It was the biggest stage of his career and Sam Shewmaker was ready for the moment.

It was the biggest stage of his career and Sam Shewmaker was ready for the moment.

The brawler from Gravois Mills took on former Bellator champion Eric Prindle in the first round of the eight-man heavyweight tournament at the Bare Knuckle Fighting Championships in Cheyenne, Wyo., on June 2 and made it the quickest fight of the night as he landed a signature blow that sent his opponent to the canvas and to a defeat just 18 seconds into the bout.

“It was a very emotional moment. I was planning on trying to finish him, but did not expect it that early,” Shewmaker said of the first punch he threw that delivered a knockout. “My goal was to put on a good show, knock him out and make a statement. I knew he was a tough guy and a good competitor, but it was not going to be an easy task. He has a big reputation.”

And now, Shewmaker has started to make a reputation of his own. The boxer came in with a record of 43-8 as an amateur, a 3-0 record as a professional and was fighting on television for the first time in his career. He certainly did not disappoint.

Shewmaker threw a haymaker over the top like a pitcher throwing a baseball and delivered his shot on an open Prindle before the fighter could react. For Shewmaker, it was not so much just simply perfect timing as it was a result of doing his homework. After watching some film on his opponent, Shewmaker had a pretty good idea of when to strike.

“I watched a lot of film and knew his quirks and his body movement. If I timed it right I could get in, try to use a jab, change elevation and make him make a mistake and make him pay for it,” the boxer explained. “And sure enough, that is how it all went.”

As word started to spread of his victory, Shewmaker began receiving numerous phone calls, texts and Facebook posts and messages offering words of congratulations.

“It was an amazing, humbling and joyful experience to have the support of all those people behind me. I loved the hometown support and support from the surrounding area,” Shewmaker said. “It was a very good feeling.”

The boxer will have another professional fight in Jefferson City at the end of June and then it is onto training for the semifinals of the Bare Knuckle Fighting Championships, which will take place in September. Shewmaker advanced to the semifinals with former K-1 kickboxing champion Maurice Jackson, Bellator fighter Joey Beltran and former UFC heavyweight champion Ricco Rodriguez. Shewmaker’s next opponent has not been scheduled yet, but he will be ready to get back to work regardless.

“It will be business as usual and maybe a little more motivation to train harder because of how everything turned out,” he said. “There will be more drive to push even harder. All the people behind me and the positive feedback makes me want to strive to do more.”

Fight fans can follow Shewmaker on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/sam.shewmaker.9 or Twitter @boxinghillbilly