LIKE Rocky Balboa, Charlo resident Willie Boucher is planning a comeback.
But as a mixed martial arts (MMA) fighter, throwing punches is only one of the weapons in his fighting repertoire.
Boucher, 29, has two decades of experience in various forms of fighting, but has been absent from the game since his two boys were born.
Now the fighter is putting blood, sweat and tears into getting back into a sport known for taking its physical toll on the toughest of men.
“I haven’t fought in years, I’ve missed it,” he said.
Boucher started with Grecó-Roman wrestling at the age of nine. At age 13 he got into Brazilian jiu-jitsu which led him to MMA – commonly known as cage fighting – at the age of 20.
“My cousin was involved in MMA so I joined him to get in some extra fitness for rugby during the off season. The training is hard-core.”
He said in those days it was underground street fighting as it had not become as commercial as it is today.
“We used to have fights in guys’ garages or in their backyards. It was all bare knuckle,” Boucher said.
But he calmed down a bit after having children, he added.
Boucher, who is between clubs at the moment, is looking forward to getting back into the cage and has been training hard.
He trains throughout the week several times a day, working on his fitness, core, strength, speed and power.
Bulking up is one of his goals as he went from 110kg to 89kg during six months of not training.
“I’m looking forward to the next event and I’m keen to just get involved.”
It is the adrenaline, competitiveness and trying to be the best that gets his blood flowing.
“It is also about gaining respect in the ring from other fighters,” Boucher said,
He describes himself as a ground fighter – his strength being grappling.
He looks up to fighters such as Chris Bright from Port Elizabeth, Hawaiian BJ Penn and Spider Silver from Brazil.
The fighter, who grew up imitating his wrestling idols on TV before practising the moves on his brother, is now ready to rumble.
“I want to reach a level of fitness and confidence before I get into the ring again. I want to stay fit and compete again.”