Back to the spotlight for Bowles

Story by Anthony Springer Jr.
Photo by Chris Cozzone

Last year, Brian Bowles shocked the world when he knocked a highly favored Miguel Torres into the middle of next week with a devastating right hand. The blow snapped Torres’ 17-fight win streak and snared the WEC bantamweight title for the Georgia fighter.

Since that game changing performance in August, Bowles disappeared from the spotlight, ceding time to the resurgent Torres, and the WEC’s forthcoming pay-per-view event featuring Urijah Faber and Jose Aldo.

Before the organization makes a run at the coveted pay-per-view model, Bowles will defend his title Saturday against the always-dangerous Dominick Cruz when the WEC returns to its network home on Versus for WEC 47: Bowles vs. Cruz.

For the undefeated Bowles, the bout offers another opportunity to showcase his show stopping abilities. All eight of his professional fights have ended via stoppage. Additionally, Bowles can silence his critics, who believe his victory over Torres came from little more than a “lucky punch,” an idea the champion gives zero credence.

“I don’t know what a lucky punch is,” Bowles said during a recent conference call. “You’re out there fighting and you’re trying to punch somebody and you hit them, I don’t know how that’s lucky.”

After scoring what is arguably the biggest upset in company history, Bowles had little time to bask in the glow of pending stardom. An injury suffered during the fight forced Bowles out of the public eye and back to the shadows.

“I broke my hand in the [Torres] fight so a lot of my time was spent keeping my cardio up and my hand healthy,” he explained. “I didn’t have a lot of time to focus on getting better. When I got back I went to training camp and started training to fight Cruz.”

Championship gold aside, the extra piece of hardware Bowles will lug to the ring come Saturday night hasn’t changed his demeanor, and neither has a ranking among the sports best fighters. Bowles won’t allow the well-earned accolades to go to his head, saying a change in mentality is a sure fire way to lose when it counts most.

“I try to stay grounded and keep doing what I do,” Bowles stated. “If I let [rankings] go to my head…some people change from that kind of stuff. I just want to keep doing what I’m doing.”

Staring back at Bowles will be a fellow boxer in Cruz. Though Cruz lacks the knockout power of the champion on paper, Bowles doesn’t underestimate the challenger but believes he poses some problems once the opening bell sounds.

“When you stand up with anybody you take the risk of taking a big punch. He’s a boxer like me. I’m sure he’s going to be trying to take me down; I’ll be trying to take him down. There are openings everywhere for knockouts and submissions.”

WEC 47: Bowles vs. Cruz kicks off this Saturday at 7 p.m. EST.

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