North Philly heavyweight Bryant Jennings back from layoff

Posted: June 14, 2013

Heavyweight contender Bryant Jennings is on a mission.

At Ben Franklin High, Jennings was a three-sport athlete who dreamed of becoming famous and be able to take care of his family without financial worry. After concluding that certain dreams would not become a reality, the North Philadelphia native settled with boxing because it was his best chance to be great at something.

"I pushed myself and pushed myself," Jennings said. "Now, I am ready for whatever is thrown at me."

Tonight, Jennings will face his first test since knocking out Bowie Tupuo last December. Jennings (16-0) will return to the ring against Andrey Fedosov (24-2) as part of a tripleheader that will be televised by NBC Sports Network from the Sands Casino Resort in Bethlehem, Pa.

"I will be ready for Friday," Jennings said. "I have been training 6 days each week and the layoff won't affect me."

Although he has not been in the ring since December 2012, Jennings has trained and remained in shape just as he would regularly with trainer Fred Jenkins. Jennings said the layoff was a result of getting his life together outside of boxing.

Just days before Christmas 2009, Jennings made his way into ABC Gym on 26th and Master in North Philadelphia, where he met and began to train with Jenkins, who was inducted into the Pennsylvania Boxing Hall of Fame in May. Jenkins has trained Olympians David Reid and "Rockin" Rodney Moore, but said that Jennings has done more in 4 months than most boxers do in 5 years.

"Bryant Jennings is a heavyweight that moves like a lightweight," Jenkins said. "He moves like Muhammad Ali, punches like George Foreman, and maneuvers like Sugar Ray Leonard."

Despite Jennings' successful beginning to his boxing career which includes undefeated record with eight knockouts and the No. 3 ranking in the IBF, he works a 9-5 job as a mechanic at Federal Reserve Bank.

At age 14, Jennings could be seen working with a power jack and a forklift. As such, he is regarded as one of the hardest workers out there, according to Jenkins. Jennings said he works his second job to put food on the table and to pay the bills until he makes enough money with his boxing career.

At 28, the 6-2, 225-pound rising star has set specific goals for himself. One goal that Jennings would like to see become a reality is the opportunity to fight the Klitschko brothers - Vladimir and Vitali. Such a fight would offer Jennings the financial opportunity he has been seeking since his career began in 2009.

"He deserves his chance at ," Jenkins said. "In order to be the best, you have to fight the best and they are the considered the best. He wants his chance and he is going to upset them when he gets it."

"That's the fight that I'm here for," Jennings said. "I'm fighting for greatness and financial aspects too and I can't do it unless I go through them."

While he came close to an opportunity to fight Vladimir Klitschko in May, Jennings still hasn't been able to land his chance in the ring against one of the brothers after Klitschko chose to fight Francesco Pianeta. Jennings is worried that one or both of the brothers will retire, weakening his chance to earn the heavyweight title and a better match payout.

With a strong performance tonight against Fedosov, Jennings could be one step closer to stepping in the ring with one of the Klitschko brothers. Hoping to remain undefeated, Jennings said nerves will not be an issue despite his near 6-month layoff from boxing.

"I can guarantee a win Friday; I am confident in that," Jennings said. "I pretty much know I can run the show."

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