Thor Bjornsson vs. Devon Larratt
Sport Society in Dubai 18/9/21
There was plenty of back and forth as the fighters went head to head at the final press conference before Saturday’s huge Thor Bjornsson vs. Devon Larratt event.
Thor takes on Larratt in the main event of a stacked card at Sport Society in Dubai this weekend, which will be broadcast live on CoreSports.World.
The final press conference took place today, with Thor and Larratt speaking to the media ahead of their highly-anticipated battle this weekend.
Heavyweight sensation Martin Bakole is also on the bill, as he returns to action after almost a year to take on Haruna Osumanu, while CrossFit rivals Josh Bridges and Jacob Heppner will finally settle their differences, as they collide in a much-talked about grudge match.
Two of the most popular females in combat sports have respective bouts, as undefeated star Avril Mathie meets fellow unbeaten fighter Jesca Mfinanga, while world-record-holding powerlifter Stefi Cohen meets Marcela Nieto, plus Anthony de Bruijin faces Giorgi Gachechiladze.
Here’s everything that was said at today’s press conference ahead of Saturday’s massive event…
Bjornsson: “I have no clue what is going through Devon’s mind, and I don’t really care. I have huge respect for him for taking this fight and won’t underestimate him. For him to come here and accept the fight on five weeks’ notice is already winning for him.
“It’s hard to trash talk someone that accepts a fight with five weeks to go, so I like him, but I’ll beat his ass. I’ll probably break his nose, so I’m sorry, but that’s just my job.
“Every experience I have helps me. I can already feel in boxing that my background from other sports is helping me a lot with this new journey, and helping me get ready for fight night.
“I remember when I was younger I’d be super nervous and before competition I would pee every two minutes, it would happen all the time. The older I got, the better and less nervous I got, and that has helped me a lot.
“Eddie Hall seeing all of my fights doesn’t give him any advantage at all. I don’t care how much he sees of me, as actual competition gives you a much better experience than hiding behind closed doors. He can hide and work out in his garage, that’s fine, but when we fight I’ll knock him out.
“I want to focus on Devon as he’s my rival and my enemy right now, and after I finish him I’ll take care of the next one. I give it my best every single day. I’ve not seen my family for more than seven weeks, and that’s how serious I’m taking this.”
Larratt: “A satisfactory outcome is something I can walk away from knowing that my heart and spirit was properly expressed. If I can walk in and feel like at the end of the fight that I fought bravely and was able to hold onto what I learned over the last four weeks, I’ll be happy.
“I want a battle scar, I feel that would be a terrible thing not to walk away with. For the first two minutes who knows what I’m capable of. I feel like I got dropped in the middle of the jungle and I’m fighting my way through it.
“This is a massive step into the unknown, and every time I’ve sparred they’ve made it harder and harder, but I’m no stranger to competition and I’ve fought in all sorts of different sports.
“I have massive appreciation for the boxing game. They are ridiculously high level athletes. Thor has more experience but I know as you need in a fight is one shot, so get ready for it. Thor’s nose will blow up. If he breaks my nose, I’ll give him 500 dollars, but if I break his nose, I want 5000 dollars from him!”
Bridges: “There is a little anxiety, nerves and excitement. It’s like when you remember being a kid and you’d be called out and you say we’ll fight after school by a tree. You have all day those feelings, so this is like that but drawn out over six months.
“We’re both professional athletes. Me and Jacob are friends so there is no ill will towards him, but I have taken this very seriously and for 18 minutes I’ll hate Jacob and will enjoy punching him in the face.”
Heppner: “In our sport you show up on a Sunday and you’re working out by Wednesday. Here it’s a whole week, and we’re in a different time zone 10 hours away, so it’s a whole new climate.
“When I win we can shave that ugly bird’s nest off the top of Josh’s face. It won’t be hard to hit him in the face, you just have a kind of switch go off when you’re in the ring. We’ll be good friends after that though, and we’ll laugh and speak about this over a beer in a few years.”
Cohen: “When you’re coming from powerlifting where the only variable being tested is strength, there is a lot more room for error. Here you’re not just relying on one physical attribute.
“It’s a lot less nerve-wracking because there’s so much I can lean into, like my athleticism, footwork, hand-eye coordination and more. I’ve heard it all before about powerlifters, but I’m not stiff, I’m fluid and technical. I more with precision and I’m built to knock people out, so I’m ready to show that.”
Mathie: “I just want to challenge myself more and more with every fight. Of the four major world title belts in my division, a different girl holds each of them, so next year I’d like to start working through them all. I just want to have tougher and tougher fights to prepare me for one of those next year.
“It’s great to have people here bringing more eyes to the sport. You can’t expect someone that has no fights to step in with someone that has had 20 fights or is a world champion.
“In my first fight I fought someone with no wins, as that was someone on my level. It just happens that these guys are massively famous, and that’s because they’ve created that for themselves, and that’s why they have this popularity in boxing.
“Hat’s off to them, and I’m grateful that they’re bringing more attention to the sport. Anybody who doesn’t see it that way is jealous.”
Baloke: “I want to thank everybody for coming here, and thank you to MTK Global for this opportunity. I was in Ukraine sparring with Usyk before his fight against Joshua, but I can’t reveal anything.
“It’s a secret what has happened, and hopefully after this fight I can soon become mandatory and then it will be me fighting for the world title. This is my comeback fight, and I’m looking forward to Saturday.”
Osamanu: “I have been in this sport for a very long time, and I have good respect for my opponent. I am coming in with everything, and I’m ready for this opportunity.”
De Bruijn: “In my experience, the guys with a lot of fights and losses on the record can be some of the toughest. They’ll have been through a lot of wars and have knowledge of the ring.
“That can especially be seen if they have been the distance a lot. I’ll be wanting to stop him early, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he goes the distance. I’ll be prepared for anything.”
Don Idrees of Core Sports World: “We started with a different plan a year ago, and there have been many unforeseen circumstances, so we’ve had to make a lot of changes.
“We’ve had to think on our feet, and we’re confident that we’re starting something good here. This format of taking elite athletes and testing them via the supreme art and sport of boxing is a good idea.
“It’s the usual bar room conversation. Who would win, Batman or Superman? Who would win a tiger or a bear? We get to see how a strength sport translates when it comes to boxing, or how a CrossFitter’s endurance lasts in boxing.
“Having the honour of actual elite professional boxers being on this card gives me satisfaction and validation too, so I’m grateful.”
Fight week continues on Friday, where the boxers will take to the scales and weigh in ahead of the highly-anticipated fight night on Saturday.
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