Jonathan Chicas was so disappointed by his last professional loss that he took two weeks off from training so he could mentally regroup.
The 26-year-old San Franciscan was floored by a counter uppercut from Emmanuel Robles and ultimately lost a close eight-round split decision in front of his hometown fans at Longshoremen’s Hall last July.
Such disappointment, however, motivates Chicas (13-2, 6 KOs) to train as hard as he has recently in hopes of still realizing his dream of becoming a world champion:
“I got down after that fight because I felt that it was a good fight. I felt that it was an important fight. It kind of pushed me back to where I didn’t want to be at. So I just had to get back mentally, and I’m there now. I feel confident, I’ve got a great team, and I feel good.”
Chicas looks to return to his winning ways on April 4 when he makes his Big Knockout Boxing (BKB) debut against rising lightweight Javier Garcia at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas.
Chicas told SFBay he is excited to compete in this new incarnation of combat sport, which has quickly generated buzz in just a short period of time:
“I feel that a lot of people want this opportunity and I’m blessed enough to have it. So I want to take full advantage of it and be able to come out victorious and be able to move on to bigger and better things after this.”
A victory over Garcia (10-3-2, 9 KOs) will earn Chicas the BKB welterweight title, though The results of BKB fights do not affect the fighters’ professional records.
Created by a group of experienced veterans in the fight industry, BKB debuted with two shows in New Hampshire in 2013. The Nevada State Athletic Commission sanctioned the brand in March 2014 and its official pay-per-view debut occurred that August at Mandalay Bay.
Like traditional boxing, all BKB fighters wear 8 or 10 ounce gloves depending on their weight class and fight under the same basic rules, including a 10-point-must-system. But there are some notable differences as well.
BKB rounds last two minutes instead of the three in traditional boxing, while title bouts last just seven rounds and non-title bouts last five.
The most notable difference, however, is the fighting surface.
All bouts are contested inside a circular “pit” that is 17 feet in diameter instead of the traditional 20-by-20-foot ring with ropes and corners. The pit is enclosed by a raised padded area and referees can deduct one point from a fighter if they intentionally step outside of it.
Organizers hope the lack of room to move will generate more action from the fighters and produce big knockouts.
Chicas remains determined to look sharp against Garcia in hopes of catching the attention of any influential names within the sport:
“This fight right now is really important just because I want to get back in the win column, regardless if it goes on a boxing record or not. I want to pride myself in giving good fights and being a great professional and being a winner.”
The event will also feature a slew of all-action fighters, culminating with the BKB middleweight title fight between former middleweight title contenders Gabriel Rosado (the current BKB middleweight champ) and Curtis Stevens.
Fighting on the same card with such recognized talent is something that Chicas never imagined throughout his near four years as a professional pugilist:
“To see where I’m at now from where I first started, I would never have imagined I would even be in this position. Even though I’m on the undercard, it’s a big stage. So I’m really excited to be a part of this and I’m training 100 percent and I’m going to go in there 100 percent.”
Known for his brawler style, the 26-year-old Garcia stopped Darnell Jiles in five rounds to win the BKB welterweight title during the premiere August event.
But in his last professional fight, he was stopped by aging veteran DeMarcus Corley in the seventh round in October 2013.
His other notable fights include a 2011 unanimous decision win over Hugo Ramos and a first-round blowout of Jose Javier Guzman in 2008.
Garcia is also trained by his uncle, famed trainer and former IBF junior lightweight champion Robert Garcia.
Chicas acknowledges but is not intimidated by Garcia’s pugilistic upbringing, saying things ultimately come down to what Javier can produce on fight night:
“I’m just coming prepared mentally, physically, and spiritually. I always make sure I come in 100 percent and give the fans a good fight and give it all I got so I come out with the win.”
With the fight less than two weeks away, Chicas has implemented certain BKB-specific conditions into his training, including staying away from the ropes while sparring and increasing his punch volume within two-minute intervals.
He also recruited sponsor Victor Conte of Scientific Nutrition for Advanced Conditioning and strength and conditioning coach Mike Bazzel of Undisputed Boxing Gym in San Carlos to help him enhance his endurance.
Chicas hopes to use the fight as an opportunity to not only improve but also prove that he can hang with the best fighters in his weight class:
“I feel that in this fight I will show everybody who I am, who Jonathan Chicas is – a great fighter, a great boxer and somebody with a great style.”
He also hopes to once again display his talents for a major sporting network like ESPN or Fox Sports 1 in the near future.
But he remains focused on the task at hand and looks forward to thrilling the DirecTV subscribers who tune in April 4 for what is sure to be an exciting night of action:
“It’s a new style of boxing – BKB. No ropes, all action-packed. I’m fighting a tough guy that loves to brawl and you know me, I love to brawl. But at the same time, I’ll be smart about it. If I need to fight inside, I’ll fight inside. When I need to fight outside, I’ll fight outside. But I’m still going to give the fans what they want to see – a good fight.”