Tuesday February 2, 2016– Philadelphia Professional MMA Justin Lesko was voted as our XCC fighter of the week by an overwhelming amount of family and fans. Previously the XCC lightweight amateur title holder, Justin made his professional debut at XCC 20 in 2015. The once bank employee has made mixed martial arts his life, leaving the office job to be an instructor at Revolution Academy enabling him to train full time.
Just a few weeks away from his next professional fight at XCC 23 February 19th Justin took time away from training to answer a few questions.
XCC: When did you start training and why?
Justin: My whole life I always preferred playing a sport to watching one. I’d watch a Flyers game and we’d end up going to play hockey. Every half time of an Eagles game we’d be outside throwing a ball around. When I started watching MMA it wasn’t long before I thought, “I bet that’s fun”. I started training Jiu Jitsu and Muay Thai just to see how I liked it and they turned out to be the things I’ve enjoyed most in my life.
XCC: What has been your greatest accomplishment or moment since your started your MMA career in 2012?
Justin: Turning pro and winning my first pro fight was a huge accomplishment for me. Amateur MMA is designed to weed out the guys who are competing as a hobby from the guys who are going to make fighting a career. Very few people make it to the pros and even fewer have success there, so to make that leap and be successful is something I’m very proud of.
XCC: What is your greatest strength as a fighter?
Justin: My greatest strength is my will to work hard. In any situation I know I’m never going to be out worked. If I feel like I need to improve an area of my game I work and work and work to make it better. A lot of guys want things handed to them but they don’t want to do the work, to put in the time. You can’t have a billion dollar dream and a minimum wage attitude.
XCC: Where did the nickname “the Irish car bomb” originate?
Justin: The nickname the Irish Car Bomb was given to me by my coach Anthony Colantuono. I guess at my first amateur fight people kept coming up to him asking about “that Irish kid”. I guess the red beard gives me away. The next day he said, “I’ve got the perfect nickname for you, The Irish Car Bomb.” I liked it, even though I was pretty sure it was his way of calling me a ginger, and it’s been my nickname ever since.
XCC: Given the opportunity to get advice on your MMA career from any fighter who would it be and why?
Justin: Well I get to train with Matt Rizzo every day, and he’s always giving me advice so he can’t be mad when I don’t say “Razor Sharp, of course”. I would have to say BJ Penn. He’s always been my favorite fighter, and even if his advice was terrible (it wouldn’t be, he’s BJ Freaking Penn!!) I’d still get to say I trained with him.
XCC: What is the most difficult part of preparing for a fight in your opinion?
Justin: The most difficult part about preparing for a fight is the waiting. Fight camps are long and as you near the end time seems to slow. Even though the fight is only a few weeks away now, it feels like those few weeks are going to drag and drag. You’re prepared, you’re in shape, you’re eager to go and the calendar is moving slowly. It can be frustrating.
XCC: On Feb 19th at XCC 23 you will be facing Tim Dooling for your 3rd pro fight, what are your predictions for this fight?
Justin: I’m excited to fight Tim. I think he’s a good fighter and I’m happy to get in there with him. I’m not one for making predictions, though. I think if you get too wrapped up into what you want to happen you limit yourself to only that outcome. Anything can happen in a fight. I’m ready for anything and everything. The only thing I can predict confidently is a win. My team and I know how we’d like that to happen, but if it’s not Plan A I’ve got 25 other letters to work from.
XCC: Anything you would like to say to your friends & family?
Justin: I just want to say to my friends and family thank you so much for all the support, both on the night of the fight and everything that leads up to it. Thank you to everyone who voted for me to win this poll. I have great support around me and I’m very lucky that way. My mom, my dad, my brothers, my cousin Pat, my girlfriend, they are all there for anything I need, win or lose. I have great coaches who are helping me to be the best fighter on planet Earth. Anthony Colantuono, Matt Rizzo, Dave Reifsneider, Bryan White and Mark Tingle have me in the best shape of my life right now. Mike Callahan has my hair looking impeccable. Thank you to all my sponsors, especially The Violetwood Cafe and Auto Outlet of Ewing. I hope to see everyone on February 19th. As the wise man once said, “I’m going to show you how great I am.”
XCC has had the priveledge of working with Justin going on eight fights, and we look forward to be a continued part of this thriving fighters Professional MMA career.
Justin will be stepping back into the XCC cage once again February 19th 2016 at the National Guard Armory at 2700 Southampton Road in Philadelphia PA, doors open at 6:30pm and first fight at 7:30pm. To purchase tickets to XCC 23 to support Justin please contact him directly or visit our website at www.xtremecagedcombat.com.
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