By: King Eddie
Jon Barnard and Donald Gonzalez are locked and loaded, and ready for battle on January 7th. When Toughman Hawaii: The New Beginning hits Hilo Civic, the fans will surely get their moneys worth when the bell rings on these two scrappers.
Gonzalez is the hometown fighter. This is the place where he lives and he trains. As a fighter who takes advantage of BJ Penn's gym, it is clear that he has a lot of talent and a team to push him the extra mile.
"I've been working out at Penn's Training Center. I have really been working my standup and contditioning. A lot of agility training. I feel in the best shape I have been in for some time now. I'm confident that this will all go my way."
When he stands across from Jon Barnard and the bell rings, Gonzalez feels that he has the tools to come out with his hand raised.
" Fighting, my foundation has always been my kickboxing. My speed especially. He is pretty much a little bigger than me, so I think that my speed will be my strength."
As an amateur, Gonzalez held an impressive 11-0 record. As a pro, 2-0. he looks to extend with a victory over Barnard, but knows that he has a tough road ahead.
" I know of him. He has always been around kickboxing. I know he is a guy who comes forward and whatnot. It feels good to get to compete against a worthy opponent. I am willing to take the challenge. It boosts my confidence."
Barnard is also a fighter on a mission. He is looking for a title and has dispatched of his last 5 opponents in Hilo. He wants to make Gonzalez his 6th.
" We were both around in the HFC days. We were both undefeated. I know that he is a good fighter and that everybody wants to fight him."
Even though he will be fighting far from home, in Hilo, Barnard feels that his performances there in the past have built up a decent fanbase. So the appearance of hometown advantage are no longer applicable.
" I have been there and fought 5 times. I think that I have got some really great fans in Hilo. So I don't think the hometown thing really matters."
With the knowledge that Gonzalez has skills, Barnard is prepared for anything and says that he has the all around ability to reign supreme in all areas.
" I know I can mix it up. Throw some combos with hands, kicks, and pressure. I have had to work my way towards a title. This is the last guy on my list."
For Barnard, Kickboxing is something he purely enjoys, but takes serious. He doesn't put too much stock in winning and losing but he does take pride in his abilities. He knows that he can be a champion, and he refuses to give up. At the moment, Gonzalez is standing in his way.
" This win for me is not as serious as most people take it. Because win or lose I will have fun. Winning, Titles, Money. . . they are all just bonuses."