At the age of 34, Bryant is a nine-year pro. A heavyweight contender, he got a late start in boxing at 24 and had very little amateur experience – only 17 fights – but has had impressive success against quality opposition as an amateur and professional.
Bryant is co-promoted by Antonio Leonard and Top Rank. He signed with Top Rank in June, 2017, and won five fights in a row, building momentum and climbing in the world ratings.
In his last fight on January 18 in Verona, New York, he lost by 12th-round TKO against 2008 Colombian Olympian and NABF heavyweight champion Oscar Rivas.
Boxingscene.com’s Jake Donovan reported [excerpts]: A late surge by the unbeaten Colombia-born, Canada-based heavyweight finally got through to Jennings, scoring a knockdown and finishing off the veteran contender in the 12th and final round of their ESPN+ main event Friday evening at Turning Stone Resort & Casino.
It was a struggle for about six rounds, but not without Rivas at least leaving his mark on the scorecards. Jennings – who rebounded from back-to-back losses in 2015 to win five straight since signing with Top Rank 17 months ago – appeared to be in control, but at no point enjoyed a lead so overwhelming that he could coast down the stretch.
The heavyweights enjoyed a nice exchange towards the end of round seven, but any power game was going to favor the unbeaten Rivas, who knew how far to push himself in order to achieve victory.
The second half rally by Rivas was enough to pull him ahead on two of the three scorecards – 106-103 and 105-104 – heading into the 12th and final round. Jennings had a 106-103 lead on the dissenting card, but the judges weren’t needed in the end.
A blitzing attack by Rivas to start the 12th left Jennings pinned in a corner. The punches kept coming until he was left defenseless and willed to the canvas. The former heavyweight title challenger barely beat the count but didn’t appear to be fit to fight much longer.
Rivas pinned Jennings along the ropes and unloaded with a fusillade of head shots until forcing [the] referee to stop the contest.
The official time was 0:54 of the 12th and final round. [End Donovan item]
In his post-fight interview, Bryant said, “Of course I’m disappointed, but it is what it is. I’m my own man, this here is a stepping stone for me. I’m not really phased by any of this. It just is what it is.”
It was Bryant’s eighth fight with trainer John David Jackson.
When Bryant was still a novice pro with only 11 fights to his credit – six four-rounders and five six-rounders – he got a big break and made the most of it.
For the debut show of NBC Sports Network’s “Fight Night” series on January 21, 2012, one of the fighters in the main event withdrew from the fight a week earlier. Unable to find a suitable replacement, the promoters put together a new main event that matched two young, undefeated heavyweights – Bryant versus Maurice Byarm – both of whom were moving up to 10-round status for the first time.
Bryant gave a strong performance and won by unanimous decision, which led to four more appearances on the series.
He had a “breakout” year in 2014 and established himself as a heavyweight contender. Bryant took significant steps up in class of opposition and scored his two most notable wins against previously undefeated opponents: a 10th-round TKO against Artur Szpilka (16-0 at the time) that January 25, and a 12-round split decision against former Cuban amateur standout Mike Perez (20-0-1 at the time) six months later on July 26.
Those wins put Bryant in the position to challenge for the heavyweight world championship in April, 2015. Bryant lost a 12-round unanimous decision against defending champion Wladimir Klitschko, but gave a strong performance.
Regarding his nickname, Bryant said, “I spell my nickname ‘By-By.’ ‘BY’ is my nickname – everybody calls me BY since high school. But since I started boxing and things like that, they just got used to saying Bryant ‘By-By’ Jennings. BY stands for ‘big young boy,’ because I was the same size – 6’3″, 230 pounds – at the age of 14 and 15. We drag out the words ‘young boy’ – the inner-city slang way we pronounce it sounds like ‘young bull’ – but if somebody speaks correctly, it’s ‘young boy.’ And it’s all one word, no separation. You know how slang in the inner-city goes. We mastered the slang. We come up with all of the slang.”
AMATEUR, PERSONAL BACKGROUND: Bryant said, “I was born and raised in North Philly. I have seven brothers and four sisters – no other boxers in the family. We’re all athletes, but none professional.
“I played football, basketball, and ran the 200 meters at Ben Franklin High School. I was the top guy in football – the top guy in the city in my position. I played defensive end.
“I was 24 when I started boxing. It was the last week of December, 2008. I just walked into the gym to stay in shape. I had 17 amateur fights. Within eight months, I had fought in three national tournaments. I had just started in January and the Golden Gloves were in May. Some people box their whole childhood and never make it there. I only had five months.
“I had to learn to love it. You know, it was like a relationship – it wasn’t something that I immediately loved. Once I loved it, I started to respect it more. But me, as an athlete, I came in with the attributes that a real natural athlete had. That was the best thing for me. I would always run anyway. I would always be dedicated. I would always watch what I eat and stay in shape – just because. I came into the game with that. I came into the game with my six-pack. I came into the game with my muscles and all that. I just had to learn to love and respect the things that boxing came about, like those extra sacrifices.
“I’m naturally right-handed, but I am ambidextrous. I can write with both hands. I can do everything with both hands except for playing basketball and throwing a football. I do that with my right hand. I’ll switch to the left-handed stance in the ring sometimes, too.
“I’m still vegan. I’ve been vegetarian since 2013, and I’ve been fully vegan since the beginning of the Klitschko camp in 2015. It has long-term effects, but it’s not like a performance enhancement thing – it’s for health reasons, just staying closer to great health. I really don’t think it’s an advantage for a boxer. Based on me being non-vegan before and vegan now, there are other things outside of boxing that a plant-based diet helps with. I’ve always pretty much watched what I ate – I never ate sloppy, I never intoxicated myself with any drug. I just think being clean is clean. Maybe it might work for somebody performance-wise, but for the most part it’s long-term just for better health. I’m just living like everybody else, but I’m doing it in a particular way.
“I’m single and I have a son, Mason. He’s nine years old. He was born on September 25, 2008 – we were born on the same day.”…
2009 NATIONAL PAL CHAMPIONSHIPS – San Antonio, Texas, 201+ pounds – SILVER MEDALIST: in the semifinals on 10-23-09 he stopped Jabril Temple in the 3rd round; in the finals on 10-24-09 he lost a 7-1 decision against Lenroy Thompson…
2009 U.S. NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS – Denver, Colorado, 201+ pounds: in his first fight on 6-9-09 he lost an 11-10 decision against Javier Torres…
2009 NATIONAL GOLDEN GLOVES CHAMPIONSHIPS – Salt Lake City, Utah, 201+ pounds – SILVER MEDALIST: in his first fight on 5-5-09 he won a decision against David Latoria; in his second fight on 5-6-09 he won a decision against Craig Lewis; in the quarterfinals on 5-7-09 he won a decision against Stipe Miocic; in the semifinals on 5-8-09 he won a decision against Julian Pollard; in the finals on 5-9-09 he lost a decision against Lenroy Thompson…
STRENGTHS: Has good skills and movement…has good punching power…physically strong, is always in top condition…is experienced against top opposition…
PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE: 27 fights…160 total rounds…12 world championship rounds…7 interim world title rounds…
AVERAGE LENGTH OF BOUTS: 5.9 rounds…
KNOCKOUT PERCENTAGE: of total fights – 52 %…of wins – 58 %…
DISTANCE FIGHTS: 12 rounds – 3 (1-2)…10 rounds – 4 (4-0)…