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Chris Oth | Knuckle Junkies

Bo Knows MMA

By Debo | Knuckle Junkies

Desire, preparation and timing are three key items when making the jump to the professional ranks.

One of the area's more popular amateur talents will make that move Saturday. "Bad News" Bo Kunz will be making his professional debut this Saturday at the Hollywood Casino

Kunz, 30, will face the rugged and heavy handed Anthony Livingston from Popular Bluff, MO Fellow middleweight Livingston is coached by Don Bell owner/coach of the Fighter Gym in Popular Bluff and will be making his pro debut as well on Saturday. This will be the first live MMA action at the newly renovated Hollywood Casino.

Kunz (14-9-1) shined in the amateur ranks capping off his career with a stoppage victory over Clay Mitchell on the May 25th Cage Fighting Events at the Heart of St Charles with a third round arm triangle. Kunz looked impressive showing better balance and a more well-rounded style highilghed by much improved submission skills.

Livingston (13-7) wrapped up his amateur career also winning his final two amateur matches. His last victory was a convincing TKO over Brandon Karcher for Rumbletime Promotions on August 2nd at the Ameristar Casino.

Kunz began mixed martial arts training in September of 2010 working out with his brother and training under "Mean" Mike Green at Southside Fight Club. Kunz began fighting almost instantly taking his first amateur match on The Bartenders Brawl card in late September 2010 defeating Roby Batista by submission in the second round. Kunz comes into his debut with plenty amateur experience and taking on a wide variety of opponents with fights as a welterweight, middleweight and light heavyweight.

As an amateur Kunz fought a number of current local professionals from the area including Brian Schell, Ryan Sutton and Marc Godeker as well as two fights in three months with one of the area's top amateurs Scott Futrel in 2012. Kunz is feeling well prepared prepared to step his career up and live out his dream of competing successfully as a professional.

"I always had the dream of being better and Mike Green really inspired me and I never forgot his coaching and encouragement," Kunz said.

Kunz and Livingston would both like to settle into the welterweight division as they move forward in their professional careers. This match seems to be an ideal opportunity for both men to start their professional careers at a new venue hosting mixed martial arts for the first time

This past December Kunz made a crucial career decision, switching gyms to St Charles MMA where Mike Rogers is now his coach.

The main thing he wanted to accomplish was to build on his strengths.

"I knew I could stand and bang with guys but I did not want to just be a brawler. I knew I needed to improve my grappling, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and wrestling skills," Kunz said.

He went right to work in practice sessions drilling specific techniques in other disciplines. Kunz credited St Charles MMA Mike Rogers with helping him understand the importance of specific training techniques in multiple areas to increase his skill set in the cage. During practice of this camp Kunz placed a heavy emphasis on improving his wrestling and grappling skills.

Kunz will have his hands full Saturday against Livingston when these two middleweights tangle in the cage Saturday.

Livingston made his amateur debut in August of 2010 losing by a decision to Shawn Knobelock. He knew he after that defeat that he needed to drastically improve his wrestling and take down defense. That initial defeat was the spark that got Livingston committed to serious training.

"I got into MMA to get in shape. I loved watching UFC veteran Chuck Liddell. His style really motivated me to train and challenge myself to train harder and compete," Livingston said.

Livingston similar to Kunz fights often and has been willing to take fights in multiple weight divisions.

Of the thirteen of Livingston's wins, six are by submission and seven by knockout or technical knockout.

"I have been considering turning pro for about a year now. I had 20 amateur fights and have fought in the St Louis area close to a dozen times so I feel very comfortable fighting in the St Louis area," Livingston said.

For this training camp Livingston has drilled and worked on increasing his cardio, wrestling and his stand up skills. Both Kunz and Livingston understand they can't just rely on their ability to stand and strike. Honing wrestling, Jiu-Jitsu, grappling and submission skills are essential for success in the professional ranks.

This match-up has all the ingredients of being and outstanding fight. The similarities in age, styles and background in the sports should make for a very entertaining pro debut for both fighters Saturday. Kunz as the local favorite is fully aware Livingston is a tough opponent who has one punch knockout power. Kunz will have the strength to match Livingston on Saturday. This match might come down to hand speed and ground skills.

Check out the Hollywood Casino Saturday. Doors open at 6:00pm. This pro/am card is scheduled to start at 7:00pm. Special guest include five-time UFC Heavyweight Champion Tim Sylvia. The main event features welterweights Chris Heatherly vs. Josh Weston. Call the Hollywood Casino Gift Shop for tickets at 314-486-5381

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