Greg Lemothe

Kickboxer switches gears for boxing match

Sitting in the locker room waiting to head out for a kickboxing match, nothing ever feels right for Greg Lamothe.

Sitting in the locker room waiting to head out for a kickboxing match, nothing ever feels right for Greg Lamothe.

His muscles feel heavy, his breath is often short. Then that thought starts creeping into his head — why did I sign up for this?

But the moment the 32-year-old View Royal resident starts walking towards the ring, the adrenaline starts pumping through his body. Sliding through the ropes, he eyes his opponent in the opposite corner of the ring. Lamothe is ready to fight, even though his conscious is telling him to turn back.

“Anyone who tells you they are not scared is trying to convince themselves. It’s a pretty weird experience. It’s extremely intense,” said Lamothe, adding as soon as the first punch is thrown, he has a job  to do.

“Then it’s the best thing I ever did and I wonder why I even worried about it…You’re so toughed up from the training, I’ve never felt pain in the ring. Later it hurts, but at the moment it’s just the sensation of crashing into each other.”

Lamothe signed up for his first kickboxing match at the age of 22, but his training began to suffer immensely when he decided to get a “real job” in sales, prompting him to take off three-and-a-half years from fighting.

But he missed doing what he loved and felt a need to get back into the ring. Eventually he returned, opening his own martial arts training centre that now operates in Esquimalt.

After so much time off, Lamothe admits getting back in the ring for his first match was scary. He lost but put up a good fight, and has been on an impressive comeback ever since, winning six of his last seven fights.

Training six days a week, Lamothe is now getting set to embark on a new challenge — boxing. This Saturday, Lemothe will be the main event when he takes on the Sunshine Coast’s Randy ‘The Henchman’ Hollett during the 2016 B.C. Silver Gloves Championships in Victoria.

Hosted by the Victoria Boxing Club, the event will feature boxers from B.C. and Alberta, and is the second most important boxing event in the province since it’s the prerequisite to the Golden Gloves, which takes place in Vancouver in December.

Representing four boxing clubs in Victoria, six local boxers will be competing for the Silver Gloves, including Tommy Grant, Mitch Staliski and Clay Potter. Lamothe will be trying to earn the right to challenge the WBC, B.C. champion for his title.

The match, however, will mark only his second time in the ring with boxing gloves, but it’s a challenge he’s willing to face.

“It’s like looking in the mirror and finding out as much as you can about yourself in that short period you’re in the ring. You can’t hide, you can’t talk your way out of it. People will see whether you are brave, strong or weak,” said Lamothe, who hooked up with former boxer and Vancouver Island native Robin Webb (who sparred with Muhammud Ali in the ‘70s) to help with the transition from kickboxing to boxing.

Leading up to his first boxing bout in August against an experienced opponent, Lamothe wondered if he had bit off more than he could chew. But he quickly felt comfortable in the ring, getting a first round finish, and the encouragement to keep on boxing.

“There’s something about combat sports that is just so pure,” he said. “Once you’re in that ring, it falls on your shoulders. There’s nobody else to blame if you lose. It’s all yours if you win.”

The 2016 B.C. Silver Gloves Championships takes place at the Victoria Conference Centre Oct. 22 at 7 p.m. The non-profit event is used to raise money for Victoria Boxing Club programs. Tickets are $30 and can be purchased at the door or by calling 250-896-2122.