Not since Evander Holyfield reigned supreme during the late 1990s has America had a heavyweight champion to unite behind. As the Klitschko brothers and David Haye vie for dominance in a divisions where the top contenders are anonymous to most Americans, the call for an American challenger grows ever louder.
Travis Kauffman hears those cries as a call to action.
The 24-year-old Kauffman, a native of the rugged Pennsylvania city of Reading, will face Chris Koval of Youngstown, OH this Saturday, May 22 at the Sovereign Center in Reading. King’s Promotions will promote the pro-am boxing event entitled “Pain on Penn Street”.
The Kauffman-Koval fight will be contested for the vacant WBF Intercontinental Heavyweight title. More importantly, it will give Kauffman an opportunity to show the boxing world and his hometown fans why he is one of the sport’s best kept secrets.
“I’ve known I was going to be heavyweight champion of the world ever since my first amateur fight at nine years old,” says Kauffman, who has a record of 19-1 (15 KO). “In 15 years of boxing I’ve been through it all. I’ve been hit by the biggest punchers, danced with the fastest slicksters but I’m still here. I believe deep inside of myself that I’m here for a reason, and that is to become heavyweight champion of the world.”
Unlike most modern American heavyweights who are transplants from other sports, Kauffman had an extensive amateur background that consisted of 64 bouts and was highlighted by a gold medal at the Police Athletic League Nationals. This experience has served him well in the pros, where the 6’3″, 230 pound Kauffman has had to outsmart larger foes on many occasions. He’ll have to outsmart and outslug another bigger foe in Koval, who is 6’4″ and routinely weighs in at 260 pounds. Of Koval’s 24 wins, 18 have come by way of knockout, to go along with 6 defeats.
“I always believed that it wasn’t the size of the dog in the fight but the size of the fight in the dog,” Kauffman says. “The bigger the challenge that is in front of me, the hungrier I get. I have a family, my two sons and my stepchildren that I fight for. I want to provide a better life for them and that motivates me so much. But I also fight for my fans, the people that have always believed in me through thick and thin.
“I’m proud to be an American and I would love to be the man that brings the heavyweight championship back here for good. The Klitschkos are great fighters so it won’t be easy but I never doubt myself for one second. Success only comes before Work in the dictionary so I live, eat and breathe Boxing.”