Rockford Rocked Interviews: Interview with Rockford-area native and kick-boxer Josh ‘Lights Out’ LaBree

Josh LaBree (photo by Mike Gustafson Photography)
Josh LaBree (photo by Mike Gustafson Photography)

By Todd Houston

Rockford Rocked Interviews: How are you doing? The last time we spoke was after a great fight against Tony Leitzen, where you were able to take home more than just a win! Looks like you also took home a souvenir as well!

Josh “Lights Out” LaBree: Yes! Knocking out a tooth was definitely a first for me! At first I wasn’t going to keep it, but then I thought, “What the hell!” That’s a heck of a memory to put with my belts and trophies (laughs)!

Rockford Rocked Interviews: Your uncle, “Mean” Mike LaBree, is the International Kick-boxing Federation World Heavyweight Champion and has been fighting since 1988’s “Toughman” competition at Rockford’s MetroCentre. I can imagine that he probably had a great influence on your decision to become a fighter. Tell us how you got your start.

Josh “Lights Out” LaBree: For sure, I’ve definitely always looked up to him. In fact, I’ve even brought him into class for show-n-tell a few times back when I was 7 and 9 years old (laughs). I guess watching the Toughman every year with my friends and kinda being a punk growing up, I figured I could do this. So, in 2009, I entered the Toughman contest at the MetroCentre, and sure enough, I won!

Rockford Rocked Interviews: What different styles of disciplines do kick-boxers usually incorporate into their fighting — Muay Thai, Jeet Kune Do?

Josh “Lights Out” LaBree: All forms of stand-up martial arts play a big role in forming a good kick-boxer. I, myself, have a pretty extensive background in Tae-kwon-do.

Rockford Rocked Interviews: Are you a big fan of UFC?

Josh “Lights Out” LaBree: I just like watching and learning from fighting in general, whether it’s live or on TV. Is it my favorite? No, I’m a big fan of Glory and the World Combat League, which are both kick-boxing-based shows.

Rockford Rocked Interviews: Who would you say is your favorite fighter of all-time?

Josh “Lights Out” LaBree: Tough one! I have to say two … obviously, my uncle, but for different reasons. First, I’ve never met anyone who trains like him! He’s a true inspiration! Second, he’s really not the prettiest fighter to watch, but man, when he starts connecting, it’s game over (laughs)!

Also, I really like to watch Roy Jones Jr. I don’t know a lot about him, but the mental game this guy brings into the ring and the way he floats almost makes fighters beat themselves!

Rockford Rocked Interviews: I have known your mom for many years! How difficult was it for her to watch her son get punched and kicked while sitting ringside at your first few fights?

Josh “Lights Out” LaBree: Oddly enough, none of my immediate grown-up family goes to many of my fights. I think my uncle ruined it for them (laughs). I don’t know what’s so tough to watch — I’m good at what I do, and very rarely lose (laughs)!

Rockford Rocked Interviews: Tell us about one of your toughest fights and who it was with.

Josh “Lights Out” LaBree: To date, I would have to say Rick McGraw. He’s close to 6 feet, 10 inches, 275 pounds, and at the time, I was a young fighter. I was giving him a pretty good fight, but ended up getting caught and received my first — and only — knockout! He’s a great guy, though!

Rockford Rocked Interviews: What do you like to do when you’re not working or training for a fight?

Josh “Lights Out” LaBree: Hanging out with my daughter, fishing, riding my motorcycle … that’s all I do when I’m not training or working.

Rockford Rocked Interviews: Thanks for taking time out to chat with us!

Josh “Lights Out” LaBree: Thank you! For fight updates — past, present and future — “like” my Josh “Lights Out” LaBree fan page!

From the June 25-July 1, 2014, issue

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