Bryant Jennings’ rise up the boxing ladder has been anything but gradual.
The Philadelphia heavyweight didn’t spend much time at the amateur level as he went pro fewer than nine months after taking up the sport.
But Jennings (16-0, 8 KOs), scheduled to take on Andre Fedosov (24-2, 19 KOs) on NBC’s Friday night fight card at the Sands Casino Resort in Bethlehem, PA, doesn’t believe his lack of experience will negatively effect his long term plans.
“What’s experience?” Jennings asked. “LeBron James came into the NBA overpowering veterans.”
Jennings, who began boxing as an amateur in January of 2009, hit a crossroad in August of that same year. Should he go pro or continue with his amateur career and hold out until the 2012 Olympic Games?
Because of his late start in the sport, the decision to jump into the professional ranks came quick for Jennings. He made the Golden Gloves and PAL National heavyweight final his first year as an amateur boxer and was in his mid 20s.
“I was already 25, a grown man,” Jennings explained. “My maturation already took place. Do I wait for the Olympics and fight the politics or go pro? I took a gamble.”
The gamble has paid nice dividends for Jennings so far. He’s undefeated and is believed by some to be the next big name among American heavyweights.
Although the division lacks any real depth and hasn’t had any major fanfare since the days of Riddick Bowe and Evander Holyfield, being able to hold up a heavyweight championship belt still has a little ring to it.
Jennings’ decision to forgo the Olympics and a long amateur career doesn’t mean he lacks respect for the sport, because he does. It’s just that he has his mind set on one thing; to win the heavyweight title.
When asked about rest of the heavyweight division, Jennings referred to them as “obstacles”.
No one in the division scares Jennings. Even champions Wladimir and Vitale Klitschko don’t intimidate Jennings. And don’t think Jennings doesn’t have a picture of those two on a dart board somewhere in his house.
“I’m so goal-oriented,” Jennings added. “I have tunnel vision. All I see is [Wladimir and Vitale Klitschko].”
Aside from the perceived lack of competition in the heavyweight division, Jennings is convinced he has the talent and charisma to be a major star.
Said Jennings: “I have a lot of good attributes. I’m a good athlete and I’m a very marketable individual.”