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Alex Saucedo: “I’m Going to Take That Belt!”

The WBO junior welterweight champion and native of Dallas, Texas, Maurice Hooker, is in hostile territory.

The hometown kid, Alex Saucedo, is hoping to become only the second Oklahoma City product (following Sean O’Grady, who is also co-promoting this event) to taste world championship glory.

Saucedo and Hooker faced off for the first time at Wednesday’s press conference, a precursor to the in-ring hostilities that will occur Friday evening at the Chesapeake Energy Arena, home of the NBA’s Oklahoma City Thunder.

Saucedo (28-0, 18 KOs) and Hooker (24-0-3, 16 KOs) sparred many rounds years ago in Dallas, but both acknowledged those sessions would have little bearing on Friday’s outcome. They both promised an action fight, a fitting installment for this “border war.”

Hooker-Saucedo will headline a special one-fight telecast on ESPN at midnight ET. In the co-feature, which headlines the ESPN+ stream (6:30 p.m ET), undefeated welterweight puncher Egidijus Kavaliauskas (20-0, 16 KOs) will fight Roberto Arriaza (17-0, 13 KOs) in a showdown with potential world title implications.

Maurice Hooker

On being the road fighter

“l’ll fight anywhere. Outside your house, in front of your house, in the ring, on the sidewalk. I don’t care where I fight as long as I fight. I’m a fighter. I love to fight. I can outbox him. I can fight you on the inside. Come Friday, we’re going to see a good fight.”

On sparring with Alex

“We both were young back then. We got better. I got better. He’s better. I just got a little more better than him. It’s going to be a good fight come Friday. I’m here in Oklahoma. I don’t care where I fight. It’s on.”

Alex Saucedo

“I grew up just around the corner I always had the dream to bring championship fights back to Oklahoma, and now its here. I’m not going to let this opportunity go. I’m ready. We prepared ourselves in Big Bear for a very good fight. Like I’ve said, I’m ready for anything Maurice brings that night. I’m going to take that belt from him.”

On his June victory against Lenny Zappavigna

“It was a very tough fight. Everyone enjoyed it. I’m glad we’re here at this fight now. That fight got me to this point. Like I said, I’m going to take advantage of this opportunity.”

Egidijus Kavaliauskas

“Every fight for me is a step toward my dream. My dream is to become a world champion, so every fight for me, I’m bringing 100 percent of me because it’s a step. A big step. This fight is the same.”

“Big respect to Roberto. He’s a very good fighter. He and I have a similar style, so I know it will be a great fight.”

Roberto Arriaza

“I think this is a great opportunity. This is the opportunity of my life. I want to thank everyone involved for giving me this opportunity. I’ve been working hard for this.”

I know he’s a great fighter. I have a lot of respect for him. Like always, I have a lot of faith, and in the name of God, I’m going to be victorious once again.”

Bob Arum

“It’s great to be back in Oklahoma City. It’s our second time here this year. {Sean O’Grady} is the pride of Oklahoma City. I never promoted Sean here, but he won the title from Hilmer Kenty of the Kronk group in Atlantic City, the {WBA} lightweight championship.”

Sean O’Grady

“I’ve kept my eye on Alex Saucedo since he was about 12 years old. And I can tell you right now, the kid can fight. He grew up in the amateurs. He was a great little fighter, even as a young man. At 12, 13, 14 years old, he was a great little fighter.”

“I like Maurice Hooker. He too has a great background in the sport of boxing. This is going to be a terrific matchup.”

ESPN, Midnight ET

Maurice Hooker (champion) vs. Alex Saucedo (challenger), 12 rounds, WBO junior welterweight world title

ESPN+, 6:30 p.m. ET

Egidijus Kavaliauskas vs. Roberto Arriaza, 10 rounds, Kavaliauskas’ NABF welterweight title

Cletus Seldin vs. Nelson Lara, 10 rounds, super lightweight

Jonathan Guzman vs. Roberto Castaneda, 10 rounds, super bantamweight

Albert Bell vs. Carlos Padilla, 8 rounds, lightweight

Trevor McCumby vs. Felipe Romero, 8 rounds, light heavyweight

Tyler Howard vs. Isiah Seldon, 8 rounds, middleweight

Aaron Morales vs. Francisco Lapizco, 6 rounds, bantamweight

Rasheen Brown  vs. Sebastian Baltazar, 4 rounds, super bantamweight

Paul Kroll vs. Travis Conley, 4 rounds, super welterweight

John Rincon vs. Emanuel Williams, 4 rounds, lightweight

Promoted by Top Rank, in association with Roc Nation Sports and Matchroom Boxing USA, tickets for this world championship event are on sale now. Priced at $250, $150, $75, $50, and $35, tickets may be purchased at the Chesapeake Energy Arena box office, online at Ticketmaster.com, all Ticketmaster outlets, or by phone at 1-800-745-3000.

Use the hashtag #Hooker Saucedo to join the conversation on social media.

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