Former UFC vet, WEC and Legacy champion, Leonard ‘Bad Boy’ Garcia will make his bare knuckle boxing debut at BKFC 4 in Cancun Mexico this February 2nd. His opponent is former BKB champion, holding a record of 2-1, Julian ‘Hell Boy’ Lane, who last competed on November 9th in Casper, Wyoming.
FightBook MMA spoke with Garcia ahead of his up-and-coming PPV bout, and though he suffered a loss in his one and only professional boxing match-up, he will make his boxing return, only this time with no gloves, and nearly 15 years more combat experience.
“My first take at boxing was a bust. I had a trainer who had no idea what he was doing! He had me drop from 185lbs to 147lbs in 3 weeks. To take a boxing fight! I only had MMA experience.” Leonard Garcia continued, “My fight that time was against the scale, losing 40 pounds in 3 weeks was a punishing situation! I never felt good throughout the complete process! I walked into that fight defeated. I had nothing to give! I have since then learned a lot about myself! What I can do if I’m properly trained! I always had mental strength and belief in myself! I have proved that time and time again! This is another opportunity to prove that hard work and dedication and that good ole fighting spirit is always available to draw on!”
Going from mixed martial arts to bare knuckle boxing, in regards to training, can be a huge difference for a fighter. On one end, you need to be focused on hundreds of different disciplines, while the other, it’s strictly boxing. Though a huge difference, it didn’t matter to Garcia, it’s just simply a “way of life”.
“I love the training for bare knuckle MMA was so many different aspects this is a RAW pure form of fighting Mano a Mano, Hand to Hand combat! The old school yard way. The best way to get to the root of any problem. Shut up and put ‘em up, then we can shake hands after in respect! This is not a change in training this was way of life!”
Knowing ‘Hell Boy’ Lane will bring the greater professional BKB experience, Garcia knew the task at hand, and adjusted his training at a local gym, to working at Donald Cerrone’s BMF Ranch.
“I respect Julian he’s a very tough competitor. He brings experience and he’s a Banger no pun intended haha! I actually was training at some local gyms getting ready for Julian! Then he posted that he was at a boxing gym 5 weeks ago. So I decided I needed to step up my game! I came to the Ranch and really stepped up my preparation! You can expect a in shape crazy Leonard Garcia on the 2nd.”
We are yet to see ‘Bad Boy’ compete in bare knuckle, however, he is dedicated to giving it his all, and assures us that this newly legalized combat sport (in parts of the united states) is his new home.
“I always try to be the best at anything I do! Bare Knuckle is my new home! I am going to fight at 155lbs, possibly 145lbs, so I am looking to make a statement on the 2nd and show that I have arrived and I’m here to get some hardware!”
Heading into their fourth event, we are yet to reach the one-year anniversary mark of BKFC’s promotional debut, which took place mid-way through 2018. Now apart of something so new, or reborn, Garcia is happy to help pave the way for the future of the sport.
“Fighting next to all the Pioneers is amazing. Every time I look up another Vet is added and it’s great. I know we are here to pave the way for the future of Bare Knuckle and it’s our chance to mainstream something that has been around for ever!”
When Garcia got the call to compete under Bare Knuckle FC, Leonard tells FightBook MMA the process of signing was easy, and that bare knuckle was something he always wanted to compete in, just not in someone’s backyard.
“Dave [Feldman] is great, he made signing very easy, he is a great promoter! Bare knuckle is something I’ve wanted to do for ever! I just didn’t want to be in a back yard or an unsanctioned situation! If I fight, I want to prove that I’m the best! In order to do that, you have to fight the best! What’s the purpose of saying I’m 65-0 against WHO???” Garcia added, “Better to fight professionals who have proven who they are. That validation carries more weight then an empty record of some bar fight brawls. When you hit people who are not used to being hit it’s easy.”
Going back to Garcia’s training for his February 2nd showdown, it only made sense he went to the BMF Ranch, located in Albuquerque, New Mexico, as Donald Cerrone was in training camp for his ESPN+ debut fight against Alex Hernandez.
“I came to the Ranch to train as stated before! Julian posted his training so I came here while [Donald] ‘Cowboy’ [Cerrone] was in camp! He has world champion kickboxer Joe Shilling here. World champion boxer Kenya Enriquez. As well as the others at Jackson’s MMA; Donald Sanchez, Isaac Vallie Flag, Alejandro Pato Martinez! Plus, the altitude out here 6,700 feet every day at the Ranch 10,000 feet up at the crest. This push is what I needed to get to where I need to be on the 2nd.”
As it’s a new year, goals and resolutions are commonly set for future achievements, and Garcia had a few in mind.
“My goal in 2019 is to be the best version of Leonard physically, spirituality and mentality. Showing that anything is possible and that Hard work always pays off!”
Now just weeks away from his fight on February 2nd, and in the final stretch of his training camp, Leonard plans on showcasing a new version of himself, as he respectfully tries to knock Julian Lane out.
“Expect to see the New Leonard Garcia in 2019. I have a much better grasp on my life and I hope to show my new found strengths to everyone in this year! So please tune in on the 2nd and see what we are bringing to the table! Me and Julian are to guys who don’t play pity pat! We are out to throw down so watch us as we respectfully try to take each other out! The fight game is strong in this bout, so don’t miss the opportunity to witness it! Feb 2nd don’t miss out!”
Available live on FIghjtBook MMA on PPV at FITE TV, BKFC 4 goes international for a USA vs. Mexico event in Cancun, Mexico. The February 2nd event will feature Leonard Garcia vs. Julian Lane, Chris Lytle vs. J.C. Llamas, Bec Rawlings, who defends her title against Cecilia Ullor Flores, and much more.
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