Both Travis Kauffman and Amir Mansour have a history of finishing off their opponents early, and neither man believes that will change in their 12-round heavyweight rumble.
Kauffman (31-1, 23 KOs) said he expects a firefight with Mansour (22-2-1, 16 KOs) in the main event of a Premier Boxing Champions card Friday night at Santander Arena in his hometown of Reading, Pennsylvania (Bounce TV, 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT).
“People look at his age, but he’s well-preserved and a big puncher,” Kauffman says. “I have been motivated knowing I have a killer in front of me. Amir wants what I want, and that’s a shot at the heavyweight title.”
Kauffman hit the scale at 230½ pounds at Thursday’s weigh-in, while Mansour came in at 224.2.
Kauffman, 31, is 9-0 with eight KOs fighting in Reading, including his last bout in September when he gained a second-round TKO of Josh Gormley.
Nicknamed “My Time,” Kauffman is 13-0 since being stopped by Tony Grano in the fourth round in September 2009. He dropped a split decision to three-time title challenger Chris Arreola in December 2015, but it was changed to a no contest afterward when Arreola tested positive for marijuana.
Kauffman scored a third-round knockdown of Arreola, but was unable to come away with a victory. Now entering his fourth fight under Philadelphia-based trainer Naazim Richardson, he said he’s learned from that experience.
“Chris Arreola was completely out in the third round, but I let him off the hook,” says Kauffman, who will have a two-inch height advantage on the 6-foot-1 Mansour. “If I have an opportunity to knock Mansour out, I’ll get him outta there. I can’t leave this one up to the judges.”
Mansour is Kauffman’s first southpaw opponent since the Reading native earned a 10-round unanimous decision over Vincent Thompson in January 2014.
“ I have been motivated knowing I have a killer in front of me. Amir wants what I want, and that’s a shot at the heavyweight title. ” Travis Kauffman
In Mansour’s last fight in January 2016, the Wilmington, Delaware, resident knocked down then-unbeaten Dominic Breazeale in the third round but retired on his stool after Round 5 with a broken jaw and severe cuts on his tongue.
“I bit my tongue and required 18 stiches on both sides. I swallowed so much blood I couldn’t breathe,” Mansour says. “But I’m going to be stronger, faster and more powerful than anyone he's fought. I’m gonna knock him out or blow him out by a unanimous decision.”
Mansour made his pro debut in July 1997, but fought just six times before going to prison in August 2001. He was released in March 2010 and resumed his boxing career shortly after that.
“Hardcore” suffered his first defeat to Steve Cunningham by 10-round unanimous decision in April 2014. In that bout, Mansour floored the two-time 200-pound champion twice in Round 5 before being knocked to the canvas in the 10th.
Besides losing to Breazeale, the only other blemish on Mansour’s record is a 10-round split draw against then-undefeated Gerald Washington in October 2015.
“I got myself a bottle of anti-aging juice,” Mansour said. “I'm ready for this fight and excited to give the fans another show. This is a great opportunity for me as I continue my quest for the heavyweight championship of the world.”
While acknowledging Mansour’s knockout power and the quality of his recent opponents, Kauffman says he will be the one to move closer to a potential title shot.
“Steve Cunningham was an outstanding boxer but can’t punch. Dominic can punch but isn’t a great boxer,” Kauffman says. “I’m the complete package—I can box, punch and fight. I just have to make sure this man doesn’t hit me cleanly.
“This fight will put me in the top five. I just want to win this and fight one of the champions. … The winner opens himself to a tremendous opportunity, and that’s gonna be me.”
For a complete look at Kauffman vs Mansour, visit our fight page.