Anthony Bonsante: "Vanda can talk all he wants, I'll do my talking in the ring!"
By Benny Henderson Jr - A.K.A "Big Dog" (Jan 5, 2007)
January 12th at the Target Center in Minneapolis, MN ‘Bad Blood’ will flow when instate archrivals finally face off in a scheduled ten round bout for the Minnesota State Middleweight title and the IBA Americas title. The time for smack talk is over when The Contender season one star Anthony ‘The Bullet’ Bonsante 28-8-3 (17) faces off against his fellow Minnesotan Matt ‘The Predator’ Vanda, 35-2 (21), who team Bonsante have comically labeled ‘The Pretender’.

Bonsante, best known as the cap wearing #1 Dad in the first season of The Contender, stopped former contestant Brent Cooper in the third round for his first fight on the series, but was eliminated by Jesse Brinkley in the thirteenth episode via
fifth round TKO.

Bonsante went on a four fight downslide losing out all with his last loss a fifth round TKO coming from the hands of the undefeated middleweight Allan Green this past July, a fighter whom Bonsante says will definitely be champ some day.

In his last two outings Bonsante stopped both foes via knockout winning the vacant Minnesota State Middleweight strap in his last go around by putting to sleep St. Paul pugilist Troy Lowry. Now after six years in the making Bonsante and Vanda will finally meet up after a harsh war of words between the two men. In this exclusive interview ‘The Bullet’ speaks out on his upcoming match-up as well as his time on The Contender, enjoy.

Benny Henderson Jr.: This bout between you and Matt Vanda is labeled ‘Bad Blood’, so what exactly is the bad blood between you two?

Anthony Bonsante:
I am thirty-six years old and have been trying to get Vanda in the ring for about eight years now but his handlers wouldn’t allow him to touch me. And now he has different handlers and my name is known nationally because of The Contender, and his isn’t because nobody knows him outside of Minnesota. Well I have been trash talking him for along time to try to get him out so he can fight me. He just wouldn’t do it, he wanted to fight the guys who were a lot older with not as good records with padded stats, and now he has so much pressure from everybody around the states and with the new commission in Minnesota this is the biggest fight they had in years, so the bad blood is that he don’t like me and I don’t like him. I don’t think he is a very good fighter and I am going to prove it January 12th that there is only one middleweight in the state and that is me.

BH: Give the readers your thoughts on this match-up and what would a win over Vanda do for your career?

A win over Vanda will hopefully set up a fight… well John Duddy will actually be at the fight in January because he wants the winner, supposedly, or at least that’s what I heard.

BH: Yes that is true, well at least I heard the same thing, which was from a very credible source so he will probably be they’re checking you guys out.

He has a big fight coming up March 16th in Madison Square Garden and I would love the opportunity to get to Madison Square Garden and beat John Duddy. But I am not going to look past Vanda, I first have to get past the pretender and this fight will propel me to the next step for that journey.

BH: Well we will go ahead and skip down to the question I had, many don’t know this, well actually we are breaking the news now, but the undefeated middleweight sensation John Duddy will be ringside for the Bonsante-Vanda bout and the word is the Irishman and his team are scouting out an opponent for his March 16th bout. Your thoughts on such a match-up?

Right, and statistically he wants Vanda because he has a better record but if he is going to look at the credibility of his opponents he will be able to kill Vanda. I mean I don’t see Vanda being able to last six rounds with me. A fight between John Duddy and I would be fun, he is a great Irish fighter, he’s trough and he comes to fight, and he’s strong. He has some weaknesses that I can take advantage of, I have a great group of guys who are training me and we have that possibility but right now we are concentrating on Vanda, once I beat Vanda then if Duddy wants the opportunity or gives me the opportunity to fight for the IBA middleweight title I would be more than happy to go to the Garden for ten rounds and give him a war.

BH: What do you feel is Vanda’s strengths that can possibly give you trouble in this bout and what weaknesses do you feel you can capitalize on?

Vanda has some strengths, obviously he is going to be a bit faster than I am, he fights in flurries, he comes to fight and doesn’t really back off, but I am going to use my experience, my age and my wisdom to my advantage and beat him with smarts.

BH: Let’s look back on your time on The Contender, how would you best describe your time there and how different do you think your past two years as a professional boxer would have been without it?

Well The Contender was geared towards more for the inexperienced fighters because myself, Brinkley, Smith and Manfredo were ten to twelve round fighters going into that tournament, and the fights were set for five rounds. So it favored guys like Sergio, Gilbert, some of these guys went further than what they probably would of if it would not have been for the five rounds. If it would have been for ten rounds we could have set it up. With it being five rounds all it was, was just a race. The exposure that The Contender gave me helped me he as far as my pro career afterwards. Now when I go places people are like hey that is the number one dad from The Contender, and people want to fight me because of that, that is how I got the Allan Green fight, I really didn’t want the Green fight but I took it.

BH: Word is you have recently gotten engaged, first off on the behalf of Doghouse Boxing I would like to congratulate you on that, how does this impact your drive for the sport?

I recently just got engaged with my ex-wife, my high school sweetheart, we divorced for six years and we now recently just got engaged last Friday. It was wonderful, we both have been back together about a year now and things are going great. This puts that one little intangible in this, I don’t have to worry, I know she will be here for me, she supports me and my kids support me and it gives me extra motivation. Like Braddock said, what is the difference now than before, now I know what I am fighting for. I know exactly what I am fighting for; I am fighting for my wife and my kids now.

BH: How would you define your career up to this point and how optimistic are you about your future in the middleweight division?

My career up this point has been sporadic to say the least. I beat Tony Ayala Jr. for the IBA super middleweight title back in 2003, which was probably the biggest fight to date right now until January 12th. The absence with a boxing commission in Minnesota made us go to other states and others’ backyards and fight. Now that we have reinstated our commission hopefully I can finish my career in Minnesota. Right now I feel like my career is getting another jump start, after I beat Vanda I should be ranked a little higher and if I get the opportunity to fight John Duddy and beat him I should be ranked in the top ten, so at thirty-six this could propel my career to the next level.

BH: What about the mouthing between you two, what do you think about his trash talk, is it getting under your skin?

No, Vanda can talk as much as he wants, the thing is a guy like that they try to get into your head psychologically and try to beat you before the fight even starts. I am too emotionally, physically and psychologically strong to let a chump like that to get into my head, there is no way he can deter me to reach my goal which is to train my ass off get ready listen to my coaches and be ready January 12th to win that fight. A lot of guys try to stare you down. You know what? Fine, win the stare down contest, stare downs don’t win fights, when I get into the ring I’ll do my talking in the ring.

BH: If you could send out a message to your opponent Matt Vanda, what exactly would it be?

I hope that you have life after boxing.

BH: What type of fight are you expecting and what can the fans expect come fight night from yourself?

I expect Vanda to show a lot of emotion coming out there, he wants to try to prove a point because he is the underdog right now, and I think the fans are going to be in for a hell of a night. It will be a very good fight, I expect to win, and the fans will get their moneys worth. And after it is all said and done with, if the pretender wants to sit down for a beer I will be more than happy to buy him one.

BH: Is there anything you would like to add to or say in closing of this interview?

First of all I would like to thank the Doghouse for giving me the opportunity for getting interviewed and I hope the fans get on the site and read it, and I hope they support the boxing in Minnesota and I just want to say thanks for everybody that has watched ‘The Bullet’ and keep watching because I am not done yet.

I’d like to thank Bob Trieger of Full Court Press for setting up this interview, and thanks to Anthony for taking the time out to give his thoughts to the Doghouse.

Tickets, reasonably priced at $25.00, $50.00 and $100.00, are available at the Target Center box office, all Ticket Master outlets, online at or charge by phone at 651.989.5151. VIP tables also are available for $200.00 and $250.00.

Doors open at 6 PM, first bout at 7 PM. For more information call 612.673.1600 or go to

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