Brad Finn, of Newcastle-under-Lyme took up kickboxing as a hobby six years ago. Now aged 18, he is competing in the pro am (semi-pro) ranks with a firm goal and burning ambition to achieve a successful career in the sport he loves.
In March 2019, a six-week intense training camp helped Brad achieve success at the LCE Fight Night III event which took place in Wolverhampton.
Brad’s quick, sharp skill saw him go on to win by a technical knock-out after just 40 seconds – in his first Pro-am fight.
Training around four times a week at Featherstone Gym, in Stafford, Brad is now gearing up for his next fight on June 29, which will be a pro-am full contact fight over 3x2minute rounds taking place at the Bescott Stadium in Walsall.
“My last fight was over pretty fast, after around 40 seconds,” says Brad. “The shots come a lot more dangerously without headgear and there’s more to think about, but I believe I dealt with the pressure of the occasion well and got the win, although I still believe I could have fought better.”
He adds: “I’m really excited to be fighting at another big venue – Walsall football stadium – and I really want to get another victory under my belt. I’m training four times a week as well as training in the gym on my own, eating correct and just giving my all to make sure I get the win, and make the team proud.”
Trainer Mark Slaymaker, who has been involved in the sport himself for 25 years and has owned the Stafford gym for 14 years, believes Brad has the talent to achieve his dreams of a successful professional career in kickboxing.
“Leading up to his fight in Wolverhampton, Brad trained hard for six weeks, three times a week kickboxing and the other days weight training and running – he shows total commitment, as you would expect,” said Mark.
“We can see Brad hopefully having a long and successful career in kickboxing, I certainly want to take him all the way to the top and world champion status – there’s no reason why he can’t – he has the ability and the desire and I have the drive and passion as his coach to take him there. We will have blips on the way I’m sure, but when we don’t win we learn and that all helps us to go forward.”
Brad admits when he initially took up kickboxing it was purely as a sideline hobby, but with the support and guidance from his trainer and friend, Mark he was able to see his own potential more clearly.
“I got into kickboxing as just something to do a small side hobby,” he says. “Ive always watched boxing, combat sports and sports entertainment programmes since I was young and when I first started I wasn’t old enough to realise I could make something of it. I’d love to thank Mark Slaymaker because without him I don’t know where I’d be right now. He’s taught me so much more than just a form of self defence, he’s taught me a new outlook on life and lifestyle, one of the main factors being discipline and self discipline. It goes way deeper than just the sport over the years, he’s helped me get my mind in the right place first and I know through thick and thin I can always count on my coach.”
Brad also has praise for the wider support network around him, adding: “Without my mum and the team down at Featherstone, Paul, Sam Andy and all the team down there who help me get in fight shape, I couldn’t do it without the support of any of these people my friends and family and girlfriend who all support me 100 per cent.”
As well as having his career ambitions, Brad also believes kickboxing is beneficial in more ways than one. “If anyone was thinking of taking up kickboxing I’d say give it all you’ve got, because you can never go wrong with giving 100 per cent into everything you do no matter what the sport you will see progression and the benefits instantly both mentally and physically,” said Brad.
Featherstone Kickboxing Club, in Stafford welcome new members every Wednesday. Fine them on Facebook here @Featherstonekickboxingclub