After landing one of the biggest and most viral knockouts in bare knuckle history, "Lionheart" Kaleb Harris and fans saw unlimited potential in the Mississippi fighter's professional combat sports career.
The 27-year-old "Lionheart" would eventually go on to pick up another W before dropping back-to-back fights to Jim Alers and Elvin Brito. Despite the minor setback, Harris was not deterred from obtaining the goals he set out to achieve.
"Lionheart" will look for a chance at redemption when he meets Noah Cutter at BKFC 16 on March 19 in Biloxi, Mississippi.
When asked if he feels as if his back is up against the wall after having lost his last two bare knuckle competitions in a row, Harris shied away from the thought.
“Not really,” he said. “It’s going to look really bad if I lose to Noah Cutter, just in general. At the end of the day, I’m a fighter. I’m always going to fight. David Feldman (BKFC President) and Nate Shook (BKFC matchmaker) know that when they bring me on to a card, I’m going to fight whoever they put me up against. There’s a reason they called me on just a few weeks’ notice back in December to fight Tyler Goodjohn."
Harris ended up declining the opportunity and rightfully so.
"My stepfather had just passed away so I was helping my mother with the funeral and decided to pass on the fight," he said. "They were able to get Charles Bennett to take the fight, but they know that I’m the guy to call and that my name carries weight down here in the South. It sucks being on a two-fight lose streak but the last time I was on a two-fight lose streak, actually the last two times, I ended up going on a seven-fight win-streak. I turned around and had the biggest knockout of my life. It’s more dangerous for my opponent when I’m on a losing streak because they are more likely to become an upset.”
With Cutter confirmed as the next target on Harris's list, things would eventually begin to heat up between the two on social media.
“I’m going to set the record straight," Harris said. "Noah Cutter has been talking trash to me since that Jeff Chiffens fight. He was all over my Instagram, tagging himself, tagging Bare Knuckle FC. He kept saying I would duck him. ‘Let’s fight,’ he would say when tagging me. All I would say was ‘talk to David Feldman.’ My coach and best friend of 23 years, Dustin, sees this and messages me asking, ‘Do you know this guy?’ I said, ‘No. I don’t know who he is.’ He gets to talking to Dustin and Dustin tells him that I have no idea who he is and have never heard his name before. A few fights later, Noah was signed to GOAT Combat Agency and was trying to get a fight with me again."
That's when Cutter turned up the heat, pushing Harris to eventually sign a contract when offered.
"He’s been wanting this fight," Harris said. "He’s 1-1, but I get it. He’s trying to make a name for himself. I’m not hating on him. I just think it is funny that the first time someone pops off and starts commenting back on some of his posts, laughing, that it gets in his feels. All my coach did was use a smile emoji. He’s mad because Bare Knuckle is tagging me and showing my knockout video. I have no control over if Bare Knuckle tags me. I can’t help it that I got one of the viral knockouts of the year. Now he’s saying ‘We’ll see who hits harder come March 19.’ You know what I did? I kept scrolling. Trash talk doesn’t bother me. I think it is funny when people can dish it but they can’t take it. I’m not trying to talk bad about the guy. He’s had a few wins in his career. I’m happy for him. I’m glad he’s getting this opportunity to fight me. He wants to fight so I’m going to show him what real fighters are in here. I’m here to stay. Nobody is going to run me off in this sport. Nobody is going to make me retire. Nobody is going to hurt me. That’s all there is to it. Jim Alers couldn’t knock me out. Elvin Brito couldn’t knock me out. Both of them have major knockouts on their record. I’m not scared of this fight.”
While Harris is not looking past his opponent on March 19, he definitely is confident enough to keep realistic goals within reach.
“I plan to become the face of bare knuckle in the 165-pound division," Harris said. "Noah Cutter is just another step to me getting there. That’s all there is to it. I’m hoping to watch a great fight between Joe Elmore and Leonard Garcia. I hope they get to fight for a title or the winner gets to fight for a title but then the winner needs to get ready because I’m coming for it.”
Headlining BKFC-16 is a lightweight grudge match between Leonard ‘Bad Boy’ Garcia, (18-13-1), fighting out of Lubbock, TX and Joe ‘The Hitman’ Elmore, (13-12), of Atlanta, GA.
Co-featured and making his BKFC debut, Former Boxing World Champion DeMarcus ‘Chop Chop’ Corley of Washington, D.C. clashes with BKFC veteran Reggie ‘Eaz-E’ Barnett Jr. of Virginia Beach, VA in a bantamweight bout.
Tickets for BKFC-16 are Now On-Sale starting at $55 and may be purchased through the BKFC website, www.bkfc.com. The Biloxi Civic Center is located at 578 Howard Street, Biloxi, MS 39530. Doors will open on the night of the event at 6PMCT with the first bell at 7PMCT.