By Sean Rooney on May 24, 2019.
Pietro de Andrade (left), Erika Miller and Bruce Foerster pose for a photo at SACA Kickboxing Thursday, May 23, 2019 ahead of Saturday’s Fists of Fury 15 event at the Cypress Centre.
The tag line for Fists of Fury 15 – A New Era – couldn’t be more apt.
With host Southern Alberta Combative Arts freshly moved in to a new location in the Flats, owner Jamie Droeske has a new logo, a new identity and several new kickboxers for hometown fans to cheer on Saturday night at the Cypress Centre.
Put simply, the SACA team is ready to go.
“It feels very fresh, Jamie’s always had a very family kind of feel to the club,” said Erika Miller, among five Hatters on the nine-fight card which kicks off at 7:15 p.m. “We’re definitely a team, a team mentality and that’s something I really appreciate.”
Miller was supposed to fight on last year’s card but an injury kept her from making her official debut. That happened earlier this year instead, and now the 30-year-old will step in the ring with Alma Ladouceur of Calgary.
“I definitely got more experience, which is invaluable,” said Miller. “(But) I wish I would’ve fought last year, I want to fight every chance I get.”
Pietro de Andrade did get in his home debut at Fists of Fury 14, earning a TKO win. Now 4-0, the big Brazilian once known for his exploits on the basketball court with the Rattlers college team has become a leader in his new pursuit.
He thinks some of his background in team sports may have rubbed off on SACA.
“I feel like we brought a team environment into this place, but it was something totally interactive,” said the 29-year-old, who will face fellow 4-0 fighter Tomislav Viskovic in the night’s second-last matchup. “It just happened.”
Both Miller and de Andrade have been around the gym for more than a year each, but Bruce Foerster came in more recently. The Temple Fitness co-owner and ex-Medicine Hat Mavericks baseball player decided he wasn’t done with competitive sport at 32 years old. But with his firstborn on the way this summer, time was of the essence.
“This, I just had compete left in me,” he said. “Ball has been done, even coaching I’m done for now. I had a bit of compete left, wanted to do something and this is the thing that made the most sense, as ridiculous as that sounds.”
He earned a unanimous decision win in Calgary earlier this year, a perfect tune-up as he gets set to face Lethbridge’s Steve Jones. The fight was a bit of a blur, something he hopes he can rectify this time around with lots of fans cheering him on
“It was unbelievable, I don’t know if I knew what to expect, but it certainly wasn’t what I expected,” he said of his debut. “It was crazy, and I’m really glad I did it.”
Other locals on the card are Dakota Wells, who will fight Riley Durocher in his debut, and Talia St. Jacques, who’s 4-0 and goes up against Hope Quinn.
The main event sees Lethbridge’s Cody Jerome – an IKF amateur Muay Thai middleweight champion – up against Winnipeg’s Jordan Sasely.
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