside the ring, nobody else can help him. I am here for business. Ricky has seen me. He knows what I am capable of, but I have a few secrets you will see at the fight.
“When I go into the ring, I cannot see what is going on around me. I am in a tunnel, focused.
“Does it concern me that I have boxed only three rounds in the past two and a half years? Ask Sharmba Mitchell. I am fresh. I have been in the gym. When you live a healthy life, do not drink or smoke, it does not matter if you are 35 or 25. Someone told me that the 25-year-old Tszyu would beat the 35-year-old. No way. I would kill the 25-year-old Tszyu. I am such a better boxer now.”
“This is a great opportunity for me. I have never been this nervous before a fight, but I have never felt this confident either. I have prepared for this fight just as I prepared for the previous 38.
“Tszyu is known for his right hand and good body punches. I have watched a lot of film on him. In fact, I have probably seen more film on him than anyone. So I know what to expect.
“I have a lot more in my game than I have shown so far.
“In my fights, I have always been the favorite, so this is a different pressure. But everyone knows why I am here. I belong.
“This is the biggest fight of my life. Have you ever seen a better (junior) welterweight than Tszyu, and perhaps (Julio Cesar) Chavez? Tszyu is a fighter of such a great caliber. If anyone can handle the atmosphere it is him. He beat Chavez even with all those screaming Mexicans.’’