Montero, who is a boxing journalist and podcast host describes himself as a “boxing lifer,” is also a Marine. He will face John Ochoa as the main event, dedicating the fight to his late brother Anthony.
Ronald Reagan’s 1985 quote perfectly sums up Michael Montero’s drive to compete in Atlanta Corporate Fight Night on September 16. Atlanta Corporate Fight Night was created by promoter Terri Moss in 2010, and matches white collar professionals in sanctioned amateur boxing matches, with proceeds going to charities.
Montero, who is a boxing journalist and podcast host describes himself as a “boxing lifer,” is also a Marine. He will face John Ochoa as the main event, dedicating the fight to his late brother Anthony, who died ten months ago from an overdose. In true Marine fashion, Montero’s main event battle with Ochoa is an effort to not only raise money for those suffering from addiction but to let them know their struggles aren’t unnoticed and help is available.
“Anthony was my best friend.,” Montero revealed. “His death was devastating and put me in a dark place. Earlier this year I decided that I was going to dedicate myself to training for a fight to honor his memory.” With that decision came the training, which during the process, gave Montero a renewed sense of purpose. “The training has been brutal at times” he admitted. “Buckets of sweat, plenty of headaches, a little blood, a few injuries I’ve had to work through. But it also saved my life in a way. I’ve been able to physicalize the mental and emotional pain that I’ve been going through. The training is what’s helped me be able to sleep again, to cut out the drinking and the junk food. I was really dead inside and this process has brought me back to life.”
Montero learned about Atlanta Corporate Fight night when interviewing Terri Moss on his podcast "The Neutral Corner", and visiting her gym, Buckhead Fight Club. “I met Terri after I relocated to Atlanta from Los Angeles a couple years ago,” he recalled. “I saw the posters for her CFN events at Buckhead Fight Club and asked her about it. She couldn’t have one last year due to the COVID pandemic and subsequent lockdowns, but when Terri was able to bring it back this year, the timing couldn’t have been more timely for me. As soon as she announced ACFN 14, I was on board!”
Training to get in a better frame of mind and body gave Montero a bit of a head start, and he described the process. “I started training early this year just to get off the couch, to battle my depression,” he said, and in typical straightforward Montero fashion, revealed he was somewhat out of shape. “At first, it was just a fat camp,” he said bluntly. “I was working off the pounds I had put on from the COVID lockdowns and mourning my brother’s death,” – which, he continued, “mostly consisted of sitting on my ass, drinking like a fish and eating comfort food. When I started training, I weighed around 240-pounds, which was the heaviest of my life”. Montero pressed on. “Then came the results, and the goal of participating in ACFN. “By the spring I was down in the 220’s and feeling much better, physically and mentally,” he said. Armed with motivation, he began taking training to another level. “That’s when I kicked it into high gear and began doing two-a-days,” Montero said. “I boxed three times a week, lifted weights three times a week, got in some road work once or twice a week.” That routine got him down to the 210’s and fight ready, until injuries occurred. “Unfortunately,” he explained, “I’ve had to deal with some injuries along the way that stalled my momentum at times. I broke two ribs in sparring, and tore a pectoral muscle. So I’ve been “training hurt” as they say, and will be carrying some nagging injuries into the ring on September 16, but that’s part of being a fighter.”
Accompanying Montero on his training journey and into the ring on September 16 is trainer and fighter Christian Steele. Originally from Philadelphia, Steele now owns Steele Boxing and Fitness in Atlanta. No stranger to boxing gyms, Montero has a wealth of experience of different gyms to call on. “When I lived in Los Angeles, I would train at various gyms all over the city. I’ve been around boxing my whole life. Because of my work in the boxing media, I’ve been playing around in gyms for years alongside some of the greatest fighters in the world,” he reminded, but then it was all for recreation. Now with an actual fight looming, the stakes are higher. “But that was just for fun, nothing serious and consistent until this year,” he acknowledged and adds to his arsenal a history of being a “jock of all trades” sports wise. “I’ve always been a pretty good athlete, played just about every sport there was available back in school. And I’m a United States Marine so I’ve been through plenty of brutal training. Nothing phases me.”
Working with Steele Montero has developed a fighting style tailored to keep opponent Ochoa at bay. “I try to work behind my jab and use my length. At 42 years old, my feet don’t move as swiftly as they used to, but my hands still move pretty well,” he said.
Defense is also an important part of the game plan, since Ochoa is rumored to be extremely heavy-handed. “I know he’s coming to take my head off,” Montero admitted, “and he’s been through struggles just like I have and he ain’t holding nothing back on September 16. All the better for Montero, who is ready for the challenge. “That’s good because the second I hear the bell ring, I’m bringing heat.”
Reflecting on his first fight experience so far, Montero is enthusiastic and looking forward to combat. “This is my first official amateur bout on the record and I couldn’t be more excited about it,” he said. “The experience has been great so far. Terri Moss really knows how to put on a world-class event, and I can’t wait for fight night.”
Support Michael Montero by buying tickets directly through his link www.buckheadfightclub.com/event-details/michael-montero-atlanta-corporate-fight-night-14 or get ACFN tickets through Ticketmaster. Ticket prices range from $40-$100. Live stream PPV to catch all the action is available at the WBC network for $12.99, wbc.vivetv.network/events/sept-2021/atlanta-corporate-fight-night/.