It’s only been two years since heavyweight boxer Bryant Jennings stepped on the professional scene and already he's rising to the top. With a 17-0 record — including nine knockouts — Jennings is right on track to becoming the next big American heavyweight star, an honor Jennings said is “the goal.”
“It’s become natural to just move forward and just be progressive,” Jennings said of his successes. “If I say I’m going to do it, then I am going to do it.”
As he readies for his Jan. 25 HBO debut on HBO Boxing After Dark in a match against Artur Szpilka, Jennings is confident, passionate and more than ready to live up to the challenge.
“I am more of a technical thinker," Jennings said regarding his advantages over Szpilka. “I have defense and ring movement and he doesn’t.”
Although Szpilka is from Poland and has a 16-0 record with 12 knockouts, Jennings, a Philadelphia native is sure that they understand the game differently. “He’s going into the fight underestimating me and that’s a problem,” Jennings told BET.com. “This is a heavyweight fight and these fights can go either way. One punch can put you on the ground and take you out.”
Jennings can talk because he has learned from the best. He confers with boxing greats such as his favorite boxer Andre Ward for pointers and training advice and prides himself on studying the sport both in and out of the ring. “I respect boxing and I know that it doesn’t matter how much you train. If you get hit the right way, you are going down,” Jennings said.
It is his love and respect for the sport, the business and the game which have led him to be undefeated. When he first stepped on the scene in 2012, he fought and beat Maurice Bynum, who had more wins than Jennings had professional fights. Since then, he has taken on his opponents with the same intensity, defeating one after another.
With just a few days until his next fight, Jennings continues to push himself closer to his ultimate goal of earning the coveted title of heavyweight champion of the world. “I had this division from the beginning and I initiated the pressure to (become the next heavyweight star) and I am willing to show and prove,” Jennings said.
Catch Bryant Jennings' HBO debut against Artur Szpilka at Madison Square Garden on Saturday, Jan. 25, live on HBO at 9:45 p.m.
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Follow Dominique Zonyéé on Twitter: @DominiqueZonyee.
(Photo: Courtesy of Tom Briglia/Top Rank/HBO)