Warrensburg High School graduate Darin Rafferty instructs former schoolmate Lenny Baker in some subtle techniques in boxing at Brazilian Jiu Jitsu center in Ballston Spa. Baker was recently awarded a professional contract by Cage Fury Fighting Championships in mixed martial arts combat, based on his recent 58-second knockout in Bennington Vt. Rafferty, a Golden Gloves champion, serves as boxing coach for Baker, who is a 2001 NCAA Division III National Champion wrestler.
Tim Weatherwax/One Shot Photography
continued Baker’s most recent amateur fight — which led to his pro contract — was caged mixed martial arts combat in the Bennington Vt. Armory. He won it with a knockout in less than one minute.
Baker said that in that fight, he put his extensive wrestling experience to good use.
He took his opponent down with wrestling moves, then delivered punches when he was on the mat to finish him off.
“I went went with a good game plan,” Baker said. “It’s my strategy going forward, too.”
The fight can be seen on YouTube. The video can be located by typing in “Lenny Baker” and “mixed martial arts.”
Baker was an NCAA Division III National Champion at 141 pounds in 2001 while he was attending SUNY Brockport. He’s now fighting at 155 pounds.
Baker is a medical sales representative for Zimmer New England, a provider of orthopedics and other supplies.
Rafferty, who serves as Director of Wellness at Sunnyview Hospital in Schenectady, said he hopes people from Warrensburg and northern Warren County will be following Baker’s pro career and cheer him on.
“We’re very conscious of our roots, and hopefully we’ll have people that will recognize this and cheer for him,” Lenny Baker is one of our own, and he’ll doubtlessly be doing well as a professional athlete.”