"Your Local Ninja," Tom Shoaff, (2-3, 2 KOs) will face BKFC debutant Josh ‘Tha Prodigy’ Wright in the lightweight division on Saturday, October 9, the promotion's first event at the First Interstate Arena in Billings, Montana.
Shoaff will look to capitalize on his first-round stoppage of Nathan Mitchell at BKFC 17 earlier this year, while Wright looks for a hometown victory in his first entry into the sport of bare-knuckle.
"I'm gonna finish this guy and I'm going to make it look easy," Shoaff said while talking about his upcoming contest on the promotion's inaugural BKFC Fight Night event. "Josh Wright is a talented guy if you look at him as an MMA guy, but he is not a boxer and he is not a striker. I'm going to exploit every weakness that he has, and I will finish him within three rounds. That's what is going to happen in Montana."
Shoaff, who has five fights with Bare Knuckle FC under his belt, has made peace with his shortcomings and has realized what he needs to do in order ensure his hand is raised victoriously.
"I think with every fight that I've had, my stock goes up, regardless of wins or losses," Shoaff said. "I put on a performance. I go out there and fight. I'm not trying to score points. I'm not trying to win over the judges. I'm trying to go out there and put hands on you as often as frequest as I can. With this sport there are certain things that you can't get away with. With fighting guys like Julian Lane at 170-pounds, I found out that those guys are just way too big. Fighting guys at 165, can I compete? Yes, but is it smart? No. So fighting down at my natural weight class at 155-pounds is where I should be. As long as I go out there and perform well, my stock goes up. As long as I stay where I should be fighting, victory should not be a problem."
Because the legally sanctioned sport of bare knuckle is still in its infancy stages, Shoaff admits that he, like other fighters, have had an adjustment period in figuring out just where they belong.
"Me coming from an MMA background, I was like 'ok, I don't have to worry about takedowns or these guys laying on me on the ground. That 10 or 15 pounds isn't a big deal because I'm used to sparring bigger guys any way,'" Shoaff said in hindsight. "That's a good thought process but once you are actually in there against guys who aren't actually 170-pounds, who cut down from 190 or 185, my mentality just wasn't right. Now that I've been there a handful of times I know that it's not just a street fight. These are highly trained, highly accurate, trained killers," he continued.
With losses outweighing his succsses in the BKFC squared-circle, Shoaff understands why a promotional newcomer will be standing opposite him in Billings.
"I feel like with my record as it stands, the fact that I am new at 155-pounds, and the fact that the 155-pound roster is not very deep, I couldn't have really expected to get in there with anybody other than a newcomer," Shoaff said. "It's the right decision given my performances in the past. Granted, I've put on good performances but I wasn't winning. I think it was a smart business decision for the company. I will say that after this fight, I don't expect anymore newcomers. I need somebody in the top three after this fight. We are in a sport of a job where your performance really is crucial. In order for you to have a platform to stand on, to call people out, you need to have done something in the past, in the sport to earn that platform."
Win or lose, Shoaff fights for the fans
"My goal as a fighter is to be entertaining," Shoaff said. "I'm a performer in the grand scheme of things. I'm an artist. So, I want to go out and put on beautiful art. I want to put on great shows and excellent performances, so that people want to see what I have to offer, so that people want to come to these fights. I don't want to look at it like 'I'm just here to make money and get in a fist fight.' If you want to dumb it down then yeah that is exactly what I am doing but I am an artist and I am a performer. I want the fans to know that if they are going to pay to come out and see me fight that they are going to see the performance of combat sports. I feel that I do a very good job of showing and perfecting that art. You aren't going to see something gawdy or ugly. You are going to see a performance."
BKFC Fight Night Montana is headlined by a Middleweight Showdown between Joe ‘Diesel’ Riggs, of Phoenix, AZ and Melvin ‘The Young Assassin’ Guillard, fighting out of Denver, CO. Advance tickets priced from $150 to $40 can be purchased at www.MetraPark.com or by using this LINK. The First Interstate Arena is located at 308 6th Avenue North, Billings, MT 59101. Doors will open on the night of the event at 5:00 p.m. local time.
Riggs heads into battle with Guillard following a controversially stopped world title battle with BKFC World Champion Hector Lombard at BKFC-18 on June 26, 2021. The fight was stopped by the ringside physician in the fourth round after Riggs was jabbed in the eye by Lombard and deemed unable to continue.
Former UFC standout Guillard looks for his first victory in BKFC after challenging Harris Stephenson at BKFC 20 on August 20, 2021. Guillard was contentiously disqualified for continuing to fight after dropping Stephenson to the canvas despite no additional blows landing on the fallen opponent.
Co-featured and fighting in the women’s flyweight division, Christine ‘Misfit’ Ferea, (3-1, 3 KOs), of Las Vegas, NV clashes with BKFC debuting Calista Silgado of Santiago de Tolu, Colombia. Ferea hits the squared circle following a knockout victory over Calie Cutler at BKFC-12 on September 11, 2020. Silgado impressed the BKFC brass at the recent company tryouts held in Fort Lauderdale, FL and has also fought in thirty-five professional boxing matches over a ten-year span against world class competition.