Last Monday night, a young, blond-haired protester attended a Donald Trump campaign rally in New Hampshire for the sole purpose of yelling “fascist!” at the man on the stage.
The young activist had no idea that his brief moment of heckling would earn him an immediate smackdown from the nearest Trump-loving “celebrity boxer.”
Todd “The Punisher” Poulton—a self-described “people’s champion” who has previously gone in the ring against former baseball star Jose Canseco and celebrity dad Michael Lohan—was caught on camera aggresively handling the unidentified male protester. Poulton is the guy with the face-tattoo resembling the one made famous by boxer Mike Tyson:
The Punisher says he was thinking of the elderly and public safety when he sprang into action.
“I did not body-slam the kid, I did not throw a punch, nor did I pounce,” Poulton told The Daily Beast. “We were all standing while Mr. Trump was speaking, and I heard a lot of chaos coming from behind me. And, of course, in my field you’re always trained to react to stuff like that. The screaming started…and I reacted out of the safety of others, and grabbed him, and contained him—with what you’d call a horse-collar tackle. I grabbed the back of his collar, which is all I could grab because he was bumping into an elderly couple on the side of him.”
On a YouTube video of the incident, The Punisher seems to have the activist pinned to ground for roughly 10 seconds before authorities rush in to escort the smiling anti-Trump protester out of the crowd.
Poulton, who made his celebrity-boxing debut in 2009, now resides in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. He says he has suffered from anxiety and severe obsessive-compulsive disorder, and openly discusses that this nearly drove him to suicide 13 years ago. He is taking a break from full-time boxing and wrestling, and is living on disability for mental illness. He now considers himself an advocate for special education and the mentally ill.
In high school, Poulton was a fan of Ronald Reagan. Today, he says he still has a George W. Bush tattoo on his right arm. The body art is an American flag, with the name “George W. Bush” printed on it. Underneath Bush’s name, it reads, “Not on my watch,” a reference to Bush’s response to reading a report on the Clinton administration and the genocide in Rwanda.
“I love him,” Poulton says proudly.
The Punisher and The Donald have quite a bit in common. Each claims to have never smoked a cigarette in his lifetime. Both have worked with Jose Canseco, who was on Trump’s NBC series The Celebrity Apprentice. (“Jose kicked my ass,” Poulton said, recalling their match.)
And Poulton identifies with Trump as a fellow “fighter.”
“I like [Trump’s] firmness, he’s very firm up there,” he said. “You listen to these other people out there, they’re low-energy…As a fighter, you prepare yourself for the fight. He prepares himself like a fighter. It’s Donald Trump who led the ‘USA! USA!’ chant after he knew I took [the protester] down. I see his heart and his passion. Fighters, we have to have a heart…and when Trump talks on TV, every time, I see that fight in him.”
Poulton says he would “love to do some campaigning” for Trump 2016, and dreams of the day he actually gets to meet the Republican frontrunner face-to-face and shake his hand.
“One of the reasons I’m voting for Trump is because he’s very direct, and he says what he wants to say,” Poulton continues. “What draws me to Donald Trump is his strength on business…but what good is money unless your money is safe? We have great Muslims in our country, but we also have bad Muslims in our country…There’s always a bad guy out there. And I believe it’s time we do a little more checking into the background of people before they cross the border.”
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the “celebrity boxer” also buys into Trump’s hardline stance on immigration.
“We have to stop illegal immigration…Half of Americans aren’t getting jobs, [yet] all the Mexicans are getting jobs,” he asserted.
This level of Trump fandom is shared by another small-scale boxer/wrestler named Anthony Patanella, who is friends with Poulton and refers to himself as the nephew of fictional character Rocky Balboa.
“What happened [at Monday’s rally] was funny who would scream something out like that guy did lol,” said Patanella in an email to The Daily Beast. The wrestler is a kind of shaven-head Jersey Shore type whose Twitter feed is primarily devoted to Sylvester Stallone. “What Todd did was justified bc if I was there I would of gave that dude the Fists 2 Faces. I would love to see that fight happen in ring.”
When asked if he, too, would leap on a guy yelling at Trump, Patanella said “I would of told him to go pound salt and if he touched me then he would have a problem. He looked like a female and I don’t hit women.”
Not only did the protester deserve his horse-collar tackle, Patanella said, but anyone who misbehaves should be ruthlessly and swiftly booted from a Trump event.
“Of course [because] them kind of people don’t know how to act,” he said. “If you don’t like Trump then don’t go to the rallies. They are for people who support not haters…People can say whatever they want but if you get out of line and talk smack about Trump then stuff happens like you saw [The Punisher] put on that dude.”
Patanella’s admiration for Trump also extends to policy, particularly on the issue of a blanket Muslim-immigration ban. “I agree with Trump and him wanting to ban Muslims right now until we get ISIS out of the picture,” he wrote.
Clearly, Patanella adores Trump—in fact, he wants to be his running mate.
“We would make an awesome pair to lead the USA,” Patanella said, forecasting the only scenario that could make the 2016 race any crazier.
So however the Republican primary turns out next year, Trump can conclude his campaign knowing that all along, he managed to corner the market on the Celebrity Boxer Vote.
“We’re gonna make America great again—one knockout at a time!” The Punisher concluded.