Final presser for Torres-Mizugaki
Story by Jose E. Santiago
Photos by Josh Hedges, UFC
Today at the ESPN Zone in Chicago, the WEC held its final press conference for the WEC bantamweight championship fight between champion Miguel Angel Torres and Takeya Mizugaki scheduled for Sunday at the UIC Pavilion.
First at the podium was Director of the UIC Pavilion Kevin O’Finn.
"We are honored to host such an event," said O'Finn. "We have not had this much buzz sin we hosted a boxing championship in 2007."
Following O’Finn was WEC co-founder Reid Harris who shared his love for the Windy City:
“I grew up in Chicago and am a high school graduate of this city. I promise that this will be an exciting event.”
Reid also made a personal invitation to the newly acquired Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler.
Reid then proceeded to ask the fighters in attendance to take the podium and address the media. First up was hopeful Torres conqueror Mizugaki:
“ I would like to thank the WEC for this opportunity of not only fighting for the best organization but also fighting the best fighter. This is very exciting since I’m a striker and so is Torres.”
Torres then took the microphone and thanked everyone in attendance, followed by sharing what the event means to him.
“I left here as the local champ and all my fans supported me for eight or nine years," said Torres. "There was a small buzz about me, but worldwide no body knew who I was . . . now I’m coming back as the world champ.”
Torres discussed how he feels this is going to be a very exciting fight considering that Mizugak is probably going to try to knock him out, and how he plans to do the same to his opponent.
When asked if the pressure of fighting at home was affecting him, Torres quickly rebutted with , "It's actually the opposite, fighting at home in front of my people reminds me of what I have to do so the pressure is all on my opponent.”
The co-main just may serve as possibly the show stealer as Jeff Curran goes down from 145 to 135 to take on undefeated Joseph Benevidez.
Benevidez addressed the media first:
“I”m glad to be in Chicago, it’s a great town," he said. "I’m excited to be fighting a great fighter like Jeff Curran, it’s going to be an amazing fight."
When asked if he feels that Curran is looking past him and focused more on a shot at Torres, Benvidez’s responded that it may be the case, but indicated that it would be a mistake if he’s actually doing it.
Hometown favorite Jeff Curran stepped up and said, "Like Miguel said, we both came up the ranks here in Chicago. We're both unbeaten here in Chicago and for me to come home and not just fight for some small rinky dink show like we did when we were growing up, but we get to fight for the World Extreme Cage Fighting.”
Following the press conference the fighters posed in a face-off for the media.