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Kimbo is leaving MMA for boxing - 'the training is extremely hard'
Kimbo is leaving MMA - 'the training is extremely hard'
Bahamian Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) professional fighter Kevin 'Kimbo Slice' Ferguson, speaking exclusively with The Nassau Guardian yesterday, disclosed plans to venture into the professional boxing arena as soon as his contract is fulfilled.
The 35-year-old 6'2", 235-pound phenomenon expressed these intentions on Monday, a day before returning to his Miami, Florida based home. Ferguson became a household name after signing a professional contract with Showtime's EliteXC in 2007. Before that, he gained notoriety on the underground fighting scene through the Internet.
"Boxing is really my first desire. I have a lot of love for it and believe I can do pretty well. [The sport of] MMA is somewhat of a project for me. Boxing is one dimensional while there are a lot of dimensions in MMA. I don't think it would be a hard transition from MMA to stand-up boxing because of my fighting style," noted Ferguson, who has brought international prestige to The Bahamas through his MMA exploits.
Nonetheless, making the transition from MMA to professional boxing presents challenges.
"Not taking anything away from boxing preparation, MMA training is extremely hard," said Ferguson. "When you consider martial arts training, you have to prepare for kicks to the head and legs, and opponents wanting to grapple and throwing you to the ground, pounding you with their knees and hands, whereas in boxing you just have to be prepared to weave and bob although the training can be just as intense. At this point in my career, I want to take that same drive and focus that I invested in MMA and put that into training for pro-boxing cards."
The extreme fighting machine does have preference as to where he wants to make his pro boxing debut.
"Out of no disrespect to my country, seeing as I am there [United States] and already established a relationship in the fighting world, I would have to continue that until I get officially set up. Furthermore, I have two more MMA fights scheduled before this year is out. Every fighter and athlete knows that you should not switch camps in the middle of something. Also, I train in Florida. My MMA trainer will also be training me for stand up boxing. Finishing up my contract would allow me to be a free agent," he said.
Ferguson further noted that those two fights have tentative schedules, so putting a time frame on the fulfillment of his contract is impossible.
"The last two fights that I have left in MMA don't have set dates," he said. "Everything normally gets set up six to eight weeks prior to the fight. Nearer to that point I would be told the particulars like who my opponent is and where the fight would be. With boxing, you can have a fight on Monday and if you are well you can have another fight the following week. Before the month is out, you would have already fought on several cards. In MMA, whether you are well or not, there is a six-week waiting period before you can engage in any other battle.
"In some cases, if you are too far advanced in promoting a MMA fight, anything can happen to the fighter. A fighter can get an injury, causing him to pull out of the fight; like Shamrock [MMA fighter Ken Shamrock] getting a cut above his eye and backing out at the last minute. That left me having to fight an opponent who I knew nothing about. If the fight is called off then it would mean bad business for that promoter and that also affected me," explained Ferguson.
Ferguson currently sports a win/loss record of 3-1 with two knockdowns and one submission. The gentle giant added that he was surprised at the local support generated while visiting the island of his birth. He arrived in town last Thursday and is scheduled to leave today [Tuesday].
"I represented my country well in a sport that I love and I had no idea that I had touched Bahamians this way," he said. "I even went to some of the schools and the children loved me there. It was an overwhelming feeling and I will continue to do my best. I am not just doing this [career] for me, I am representing my whole country. Now I have more of a reason to continue my fight, so I will continue to pray and put God first in my life," he added.