Kenny Cross has made a name for himself by finishing his opponents on the way to a 10-3 record with all of his fights ending in finishes. Now one of the top ranked fighters in the country at lightweight, Kenny “The Boss” Cross took the time to reflect on his third professional victory, a submission win over Ryse Brink.
Ahead of that fight, Cross had a bit of hype on him as every young and undefeated fighter does. But so did Brink who also was a young and undefeated fighter at 2-0. Brink also had finished both of his previous opponents. When asked to take the fight Cross hadn’t heard of Brink, but apparently Brink had heard of Cross and asked Matt Frendo, the matchmaker of KnockOut Promotions (KOP) at the time to make the match as Cross recalls.
“So I’m 2-0 and he’s 2-0, I’m walking around K-Mart and I get a message from Matt Frendo and he goes “Ryse Brink from way up in (Michigan) wants to fight you and I said ok. He sent me his photo online, wherever the hell it is, the stats are and I was like ok, I’ll take this fight for sure. I didn’t even watch any of his film, I just saw a young kid’s face who was 2-0 and I thought of myself. I thought he can’t have that much training cause I don’t have that much training. I went home and watched some of his film with Liam (his manager) and I was just losing my shit, like, why do people think this kid is so good?”
Cross then agreed to find out how good Brink was by signing the bout agreement to fight at KOP 52. The promotion of the fight began quickly as both fighters were booked to be interviewed at the same time on Caged in the Cave. Brink was in studio and Cross was calling in. Additionally, it was Cross’ first interview. He had notes for comebacks and was excited to share his story. But every time he talked, he felt he wasn’t getting a reaction from the hosts and they were playing up Brink because he was in studio. At the same time, Brink was trashing Cross, saying he wouldn’t box with him and that he was scared of Brink.
Shortly after that, Cross had the opportunity to see Brink in person and promotional face offs at an event before their fight. Unfortunately, Cross didn’t make it to the faceoffs.
“This was the first or second time I ever had alcohol poisoning. I couldn’t move. I got out of the bed; I was puking all day. Liam came over at five o’clock and the fights started at seven. He’s like “come on dude.” I finally made it outside and all I could smell is this campfire, this bonfire and I couldn’t even smell that, I thought I was going to die. So I ended up not making it there, Brink had this camera crew follow him around and all they were talking about was; “where is Kenny Cross? He’s scared!”
After a month of trash talk, the event finally came and Brink and Cross were ready to throw down. Cross made his entrance with a crown and a cape as he was fighting in his hometown, however, Brink brought as many fans if not more to the arena than Cross, Cross said.
The fight began and the action started quickly. Kenny Cross through a spin kick to start the round and Brink followed up with a roundhouse, both missed. Then Cross missed with a jumping front kick and Brink tried to return fire with a jump technique but while in mid-air, Cross hit him with a straight left punch that put Brink on the canvas that would make anyone’s highlight reel eye catching. Cross urged Brink up but he declined until the referee stood him up. Shortly afterwards, Cross landed a few hard strikes and Brink went to the ground. After a few moments of being mounted and taking heavy ground and pound, Brink gave up his back and tapped to a rear naked choke once flattened out. Cross remained the undefeated fighter and began to celebrate.
That’s when the insanity started.
“I go up to all of his fans and tell them to be quiet, I start doing the steering wheel motion, like have a nice drive home. Before you know it, the entire arena just inflates in a rage. His mom runs up to the cage and flips me off and tries to climb it. Matt Frendo is like: “no you can’t do that! ”I’m trying to get out of the cage because my grandpa came and he doesn’t like that stuff and he never comes to my fights. So I was like “I need to save my grandpa” and they were like, “if you go out there, you will die!”
“So I stayed in the cage and I’m watching Brett Martin (multiple regional promotion heavyweight champion) pick people up, throw them off people and hold people off, like four people off with one arm. Finally, Brink gets up on the top cage and starts yelling. His mom or his sister (more sources indicate it was the sister) or whoever is yielding one of the bars at the top of the cage, she pulls it out and starts swinging it at people. And I was like, “this is insane.” So I ended up getting police escorted out of the cage to the back room and I was like “momma I made it, I’m just like Denzel Washington!””
“I’m just having the best time of my life, girls keeping are like,” hey can I get a picture, can I get your number?” I was like, “Yeah!” But the cops kept pushing me, I was like, hey, dude come on, this is the first time I’m about to get some groupy’s number, that was sweet. He was like, nah keep going.”
It was one of Cross’ greatest nights, he’s just happy he wasn’t on the other side of it.
“The night was incredible; I’d hate to be on the opposite end cause of all the shit talking.”