Jamie Campbell returns to the squared circle on June 22 after earning a unanimous decision victory over Dale Sopi at BKFC 2 last year. Campbell, a professional boxer, will meet longtime mixed martial arts veteran and owner of one of the best fights in Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship history, Joey Beltran.
"I heard about the promotion and I watched the first show," Campbell said of his start in bare knuckle boxing.
"I said 'I like this.' I called up David Feldman (President of BKFC) and asked him if I could compete. They had a tryout session. I went down and worked out. I wasn't sure if they were going to accept me or not, but I do have a lot of boxing experience so I figured I had a good shot at it. I liked what I saw and just wanted to compete."
Even though Campbell had to try out to earn his spot on the roster, it was not the fist time that Feldman witnessed what the heavyweight boxer from Pennsylvania was able to do. Before Feldman's dream of bringing sanctioned bare knuckle boxing to fans became a reality, he had spent many years promoting boxing and mixed martial arts events.
"I fought for Feldman at Harrah's (Casino). I fought for him a few times," Campbell said.
Even though Campbell's massive frame can be imposing, looks can be deceiving, as he is truly is a gentle giant.
"Every fight I do something (to give back to the community), even in boxing. Last fight I rescued a dog. This fight I'm going to rescue another dog. It's just my thing. I love animals," Campbell said.
"I donate to the gyms as well. I donated a lot of boxing equipment to the gym in Chester (PA). This fight I'm going to get a heavy bag embroidered with 'Team Campbell Bare Knuckle Boxing' and I'm going to put that down at the gym. I just like to give back. I have the biggest heavyweight fight in Delaware County, two times over. I fought Danny Mullarkey and it was sold out both times so I have a lot of people around here that follow me and support me and stuff. I just like to give back to them people. I had shirts made and gave them all away. It's just a local thing, there's not too many other heavyweights. There's many John Poore, Danny Mullarkey, and me from Delaware County."
Those fans will now get to witness their fighter compete in one of his toughest challenges yet in Beltran.
"He's pretty much fought everybody," Campbell said of Beltran. "He fought Rampage Jackson. He fought one of the Gracies. That's not boxing though man. To be me, bare knuckle, the big debate is 'Who is going to win? The MMA guy or the boxer?' It's nothing against MMA guys but my outlook is simple. If you are an MMA guy, you usually have three, four, maybe five disciplines right? If I now tell you 'I'm taking away your grappling, I'm taking away your Krav Maga, and now you can just only use your hands.' And you are also fighting a boxer, who only concentrates on boxing his entire life, I feel that I am at an advantage.
"He can't submit me. He can't take me to the ground. I'm no dummy. If I got into a cage with Beltran, he'd probably kick my ass. Getting in that ring, I'm going to kick his ass. There's no question about it."
Having come from boxing, Campbell continued his comparison of the boxer vs. mixed martial artist and weighed in on the BKFC 6 headliner between Paulie Malignaggi and Artem Lobov.
"I'm impartial there because I love Paulie Malignaggi. Before he even signed with Bare Knuckle FC, I loved him as a commentator. He knows boxing. He's very well spoken. To me he's just a very well polished.... well beside the interview he did where he lost control.. He's very professional normally with Showtime. He's a great, great commentator. As far as boxing, it is going to be an interesting matchup because Paulie doesn't have the power, in my opinion, to stop Lobov from coming forward.
If Lobov follows him around the ring, like he's probably going to do, Paulie is going to pick him apart. If Lobov tries to trap him and cut him off, and get in an exchange, Lobov is going to win. If you look at the Ronda Rousey fight where she took on that boxer (Holly Holm), she got destroyed. Her corner should have told her to cut her off and attack, but she didn't. She never did it. I never understood it. Same with the Brock Lesnar and Cain Velasquez fight. Cain was a boxer. Brock was a wrestler. Why didn't he go in and shoot? I don't know. If Paulie keeps on the outside of that jab, and Artem can't cut him off, Paulie just picks him apart. I don't think he knocks him out, I think he just beats him up real good."
When asked about his own preparation for BKFC 6, Campbell said that his training doesn't deviate much from when he gets ready for a traditional boxing bout.
"I wear these little gloves. They are three ounces. I hit this bag that is on my wall. It doesn't have any give to it. It' snot like hitting a heavy bag. You punch it, and it shocks your body. It doesn't give. It creates a lot of power, builds your knuckles up. It's the best bag ever. You can't spar. I mean, I sparred a little bit the other night but it doesn't do anything for me. It's two minutes man. It's two minutes. It's all action. I'm coming after him. I'm not backing up. I did that in the first fight with Sopi. I'm coming and I just want an entertaining fight. Win or lose. I hope it's the same thing like Lopez and him (Beltran). If he can take my shots, which he probably will..... He's a tough guy, he's been around. I hope it's just like the fight with Lopez. I just want everyone to say 'Wow that was an awesome fight.'"
Bare Knuckle FC 6 takes place Saturday, June 22 from Florida State Fairgrounds Entertainment Hall in Tampa, Fla.