ORANGE PARK – Nick McCall’s first three Point Kick Boxing matches ended in defeat. But that won’t keep the Oakleaf fighter from thinking big ahead of Saturday’s PKB Tournament at Smiley’s …
ORANGE PARK – Nick McCall’s first three Point Kick Boxing matches ended in defeat. But that won’t keep the Oakleaf fighter from thinking big ahead of Saturday’s PKB Tournament at Smiley’s Academy on Wells Road.
“I’m trying to leave with at least three trophies, and at the most, there’s a belt,” he said after a workout Monday night. “I’ve seen that belt the past couple of times that I’ve been here. I’m trying to leave with that belt or at least a couple of trophies.”
Others have the same idea. And they’re willing to use their feet and fists to do it.
Saturday’s points-only elimination tournament is considered a stepping stone toward a future in Mixed Martial Arts or the Ultimate Fighting League.
“It’s more for like striking and landing punches instead of trying to injure your opponent,” said Hannah Adams after trading punches with other students.
Two victories on Saturday will count toward a fighter’s career record. The first match is scheduled for noon, and the competition will end with the last person standing.
Adams hopes to be that person.
The sailor from nearby NAS Jacksonville is smallish in nature – about 5-foot-4 – but she has big aspirations.
“When I was little, my dad started teaching me karate, and then no, no, I’m just started out in MMA. That’s where my passion started.”
Adams wrestled in high school and “grew up watching UFC fights” with her father.
“When I came home from deployment, I missed jujitsu,” she said. “I decided to get back in the gym. My first MMA class was fun.”
Saturday will mark her second official fight. She is 0-1.
“I hope I get a little better fight this time,” she said. “I was a little heavier my first fight. I still get a little nervous, but I can’t wait.”
Brandon Gavinovich is a 17-year-old student from Bartram Trail High. He’s been training for 2½ years and hopes to improve on his 2-2 record. Outside the outcome, Gavinovich said it’s important to learn with every punch thrown and landed.
“That’s the only way to get better,” he said.
Many of the contestants will come from outside the Northeast Florida area who don’t train at Smiley’s. McCall said not knowing an opponent favors him.
“I felt like there were so many things that I could have done better or things that we’ve done here in the training room that I might not have learned at home,” he said. “A couple of guys try to train at home now. I find it a bit easier because I can work my own thing. A lot of the guys that you train with consistently, they kind of know all of your moves, you know what I mean? This way, I can give them different looks.”
But McCall believes nothing would look better than at least three medals and the title belt.
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