CAPE TOWN – While growing up, Amy Visser never thought she would willingly get inside a ring to fight someone.
“I have always been intrigued by martial arts. I grew up with two older brothers, so I wasn’t a particularly girly-girl. We watched movies like Rocky, Rambo, Kickboxer, Karate Kid … and I loved them! At the time, the thought of me ‘fighting’ never crossed my mind.”
Fast forward to 2020.
“I don’t ever plan to stop training as a martial artist. It is such an integral part of my life and my mental wellness. The last 18 months without it have been the hardest by far,” says Amy speaking on the lack of training due to the coronavirus-enforced lockdown.
It’s awesome to see how Amy has come to holistically love a sport that once entertained her family via television.
The transition began when a couple of Amy’s high school friends started doing Muay Thai.
“I was still way too intimidated, but it slowly became something more plausible. When we were a little older, a close friend of mine started dating seasoned fighter and Thaiholics gym owner, Nicholas Radley. A year later I finally decided to give it a go,” she says.
While training, an exciting event was in the works.
“Nic decided to put on his first promotion, Get In The Ring. It was an exciting time in the gym. Loads of our fighters were getting matchups and I still didn’t consider it. Then, one day, Nic said to me, ‘Hey, I need more fights, why don’t you enter?’
“I agreed and suddenly it was all happening. I loved it. I finished the fight via T.K.O. in the first round,” says Amy.
Today Amy sports a record of 6-2 (pro-am and amateur) with most of her bouts being K-1 (kickboxing).
“I obviously love Muay Thai as it is at the heart of our gym, however, there were not many Muay Thai events in South Africa, so we worked more on Kickboxing in the beginning,” adds the Milnerton Ridge-based athlete.
Amy has fought in various other organizations including the Professional Fighting Championship, and the now-defunct Cape Fight League.
She also represented Western Province and the South African Kickboxing teams. One of her highlights as a fighter was when she represented Mzansi in Canada.
“I beat a multiple-time world champ who was significantly heavier than me. “It was tough but I came out with the W,” she says.
It has not always been sunshine and roses, though, as she struggles to find opponents in a sport that is still in its infancy stages in South Africa.
“I unfortunately never had the opportunity to go pro due to a lack of female opponents. At the end of the day I trained just because I loved it. The fights were always ‘extra’ and just a way to test myself,” says the News Team company manager who has her degree in Psychology, Social Anthropology and Human Resources, as well as her Honours in Psychology.
The lack of fights left Amy frustrated, and over the course 2016 to 2017 Amy took a break to ease the frustration.
Despite being chosen to represent South Africa during that time she wasn’t able to go
“I eventually only fought again in April 2019 at PFC13 (Legends event), a fight which I unfortunately lost against now EFC-signed professional – Christine Wolmarans.
“I would love to encourage more people (females) to join fighting gyms, not only if you want to fight. It is a great way to get fit and healthy … It’s also a great stress reliever.
“I would definitely encourage women to learn a valuable skill like fighting. It is a stark reality that we face in South Africa. Every day there is the possibility of being targeted for crime and it is empowering to know that you have some ‘fighting chance,” says the fighter who is on the mend after having a foot operation last year.
Amy may have been a big fan of the combat sport action heroes from Rocky, Rambo, Kickboxer, Karate Kid, however, she feels that Fight to Fame is not something she would consider.
“From what I have heard it is more for people wanting to make a career in film/stunt work and I don’t really see myself doing that. I have a full time career behind a computer. So I probably wouldn’t enter it.
Fight to Fame is a new reality show set to launch in South Africa in the coming months.
It will see combat athletes from across the country compete in various stunt work, assessments and obstacle courses with the aim of earning a Hollywood production contract.
The drive behind the show is that there are too few combat sport athletes coming through onto the Big Screen and F2F aims to create the next line of Jean Claude Van Dammes, Michael Jai Whites, and Ronda Rouseys here in Africa.
For more details visit www.fight2fame.com.