Bobo O’Bannon takes on Arnold Adams in a bare-knuckle boxing bout in the heavyweight division this Friday, March 19 at BKFC 16. These two titans will knuckle up and toe the line at the Biloxi Civic Center in Biloxi, Mississippi, with the card airing on FITE TV and the Bare Knuckle TV app.
Exchanging fisticuffs is not the only gig Bobo O’Bannon has going, mind you.
Bobo is a millwright for Georgia Pacific Paper Mill in New Augusta, Mississippi. He does shutdown work and keeps the plant running with regular maintenance of mechanics.
“I work a full-time job and work 14 hour days. There’s been some weeks where we work more than 14 hours a day. But I get off work and work out. Do my sprints, working out, and everything. We’re getting down to the wire. Close to fight time.”
As the fight date approaches, he gets in work before these long shifts. His co-workers are not only aware of his combat career but love his BKFC efforts. All of his co-workers know about his fighting and some were already fans of his fighting before Bobo went to that Mill in New Augusta.
In terms of what lead him specifically towards BKFC, there was a bit of divine intervention, and Brok Weaver getting O’Bannon into bare-knuckle boxing
“That was wild. You’re fixing to agree with me too. Whenever I was sitting my fat butt at work, working overtime watching Brok Weaver fight in this Bare Knuckle fighting, I didn’t know. Man, is this stuff still illegal?… Quite obviously it’s got to be legal with all these people in attendance and being on TV and everything.”
Weaver fought Joe Riggs at BKFC 3 back in 2018. “So the next weekend I was at work, and I got with Brok and was like, ‘Bro look; what’s going on, man?’ He said ‘yeah, man. It’s something they just legalized. It’s really cool and I like it’….Here I was 300, 305 pounds sitting at work. Just really wanted to do this. Wanted to get in there and fight his bare-knuckle. That looked like my type of fighting. And so I went and trained.”
“Went to losing weight and getting myself in shape. I got the call from Nate Shook [BKFC matchmaker] around January…Send me a contract, I don’t care who it is. I want to fight this. This is my style of fighting. So anyhow, I signed a contract in January and I weighed 306 pounds on that day on the scale. He said ‘you got to be at least 265’.”
Bobo O’Bannon continued, “So I lost weight and then I ended up cutting, I made 255 I think it was. I lost the better of 50 pounds from January to the first week of April to get ready for that fight. Went in and had a blast.”
“Matter of fact, I hate putting him on the spot like this but whatever, David Feldman comes to me backstage and said ‘I really don’t like you right now. I’m upset with you.’ Sir, you know, I’m sorry, what did I do?. He said ‘You should have told me you were gonna fight like that.”
“There was a couple of fights where I would much rather had y’all on TV instead of some of these other fights. He said ‘I’ve got a heavyset young guy and heavyset older guy. It’s kind of hard to see that and put that on TV as well.’ I said ‘yes, sir. I understand that and I apologize.”
The Feldman anecdote is interesting because it has been a bit of a microcosm of not just Bobo’s BKFC journey but O’Bannon’s life journey overall. In as far as readjusting people’s expectations based on how people perceive him in a surface area way.
A Decent-Sized Fella
“I’ve got to be a hundred percent honest with you here. This has been my entire life. I don’t see this as anything different than every single day in my life. I’m a decent-sized fella… Big old fellas ain’t really that smart. On my job, I’m very very intelligent and I’m very good at what I do…People don’t expect that from me. I’m just a big old strong guy here. He’s got to be the work mule more than anything.”
“And the same thing in the ring. It’s just a big old country boy, you know. Simple old fella. We don’t expect a whole lot from him. That’s fine. I love that. I don’t want you to expect a whole bunch from me. Because I like seeing the look of excitement on your face when you get what I’m giving.”
Bobo has been six feet tall since he was 12. This lead to a self-described lack of coordination as he entered his teens. In his words, he had two left feet where he couldn’t use either one but had an unassailable work ethic in athletic endeavors like baseball.
That aforementioned surprised look was one that perhaps he noticed on the face of brick-fisted MMA veteran Mike Kyle, who O’Bannon dispatched of on the Toe the Line series.
O’Bannon does not shy away from tough challenges as evidenced by stepping up to fight upcoming title challenger Sam Shewmaker on short notice in an effort where he ultimately fell short to The Hillbilly Hammer.
O’Bannon vs Adams
Arnold Adams is an opponent that O’Bannon has familiarity with that goes far beyond just watching tape.
“That would be a real good fight. That would be a real entertaining fight…I know he was the champion. Heck, I helped Chase Sherman get ready for him. I watched Arnold so I could spar with Chase in the way that Arnold fought. I could mimic Arnold’s style so that Chase could fight against that.”
“Obviously, I did a good job of mimicking him because Chase knew exactly what to expect whenever he got in there. Knew exactly what he needed to do. So you know, in essence, I’ve already prepared for this fight one time. Helping somebody else prepare for it, I did the leg work on finding out everything about it. I already did the work to get ready for it one time. I might as well fight it now.”
Broughton’s Rules hand strengthening is important in BKFC and fighters have a myriad of fist galvanizing tactics.
Muay Thai fighter shin strengthening techniques are something Bobo has applied to his hand strengthening.
“You know what? It don’t matter. Why not? If they’re willing to do the things that I do, I’ll give it to them. I beat my hands. Take a piece of one by two at the house, ball my fist up, and beat my hands. Beat the top of my hands, the backside of my hand, and I will beat my punching knuckles.”
“Beat my fingers and the face of my fist when it’s balled up… It hurts really bad when I ball my fist up to pick something up…Then I’ll take it easy for a little while. No more hard contact to them and just strictly using my gloves.”
O’Bannon repeats that process over the camp to create microscopic fractures. The utility of these fractures is ideally to galvanize the fist via protein and calcium healing over the damage to create a stronger bone.
Bobo O’Bannon is a legit, crafty pugilist who is good with his hands both gloves on and gloves off. There is video out there of Bobo getting in some sparring work with Deontay Wilder, the long-reigning WBC heavyweight champion up until February 2020.
His efforts in Queensberry Rules sparring were on a level where O’Bannon got in work with Wilder for multiple camps (seven or eight paid camps) subsequently.
Whether it’s gloves on, gloves off, or working at the paper mill, do not underestimate what Bobo O’Bannon brings to the table.
Parting thoughts for Bobo O’Bannon
“Healthy 1 Inc… helping us out tremendously. Supplements and workout routines; really, really good…Bee Lit Organics , they’re making organic candles…They’re working on some scrubs to send her…They made specifically for her.”
“For her Fibromyalgia and it’s actually helping my wife. It sincerely is. Some of the bath soaps and different stuff she has, it sincerely helps. So I’m very appreciative of them. If you know anybody with Fibromyalgia, get with the folks at Bee Lit Organics.”
Britton’s Battle is a Go Fund Me page that helps with the medical issues that Bobo O’Bannon’s wife has been going through. If you would like to donate to this cause, you can click the link provided.