By Kurt Wolfheimer at ringside
Rising heavyweight star Travis “GW Hope” Kauffman (27-1, 20Ko’s) barely had time to break a sweat as he dropped late replacement Jason Barnett (14-15, 7Ko’s) three times en-route to a knockout at 2:09 of the opening round to capture the vacant WBU Intercontinental title on Saturday night at the Santander Arena in Reading, PA.
Kauffman looked determined to make a statement and he pressed the attack right from the opening bell. The late replacement Jason Barnett looked to jab his way around the ring, but Kauffman did not give him any room. Barnett tried to slide to his left, and out of punching range but a hard right hand to the ribs from Kauffman sent him face forward to the canvas. Barnett looked in bad trouble as he reached his feet at the count of eight and began to retreat while trying to Keep GW Hope at bay. It would not make a difference as Kauffman would not let Barnett off the hook and sent him to the canvas for the second time with a double right hand up top. Again it didn’t look like he was going to make it to his feet. This time he heard his corner telling him to get up, the round was almost over. He rose to his feet, but Kauffman stepped up the onslaught and Barnett was forced to cover in a corner. Seeing his prey was in bad shape, Travis Kauffman unleashed four unanswered shots and Jason Barnett fell to the canvas for the third and final time, giving the Reading, PA native the knockout victory at 2:09 of the opening round.
“The first body shot I hit him with hurt him. I knew my power was tremendous going into the fight,” said the satisfied Kauffman afterward. “I was hurting everybody in camp. I hurt Tomasz Adamek a couple of times. The ring work with Tomasz Adamek though, really helped me with this fight. I was preparing for Manuel Quesada, but as soon as they pulled out of the fight and Jason Barnett took it, I thought it was perfect because Jason Barnett uses his jab well just like Adamek does. The body shot was perfect. Of course, Barnett is no Adamek, but I went in there tonight to seek and destroy, and that is exactly what I did.”
Kauffman seemed ready to take the next step on his way into the upper echelon of fighters as he called out the best. “I want Chisora, Povetkin and Klitschko. Klitschko has fought everybody, so why doesn’t he fight me.
“I wish I had fought Quesada tonight because I believe the same thing would have happened to him. The man is a two time champion and he doesn’t get his paperwork in? That is ridiculous. I would fight anybody. We are scheduled to fight on ESPN in January and the skies the limit from here on,” exclaimed the new WBU intercontinental champion