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'He's got skills, and he's tough': Trout knows what he's up against vs. BKFC vet Palomino

Jan. 30—No one has to tell Las Cruces' Austin Trout he'll facing a bare-knuckle fighting legend — if such a young sport can have such a thing — in the person of Peru native Luis Palomino.

He has planned accordingly.

"Amped everything up," Trout said in a phone interview of his preparations for Friday's BKFC main event in Hollywood, Florida with that organization's vacant welterweight title at stake. "More sprints. More burnouts. More miles. More rounds.

"I'm in good shape. I'll be ready for whatever Palomino brings."

What Palomino (9-0, three knockouts) has brought to the BKFC's circular ring are the rough-and-tumble skills of the MMA fighter he's been — he's 26-17 in the cage — respectable boxing skills and impeccable cardio.

Trout, a former world champion boxer, was not thoroughly tested in his bare-knuckle debut against Albuquerque MMA legend Diego Sanchez at Tingley Coliseum last Feb. 17. Using his boxing skills to huge advantage, he bloodied Sanchez's face and dropped him to the canvas en route to a victory by fourth-round TKO.

Sanchez's attempts to exploit his MMA skills in the clinch were ineffective.

Against Palomino, Trout once again plans to use those boxing skills — speed of hand and foot, the experience gained over the course of 18 years and 43 professional bouts — to his advantage.

He's aware, however, that he'll need not just boxing skills but bare-knuckle toughness as well.

"Diego didn't have any skills; he just had toughness," Trout said. "I could have out-toughed him if I'd wanted to, but it was no problem.

"Palomino, he's got skills, and he's tough."

If he has his way, Trout would prefer to keep Palomino at a distance and simply outbox him. But, he said, he's prepared for whatever comes.

"My skills are gonna have to be on point, because I don't want to test out the toughness," he said. "I've got (toughness), but I don't want to test it. ... I want to (attack) this man with feet and fists and angles and clinching and scurry.

"We have a good game plan, and I'm looking forward to showcasing it."

In a recent interview with mmajunkie.com, Palomino was respectful of Trout's accomplishments in the boxing ring while emphasizing that bare-knuckle is a different animal. Palomino, though, spent most of the interview complaining that the BKFC had failed to get him the fight he most wanted — a showdown with former UFC Mike Perry, who is 4-0 in BKFC competition.

In his preoccupation with Perry, Trout believes Palomino might be looking past him.

"Yeah, I kind of do," he said. "I know he was calling for that Mike Perry fight, and then our fight was made and he was like 'All right, after Trout I want Perry.'

"There is no 'after Trout.'"

In contrast, Trout certainly is not looking past Palomino.

"(A champion) in two weight divisions, 9-0, the most (title) defenses of any champion in his young sport,'" Trout said.

"So he's definitely a king in this game, but that's why I'm very excited to dethrone him."

There'll be no dethroning, however, regardless of the outcome. The BKFC lists its welterweight (170-pound) title as vacant, though Palomino won that belt in June 2022 with a victory by unanimous decision over Elvin Brito and has not fought at that weight since.

Meanwhile, at age 38, Trout has no plans to abandon boxing.

"That's my first love," he said. "That's my baby."

He has nothing scheduled in the boxing ring but said his German-based boxing promotion firm, Legacy Sports Management, is looking out for him.

Trout also is a coach and manager of the Houston franchise in the Team Combat League, a boxing promotion scheduled to being its second season in March.

"I'm super excited," he said. "I'm trying to focus on (the Palomino fight), but I'm super excited for this Team Combat League."