Jennings ready for big step up against Liakhovich

Credit: John DiSanto / PhillyBoxingHistory.com

Upstart heavyweight Bryant Jennings, 12-0, 5 KOs, believes that when opportunity knocks, you have no choice but to answer. In January, Jennings stepped into the main event of the inaugural telecast of NBC Sports Network’s “Fight Night” boxing series by seizing one of those unlikely opportunities that sometimes come along. On one week’s notice, Jennings accepted a fight with another undefeated prospect and came away with a nationally televised 10-round victory, and for the first time in his career, left a fight with a little buzz surrounding his name.

That buzz translated into yet another opportunity for Jennings on the very next NBC Sports Network “Fight Night” show, promoted by Main Events, March 24th. The fight will be part of fantastic night of boxing featuring Zab Judah vs. Vernon Paris. The broadcast begins at 10PM ET.

On March 24th, Jennings will take on his stiffest test to date when he meets former WBO heavyweight champion Sergei Liakhovich, 25-4, 16 KOs, at the Aviator Sports Complex in Brooklyn, New York. Although Jennings impressed in his last bout, a unanimous decision over Maurice Byarm, some believe that with the worldly Liakhovich, he’s bitten off a little more than he can chew. But Jennings doesn’t agree.

“I know for sure that I’m ready,” Jennings said before his typically rigorous workout at the ABC Recreation Center in North Philly. “Everything I do is for a reason. It’s a pretty good step up for me, and I know it’s not going to be easy. But I got to move forward. Everything is going to get tougher now. I know that’s the way it has to be.”

The fact that Liakhovich has been to the top of the heavyweight division and has faced a level of opposition far deeper and more accomplished than the 27-year old Jennings, figures to be the former champ’s biggest edge in the fight. However, supporters of Jennings can’t help but wonder if Liakhovich still has enough gas left in his tank to fight off the challenge of a hungry and confident prospect like the Philadelphian.

“They say he’s been there, but in the last four years he’s had four fights. And he’s lost two of them,” said Jennings’ trainer Fred Jenkins, Sr. “You’ve got an old race horse going against a young race horse. So who you betting on?”

Jennings knows what his opponent has done in the past, but realizes that now is time to make the most of his latest and biggest opportunity.

“He’s trying to work his way back to being a contender, and I’m here to step in his way,” said Jennings. “He’s also in my way, so that’s when we clash and collide.”

Jennings’ desire to win is palpable. Under the watchful eye of his trainer, Bryant sweats and grunts his way through a daily training regimen that emphasizes hard work and clear focus. This is one young man who does not look beyond the next step. He refuses to be seduced by the promise of his potentially bright future.

“What’s in front of me right now, this fight, is more important than my future,” Jennings said. “Tomorrow is not promised, so I’m working on what’s going on right now. My future lies within this fight.”

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