Full Force Gym’s own Joe Concha recently returned victorious from a trip to Japan where he battled it out with WBC Japan Super Featherweight champion Yoshinori Nakasuka on the New Japan Series promotion. IK wanted to find out more about young rising star Joe ‘Killa’ Concha and his Japanese experience.
How did you get involved in martial arts?
I’ve always had an interest in martial arts. When I was young I did karate for two years but when I was 15, during high school, one of my friends needed a partner for a kickboxing class and ever since then I’ve loved it.
What propelled you to start competing?
After six months, my trainer wanted me to have my first amateur fight. To be honest, I was really scared and could never see myself fighting. Then after two long years of training, my trainer matched me up. He said I was ready and he would not take ‘no’ for an answer.
How do you prepare mentally for a fight?
I do a lot of shadow sparring and visualising but it mostly comes down to that last week where I really get in the zone and ‘psych up’.
What is your pre-fight training approach?
I try and stay active throughout the whole year but normally I like to give myself six weeks of solid training with no drinking, a healthy diet and plenty of rest.
Tell me about your first fight and how it compares to now?
My first fight was probably the best adrenalin rush. Sweaty, nervous and anxious all-in-one but when I compare it to my fights now they’re pretty much similar but the biggest change is that I believe in myself more, I know what I am capable of and I can fight harder.
Who has been your hardest fight to date?
My hardest fight would have to have been against the Canadian champion back in January 2010 for the ISKA Amateur World Title. I replaced the original contender due to his injury and fought in a heavier weight division. He was very technical, much taller and had a longer reach on punches and kicks.
What has been your greatest achievement in the sport?
My greatest achievements would just have to be not only fighting for my gym but representing Australia overseas because I love showing people around the world that Aussies train and fight hard.
Who has inspired or guided you along the way?
God. Reinhardt Badato. Rung Chai. My mum and sisters for their support. My best mates who come to every one of my fights. There are just too many to mention.
Is there anyone you would like to fight next?
I am not really fussed, just so long as I learn a lot from it and improve.
What are you goals and aspirations for the future?
Have a lot more fights before I get too old and one day own my own gym.
Who are you outside the ring?
Outside the ring, I’m a full-time uni student currently doing my masters in education, which will hopefully get me a job as a PE/science high school teacher. Other than that, I work part-time in retail and just mainly hang out with friends.
You recently fought on the New Japan Series promotion, how was that experience?
Japan was an awesome place to fight. Thai boxing is very much appreciated, like here in Australia. The people were very welcoming and still applauded before, during and after the fight. Overall it was a once in a lifetime experience.
You took on WBC Japan Super Featherweight champion Yoshinori Nakasuka. How did you prepare for this bout?
I didn’t know too much about Yoshinori Nakasuka. We tried researching but there wasn’t too much information about him so we tried to focus on the techniques that worked best for us.
Take me through the fight…
Round one was normal, feeling each other out. In round two, I started coming forward, throwing some hand combinations and always ending with an inside leg kick or a kick to the body. Round three, both of us started to pick up the pace and he startedopening up with knees and jumping knees. In round four, a few elbows were exchanged in the clinch.
The last round was full of jumping knees and push kicks from him and I continued to wear him down with inside leg kicks and body kicks.
How did you secure the win?
Being a southpaw, we stuck to the plan to always kick that inside leg or body and to always flurry with hands. The key to the win was breaking up his rhythm every time he came in for the attack, and to always stalk and control centre ring.
What would you say his strengths were?
I would probably say his strengths were his jumping knees, his footwork and his never stop going forward attitude.
Congratulations on a great win. Any final thoughts?
Finished 2011 strong, so hopefully 2012 will bring many more opportunities and blessings.
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