Wilky Campfort’s “Silky” nickname hints at a fighting style that’s more stick-and-move than thunder-and-lightning. His sinister ring mantra suggests otherwise.
“I can be slick when I want to, but I’ve chosen not to be since my second pro fight, which is the only one that I’ve lost,” Campfort says. “My attitude for every fight is, ‘Either I knock you out or you knock me out.’”
Campfort’s ferocity was on full display during his last bout in September against Ronald Montes. In that contest, Campfort rose from a first-round knockdown before dropping Montes three times in the second to earn a technical knockout.
“I’m not a guy who will come out and throw the jab, jab, hook and then the right hand,” says Campfort, who trains out of Bulldog Boxing and Fitness in Tampa, Florida—a gym he owns and operates with his wife of three years, Christina, herself a professional boxer.
“I know I’m going to get hit, so every one of my fights is going to be a real fight, and all of them will have a chance to not go the distance. Just like in my last fight, I’ll go in there to put on a good show and to satisfy the fans.”
The win over Montes represented the third stoppage in a four-fight, 13-month span for Campfort, a 31-year-old native of Haiti who lives in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. It also led to his first career world title shot, as Wilky Campfort (21-1, 12 KOs) will challenge 154-pound champion Jermall Charlo (22-0, 17 KOs) on November 28 from the aptly named Bomb Factory in Dallas (NBC, 3 p.m. ET/noon PT).
The scheduled 12-round bout—which will serve as the main event of a Premier Boxing Champions card—represents Charlo’s first defense of the championship he won September 12, when the Texas native scored a sensational third-round TKO of veteran Cornelius Bundrage.
On his way to the easy win, the 25-year-old Charlo dropped Bundrage three times, including once with a jab. Charlo’s performance was dominant on every level and clearly got Campfort’s attention.
“This kid is a very powerful fighter with good skills,” Campfort says. “But at the same time, I also have skills, talent and power. At the end of the day, I have nothing to lose and everything to gain.
“I’m going into his home state, so he’s the one who has the pressure on him, and I’m going to bring the fight to him.”
“ My attitude for every fight is, ‘Either I knock you out or you knock me out.’ ” Wilky Campfort
Campfort, who once fought for the Haitian national team, arrived on U.S. soil at the age of 14. Another decade passed before he made his professional debut in March 2009, and he prevailed by second-round stoppage.
Six months later, Campfort returned to the ring and dropped a four-round majority decision to Manny Woods in Tampa. It was at that point that the fighter dubbed “Silky” by career-long trainer Milton Lacroix forever soured on the notion of slick boxing.
“I was giving the guy a boxing lesson,” Campfort recalls of his second pro bout. “I went back to my corner, I said, ‘Am I winning this fight?’ [Lacroix] said, ‘Keep doing what you’re doing, man, you’re taking him to boxing school.’ But I was in his hometown and it was his promoter’s show, so they gave him the [decision].”
So distraught was Campfort that he nearly quit on the spot.
“When we went back home to Fort Lauderdale, I told [Christina], ‘I’m done with boxing. I’m not boxing anymore. It’s not fair what they did to me,” Campfort says. “But she said, ‘No you can’t do that. You’ve worked too hard, you can’t quit like that.
“So I said, ‘You know what? I’m never going to lose again. For me to lose another fight, they’re going to have to knock me out.’ So it has been ever since then that I’ve changed my style, stopped being ‘Silky Smooth’ and started being ‘Silky Rough.’”
The style change paid off, as Campfort enters his first title bout riding a 19-fight winning streak. Still, more than six years later, the one that got away continues to haunt him.
“They took that fight from me,” he says, “so I still look at myself as an undefeated fighter.”
For complete coverage of Charlo vs Campfort, be sure to check out our fight page.