Martinez, Ceja and Washington prepare for Saturday!
Photos: Stephanie Trapp/Showtime
Former world champion Kiko Martinez (35-6-0, 26 KOs) participated in a media workout Wednesday at the City of Angels Boxing Club in Los Angeles as he prepares to face undefeated WBA Featherweight World Champion Leo Santa Cruz (31-0-1, 17 KOs) on Saturday, Feb. 27 live on SHOWTIME® (7 p.m. PT/10 p.m. ET) from Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif.
In the co-feature Mexican warrior Julio Ceja (30-1, 27 KOs) meets Hugo Ruiz 35-3, 31 KOs) in a long-awaited Super Bantamweight World Title rematch and undefeated heavyweight Gerald Washington (16-0-1, 11 KOs) will face unbeaten Oscar Rivas (18-0, 13 KOs). Both Ceja and Washington joined Martinez to give the media a preview of what’s to come on Saturday night.
Martinez spoke about the adjustments he’s made as his trainer Gabriel Sarmiento was unable to obtain a Visa in time to travel to the United States and will not be able to serve in his corner come Saturday. Martinez is confident that renowned Southern California trainer Robert García will be able to lead him to a world title on Saturday night.
Tickets for the live event, which is promoted by TGB promotions in association with Sampson Boxing Promotions and sponsored by Corona, are priced at $27, $54, $104 and $199 and are on sale now via ticketmaster.com, Ticketmaster retail locations, by calling 800-745-3000 of by stopping by the Honda Center Box Office.
Here is what the fighters had to say Wednesday:
“I’m very happy to have Robert Garcia in my corner. He has led so many fighters to world titles. I’m excited and I’m anxious to get things going. I’m ready to collaborate and I think we’ll do great things Saturday.
“The people who doubt that I will take this title only make me stronger and more dangerous.
“Training camp has been extremely tough with lots of demands due to facing a champion like Leo Santa Cruz because he’s an excellent boxer who I admire. I have completely devoted myself to training for this fight.
“On Saturday everyone will get to see the best Kiko Martinez. I am going to be bringing the pressure and giving you all a great fight with power punches to disarm Santa Cruz and take the title.
“I hope that fans will change their mindset of seeing me as the underdog and support me because I am here to show something else.
“I am very happy to be here and have the opportunity to fight in the United States again.
“I love this California weather, it reminds me of the weather of El Canario where I was training and I am feeling great.
“I am ready. Now all there is left is to wait. We’ve got the weigh-in ahead of us and I’ve already made weight. I will be working up a sweat just to remain active and distracted because I am ready to jump in the ring and start the best fight of my life.
“I have won a world title in the United States and became a world champ here and I am expecting to become the world champ here once again. That fight was how I became known here, now this fight will be the biggest fight of my career.
“I’ve been studying [Santa Cruz] for quite some time now, since I’ve been waiting to fight him previously, now it has come to this point in this time of my life. I have grown and learned so much since then that I truly feel that I have learned from my mistakes and grown to the best of my life yet.”
“Luckily [trainer Gabriel Sarmiento] has been training me up until this point. We’re on the same team and we have each other’s backs and he is still fully supportive. I have him in my heart and I know that he will be supporting me all the way.
“I am not worried about what anyone is saying. All I want is to get in the ring come Saturday and demonstrate that Leo and I will put on a huge fight and the audience will not be bored for a single minute.”
“We have had a long and very intense camp. We are prepared and know what is on the line here because we know that Hugo comes at it with everything he’s got. This is a prestigious opportunity that I have been presented with and we can forecast that it will be an all-or-nothing fight.
“This will be a toe-to-toe fight because we both know each other’s strengths and having fought before we know this rematch will be explosive.
“From the second we knew there would be a rematch, we immediately started training. We knew going in to this again that it will be a tough fight and this one will be better than the first. It will be more dangerous and more of a fight than the last because of what the rematch represents.
“I have trained very hard because I know what is on the line and I am not going to allow Ruiz to take that title from be so easily. It is going to be an all-out battle.
“Hugo has reach and height on me but all I know is that once I hear that bell, none of that matters. There’s a reason why they call me the champ and I am confident in my skill to show that.
“I am looking to show up and give the fans an entertaining show. I will be looking for a fight all throughout and keep it exciting for the fans who are coming out to see a good fight.
“I devoted my life to becoming the champion and my life dream was always to be a champ, so this is something that I will fight to the end for.
“I became a champ here in the United States and now that I am blessed with the opportunity to get a rematch here. I’m ready to take full advantage of this chance to give it 100 percent.”
“I grew up boxing and boxing was always my passion as a kid. I used to go to the local Boys & Girls Club as a kid and I’ve been in love with it since. It’s always been a part of me and I’m glad I can do it again and take over this division.
“There are lot’s similarities in football and boxing. You watch film, break your opponent down. We take everything from sparring and practice and take them out to the game.
“This is going to be a great fight. It’s always a good battle when you have two undefeated fighters. It’s going to be a night full of action. I look forward to the action. I love stepping up and facing top-flight competition.
“Rivas has an extensive amateur background. He’s a big, strong guy who likes the knockout. He’s going to go for it. I’m prepared for a fight like that. I know the pressure is coming. We’ve worked hard since my last fight.
“The jab is the key for everything. It opens up all the other shots and keeps the opponent off balance. I’m going to hammer him with it. It’s a major tool.
“It’s a great honor to be fighting here in Los Angeles. My whole life has taken place in this state and everyone who has supported me is coming together on Saturday to see it all in action.
“Heavyweight boxing is always exciting. We’re the hardest hitters in the game. I can’t wait to show everyone the hard work I’ve put in and give a great performance.
“I’m going to be smart and disciplined in the ring. But you also have to have a strong will and have the determination to keep moving forward. You have to step to the guy and apply the pressure.
“My height and reach is always to my advantage but it’s not that. It’s the legs, the mind, the combinations. It’s everything.
“You will see a smart and aggressive style from me on Saturday and I’m going to take that into the next level of my career.”
Santa Cruz vs. Martinez, a 12-round bout for Santa Cruz’s WBA Featherweight Title taking place on Saturday, Feb. 27 at the Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif., is promoted by TGB Promotions in association with Sampson Boxing Promotions. In the co-feature, Julio Ceja and Hugo Ruiz will meet in super bantamweight world title rematch for the WBC belt and opening the SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING telecast, Gerald Washington will face Oscar Rivas in a 10-round heavyweight bout. The tripleheader will air live on SHOWTIME (10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT) and will be available in Spanish via Secondary Audio Programming (SAP).