Updated: Jan 23
Travis "The Animal" Thompson won't have to travel too far when he meets David Morgan at Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship's February 5 "KnuckleMania" extravaganza from the RP Funding Center in Lakeland, Florida.
The 37-year-old Pennsylvania native recently took his fight camp down to the Sunshine State in order to be the best version of himself that he could possibly be come fight night.
“I’m in Tampa," Thomspon said. "I’m training in St. Petersburg at St. Pete’s Gym with Keith “One Time” Thurman.
If that name sounds familiar to you, it shou.d Thurman is a former unified welterweight world champion, having held the WBA title From 2015 to 2019 (promoted to Super champion in 2017), and previously the WBC title from 2017 to 2018. Nicknamed "One Time" for his formidable knockout power, Thurman is considered one of the hardest punchers in the welterweight division. With a record of 29-1-1, Thurman's lone loss came in his last fight by way of split decision to one Manny Pacquiao.
“I’ve been here since just after Christmas," Thompson said.
“My buddy lives here in Tampa. It was an easy change for me. I can make money while I’m working with him at his office, home remodeling and stuff. I'm focusing on my fight and that’s it. I am doing work but it’s not necessary. There are days where I don’t feel doing anything else but training, and that’s it. Back home, I don’t have that luxury. Back home I have to work all the time. I have to make sure I’m on top of things. Here, I’m strictly focused on David Morgan."
Morgan recently had high praise for Thompson, stating that he knows Thompson is one of the best in the world and has faced some of the toughest competition in the division.
"I don’t give a shit how nice this guy is," Thompson said in response to Morgan's compliments. "My job is to go in there and kick his ass. He could be the nicest guy in the world. After we fight we can go get a drink, I don’t give a f*ck. I’m here to do one thing and that is beat his ass. That’s all that is on my mind. That’s all I’m thinking about doing. I don’t care to talk to him or anything like that. I’m just there to beat the shit out of him. Afterwards we can do whatever, I don’t care. It is my job to show him why he shouldn’t be in bare knuckle. So, that’s what I plan on doing.”
With two wins and three losses inside the squared circle, Thompson knows that he has to do something spectacular on February 5.
"All I am going to do is what I always do and that is, come forward and apply pressure," Thompson said. "I hate to break it to him but not him, or anybody is going to take the pressure that I put out there. The first fight against Reggie (Barnett Jr.), I wasn’t prepared well. This time I am overly prepared. I’ve made sure I’ve conditioned myself mentally and physically. But mentally is a big part of it. I’ve focused strictly on this opponent. That is one thing that I haven’t done in the past. In the past I’ve focused on work, my wife, my kids. Right now the only thing on my mind is David Morgan."
When asked what how he might like to test himself after Morgan, Thompson was sure to cut the question off and make it known that he is not looking past his dance partner at KnuckleMania.
"I don’t like to think forward," he said. "I don’t like to think past my opponent. The future is never guaranteed. The present is always guaranteed. What I am going to do is get my victory. After that we will talk about what is to come. I do not want to look forward and I do not want to sound like I am not taking him seriously, because I am. Every fight is a serious fight. I take every fight the same way. Every fight is a championship fight. I will do everything and anything I can to test and hurt myself to be prepared for and take anything this guy brings to the table. The guys I spar are 150, 160, even 170-pounds. A 135-pounder is not going to have the punch that these guys have. I’ve been getting hit with kettlebells and sledgehammers, right in the stomach to help build up my obliques. I’ve got to prepare, that’s my job. I have to make sure that anything he can do to me has already been done so that way when he does do it, I can laugh it off, shrug it off, and do what I want to do.
The KnuckleMania card will also feature a fight that has captured Thompson’s attention as current bantamweight champion Johnny Bedford takes on Dat Nguyen.
“That’s going to be a great fight,” Thompson said. Honestly, I don’t ever give a f*ck about other fights, other than my own but that is one that I am interested in. I’m very thrilled to be a part of that card because I get to see the two of them. They are both great guys. I really don’t give a shit about other fights. It’s my fight that I have to worry about. Someone asked me about Paige VanZant. What the f*ck do I care? She’s a pretty Barbie doll. What the f*ck do I care? It is my job to entertain. That is all I care about.”
Headlining “KNUCKLEMANIA” is the Highly Anticipated Debut of Combat Sports Superstar Paige Van Zant facing Britain Hart in the featherweight division. Co-featured ‘Brutal’ Johnny Bedford clashes with Dat ‘Be Dat’ Nguyen for the BKFC Bantamweight World Title. In a special attraction fight Chris ‘The Crippler’ Leben battles Quentin ‘The Hero’ Henry in the 205lb. division.
Advance tickets for the socially distanced event starting at $55 may be purchased through the RP Funding Center Box Office, by phone at 1- 888-397-0100, and online at www.rpfundingcenter.com.The RP Funding Center is located at 701 W. Lime Street in Lakeland centrally located in Florida between Orlando and Tampa off Interstate 4. Doors will open on the night of the event at 7:00 p.m. ET with the first bell at 8:00 p.m. ET.
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