Michael Shaw finally found a sport he could really love when he got into Muay Thai kickboxing.
His passion for the sport has only intensified now that he has attained a world championship title.
Shaw, 21, a 137-pound, 5-foot-10 fighter, won the International Kickboxing Federation Muay Thai amateur super lightweight title on Sunday in Orlando, Fla., at the 2014 IKF World Classic. He now stands among the fighters that inspired him to take up kickboxing.
“Ever since I started training in martial arts, it’s been my dream to be a fighter,” he said Wednesday. “From the second I stepped in the gym, I was ready to start doing this.
“I’m a competitive person and this is such a raw sport. There’s nothing you can do to prove (yourself) more than winning a fight against another trained fighter. It doesn’t get any more competitive than that.”
Shaw took up martial arts 3½ years ago and mixed martial arts fighting a year after that. Under Patrick Rivera, owner of Valor Training Center of Stockton, he was one of eight fighters from Valor to compete at the IKF World Classic and one of three to win his class.
Shaw won two matches to claim the title. He said that during the first fight, on Saturday, his opponent tried to hold him to the ropes and gave little opportunity for Shaw to use his greater height and reach to his advantage.
“I had to figure him out. It was a grinding fight,” he said. “It was one of my tougher fights because of how awkward it was.”
Shaw won his second fight, on Sunday, with a technical knockout after 1 minute, eight seconds. His opponent had to leave the ring with possible broken ribs after Shaw delivered a jumping knee shot.
Shaw said that flying out to Florida for an international event, and then being among about 200 fighters vying for world titles at the tournament, intensified his experience of championship kickboxing.
“There’s so much commotion going on, you don’t know when you’re fighting. You see guys getting knocked out,” he said. “It adds a little bit of pressure to the fight.”
He continues his quest to match up against tougher competition Aug. 9 at the Muay Thai Global tournament in Sacramento.
“It’s just exciting that I’m already going places,” Shaw said. “It has totally changed my life. I’m going out there testing myself against guys from around the world, so I can really see where I’m at in the sport.”
Contact Bob Brownne at email@example.com or 830-4227.