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Linares and Lomachenko Ready for Madison Square Garden Spotlight

The fight the boxing world has been waiting for — Jorge Linares defending the WBA and Ring Magazine lightweight titles against former two-division kingpin Vasiliy Lomachenko at Madison Square Garden — is only two days away.

Lomachenko and Linares, along with many of the undercard fighters, met the media one last time on Thursday.

The stacked undercard features welterweight contender Carlos ‘Caballo Bronco’ Adames (13-0, 11 KOs) in his Top Rank debut in a 10-round, ESPN-televised co-feature against Alejandro Barrera (27-4, 17 KOs); Irish sensation Michael Conlan (6-0, 5 KOs) will see action in an eight-round featherweight contest against Ibon Larrinaga (10-1, 2 KOs); Jamel Herring (16-2, 9 KOs) takes on the durable Juan Pablo Sanchez (29-15, 14 KOs) in an eight-round lightweight bout; top lightweight prospect Teofimo Lopez (8-0, 6 KOs) faces veteran Vitor Freitas (13-1, 7 KOs) of Salvador, Brazil, in a scheduled eight-rounder; female boxing sensation Mikaela Mayer (4-0, 3 KOs) will face Baby Nansen (6-2-1, 0 KOs) of Auckland, New Zealand, in a six-round lightweight fight; and 2016 Olympic gold medalist Fazliddin ‘Fayzi’ Gaibnazarov (3-0, 1 KO) returns in a scheduled eight-rounder against Jesus Silveyra (8-5-2, 3 KOs) of Monterrey, Mexico.

Linares vs. Lomachenko and Adames vs. Barrera will be televised live and exclusively at 8:00 p.m. ET on ESPN and ESPN Deportes, and undercard bouts will stream live on  ESPN+, available on the ESPN App, beginning at 4:30 p.m. ET.

This is what the fighters had to say.

Vasiliy Lomachenko

“I want to thank Linares for taking this challenge. Saturday night, it’s going to be a good bout, and we’re going to find out who is the best.”

“The way this bout is going to go… who knows? It’s boxing. It’s going to be a fight, and after that, we’re going to see.”

Jorge Linares

“I’ve been working hard for the last few fights preparing for this fight. I knew Lomachenko wanted it. I wanted it. So I was very confident that Golden Boy, Teiken and Top Rank were going to get it done.”

“The last two opponents I faced were southpaws. Purposely. I was preparing psychologically and physically to fight Vasiliy Lomachenko. I’ve had him on my radar.”

“I believe, and trust me when I say this, the fight is going to get more intense as the rounds go on.”

Bob Arum

“It’s a challenge, but that’s what makes a fighter one of the all-time greats… challenges. {Lomachenko} was great at 126. He devastated everybody at 130. Now, he’s moving up to 135, and people say, ‘Is this a bridge too far?'” And his father {Anatoly}, who is a great trainer says, ‘No this isn’t a bridge too far.’ And we’re going to see on Saturday. That’s what boxing is all about. If there aren’t any challenges, if there aren’t any obstacles, who the hell wants to watch it?”

Carlos Adames

“I know Barrera is a Mexican warrior, but he is going to face a fighter who is ready to do whatever he needs to do to win.”

“I’m expecting the support from my people. I am not just any Dominican fighter. I’m going to fly the flag high and represent my people.”

Alejandro Barrera

“This is a great opportunity for me. This is a great card, and I am ready for whatever he brings.”

Michael Conlan

I have to thank the fans of New York for always supporting me. My fans always pack the arena every time I fight here.”

“I feel I’m on the right track and moving steadily at the right pace. I prepare for the longer distance, but if it goes short, it goes short.”

Teofimo Lopez

“May 12, I’m going to do what I gotta do to take over. No disrespect to Loma and Linares, but I’m here to take over the show. At the end of the day, I’m here to entertain and put on a show for everyone. I’m going for the knockout. After this fight, my team and I have huge plans.”

“Being on this card with Golden Boy and Top Rank, it’s a blessing. I’m grateful to be here.”

“I know I’m going to win, but I want people to come away from my fights saying they need to watch me again.”

Jamel Herring

“Now that I’m with Top Rank, I have a fresh start. I’m looking forward to getting back in the ring.”

“I just want to have a busy year. That’s why I chose to work with Top Rank because they are doing a lot of great things, especially with the ESPN platform. I just want to stay busy and get a title shot.”

Mikaela Mayer

“This is a huge time for women’s boxing. We always needed big promoters to start signing women. I think that was the first step.”

“Because I am one of the few women boxers in the spotlight, I feel like I have a big responsibility to represent women boxers every time I step in the ring.”

“I can box on the inside and the outside as well. I want to be a well-rounded fighter. If I see the opportunity for a knockout on Saturday, I am going to take it.”

Fazliddin Gaibnazarov

“I had a little break since my last fight because of an injury, but I am ready to go on Saturday and show everyone what I am capable of.”

###

Promoted by Top Rank, in association with Golden Boy Promotions, Teiken Promotions, and Madison Square Garden, tickets for the Linares vs. Lomachenko world championship card are ON SALE NOW. Priced at $506, $406, $306, $206, $106, and $56, including facility fees, tickets can be purchased at the Madison Square Garden Box Office, all Ticketmaster outlets, Ticketmaster charge by phone (866-858-0008), and online at MSG.com.

Use the hashtag #LinaresLoma to join the conversation on social media.

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