As Sam Shewmaker drove 12 hours to the Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship in Cheyenne, Wyo., he didn’t know what would unfold in front of him as he walked into the ring in front of 2,000 people.
Little did the Missouri native know, he would walk away untouched after his match with former Bellator fighter, Eric Prindle. The bout only lasted for one punch, as Shewmaker knocked out his opponent at the 18-second mark in the first round on Saturday.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to The Kansas City Star
Shewmaker advanced to the next round of the championship, the first regulated, sanctioned and legal bare-knuckle fighting event since 1889, which is tentatively planned for September. Beating a former Bellator fighter was a huge deal for him.
“It was a big-time confidence boost. Eric was a very good fighter and had a solid background,” Shewmaker said. “It felt very good to win.
“It felt like I hit a home run as he fell. Once that happened, I knew it was over.”
Days before the fight, all Shewmaker could do was prepare himself mentally for what he could endure.
“I went out west early because we had a media day on Thursday. I wanted to get up and get workouts in before the fight,” Shewmaker said.
During his time preparing, Shewmaker was followed by cameras. He soon found out he had the opportunity to be featured on HBO’s TV series, Vice. And, he took it.
“It was almost like a Hollywood experience,” Shewmaker said. “They were building me up, hyping me ... it was a great time.”
Back in Missouri, Shewmaker said he’ll recuperate and prepare for September’s match-up. While he is not for sure who he will fight, he is optimistic.
“I’m going to take a couple days off, just soak it in,” Shewmaker said. “I’ve drank a lot of water and yelled a bunch the past couple days. I’m just now starting to get my voice back.”