Robert “Bravo” Brant (22-1) has landed back home from Texas and he’s ready to give Minnesota fans another high-level display of boxing on Friday night. Fighting in the co-featured bout of the night, the Oakdale native is set to face Missouri’s Colby Courter (12-11) at the Grand Casino in Hinckley, MN. He is also returning to the middleweight division after a move up to 168 in the World Series of Boxing last time out. Brant has been busy since relocating to Texas not only in the ring but out of it as well. The 27-year-old recently got engaged and will be getting married on May 17th in Hawaii. Despite living a local fighters dream down south, Brant says he misses everything about Minnesota…except the weather.
“Everything has been going really well. I just recently got engaged and we are setting everything up. We are getting married in Hawaii on May 17th and life has been really good. I really do miss the overall Minnesota nice thing back home. The people that I care about, not just my family and friends, but I miss the whole Minnesota nice thing. I am pleased where I am at but I definitely miss Minnesota (pause) other than the weather! I don’t have any snow storms to deal with here (laughing)!”
“Bravo” Brant defeated Decarlo Perez in 2016 to win the WBA-NABA middleweight title and went on to successfully defend it twice. The victories placed him in line as the mandatory challenger for the vacant WBA World middleweight title. Shortly after Brant defeated Alexas Hloros in January of 2017, Hassan N’Dam of France defeated Japan’s Ryota Murata for that vacant WBA World title in an extremely unpopular decision. As a result, the WBA issued an immediate rematch between the N’Dam and Murata. Rather than sit on the sidelines, Brant entered the World Series of Boxing’s super middleweight tournament where he faced Germany’s Jürgen Brähmer. Brant put forth a gutsy effort in what was the biggest fight of his career. He did well with the experienced German but in the end, lost by unanimous decision. Brant says he gained valuable experience in the fight but explained while reflecting that he did not fight the kind of fight he should have.
“It was a little hostile” said Brant when describing the atmosphere. “The good part is that I couldn’t understand what they were yelling at me! They were very passionate boxing fans. They were just not very passionate towards me. It was a great Opportunity. I have nothing negative to say. He definitely beat me fair and square and is a very experienced guy. There was nothing that I felt he had over me physically though. He had the perfect boxing mindset, especially for that fight. I learned a lot. I tried to be somebody I wasn’t in there. So I’m kind of getting back to the grassroots to be the boxer-puncher as opposed to the track him down and get him out of there thing. I thought I was going to be able to exhaust him and beat him up. I’m going back to taking my time and being the boxer that I’ve always been. I realized that 36 minutes is a long time to be in there. If you just relax and be yourself, the shots will be there.”
One of the major factors which brought Brant to Texas was the world-class sparring work he would have at his fingertips. For the current fight camp, Brant says he has been getting major rounds in with southpaw John Vera Jr. Vera Jr. has an upcoming title eliminator in France and will be leaving the US a few days after tomorrow nights Hinckley show. Also, a new strength and conditioning coach has been added to his team to ensure that he will remain strong and sharp during the move back down to 160 pounds. On Friday night, a familiar face to Minnesota boxing fans will stand opposite Brant when the bell rings. Colby Courter has boxed Jamal James, Antonio Johnson, Andy Kolle, and George Carter Jr. all at the Grand Casino. Brant made it clear that he will not be looking past Courter despite big fights being on the horizon if he wins.
“Colby Courter is not thinking about my aspirations of being middleweight champion” said
Brant. “He’s thinking about launching his own career and getting big fights by beating me. That’s what he’s thinking about. I’m focused on beating Courter up. I want to truly hurt him and look good in doing so. I want to show the WBA why they made me the mandatory challenger in the first place. I can’t just scrape out a victory and look decent doing it. I’ve got to dismantle him in there in order to let the WBA know. This fight is to let the WBA know that I’m a middleweight. They want to see me fight again at middleweight in order to reinstate my position at mandatory for Ryota Murata. This fight is me looking at Colby Courter as an obstacle. That is why I am training as hard as I am not just to beat him, but to beat him in devastating fashion. I need to showcase all of the things that I’ve learned in my previous fight. It’s nothing personal against him, but I’m going into the fight with bad intentions.”
Colby Courter first began kickboxing at the age of six and still has the same trainer now at 31. He fought off and on until he turned 21. That is when Courter says that he decided to get serious about fighting and began boxing. Outside of boxing, he works 40 plus hours a week at a Missouri steel plant and juggles time between work, boxing, and taking care of his kids. This will be Courter’s fifth time boxing at The Grand Casino.
“I love fighting in Hinckley, they always treat me good” said Courter. “The first few fights I had there against (Antonio) Johnson and (Jamal) James were early in my career. Both are very slick boxers that I just wasnt ready for. The (Andy) Kolle fight was the biggest win of my career and opened a lot of doors for me. I didnt start until I turned 21 so all of it was mostly learning on the job. I still fought whoever they put in front of me regardless of their record and I think its made me a better fighter today.”
“Rob Brant is one of the best middleweights in the US right now. And I’ve seen him fight almost everytime I’ve been to Minnesota. Like I said before, I want to fight the best fights I can while I’m still able to fight. You only have one run at this and I never want to look back and say what if. I’m always expecting a war whenever I come to fight no matter who it’s aginst. I love putting a show on for the fans, I’m excited for this one, its going to be a war!”
Fighting in the co-featured bout will be a strange but welcome feeling according to Brant. The main event of the night is a Minnesota state super featherweight title fight between Nate Rubin and Ramiro Hernandez. Brant would like the chance to sit back and enjoy the state title showdown following his bout.
“I’m the co-main event which is kind of nice because I get to see the Minnesota State title fight afterward. I’m pretty excited about that. I’ve always loved boxing in Hinckley, it’s home for me. That’s where I’ve had the majority of my professional fights. There’s a level of pressure when fighting in front of your hometown fans that you don’t have when fighting elsewhere. You want to look good, you want to entertain. It’s a little different but it’s also exciting. I’m just going to go out there and be myself and show what I can do.”