Kickboxer looks to continue winning ways
Mike (Iron Fist) Doherty seeking more gold at international Muay Thai competition in Sarajevo
This year has been the highlight of Mike (Iron Fist) Doherty’s Muay Thai career and he’s hoping for more later this month.
The 30-year-old owner of Dohjo Muay Thai and Fitness on Charlotte Street already has a gold medal from one international organization and he leaves Oct. 19 for Bosnia and Herzegovina in search of another.
Doherty won the 165-pound amateur division at the International kick-boxing Federation IKF World Classic Amateur Muay Thai/World kickboxing Championships in Orlando, Fla., from Aug. 2 to 4.
Next up he’ll compete at the World Association of kick-boxing Organizations (WAKO) World Muay Thai Championships in Sarajevo from Oct. 19 to 27.
Doherty’s year started by winning the WAKO Canadian Muay Thai championship with two wins in Niagara Falls in March. It earned him a spot on Team Canada for the WAKO worlds.
In May, he travelled to Thailand with his coach Steve Lee and training partner Jake Mackenzie, both from Bowmanville’s Redemption Muay Thai where Doherty trains two to three days a week. He went simply to train in the birthplace of Muay Thai while Mackenzie fought on a card there. The owner of the gym he was training in offered Doherty a fight on the card.
“I thought about it for half a day and then said, ‘All right. Let’s do it.’ I ended up jumping in the ring the next day with a guy with 200 fights, which I guess is common in Thailand but is not over here. I ended up winning by knockout.”
Doherty considers it a bigger accomplishment than winning the IKF tournament.
“I was more scared for that one because I didn’t really train for it and I wasn’t prepared,” he said.
“There were no weigh-ins and the guy I fought was 30 pounds heavier than me. There are kind of no rules over there. That one meant the most to me this year because of the level of the fighter I fought and beating my fears going in there.”
Spurred on with growing confidence he travelled with his Redemption teammates to participate in the IKF event in Florida. Two wins later, a unanimous decision followed by a first-round knockout, crowned him tournament champion.
“My goal at the start of the year was to stay busy and see where It took me,” Doherty said.
“It’s a pretty renowned tournament so I signed up. After Thailand I hopped into another training camp. I took a couple of weeks off between camps but basically all year I’ve been in training camps.”
The WAKO tournament will be his toughest test.
“This is the big one,” he said. “I’ve been told I could have up to 10 fights to get to the gold medal. There are quite a few people in the division. I’m just staying ready and will take it as it comes.”
Doherty said he avoids putting expectations on himself.
“I don’t really allow myself to need anything. I try to keep things almost like a minimalist so I don’t really have anything to lose going in there,” he said.
“Then I can just focus on my performance the most. I just really want to go and make myself happy and do my best. Hopefully it inspires some of the people in my gym to see they could fight for Canada one day, too.”
On top of everything, he teaches almost 90 athletes at his gym.
“I’m still a student of the sport myself and I’m getting better. I just try to teach what I know and give back,” Doherty said.
He has a number of sponsors who helped him fundraise to cover his expenses. They include The Posture Clinic, The Brain Therapy Clinic, Keltic Tank and Meter Ltd., B. Pearson Contracting, Kawartha Adventure Rentals, Random Acts of Green, Peterborough SUP, Telecare Distress Centre of Peterborough, ALP Tool and Technology, Five Counties Children’s Centre, The Twisted Wheel, Nite Owl Creative, Fresh Drams Made in Spain and House Fitness.
Mike Doherty trains Tuesday for the World Association of Kickboxing Organizations’ World Championship tournament later this month in Bosnia.