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Jose Pedraza, Richard Commey motivated to shine in Saturday’s junior welterweight main event in Tulsa

Two former world champions, a heavyweight knockout artist, and a US. Olympic silver medalist take the spotlight Saturday night at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tulsa.

CATOOSA, OKLAHOMA – AUGUST 25: (L-R) Richard Torrez Jr, Jared Anderson, Jose Pedraza, Mark Shunock, Richard Commey, Miljan Rovcanin and Jeremiah Milton attend the Jose Pedraza vs Richard Commey press conference at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tulsa on August 25, 2022 in Catoosa, Oklahoma. (Photo by Mikey Williams/Top Rank Inc via Getty Images)

In the 10-round main event, Puerto Rico’s former two-weight world champion, Jose “Sniper” Pedraza (29-4, 14 KOs) will battle former lightweight champion, Richard “RC” Commey (30-4, 27 KOs). The heavyweight co-feature — scheduled for eight rounds (or far less) — features the long-awaited return of Toledo native Jared “The Real Big Baby” Anderson (11-0, 11 KOs) against Serbian veteran Miljan Rovcanin (24-2, 16 KOs).

Heavyweight Richard Torrez Jr. (2-0, 2 KOs), who captured a silver medal last summer in Tokyo, looks to make it three knockouts in a row versus Marco Antonio Canedo (4-2, 2 KOs).

Pedraza-Commey, Anderson-Rovcanin and Torrez-Canedo will be broadcast live on ESPN, ESPN Deportes and ESPN+ at 10:30 p.m. ET/7:30 p.m. PT.

Undercard action — streaming exclusively on ESPN+ at 6:30 p.m. ET/3:30 p.m. PT — includes the return of heavyweight destroyer Efe Ajagba (15-1, 12 KOs), junior welterweight prospect and U.S. Olympian Tiger Johnson (4-0, 3 KOs), Cleveland-born lightweight sensation Abdullah Mason (3-0, 3 KOs), rising junior welterweight Kelvin Davis (5-0, 4 KOs), light heavyweight puncher Dante Benjamin Jr. (3-0, 2 KOs), featherweight prospect Haven Brady Jr. (7-0, 4 KOs), and Tulsa-born heavyweight Jeremiah Milton (5-0, 4 KOs).

CATOOSA, OKLAHOMA – AUGUST 25: Jose Pedraza (L) and Richard Commey (R) face-off during the press conference ahead of their junior welterweight fight at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tulsa on August 25, 2022 in Catoosa, Oklahoma. (Photo by Mikey Williams/Top Rank Inc via Getty Images)

At Thursday’s press conference, this is what the fighters had to say.

Jose Pedraza:

“Same as Richard, I’m coming off a loss. I’m looking for a big win and to stay among the top names in the division.”

On his recent loss to Jose Ramirez

“I believe I need to be more active, to be more offensive in this fight.”

“A big win on Saturday against a great fighter like Richard Commey will put me a step closer to a world title opportunity. That’s what we’re looking for.”

“He has a strong right hand. He’s a strong fighter that punches hard with both hands, and we have that in the game plan, so we’re going to be working on that. I’m expecting a tough fight against a strong fighter.”

Richard Commey:

“It’s very important because I lost my last fight in December. It’s an opportunity to get back to winning ways, and this is my first fight at 140. I just want to announce myself.”

On his loss to Vasiliy Lomachenko

“I wasn’t very active going into that fight. I stayed away for too long, and I feel like I was rusty. It is what it is. It happened. We share the same opponent twice {Lomachenko and Ray Beltran}. It’s a good fight and I’m looking forward to it.”

“This is what I do. I fight, so it doesn’t really matter. God knows best, and he knows this is the right time for me.”

“I’ve been back in the gym since I got back from Ghana in March. I always train hard and work on myself because I know boxing is not an easy sport. You have to be ready before you get in the ring, so I always make sure I’m 100 percent ready.

CATOOSA, OKLAHOMA – AUGUST 25: Jared Anderson smiles during the press conference ahead of his heavyweight fight with Miljan Rovcanin, at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tulsa on August 25, 2022 in Catoosa, Oklahoma. (Photo by Mikey Williams/Top Rank Inc via Getty Images)

Jared Anderson:

“I’ve been enjoying it, just happy to be here. A blessing to be here. Hopefully, I can take everyone with me along for the ride.”

On changing to southpaw in his last bout

“It was really to switch some things. We had been trying things in the gym. I thought it would knock him off his confidence and give him a different look, which it did. It confused him, and then when we switched back in the second round, he didn’t know what to do and it ended in a knockout.”

On Rovcanin potentially being is his toughest foe to date

“No, I have not been able to get a lot of footage {on Rovcanin}. And, also, I don’t know. He could be. It’s possible. I guess I won’t know until I get in there because I only really had one fight to watch. I’ve definitely had some tough opponents in my career so far. I think Rodney Hernandez was real tough. Also, Kingsley Ibeh was real tough. I think they took some pretty hard shots before going down, so we’ll see.”

CATOOSA, OKLAHOMA – AUGUST 25: Jared Anderson (L) and Miljan Rovcanin (R) face-off during the press conference ahead of their heavyweight fight at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tulsa on August 25, 2022 in Catoosa, Oklahoma. (Photo by Mikey Williams/Top Rank Inc via Getty Images)

On sparring with Tyson Fury

“In all honesty, he’s a real good dude. I enjoyed my camp. I guess I’m over the learning experience now. It’s time to become the teacher now, I guess. I’m happy he showed me everything he did, but he said he’s finished with his career. Like I said, it’s time to be the teacher now.”

Miljan Rovcanin

“I appreciate Top Rank and ESPN for this opportunity. My whole life, I’ve been hoping for this chance, to fight in the United States, and we are expecting a fair fight. We are going for the win. We are expecting to win.”

Richard Torrez Jr.

On his pro journey thus far

“Honestly, it’s the people I meet. I have made brothers along the way. Guys like Jared, guys like Tiger, all these guy I’ve met along the way and have been able to share this journey with.”

On his father/trainer/manager Richard Torrez Sr.

CATOOSA, OKLAHOMA – AUGUST 25: Jared Anderson (L) and Miljan Rovcanin (R) pose during the press conference ahead of their heavyweight fight at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tulsa on August 25, 2022 in Catoosa, Oklahoma. (Photo by Mikey Williams/Top Rank Inc via Getty Images)

“My dad is a man of many hats. He wears the dad hat, he wears the coach hat, and he wears the boss hat. So, it’s really good to be able to have this entire journey with him. I’m a firm believer that you need an omnipotent {figure} in your corner. And to have my dad there, if he tells me to drop my hands and quack like a duck, I’m going to. To be able to have him in the corner and have full trust in my corner, I feel it’s like a cheat code.”

“Hopefully, I get rounds in, but at the end of the day, I hope that shows the amount of hard work I did in preparation. I’ve been grinding at the Olympic Training Center and back home in Tulare. There’s been a lot of work and hard work to go into those one-round and two-round {fights}.”

Jeremiah Milton:

“It’s always a beautiful thing to come home. A lot of professional boxers never get an opportunity to fight in their hometowns. I got my momma here, I got my people. It’s a lot of love. I’m on a big stage. Of course, there are a lot of heavyweights on this card. So, it’s all action, baby, and I love it.”

“Just turning pro has helped my game a lot, moving off to Vegas, getting a lot of different opportunities, sparring with a lot of the top guys, being seasoned as a pro, actually living the pro lifestyle. I just keep climbing and growing.”
Saturday, August 27

ESPN, ESPN Deportes & ESPN+ (10:30 p.m. ET/7:30 p.m. PT)
Jose Pedraza vs. Richard Commey, 10 rounds, junior welterweight

Jared Anderson vs. Miljan Rovcanin, 8 rounds, heavyweight

Richard Torrez Jr. vs. Marco Antonio Canedo, 6 rounds heavyweight

 ESPN+ (6:30 p.m. ET/3:30 p.m. PT)
Tiger Johnson vs. Harry Gigliotti, 6 rounds, junior welterweight

Efe Ajagba vs. Jozsef Darmos, 8 rounds, heavyweight

Haven Brady Jr. vs. Manuel Guzman, 6 rounds, featherweight

Jeremiah Milton vs. Nick Jones, 6 rounds, heavyweight

Kelvin Davis vs. Sebastian Gabriel Chaves, 6 rounds, junior welterweight

Frevian Gonzalez vs. Gerardo Esquivel, 6 rounds, lightweight

Abdullah Mason vs. Angel Rebollar, 4 rounds, lightweight

Dante Benjamin Jr. vs. Leandro Silva, 4 rounds, light heavyweight

Credit: Top Rank Boxing 

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