Story and photos by Boxing Bob Newman
The Tuscarora Room at the Turning Stone Casino in Verona, New York was the site for the pre-fight
press conference for tomorrow’s ESPN 2 Friday Night Fights. Promoters’ Artie Pelullo and Greg
Cohen were on hand as well as the main event fighters and special guest WBA Super Welterweight
champion Austin “No Doubt” Trout. Turning Stone Media Relations Liaison Brett Stagnitti opened
the event by welcoming fans and press alike to the third major televised boxing event at the resort
since September when HBO’s Boxing After Dark featured WBA Middleweight champion Gennady
Golovkin vs. Grzegorz Proksa and tomorrow’s main event fighter, former WBO Super Welterweight
champion Sergiy Dzinziruk vs. Jonathan Gonzalez. The following quotes are in order of appearance at
Artie Pelullo (Banner Promotions): ESPN is ecstatic to have this fight tomorrow night. The fighters
here know the importance of being the air tomorrow night in ESPN2. They are happy to have Sergiy
Dzinziruk on their air because he knows what a win in this fight will mean for him and what is means
to be fighting on American television again.
Greg Cohen (Greg Cohen Promotions): Before we get to the main event fighters, I want to talk about
one of the undercard fighters. Antoine Douglas will be fighting Emmanuel Medina. Douglas is 3-0, 2
KOs. He is a future superstar and it will be a treat for the fans to see him at this stage of his career.
Tony Luis is 15-0, he’s fighting in the talent rich 140 lb. division. He’s really in for a test. We had
a change of opponents in the last week and a half. He’s fighting Jose Hernandez who I believe is a
tougher opponent than Miguel Gonzalez. Hernandez knows this is an opportunity and a win over a guy
like Tony Luis will springboard his career. I think Tony will pass this test with flying colors. He’s a
true professional and I’m just excited that everybody’s gonna get to see it.
Tony Luis: First of all I’d like to thank everybody who put this show together. This is a great
opportunity. This is a step up in competition for me. This is the launching pad for my career. This is
going to be a tough fight. I know Jose Hernandez has a reputation for upsetting many prospects before
and I certainly don’t wanna fall into that category. It’s a big opportunity for him. It’s a big opportunity
for me as well and I’m certainly not gonna pass it up. I’m looking forward to a good fight. Thank you.
Jose Hernandez: I’m not big on speaking. I’m just glad God gave me the opportunity to be here. Like
I say, we’re both good fighters. I came here to do my job and I’m hoping to pull the upset. I came here
to do my best. Thank you.
Eric Bottjer (Banner Matchmaker): I think we have a great show. It’s a great mix between the
television fighters and the undercard fighters. There’s a little international flavor. We have a terrific
Brazilian prospect by the name of Jackson Junior (Dos Santos) who is the Latin American light
heavyweight champion. He’s fighting in the United States for the first time and he’s very excited about
it. He’s seizing the opportunity. He’s fighting Dante Craig, the former Olympian from Ohio. We
have some local flavor. We have the institutions of boxing from the Upstate, New York area. Tony
Graziano and Ray Rinaldi are here with their fighter Ryon McKenzie who is undefeated. He’s going
to be fighting Rayshawn Myers. We have a couple of young prospects form Kansas City. First is
John Franklin who is undefeated. He’s taking on Micah Branch from Cincinnati, Ohio. Then we have
Jose Saenz in a Jr. welterweight fight against Jamell Tyson who is from Upstate, New York. The first
fight is at 7 p.m. You guys should get there early, not only to see the televised show but to see the
undercard. It’s gonna be a great show. Thank you very much.
Ryon McKenzie: Hi everybody. It’s just a pleasure to be here. I’m happy to have the opportunity to
be on the show. I wanna showcase my talent. It’s just really good to be here. You can’t get anything
better than this. I can’t wait to get in the ring and go ahead and do my thing. Thank you.
Artie Pelullo: The main event is a very interesting fight and will have ramifications for both guys
in the middleweight division. Brian Vera has fought everybody…and beaten most of them. He’s a
very difficult fighter and he’s a tough guy. I’ve known him a long time. He was with a lot of different
promoters who were friends of mine. He took the fight, probably against, arguably the best Jr.
Middleweight in the world…in my opinion (pauses, then looks quickly at WBA 154 lb. champ Austin
Trout, with a grin). Oh, one of the best TWO Jr. Middleweights in the world. Sergiy Dzinziruk is MY
fighter. Sorry about that! I don’t wanna get him mad (Trout). Just looking at me he could kill me.
Sergiy has never lost a fight at 154 lbs. The last time he fought up here, as you know was on HBO’s
Boxing after Dark. His opponent Gonzalez had this problem. He was ONLY like 15 pounds over
weight! He couldn’t figure out how to make weight which was a fiasco. Sergiy didn’t say “No.” He
took the fight. He entered the ring with a man who was eleven or twelve pounds heavier and also ten,
twelve years younger. He deservedly got a draw. I thought he won the fight. He hasn’t lost a fight
at ’54 and Brian knows that. Brian came her because he knows the winner of this fight will be in play
to fight for the WBA title against Gennady Golovkin, which is something that’s being in the works
now. So it has very big ramifications for whoever wins the fight. I first wanna bring up David Watson,
David Watson (Vera’s trainer): I’d like to thank Banner Promotions for making this possible. I
realize that this fight has big ramifications. If you know anything about Brian, he’s probably one of the
toughest men I know. He shows up to the gym way before I show up. Never late. Hardest working
guy I’ve ever met in my life. I’m very glad to be working with Brian. He’d like to come up and say a
couple words to let you know what’s on his mind.
Brian Vera: First of all I’d like to thank God for making this possible. Thank you all for coming out.
Thanks to Banner Promotions. I’ll probably say more after the weigh-ins. I’m a little bit hungry right
now. I had a great camp with Ronnie Shields. He wasn’t able to make it because he’s with the Charlo
twins for the Showtime show. I’m just happy for the opportunity and I WILL be victorious! Thank
Artie Pelullo: About Sergiy. Sergiy’s only loss was to Sergio Martinez. In the seventh round, he
hurt him badly. After the fight, I ran into Sergio in the lobby and he said to me, “I was hurt bad in the
seventh round.” So the only loss he (Dzinziruk) ever had was in the middleweight division. He is one
of the great fighters in his era, in his time. (Looking to Vera) This is another great fighter looking to
be. (Now looking to Dzinziruk) This is a great fighter who’s been there and looking to stay there. He
knows how important this fight is to him. He’s very professional, very focused.
Justin Fortune (Dzinziruk’s trainer): We’ve trained hard for this fight. We know Vera, we know
he’s a tough kid. He comes forward. He’s dangerous. We’re gonna stick to our game plan, box him
and come out victorious. Thanks.
Sergiy Dzinziruk: I want to thank everybody. I feel like I never left this place because I was just
here recently. It is going to be a very interesting fight tomorrow night. I am going to be victorious. I
wanna give special thanks to Artie Pelullo and Gary Shaw for letting me fight in the United States.
Austin “No Doubt” Trout (WBA Super Welterweight champion): How you guys doing? I’m
Austin Trout. Thank you guys for coming out. Thank yo to the Turning Stone for bringing me out.
Thanks to Greg Cohen promotions for putting this card together. This card is very interesting from
top to bottom. I’ve actually followed a lot of names on this list. To say I’m excited about the fights
tomorrow is an understatement. As far as my plans go- I got nothing official. Of course you all know
who we’re wanting to get. We want the red-headed boy (WBC counterpart Saul “Canelo” Alvarez).
If not, we’ll take anybody that’s in that top ten list. So hopefully we’ll have an announcement to
make…and it BETTER BE BIG! (Draws laughter and applause). [Gallery not found]