Photo Credit: Cam F. Awesome
If you aren’t familiar with Cam F. Awesome, the standout American amateur heavyweight who moonlights as a standup comedian, get on YouTube and acquaint yourself with the vegan boxer who lives and trains in Kansas City. He’s a highly decorated fighter with multiple championships from the Golden Gloves, PAL National, and Pan American Games.
This summer, Awesome, the U.S. National Team captain, plans to lead Team USA Boxing at the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. To do that he will have to qualify first, which will happen if he wins one of two fights coming up in June.
When Awesome was a teen he was uncoordinated and overweight but discovered boxing, fell in love with the sport, and started competing. While his amateur resume is more impressive than many professional prizefighters, boxing professionally isn’t anywhere near the top of his things-to-do list.
You have to be confident enough to know you can win but realistic enough to know you can’t win without being 100% prepared.
“I personally don’t have any aspirations to turn pro . . . Every time someone approaches me on that I just kind of flip it on them and ask if they would do the whole pro thing if they were in my position. It’s a good plan B or C if other things don’t work out. One – marrying rich. Two – winning the lottery. Three – comedy/acting.
If everything in life fails, there’s always boxing. That’s kind of like my backup to my backup plan. I think I have what it takes to become a successful pro but I would like to be the Butterbean . . . You know, I only fight four rounders. I fight no one good, I become 200-0, and after every boxing match I perform a comedy show in the ring with the gloves on. That could be my gimmick,” said Awesome.
He fights southpaw and his approach to life is as equally unorthodox. However, whether it’s the bright lights in the ring or the bright lights on the stage, he doesn’t shy away.
Usually an amateur with the potential, confidence, and personality of Awesome would be eyeing a career in the professional ranks immediately following Rio, but he’s different.
“I think I just have a weird way of thinking and I justify all of my craziness. But, I think everything I do is logical and I took a logical approach to boxing and that’s what got me so far. I’ve done the same thing with comedy and I believe a lot of it is confidence. A lot of the time you’re wrong about your confidence, but you don’t realize it until it’s over. I look back at my first 20 fights and I was fighting guys with a lot more experience than me and I thought I was supposed to win. And I did win, because of confidence. Then I look back at my boxing technique, my boxing style, my experience level, and it was terrible. But, confidence made my career. Confidence can also break a lot of people’s careers, so, hopefully I’m not one of those people. You have to be confident enough to know you can win but realistic enough to know you can’t win without being 100% prepared.”
It doesn’t appear Awesome will be “one of those people” because he’s multidimensional, pragmatic, and has a passionate comedy career on the back burner that he says is more similar to boxing than you might think. “It’s a pretty fun hobby, I love it. It’s pretty much the same kind of rush as boxing. You land a good punch – you land a good punchline. Sometimes you miss the punchline – sometimes you miss the punch. But, I’ve never been knocked out on stage. Been booed a few times, but boxing is a little bit harder,” Awesome explained.
If a multibillion dollar corporation was like, ‘Hey Cam, here’s a ridiculous amount of money to stick around for four more years.’ I’d do it!
He may find boxing to be more difficult, but for some reason he’s more nervous before getting on stage than he is before getting in the ring. “You can prepare for a boxing match and I can be in better shape than the person I’m fighting and train for them, but when you get to a venue, you don’t know what the venue is gonna be like, you don’t know what the crowd is gonna be like. You don’t know how the crowd is going to react to your jokes and I’m not a very experienced comedian . . . But, I always pretty much get a positive response from the crowd because people’s expectations are so low of an athlete doing comedy that it’s not that hard to surpass.”
Awesome is one of the most charismatic, likeable, and marketable USA Boxing team members to ever come along. If you love to laugh and plan on watching athletes compete over the 17 days of festivities in Brazil, make sure you root for Cam F. Awesome, he’s just as exciting in the ring as he is out.
Plus, with Rio only a few months away, it may be the last time the world gets to see the U.S. National Team captain in the ring. “If a multibillion dollar corporation was like, ‘Hey Cam, here’s a ridiculous amount of money to stick around for four more years.’ I’d do it! I really like money, it’s my favorite.”