From the very beginning I loved fighting. I have fond memories of watching the 18 rated films of Bruce Lee, Van Damme, Slyvester Stallone and schwarzenegger as a pre-teen. Bruce Lee stood out here not only because of his films but his character. I had a Van Damme boxset that I loved. It included Bloodsport, with it’s dangerous mortal kombat vibe and the Stan Bush classic rock soundtrack. The set also included Death Warrant and Cyborg, for an early glimpse of side boob before the days of free internet access and hardcore porn. I idolized Schwarzenegger in his iconic role as Conan and fell in love with Stallone’s Rocky. My favourite gaming genre was fighting and I had addictions to the Street Fighter, Mortal Kombat and Tekken series of games over the years. I was always excited to catch the WWE when I could and even had an adrenaline iducing introduction to the UFC in an ultimate knockouts compilation.
I moved on to boxing in the Lewis, Tyson and Holyfield 90’s boxing era, the Don King era. It brings back memories of staying up all night to catch a rare fight broadcast on TV in the UK or to listen to radio commentary. This ‘shady’ Don King era congers up visions to me of smokey bars and halls that boxing historians much romanticize that were no doubt the reality of a much earlier time than this. I bought the Knockout Kings games 99 then Knockout Kings 2000 for PS1 to get further acclimatized with the sport. Before this I was already a boxing historian I got fascinated by Ali and bought books and film to study the entire history of boxing from the foundation of the Queensbury rules.
Looking back I now realize that these influence have been my programming to want to achieve through competition and not be a ‘regular joe’. and I lost this path somewhere along the way. I think this is the main reason that I became so unhappy just hanging around town drinking. I saw this was what accepted as the norm but deep down inside I wanted more and still do. Joe Rogan thought that he was a loser growing up until he began to excel at martial arts, from this he got the confidence to start his stand-up comedy career, TV, his commentary career with the UFC and his famous JRE podcast.
Throughout these years I was fit and strong and had natural athleticism and although I dabbled in a variety of sports I still wasn’t yet mentally strong enough to go train regularly at a boxing gym and take my own fight journey seriously enough..