Former UFC Welterweight John Howard On Training With Boston Marathon Bomber
By Christopher Murphy @MurphMMA
Former UFC middleweight fighter, John Howard, recently spoke to Sherdog Radio Network’s “Beatdown,” where he talked about his relationship with deceased Boston marathon bomber, Tamerlan Tsarnaev.
Tsarnaev is the older of two brothers suspected of planting and detonating several explosives near the finish line of this year’s Boston Marathon. Three were killed and 264 were injured in the explosions. In the subsequent pursuit of the suspects, Tamerlan Tsarnaev was killed. His younger brother was captured shortly thereafter.
John Howard, a Boston native, trains at Wai Kru MMA, a gym where the older Tsarnaev came to train when his boxing skills exceeded several other gyms.
Howard recalled, “The reason why he trained at my gym was because he was a good boxer. He wanted a good sparring partner, and most gyms he went to, a lot of guys couldn’t hang with his boxing. He was beating guys up. The reason why he came to Wai Kru was because you had me as a UFC fighter and you had other good strikers there who weren’t scared to take a beating or give one. That’s how I knew him.”
The two sparred a number of times, but Howard remembered one bout in particular.
“One day we were sparring,” he explained, “and it got a little too physical. Me being and MMA fighter and him being a boxer, it was like a little rivalry thing and we were boxing and we kind of went kind of hard one time. I give him credit. He was a good boxer, but because of the power I possess, I could put anybody down, I believe. What happened was, he got a little cocky. He was touching me up. He was getting the best of me. We went at it, and I caught him with my left hook, my famous left hook, and broke his nose. When I broke his nose, he covered his face. His body was open, so I turned my angle and I hit him with a body shot- with my right hand, a body shot, and I dropped him. That was the end of the sparring match.”
“At that point in time, I did… feel kind of bad,” Howard explained. “I was like, ‘Man, I went too far.’ But ever since the tragedy happened, I don’t feel bad. The only thing I regret is I didn’t keep hitting him and choke him out and put him out of his misery.”
Howard’s MMA career has seen great success after being cut from the UFC following three consecutive losses. He has gone 6-0 since then, winning 5 of those fights by T/KO. Howard is currently pursuing another shot with the UFC, but his desire to fight on the August 17 UFC on FOX Sports 1 card seems unlikely as the card is already full.