by: Cory Brady
Keith Berry is a name people will soon be talking about in the masses. This twenty year old knockout artist is poised to showcase his crowd pleasing skills on Showtime Friday night and if successful his next fight will be broadcast live on CBS. At only twenty years old, the sky is the limit for this champion on the rise. We were able to catch up with Keith “KO Kid” Berry to discuss his upcoming fight on Showtime’s ShoXC: Elite Challenger Series among other things.
PRO MMA: You were one of the youngest fighters ever to win a KOTC title when you defeated Sean Loeffler. When you first started training could you have imagined being a champion at such a young age?
KEITH: No, actually when I first started training I just wanted to get into it and I started really, really liking it So after that I had my first fight when I was eighteen and from then on I’ve just fought and trained as much as I can. So yeah, I’m lucky. I got a title shot because somebody fell out and I ended up winning and I won again and again. So yeah, it’s good.
PRO MMA: I heard you started mixing your wrestling with some boxing at the age of 15.. What were some of the factors that got you into mma at such a young age?
KEITH: Well I actually started boxing first. Just kind of messing around with my friends and then I started taking some traditional boxing lessons. My junior year I started wrestling in high school. I should have been more serious than I was but I liked the wrestling a lot; I just didn’t like going to practice. So I started putting the two together, boxing and wrestling and then started training jiu jitsu when I was eighteen. From then on I’ve been trying to train as many mixed martial arts disciplines that I can; kickboxing, muay thai, all that stuff.
PRO MMA: You’re next fight will be with Ray Lizama on ShoXC: Elite Challenger Series Friday, Aug. 15, live on Showtime. How has training been going for this fight and how are you feeling physically?
KEITH: I Feel good. I was supposed to fight on June 27th on the same card but I guess the whole venue got postponed and rescheduled to right now so I was kind of peaking last month. I felt really good with no injuries. This month I’ve had a couple injuries just because I’ve been training so long and sparring. I feel not as good as I want to feel, but I still feel really good for this fight. My cardio is really good so yeah, I’m ready.
KEITH: It’s great. I’ve been training with alot of different camps. Just kind of bounced around, so for the last two years I’ve mostly been training with myself or picking up training from here and there. When I went over there, everything’s there. I have the jiu jitsu, the wrestling, the sparring, everything I need. All the guys over there are really cool and they’re some of the best in the world so yeah, it’s good, a great training camp.
PRO MMA: Ray Lizama has a couple of big wins over Fabio Negao and Aaron Wetherspoon. What do you know about Lizama and how do you feel you guys match up?
KEITH: Well I saw his recent fight. He’s kind of a striker and I’m a striker so I think it’s going to be a great fight. I’m just really happy he took the fight. I’ve had like three different opponents named. One of them, Reggie Orr, I guess he had issues with King of the Cage and he just left. So they’ve been trying to find me an opponent for a while, but Ray stepped up and said he’d fight, so I’m happy he stepped up and I’m looking forward to the fight.
PRO MMA: You’re nickname is “KO Kid” and the majority of your wins have come by knockout. Are you planning on keeping your fight with Lizama standing or do you have any preference of where the fight ends up?
KEITH: Really, I just want to stand. Pretty much in any fight I’m in, I want to stand. My ground game, I’ve been working on it alot, so I have a decent ground game. I just feel more comfortable standing.
PRO MMA: In every one of your wins you have finished your opponent. Do you generally look to finish the fight as soon as possible?
KEITH: Yeah, definitely. I start really fast and I look to push the pace. I just want to go in there and finish it as quick as possible. Ray’s kind of a taller fighter so I’m going to have to be a little more technical than just brawling with him. I don’t want to get caught and he does have some good knockouts over a few guys. I’m going to go in there and take it to him hard in the beginning and feel him out. I want to see how he deals with another striker. We’ll see what happens.
PRO MMA: Are there any guys you’d really like to face down the road?
KEITH: I want to fight some big names soon. I want to build a name for myself, so any big names would be great.
PRO MMA: Hey Keith, thanks so much for your time. Do you have any sponsors you’d like to thank?
KEITH: Boo-Yaa Fight Wear, MMA KO, Rock Star Energy Drink and Tapout.
PRO MMA: Alright Keith, thanks for your time and good luck on your fight.
KEITH: Alright, thank you.
Here’s the audio recording of this interview with Keith “The KO Kid” Berry (audio starts around the 50 second mark)