NO HOLDS BARRED Bobish trains for title defense
He played football at Mount Union for two years.
By BOB ROTH
YOUNGSTOWN -- Dan "The Bull" Bobish, the powerful man with the shaved head, was back in the Valley at Dick Hartzell's Jump Stretch Gym. The last time he was there, in late January, was to prepare for a championship fight. Bobish won that fight and on May 17 he makes his first defense of that crown in Reno, Nev.
The crown is the "King of the Cage" World Heavyweight championship, which belongs to the domain of No Holds Barred fighting. It's enough to make guys like Lennox Lewis and Mike Tyson squirm -- the rules of the Marquis of Queensbury don't apply -- making conditioning all the more important.
That is why Bobish came for another personal workout with Hartzell. As a No Holds Barred fighter Bobish's record was 7-3 when, on February 9, he went for the King of the Cage title against Eric Pele (6-foot-2, 382 pounds) of Las Vegas. Pele had a 6-1 record.
The format has the two participants in a cage with a referee, fighting three five-minute rounds.
With Pele's face a bloody mess, the referee stopped the bout at 1:10 of the second round.
Sports background: Bobish wrestled for four seasons and played football for three at Maple Heights High, where in 1988 he was a second team all-conference running back behind Euclid's Robert Smith. At 255 pounds he also played defensive end, but went to Cuyahoga Community College for wrestling and in 1990 placed sixth nationally. Then he went to Mount Union where he was fourth in 1991 and national champion in 1992.
After a tryout with the Cleveland Browns, a friend got him started in No Holds Barred fighting.
Bobish's opponent in May will be Mike Kyle (6-4, 275), a 22-year old from Boise, Idaho, with a 6-0 record who fights for the Primal Tribe Fighters.
Bobish, whose three losses were to fighters ranked 15th, fifth and second in the world, is dedicating the bout to his daughter, Angelina who will be 3 years old May 15.
Improved training: "Without Dick Hartzell I wouldn't have won the championship and thanks to him I will keep it," said Bobish. "Coach Hartzell helped me most with his breathing techniques, which gave me incredible endurance for the championship fight.
"He has taught me about flexibility and breathing properly, which has given me confidence and better endurance and definitely taken me to a better fighting level."
Hartzell's stretch bands are a part of Bobish's everyday workout.
"Hartzell is always keeping me updated with augmented methods for my training," Bobish said.