Josh Burns takes on Sam Shewmaker in a long-awaited heavyweight affair at BKFC 21. The latest from Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship goes down on Friday, September 10th from Ralston Arena in Omaha, Nebraska.
The broadcast goes down on the Bare Knuckle TV App at BKTVApp.com at 8 PM EST.
I recently spoke with Josh Burns and excerpts from my conversation with the heavy-handed heavyweight can be found below.
This Sam Shewmaker fight being a long time coming
“Well, I mean this is officially the third time that we’re supposed to fight. We’ve actually signed the contract twice before to fight. So it was actually supposed to be my debut in the BKFC. He was gonna be my debut fight instead of Chris Sarro. So it’s been in the works for a couple of years now.”
“So (laughs), needless to say, we’ve been wanting to do the damn thing. I don’t care for the guy, he don’t care for me, it’s gonna be a good fight. As far as signing it on the dotted line, I mean, like I said it’s the third time. So I’ll believe it when he actually shows up. I’ve been there the other two times. So I’ll just believe it when he actually is there at the weigh-ins and weighing in.”
If there’s cautious optimism for the Shewmaker bout panning out
“Yeah, no. I mean, you train for who you’re gonna fight. Just like my last fight. Changed my opponent 4 days before we were supposed to fight, and just got a completely different opponent. Obviously, I shit the bed and it was what it was, you know. I just didn’t come out with the same tenacity that I should have. I was really planning on knocking out DC (Dillon Cleckler). He’s just one of them pretty boys that just fights a bunch of bums and expects people to give him respect. As far as Sam, Sam’s fought everybody that he can fight.”
“So I give him credit for that. But at the same time, he’s never fought anybody like me. So as far as getting ready for him it’s pretty easy because I want to put him on his ass. So at the end of the day, we just train to get ready. Flying down there and actually seeing his goofy ass down there. But once I see him walking around the halls of the hotel and the venue, then I’ll know it’s real.”
The last BKFC bout in a losing effort against compatriot in combat Frank Tate
“Just one of those days. It just ended up being a bad performance. A flat performance on my part. I was in shape. If I wasn’t in shape, I don’t think I would have kept getting up from his devastating right hand that he kept hitting me with. You know sometimes it happens and at this level, you have to prepare for who you’ve got to fight. And Tate was honestly the complete opposite of what I was preparing for (Dillon Cleckler) and that’s not an excuse. All credit goes to Frank, but Frank was preparing for a guy my size.”
“So he was already preparing for someone like me and we talked about it. Like I said Frank and I are boys. I have nothing but respect for him. I tip my hat to him. He was the better man that night. But believe me, you know, the beautiful thing is getting to fight Sam Shewmaker. Who I essentially have been preparing for, for over six months previously. Now I’ve got another camp under my belt. So we really feel confident that we’re gonna smoke his ass and get rid of him quick.”
Burns vs Shewmaker
Working with guys like Ryan Jones ahead of bare-knuckle boxing bouts
“I had Chris Sarro come out and train. He helped me out…Sparring at my age, I’ve done this long enough. That I realize you don’t have to get in there and have dog fights in sparring to be prepared for a fight.”
“At this point, it’s about being sharp and being quick. Training with guys who are faster, more mobile, and have better cardio than Sam. And I think we all saw that with Sam and Joey (Beltran). I mean, he blew his wad in the first round. He was sucking wind like he was underwater after that first round. So at the end of the day, I just need to train with fast, strong guys. I also have some grappling partners. Big Bruce, we call him Panda and he comes in to grapple with me. Because this is BKFC.”
“This is not the European style. Where it’s Victorian where you stand-up, no clinch. This stuff promotes clinching and promotes to dirty box. And Joey Beltran, I like Joey. But at the end of the day, we’re all competitors and I can evaluate him. He’s a weak individual, he is not a natural heavyweight. He is a soft heavyweight and he physically controlled Sam Shewmaker after round two. Physically just pummelling, pawing, and moving him.”
Josh Burns continued, “So, now what happens when Sam Shewmaker gets in there with a true heavyweight? I walk around at 295. I had to cut down to get to this fight. I’m not Joey Beltran or these guys that walk around at 240. You know what I’m saying? Or 237, whatever it is. So I just think this is just gonna be an eye-opener for him. He’s gonna realize that. I’ll probably be the guy that knocks him down to cruiserweight, down to 205.”
Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship
The picture with former WWE star Braun Strowman and the rumblings of him crossing over to BKFC
“Yeah no, we talked. If he does decide to come this way, I’m gonna go down and train him. Help him get him ready for his first fight. But there’s a lot that goes into it. A guy of his stature and his financial capabilities, there’s a lot of things that would have to fall into perfect place. But we talked about it and I would definitely go down to help him get ready for his first fight. If he decides to sign the line.”
Burns’ young son being a huge fan of Strowman’s WWE work
“Yeah. I personally didn’t know who he was. Just knew that he was a WWE guy. I found out my son, my eight-year-old son, that’s like his favorite guy. So I found that out the night that I was there. I was talking with him, I said oh my son likes you. And I didn’t know what he does with his hands. I guess he says you want to get these hands? He sent my son a little message, a little video which is pretty cool. So yeah, I did find out my son really, really likes that guy.”
Parting thoughts for Josh Burns
“Everybody tune in, watch it. Sam’s never been stopped. He’s been knocked down but never stopped. Tune in if you want to watch a dude get his jaw broke. Or get knocked out, separated from consciousness. Just want to thank my sponsor Tiger Lyfe. They’re my main sponsor, they’re good people…So I appreciate them and I appreciate everybody in the BKFC, man. It’s one of the best promotions in the world. Tune in September 10th and you’ll watch some violence. Some destruction of a white hillbilly.”
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.