Undefeated cruiserweight and US Army veteran Blake “The Beast” McKernan of Sacramento, Calif., is the latest boxer to sign a multi-year agreement with International Championship Boxing, promoter of the revolutionary and exciting new combat sport that features boxing in a cage.
The 31-year-old, 6-foot-1-inch McKernan has a record of 11-0 with six knockouts.
McKernan turned pro 16 days before his 29th birthday, but he has good reason for not doing so before then. He served in the US Army for more than three years as an infantry machine gunner, a stint which included one year in Iraq.
While in Iraq, attached to special forces seeking high value targets, he was wounded when an improvised explosive device located on a roadside detonated.
Back in civilian life, he was in the mortgage industry until, one day, he told himself, “I don’t want to live with ‘what ifs.’ “
So, he quit and devoted himself to boxing for the first time. McKernan started at age 10, but never stuck with it completely. He played football, baseball and soccer in high school and was, at his best, a four-handicap in golf.
“I want to turn my dreams into reality,” says McKernan. “When I was 10, I wanted to be the heavyweight champion of the world. I don’t know if success at that weight is possible for me, but who knows?
“What I do know,” says McKernan, “is that I’ll be bad news for anyone who gets in the cage with me.
“Fighting in the cage will be to my advantage,” says McKernan. “With six instead of four corners, I have more places to trap them, where they won’t be able to step off. Then they’ll taste my power.”
“We’re continuing in 2019 what we started in 2018, and that’s signing fighters who we believe will flourish in the ICB cage,” says Jack Fulton, founder and Chief Executive Officer of the Virginia-based ICB.
“And the number of not just boxers but mixed martial artists and kickboxers that ICB will sign will grow,” says Fulton. “Boxers and fighters in all three sports from North America, Europe and Asia are reaching out to us in dramatically large numbers.”
Even though he’s boxing full time now, McKernan has plenty of other elements in his life, starting with his eight-year-old son Tyson, named after Mike, the former heavyweight world champion.
McKernan recently graduated from Sacramento City College with a degree in kinesiology. He works with several non-profit organizations in the Sacramento area, including Make-A- Wish America and Kaiser Permanente volunteer services program. He also works with the US Army, speaking on its behalf at local high schools.
“I combine Rocky and Rambo; that’s my life in a nutshell,” says McKernan.
It took Fulton almost two years to get the cage designed, built, patented and approved by boxing and athletic commissions within the United States, including the state of Nevada.
An 18-year veteran promoter of the sport, Fulton, through the years, began to realize the sport needed something new, something fresh. And in 2016 he did something about it.
“The Fight Zone” has red and blue entry points with two opposing neutral corners. Boxers compete under Association of Boxing Commissions rules: no clinching, no grappling and no kicking allowed.
Mendez Sees ‘The Fight Zone’ As ‘A Platform To Grow’
Former International Boxing Association Middleweight Champion Paul Mendez Of Salinas, Calif., Has Signed A Multi-year Agreement With International Championship Boxing, Promoter Of The Revolutionary And Exciting New Combat Sport That Features Boxing In A Cage.
“Our First Former World Champion Has Joined Icb, And I Have Every Confidence He Won’t Be The Last,” Says Jack Fulton, Founder And Chief Executive Officer Of The Virginia-based Icb.
The 29-year-old, 6-foot-1-inch Mendez Has A Record Of 19-3-2 With Nine Knockouts, Including A Mark Of 12-1-1 For His Past 14 Bouts.
Mendez, Nicknamed “El Gallo Negro” (“The Black Rooster”), Won The Iba Middleweight Championship During 2015 By Beating Ernesto Berrospe On A Card Co-promoted By The Late, Great Don Chargin, Acknowledged Industry-wide As One Of The Best Judges Of Boxing Talent Ever.
“I Am Gratified By The Number Of Boxers, Mixed Martial Artists And Kickboxers Who Are Reaching Out To Us,” Says Fulton.
“And It’s Not Just Boxers And Fighters From North America,” Says Fulton. “We’re Getting Calls And Emails From Fighters In Europe And Asia Who Are Eager To Compete In The Icb.“
Mendez Was Never Dethroned; Instead, He Retired During 2016 In Order To Spend Time During The Early Formative Years Of His Baby Daughter, Named Love.
“I Wanted To Be Around My Daughter At The Beginning,” Says Mendez. “But She’s Three Now, And I’m Entering My Prime Years.”
And Mendez Learned An Important Lesson, Thanks To His Daughter.
“She’s My Driving Force, My Passion,” Says Mendez. “So I Had To Learn To Be An Adult With Adult Responsibilities. Thanks To My Daughter I’ve Grown As A Man And I’ve Grown In The Boxing Process.
“I’ve Been Boxing Since I Was 10 And It’s Always Been A Game To Me, A Sport, Not A Job,” Says Mendez. “But Now That I Have A Daughter I Think Of Boxing As A Business; It’s A Serious Work.
“I’ve Sparred With ‘3g’ (Gennady Golovkin) Several Times,” Says Mendez, “And He Says, ‘Boxing Is Not A Game.’ When I Sparred With Andre Ward He Always Said To Be Ruthless In The Ring.
I’m Not Scared Or Nervous Of Anyone,” Says Mendez. “I Don’t Care If It’s King Kong. I’m Ready To Fight Anyone, And Now I’ll Do It In The Cage.
“When Icb Came Along I Immediately Saw It Was A Good Fit For Me,” Says Mendez. “I’m A Fighter, Not A Pitty-pat, And When I Impose My Size On Opponents, This Will Be Perfect For Me.
“This Is An Opportunity For A Fighter Like Me,” Says Mendez. “I Can And Will Use This As A Platform To Grow. I’m Excited About It.”
Mendez Offers Specifics Why The Icb Cage, A 24-foot Hexagon Trademarked “The Fight Zone,” Is To His Liking.
“Six Corners, Not Just Four, Is To My Advantage,” Says Mendez. “There’s More Places To Trap People. The ‘Fight Zone’ Is All About Angles And Cutting Off The Cage.”
It Took Fulton Almost Two Years To Get The Cage Designed, Built, Patented And Approved By Boxing And Athletic Commissions Within The United States, Including The State Of Nevada.
An 18-year Veteran Promoter Of The Sport, Fulton, Through The Years, Began To Realize The Sport Needed Something New, Something Fresh. And In 2016 He Did Something About It.
“The Fight Zone” Has Red And Blue Entry Points With Two Opposing Neutral Corners. Boxers Compete Under Association Of Boxing Commissions Rules: No Clinching, No Grappling And No Kicking Allowed.