Archive for Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Let’s get ready to rumble

Tonganoxie High alum fearless in kickboxing, cage fighting

September 19, 2007

Casey Allen didn't expect to purchase anything at a garage sale he went to a few months ago. But as he was about to leave, the Eudora resident stumbled upon some boxing equipment.

"After I bought it my wife said, 'You know if you buy that, you're going to have to use it,'" Allen said. "The first person I thought of was (Tonganoxie Martial Arts instructor) Rex Hutton. Then I thought, 'Yeah, I'm going to use it again.'"

Allen, 30, hadn't fought since he was a young boy growing up in Tonganoxie. Once Allen became a teenager, he gave up fighting.

When Allen told Hutton he wanted to fight again in February, Hutton gladly welcomed him back. Allen trains with Hutton four times a week for two hours per day. Upon his return, Allen had to pick a form of martial arts. Why not select the most extreme form?

Allen is currently training to be a cage fighter. Cage fighting is a mixed martial art form that includes a variety of striking and grappling techniques. It's essentially like the Ultimate Fighting Championships. Rules are seldom used. Protective gear is seldom worn.

In fact, Allen simply wears a padded glove on his right hand.

"As far as individuals scaring me, they don't scare me," Allen said. "The crowd scares me more than the other person. After the bell sounds, all the nervousness is out the door."

Allen is 1-1 this year in cage fighting matches. He's traveled to Moberly, Mo., and most recently Hannibal, Mo., on Sept. 8. His next fight is scheduled for Oct. 12 in Kansas City, Mo.

"He has fast hands and he hits hard," Hutton said of Allen. "He's a good kicker and puncher when he combines both. He's well-rounded and that's why he's going to go far in cage fighting because he's a real fighter. If he gets hit and knocked down, he gets right back up."

Allen hasn't bled during his two matches. His biggest scar so far is a cut on his forehead from the opposing fighter's boxing glove.

Allen didn't exactly win the Sept. 8 Hannibal match in a graceful manner. Allen knocked his opponent out with a punch to the ribs. As his opponent was falling to the mat, Allen finished him off with a punch to the head.

Although he's pugnacious in the cage, Allen comes off as nothing of the sort outside the ring. He smiles constantly and has a calm delivery to his speech.

"I've learned how to discipline and respect myself," Allen said. "You learn to respect yourself and others around here. It gives you endurance and the confidence that you can accomplish something in life."

Kickboxing

Although Allen is training to be a cage fighter, he's also picked up kickboxing. Allen and several other mixed martial artists competed in kickboxing matches Saturday at Tonganoxie Martial Arts, 801 E. Fourth St.

Competitors ranged from ages 5 to 30.

Allen defeated Thomas J. Adkins, 26, Tonganoxie, via technical knockout Saturday.

Adkins fought in his first cage match Sept. 8 in Hannibal where he won via chokehold. He injured his ribs in the match, though, and Allen thought Saturday's match would be light. Not exactly.

"He started throwing bombs on me," Allen said of Adkins' punches. "I figured he'd lighten it up a little, but he didn't. So I started putting it on him. I said, 'Here's some of it right back.'"

Adkins has trained at Tonganoxie Martial Arts for three months.

"I started fighting in the second grade," Adkins said. "It's not about being a bully or anything like that. It's about being able to defend yourself."

Saturday's crowd-pleaser match featured Patrick Rachford, 13, Tonganoxie, against Jeremy Bridges, 24, McLouth. Rachford won via technical knockout.

Rachford, a Tonganoxie Middle School student, certainly doesn't look 13 in the ring. He utilized a plethora of kicking combinations against Bridges.

"I was just making sure he didn't hit me in the head, so he wouldn't get a knockout," Rachford said.

On the technical knockout, both competitors' feet collided at the same time. Rachford's force was a bit stronger, though. Bridges stopped fighting after he injured his toe after the collision.

"My strongest (maneuver) is probably my back sidekick," Rachford said. "I like to hit them in the chest."

Rachford's a raw talent. He just started breaking two-inch boards a few months ago. He's been fighting for two years.

"You have to stretch out your muscles," Rachford said. "You have to be able to use a lot of power and know how to turn and kick. It's a lot mental, too. If you think you can't break it, you're going to hesitate."

Saturday's match results:
Match 1: Brianna Ward, 6, Tonganoxie, def. Quinton Landrum, 5, Tonganoxie.
Match 2: Casey Allen, 30, Eudora, def. Thomas J. Adkins, 26, Tonganoxie.
Match 3: Tori Carey, 13, Tonganoxie, def. Duskin Hull, 11, Tonganoxie.
Match 4: Preston Ward, 8, Tonganoxie, def. Cole Carey, 7, Tonganoxie.
Match 5: Patrick Rachford, 13, Tonganoxie, def. Jeremy Bridges, 24, McLouth.
Match 6: Dalton Hull, 10, Tonganoxie, fought to a draw with Cole Carey.

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