Joey Beltran on making history and Sam Shewmaker BKFC 18 title fight

Photo by Jerry Chavez for Bare Knuckle FC

Joey Beltran on making history and Sam Shewmaker BKFC 18 title fight

Joey Beltran is the reigning and defending Police Gazette as well as BKFC heavyweight champion. He defends these prized pieces of hardware at BKFC 18 against Sam Shewmaker on Saturday, June 26th.

I spoke with The Mexicutioner ahead of his sophomore championship defense against the hard-hitting Hillbilly Hammer and the excerpts from my recent Beltran conversation can be found below.

Getting inducted into the bare-knuckle boxing hall of fame

“It was very cool man. Honestly, I’ll admit I didn’t really take it that seriously until I was actually there. And then I got around the whole culture of Belfast, and just a weird aura. Stepping into the gym where John L Sullivan did his training and really be around all the historical artifacts.”

“The gorgeous ceremony and watching, seeing how much the ceremony meant to other people. Meant to Scott (Burt), meant to the people of Belfast, meant to everybody involved in the bare-knuckle hall of fame. It really let me know, this is something way bigger than me, man. It was awesome and I’m very honored to be a part of it.”


Learning the deeper history of the Police Gazette championship belt that he now holds

“Yeah, definitely, man. It’s pretty cool. I finally know the history. The belt that John L  Sullivan originally carried was the American belt and how John L Sullivan pissed off the Commissioner of the Police Gazette, I forget how he pissed him off. So he stripped him somehow, found a way to strip John L Sullivan. Put diamonds on the belt, made it the world title. Had these other two guys fight for it.”

“And then John L Sullivan worked his way back around. So when he won the World Title, that was it. He won the world title but never defended it because then after that they switched to gloved boxing. So that’s why it really really sunk in how much of an honor it was for me to actually win the title and then defend it. Because nobody else in history has ever defended it.”

Finishing Marcel Stamps for that history-making title defense

“I mean, way more than words can describe. I mean honestly, it’s one thing to win the title. But I’m a firm believer, you’re not really the champion until you defend the title. So to be the first to defend it. Not only for BKFC but for also the Police Gazette title. I mean it definitely was like an ‘aha moment’.”

“Finally, it’s almost like it validated the last 14 years of effort. You know all the fights, all the ups and downs in the UFC and Bellator. Just the whole wild ride to get here. To finally be solidified as a reigning and defending bare-knuckle fighting hall of fame champion, it’s pretty badass.”


Topping the marquee of a card like BKFC 18 with four title fights

“Yeah, man. It’s definitely something huge. And I feel a level of honor. First of all, with all the superstars and all the local from Miami guys that are on the card to be chosen to be the main event, it’s something huge. It’s an honor and also a responsibility to go out there. You know, to set the house on fire, and put on a stereotypical Joey Beltran type fight. Really entertain the people and really put a stamp on my second title defense.”

The dynamics of dating fellow BKFC fighter Britain Hart

“It’s awesome, like we push each other in the gym. But also too we’re able to check each other and say ‘hey, you might want to take a day or take a half-day. Hit the cryotherapy or get a hot tub session instead.’ Instead of like, push, push, push, push. There has to be a balance otherwise you’ll never make it to the finish line. You know, the personal life I mean honestly, she’s freaking awesome. It’s really, really crazy how I went through all those fights, all those years in the UFC and Bellator and everything.”

“I thought I retired, and then I went to one of the most violent forms of combat out there you know Bare Knuckle fighting. And then I won the title and then I went to a show and was sat down with ringside seats. They sat me next to Britain Hart, and it’s crazy how life works like that, man. She really helped life make sense. I was always wondering like what am I gonna do? What’s this fighting shit really worth? What’s it all for? And at the end of the day, if it was to meet Britain, it was definitely worth it.”

Joey Beltran

Joey Beltran on training with Hector Lombard who also is in a BKFC 18 world title bout

“Hector’s energy is infectious like he’s always positive. Always like upbeat every time he comes to the gym he lights it on fire, which is fucking great. Great to train with. We push each other when we spar. We push each other but it’s like fun and competitive.”

Sam Shewmaker as an opponent

“Overall I respect his skills. Trained accordingly to deal with his skill set and I’m very confident. I have the recipe to put him to sleep. So that’s what I’m looking to do. And I’m looking to do it by the third round.”

Parting thoughts for Joey Beltran

“No, not really, man. It’s just everything’s all systems go. Same stuff, different day. I just train, train train, and get ready for the fight. I think Sam Shewmaker is gonna come out and bring it. He’s gonna try to take my head off and really wants to take my title. I don’t think he’s gonna play around the edge and try to work behind his jab. I think he’s gonna make my job a lot easier, and try to come take my head off. So, I’ll be ready.”


author avatar
Dylan Bowker
I've been enamored with combat sports for as long as I can remember. I've hosted MMA talk shows Lights Out and Pure Fight Radio with featured guests like Jens Pulver, Roy Nelson, Miesha Tate, Mark Coleman, and more. I've been an MMA broadcaster for XFFC as well as BTC and have done play by play commentary on live pay per view on GFL as well as FITE TV. I've provided written, audio, and video content covering some of the biggest MMA promotions like Rumble in the Cage, Unified MMA, and King of the Cage. I've worked as a sports entertainment personality for over five years and given play-by-play or featured promotions of KSW, ONE Championship, TKO, and Invicta FC. My work can be found in the USA Today Sports affiliate MMA Torch, Cageside Press, MMA Sucka, and Liberty Multimedia.