Bonsante's battle for Minnesota
Interview & photos by Jesse Kelly
Anthony "The Bullet" Bonsante (32-10, 18 KOs) of Shakopee, Minn. will defend his Minnesota state middleweight title this Saturday against rival Andy Kolle (17-2, 12 KOs) of Fergus Falls in a 10-round bout at the Grand Casino in Hinckley.
This will be the first defense of the title that Bonsante won by beating Saint Paul's Matt Vanda in January of 2007. Close to 9,000 screaming fans witnessed that fight and the same type of atmosphere is expected when Bonsante and Kolle meet.
Bonsante, 38, says that this will be his last year in the ring. But before retiring, he wants to give Minnesota fight fans the local fights they want to see.
"It is a little bit more about ego and pride when it is for the state title,” says Bonsante. “Me and Kolle are going to beat the hell out of each other. When all is said and done, the winner of this fight will stand in the middle of the ring to show the fans who the best middleweight in Minnesota is."
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You faced Carl Daniels in your last fight. Daniels and Andy Kolle are both southpaws. Give us your thoughts on the fight with Daniels and how much you believe that might have helped you prepare for this fight.
We brought in a few southpaws to get ready for that one since he was a little different then what we were used to. Carl was a proven veteran and a former world champion. He was a very tough opponent. He came in a little overweight so there was a little discrepancy there. Everything got resolved though and the fight itself was actually pretty good. Daniels came to fight. We really wanted the fight because we had a feeling Kolle was going to come knocking. It just so happened that we did good against Daniels. He hit me with a few shots but we got through it. I am sure Kolle will hit me with some shots too but I should be just fine.
I noticed that you and Daniels were talking a lot during the fight. Can you tell us what was being said?
Just banter and jaw jacking between me and Carl when we would clinch up. He came in with his head and I would yell "watch your head". He would yell back "quit pushing". Carl is a good guy though. I talked to him afterwards and I respect him. He is a former world title holder like I said. He was just a really nice guy.
You and Andy Kolle will be meeting on March 28th. Kolle was stopped in his last fight by way of knockout in the first round to Paul Williams. I know you have seen the fight. How do you look at that loss?
I did watch that fight and you know, Andy Kolle is better then what happened in that fight. I knew that going into that fight, he probably wasn't going to do as well as he wanted to. He probably wishes he would have gone a little longer to get more experience. You know I had the same type of experience with Adonis Stevenson. Granted I thought it was a bad call when the ref stopped it but I learned a valuable lesson not to play possum with your eyes closed in a fight. I should have opened my eyes in there. But I think Kolle knows he probably could have done a little better in there with Williams. So I don't even look at that fight. I look at the fights with him and (Matt) Vanda and when he fought Jonathan Reid. He fought right handers and went the distance in both of those fights. Kolle has some skill and ability and he is coming in there to kick my butt. He is 17-2 so has a good record. But I feel I have the experience and wisdom and I just don't think he is going to be able to hang in there with a veteran like myself. I am coming in there to win and god damn if I don't win.
You brought in some experienced southpaws to prepare for Andy Kolle. Most notably former world champion Bronco Mckart and former Canadian champion Larry Sharpe. Talk about the decision to bring in such an experienced fighter like Mckart and how you feel he has helped you prepare.
Yes, we brought in Bronco Mckart who is the 1997-98 former IBF and WBO middleweight titlist. The guy is still quick as hell. He came in and did a very nice job. Actually he taught me a lot. He would stop during sparring and show me some stuff. He is just a genuinely nice and respectable guy. Both him and his dad Gene. I went in there and I worked my butt off for 5 or 6 days straight and got great work. I know damn well that if I can hang in there with Bronco Mckart then Kolle doesn't stand a chance.
Can you talk more about what kinds of things you say you learned with Mckart?
He taught me how to deal with the left handed stance a little more. Which shots to throw and which shots to look for. Also what types of stuff will be open for me to find. Obviously I am not going to say too much right now but you guys will see the details when I fight Kolle.
What this fight means to you and why is this fight is so big for Minnesota?
I am not going to trash talk Kolle, he is a good kid. He is from Fergus Falls which is up by my area of Crosby-Ironton. It is for my Minnesota state title. It is for the belt, and that means more to me then the money. I want to keep my middleweight title. I want to be known as the best Minnesota middleweight right now. There are no bad feelings toward Andy. Me and Zach Walters (Kolle's stable mate) had our words in the past but that was resolved as well. But there Coach Chuck Horton is also a big reason that I want this fight. He's not a bad trainer, don't get me wrong. But I am going to fight this fight and prove that Bill Kahn is the best trainer in Minnesota, If not the country. He's been around since god was a boy, he knows his stuff. Bill has forgotten a lot more then Chuck will ever remember. After I am done beating the hell out of Kolle, I will tell that to Horton. There is no love lost between me and Chuck. But I am going to go in there and me and Kolle are going to beat the hell out of each other. If they want my secrets, well here's my secret, I am coming after you.
You said recently that you would like to finish out your career fighting in Minnesota. You said that this will be your last year and that you would like to face Andy Kolle, Kenny Kost and possibly a rematch with Matt Vanda before you retire. I would assume you could make more money fighting out of state. Can you discuss why it is important for you to fight locally against local fighters?
The reason I would like to finish out my career fighting the other local middleweights is all about pride. Pride and I guess ego gets in the way a little bit. We actually offered Kenny Kost this fight. His trainer turned it down. So Kenny's kind of out of the picture right now but we have Kolle, and all of my focus has been on him. It is a little bit more about ego and pride when it is for the state title. Yeah I could go off to Vegas or where ever and make more money but there is nothing like fighting an in-state rival and Minnesota wants that. You put a guy like Andy Kolle from Northern Minnesota against a guy from Shakopee and meet in the middle; it is going to be a packed house. There are going to be just as many Kolle fans as there will be Bonsante fans. We are going to give it hell for 10 rounds. I think it is a great fight for the state, Andy, and myself. When all is said and done, the winner of this fight will stand in the middle of the ring to show the fans who the best middleweight in Minnesota is. Minnesota has a lot of good middleweight coming up. We have Caleb Truax and Dave Peterson to name a few. Granted they don't have the experience yet, but they are going to get it. If and when I am gone, somebody is going to have to take my spot.
Matt Vanda recently stated that if you beat Kolle and he beats KJ Noons in April that you two could be having a rematch. What are your thoughts on that?
Well he is fighting a tough guy on April 18th at the Target Center and I am fighting a tough guy in Andy Kolle. Who knows what happens in June. I already beat him once pretty convincingly and Vanda knows that. But everybody knows that money talks. If Midwest Sports Council comes to me with a chunk of change to fight Vanda again, who am I to say no? Who knows, it depends on what we have going on. I have to get past Kolle first and that is not an easy task. Kolle is coming to beat me. He has some ability and some skill, and he is a good kid. But there is only room for one Minnesota middleweight champion, and that is me.
Anything you would like to add?
I would like to thank the state of Minnesota and Jesse Kelley from MinnesotaBoxing.com/Fightnews.com
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The co-feature of the night pits undefeated 4-0 featherweights Antwan "Lil Superman" Robertson of Minneapolis against Saint Paul's "Bad" Brad Patraw. Four other bouts are scheduled.
Grand Saturday Night Fights "High Stakes" takes place at the Events & Convention Center at the Grand Casino in Hinckley, MN on March 28, 2009. The first bout will begin at 7:30 p.m. General admission tickets are priced at - $25, $35, VIP - $55, Table Seating $100. For Ticket info or other questions visit www.grandcasinohinckley.com.