It's been over eight years since I last fought in a K-1 ring. It was a dream of mine since I was eight years old to compete in Japan. It was the glitz and glamour that fighting in Japan offered that made it one of the best moments of my life. However, I'm getting ahead of myself.
Growing up, I took to the traditional martial arts early when I participated in my first karate class. Walking into the dojo and seeing the sparring, I knew I wanted to be a part of that. I remember thinking even as a kid, that the martial arts were something I wanted do to for the rest of my life.
As I got older I made the switch from karate to kickboxing and Muay Thai. I watched fighters such as Rick Roufus, Ernesto Hoost and Peter Aerts and wanted to follow in their footsteps.
So here I am, preparing for my upcoming kickboxing bout at K-1 Rising in Los Angeles.
My opponent Xavier Vigney is a giant. It seems like that's the only type of fighter I face in kickboxing. He's 6'7" and controls range well with his jab and head kicks. Since he is so tall, I am trying to convince the commission to let me fight with stilts on. I'm hoping they'll let that pass.
The preparation has been going well at The Jungle MMA and Fitness. I've brought in some fighters to help mimic Xavier's style and have also enlisted the help of Tyrone Spong of the Blackzilians. Tyrone has been competing in kickboxing since 2001 and is considered to be one of the best in the world. He's a former protégée of Ernesto Hoost and is dangerous with both his hands and feet.
There are some key differences in how to prepare for a kickboxing bout instead of a mixed martial arts fight. The most important is the footwork. Without ever having to worry about a takedown, I'm free to move around more comfortably in the ring. This also allows me to throw more kicks that come at different angles which will be exhilarating.
My mind is on the fight with Xavier. I'm training two times a day and focusing my training on his exact style. Bellator has been extremely gracious in allowing me to compete for K-1 and with a win over Xavier I will move one step closer to becoming the next K-1 Grand Prix champion.