Greg Cohen of Greg Cohen Promotions proudly announces the signing of undefeated middleweight Rob "Bravo" Brant (15-0, 9 KOs) to a promotional contract.
24-year-old Brant, from Oakdale, Minnesota, started boxing in 2007 and by 2009 was already a national champion. He went on to become a member of the US National Boxing Team and win the 2010 National Golden Gloves, among many other distinctions, before turning professional in 2012.
Primarily a boxer, though possessing above-average power, Brant is a technician in the ring with a strong ability to improvise and adjust mid-fight. His strong conditioning allows him to push the pace and break his opponents down, mentally and physically.
You started boxing and quickly became a national champion. Tell me about discovering you were a natural in boxing. When did you realize it?
My father was a Division 1 collegiate football player. I grew up loving football, I won't say I was stellar, but I got on the field. When I was 15, I started to dabble in boxing. Me and some friends, mainly football players, would meet up at our quarterback's house to spar. His father, Bob Mitchell, used to be a boxer and would spar with us in the garage or the driveway. I loved every second of it. I found myself going to my friend's house more and more, even when he wasn't there, so I could box with his father.
When the weather stopped permitting this, I just had to put it in the back burners, but I realized that it was something I really wanted to do. I started researching boxing gyms and watching a lot of boxing. When I was 16 and got my driver's license, I went to the White Bear Lake Boxing Club, where I was met with an 87-year-old man by the name of Emmitt Yanez, as well as Larry Goodman who was in his mid-70s. I would, for that entire summer of 2007, be the first person in the gym and the last one out. I attribute my success to those two men, for the next few years they took me to every tournament and every local show in the Midwest. I didn't turn down a fight and they were willing to drive wherever whenever.
I guess I realized that I had talent when I won the US Men's National Championship in 2009. Until then, I was always giving myself an excuse for why I had won the tournaments that I won and would focus on those I did not compete against, as opposed to the ones that I did. In the finals of the National Championships in 2009 I beat a man named Siju Shabazz whom in 2007 I watched win the National Golden Gloves on television. I remember thinking he was the epitome of talent. When they raised my arm, it did not set in until a few weeks later, when I realized I was the number one-ranked light heavyweight in the United States.
What made you want to start boxing?
I always loved watching every aspect of a boxing show. The entrance, the matching corner uniforms, the tension of two fighters standing in opposite corners knowing what they are about to have to do, and how once the bell rings, how they approach one another with confidence and caution. When I would go to my friend's house and box his father, I figured it was something that I might be able to actually do one day and mentally, I committed myself until I could physically take myself to a boxing gym.
Why did you turn pro?
After a short but dense amateur career, I lost in the 2012 Olympic trials. I acquired enough experience to chase what most amateur boxers dream of: to become a professional world champion and have all that comes with it.
How did the deal with Greg Cohen come about?
Greg Cohen did a show boxing show in my home state of Minnesota at the Grand Casino Hinckley. I worked extremely hard in preparation for that particular competition because it was my nationally televised debut as a pro. I feel that I prepared enough and performed at the level that I should have in front of the GCP team. My hard work paid off, Mr. Cohen wanted to continue to work together.
What are your goals in boxing?
Of course, part of my main goal in boxing is to become a legitimate world champion in my division. But deeper than that, I would like to own a home and be debt free by the time I am retired from the sport. I want to make the money that I earned from boxing work for me.
Who is your trainer?
I train four to five weeks before competitions in Dallas, Texas. My head trainer is Derrick James. He was an accomplished amateur as well as an accomplished professional boxer who has trained fighters such as Errol Spence Jr and Anthony Mack, amongst others. My assistant trainer is Nathan Pipitone. Nathan always goes the extra mile for me. He will meet me at the gym at whatever time and solely wants the success of the athletes he works with, a class act. My cut man and my strength and conditioning coach is Jeremy Clark from my home state of Minnesota. He is a player development coach for the Los Angeles Kings hockey team. He pushes me to the next level, athleticism doesn't impress him, hard work does, and that is what I need.
Where do you train?
I live in Saint Paul, Minnesota, where I do my heavy strength and conditioning with my coach Jeremy Clark at the Minnesota Top Team Gym he owns in Eagan, Minnesota. A month or so out from the fight, I head to Dallas to train with my coaches Derrick and Nathan to sharpen my technique and get the heavy sparring in. Although I constantly am working hard the hardest work is done in Dallas.
What's next for you?
I will be completing July 17 at the Sands Hotel and Casino in Bethlehem Pennsylvania on the non-televised portion of a talent-stacked ShoBox card. I am currently in Dallas preparing for that.
Do you do anything besides boxing?
I feel that when you truly and fully commit yourself to something you do not have a lot of time for other things. That being said, I do try to read as much as I can and I see a lot of movies as well as an avid Game of Thrones fan. The majority of people that I associate with socially are also in combative sports business, keeps me focused.
How did you get the name Bravo?
That is actually a funny story. I had coaches that used to call me 'Robbo.' In amateur boxing you see many of the same coaches year after year and lightly converse with them and get to know them through your amateur career.
It wasn't until my last amateur tournament that I ever did (2012 USA national championship, bronze medal) that a coach from the Bay Area approached my personal coaches and asked where 'Bravo' was. My coach in confusion did not understand until said coach described me where he replied 'Oh, you mean Robbo!' For years, this coach had thought my name was Bravo when my coach told me the story I smiled and said "that's it!"
I don't feel you can give yourself a boxing name, nor have I ever, so it was meant to be that at my last amateur tournament somebody would give me my name.
Tell me something you want fans to know about you.
I love every aspect of boxing. I am not great at receiving the attention because I like being on level ground with everyone and at times I can be put on a pedestal which I do not overly enjoy. I like being regular. I am the most approachable person in the world I feel that everybody is equal. I just happen to have a job that people like to watch.
For more information on Rob Brant, visit gcpboxing.com. Twitter @robertbrantusa Instagram robertbrantusa.