Tim Boetsch Delivers a TKO from Tokyo

Sunday, March 11th, 2012 by Tony Reid

Tim Boetsch’s comeback against Yushin Okami at UFC 144 in Japan was so incredible, so amazing, so inspiring that Joe Rogan called it the greatest comeback in the history of the UFC. He later backed off that statement but the excitement and awe of what “The Barbarian” did could not be understated. Sure we have Kongo vs. Barry, Chris Leben against, well, anybody he’s faced not to mention the plethora of other great comebacks in the UFC’s great history but to me, this rates right up there with any of them, even after the initial shock and awe has worn off.

Being friends with a Barbarian is a pretty cool thing. I have been all over the country to support Tim during his UFC Career and I had the credit card statements to prove it. From the 24 hours we spent in Las Vegas for his short notice, first fight for the company against David Heath. To our trip to Bloomfield, Colorado to see his televised fight against Matt Hamill. To the dirty south in Atlanta to see his demolishing of Mike Patt. To our drive to Columbus, Ohio to witness his disappointing loss to Jason Brilz firsthand. Initially a small group of us had planned on making the trip to Japan for UFC 144 to see him deliver a TKO from Tokyo. My wife, my good friend Jon or “Vo” as he is known to anyone that really knows him, Tim’s wife Jade and I had seriously considered it until we did the math. But the math was not good. Me, being the guy that always has a new idea, wanted to create a documentary by following Tim around during the whole process from finding out his next opponent (Okami) up to his post fight interviews with Ariel Helwani in Japan and everything in between. I wanted to get Jade’s perspective of being home with the kids and handling the family side of things while Tim was gone as well as get a perspective from the guys at the gym, Barbarian Combat Sports, the gym Tim owns, while he was out of town. None of this panned out, of course, so I might try to sell Tim on it before his next fight, which will most definitely be an even bigger one than his recent fight against Okami.

So instead of being in “The Land of the Rising Sun” or “The Mecca of MMA” as I prefer to call it, I was sitting on my recliner (Yeah kids, I’m old) in front of the television in my living room watching all the action that UFC 144 had to offer, including Tim Boetsch vs. Yushin Okami. Let me clarify a bit. I started watching the fight from my recliner. The first round looked a little rough as Okami’s standup was more crisp than Boetsch had expected and it showed up on “The Barbarian’s” face. The second round looked rougher than the first with Tim taking even more damage on the feet and on the ground. Then it happened. The third and final round with the world knowing Tim had to stop Okami, no questions asked. Anything short of that would mean a definite loss.

Well anyone reading this knows how that third round went down and how Okami went down. Boetsch caught Okami with a few shots on the feet landing fists and feet on Okami, and then “Thunder” fell back against the cage, a sign of the damage he had taken. Boetsch pounced on him like a wild beast on its helpless prey, stalking and landing more shots, huge uppercuts that eventually dropped Okami. Boetsch followed up with a few punches to the unresponsive Okami. That was it, by the time the dust settled “The Barbarian” scored a TKO victory over the best fighter Japan has to offer right in his own back yard and doing so by overcoming odds like no other. Like I said earlier I started watching the fight in the living room and after it ended I somehow found myself running into the kitchen laughing, just laughing, at what Tim was able to pull off. My wife was standing on the couch jumping up and down; of course Vo calls me as does everyone else who knows I know Tim. Good Lord, my kids, who were with their mom for the weekend called me at midnight to ask if I had seen the fight.

I must say it’s a unique experience to watch someone you know and care about as a person, (whether watching them on television or in person) that performs on the biggest stage in his or her chosen profession. Coming from me, as a fan of the sport and a proud friend to the warrior in the cage, for Tim to show the heart of a lion, an iron will, endless determination and belief in himself to never quit, never ever give an inch even in the most trying of times is something he can be proud of and truly enjoy for the rest of his days on this planet. But for Tim Boetsch no one, let me repeat no one, deserves success on the highest level more than he does. He is a great person and a great fighter just starting the meteoric rise to the top of the UFC Middleweight Division. The only questions now are…Who’s next? and Who’s driving?