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DeMarcus Corley: BKFC 16 and Chop Chop’s bare knuckle debut

DeMarcus Corley takes on Reggie Barnett Jr in the BKFC 16 co-main event. The latest Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship event goes down on March 19th.

The card emanates from Biloxi Civic Center in Biloxi, Mississippi, and broadcasts on FITE TV as well as the Bare Knuckle TV app.

Below are excerpts from my recent conversation with Corley as the decorated gloved boxer makes his BKFC debut.

Reggie Barnett Jr as an opponent

“Reggie’s 100% solid. And I appreciate Reggie for accepting to fight me because a lot of other guys didn’t want to fight me because of who I am. What I bring to the bare-knuckle game but I know it’s different. It’s a different sport. This is not Boxing. This is fighting. And I got into boxing just because I love to fight. I got into it just to win trophies. 10 years old, and I realized that boxing is the sport. And it helps you a whole lot become disciplined. Teach you how to carry yourself as a young man, and I fell in love with it.”

DeMarcus Corley

The familiarity DeMarcus Corley with guys like Dat Nguyen and Johnny Bedford

“I wanted to go straight at Johnny Bedford when he was champion. And this was two years ago. They were like well you can’t come straight in and fight for the world title. You have to get a debut and we got to see what you’re really made of. And I was telling David and everyone ‘trust me, I’m the real deal when it comes to fighting. I know boxing. And I know how to fight it. ‘And he was like ‘well, we’ll see. Because we just can’t just put you in and there you go straight for the title.’ And that’s my goal. I’m going to become World Champion, as a bare-knuckle fighter.”

DeMarcus Corley’s goals at 135 lbs and 145 lbs in BKFC

“Oh, one hundred percent. 135 imma defend it maybe two, three times. See who’s at 145 pounds at that time. Because you know guys, they don’t maintain their weight. There may be some new guys at 145 pounds that may not be as dangerous as the ones there now.”

DeMarcus Corley’s future in gloved and bare-knuckle boxing

“Truthfully on that aspect, once I walk away from boxing, I’m gonna fall in love with bare-knuckle fighting. I’m gonna fight between three to four fights. I’m not gonna come back because it’s a lot of politics. It’s the promoters and the manager’s desk running the game of boxing. It’s not the fighters no more. Back when I was fighting, fighters fight everyone…Nowadays promoters and the managers, they have money invested in prospects; their fighters. It’s business and I understand that.”


Inabilities to spar bare-knuckle and DeMarcus Corley having to navigate things in-competition

“It’s navigating that I’ll have to do when I’m in there. But a lot of things that fighters don’t understand, it’s a tunnel vision when you’re in there fighting. Everything is quick and you’re in a tunnel. So you have to be able to see things that move real fast. But you have to be able to slow it down like you’re in a NASCAR race in that kind of way. You can see stuff moving quick but you have to be able to slow it down and make moves before it happens.”

Only worries being injuring his hands and getting knocked out

“I got to make sure I place my punches in the right spot.”

The desired strength of schedule in BKFC going forward for DeMarcus Corley

“I would like to go right back right after my 47th birthday in June. So we’re looking at March. Give me a month to recover and heal up my hands. Whatever Reggie (Barnett jr) hits me with, I’ll have bruises on my face. Go back in June, I’ll be 47 years old, do another one some time towards the Fall in September or October. That’ll be three fights this year. I’ll be world champion then 2022 comes around, maybe look  at fighting in a higher weight class.”

Corley vs Barnett Jr

Former opponent Floyd Mayweather taking exhibition bouts on the boxing circuit

“I look at it and I say Mayweather has took boxing and the sport to another level. Because it’s not just boxing no more, it’s entertainment now. And due to the pandemic of the world that we’re in right now, we need some type of entertainment. Because there isn’t no more fights, pretty much. Because no audience can attend the boxing matches. The big celebrities can’t come out and entertain and watch the fight. So they have to put something together for us to be watched on TV.”

DeMarcus Corley wanting to compete in exhibition boxing bouts down the line

“I would like to do one with Cuba Gooding Jr. I would like to move around with him. He’s one of my favorite actors. It would be an honor just to box him and move around.”

The music DeMarcus Corley listens to while training

“Real boxers understand, boxing is an art and a science. And it’s all about music, because there’s rhythm and timing. When I’m in there anyone would tell you if Chop Chop got on some music, it’s oldies but goodies. James Brown, Marvin Gaye, Frankie Beverly and Maze. I like old music with rhythm. And I get into my rhythm. And I actually spar and train and the music be on. I get in a rhythm and they’ll be like ‘uh oh, he’s found his rhythm.'”


Broughton’s Rules-style hand strengthening methods for DeMarcus Corley ahead of his BKFC debut

“Yeah, I was punching the sand. I had a bucket and we were punching the sand. I had a fight scheduled for August, I was punching the sand, and my hands were getting raw. I’m like, ‘Man, when am I gonna get the contract?’ and I never got the contract. So I took time off, stopped punching the sand. And then we were scheduled to do something in October. So I got the Muay Thai wall.”

“It’s a board you mount on the wall. And I started punching that. It has a cloth on the board and my hand started bleeding from punching. I showed a video. Posted on Instagram. I was working on my right hook because everyone knows I’m a hooker. And I have so much power in my right hand but I am left-handed. Mounted the thing on the wall and I was working on my hook. And I only threw three to four and caved the wall in. With the wall mount mounted onto it.”

Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship

Thoughts on the modern boxing divisional landscape at lightweight

“These young fighters; Devin Haney, he can’t shut me out. (Gervonta) Tank Davis, can’t knock me out. Ryan Garcia, he couldn’t do shit with me. These young guys at ’35, they haven’t fought an A-class fighter. They’re fighting these young fighters who are on the level that they’re on. That’s why I can’t get a fight with these big guys and the promoters know it.”

Parting thoughts for DeMarcus Corley

“I really think this is going to happen. Was excited when I had seen me and Travis Thompson on a poster and we were scheduled to fight October 16th last year. I was excited back then but not like this. Reggie Barnett (Jr), I know he’s going to come to fight.”

“So I don’t have to worry about that. I know a hundred percent, he’s willing to fight me. So he’s not going to pull out. I know he’s going to take care of his body. So no injuries will come about so the fight will be delayed or nothing…Just knowing that Reggie’s a solid fighter and he’s willing to step up and fight me, that’s good.”

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