Bullying leads boy to career in muay thai kickboxing
WHAT doesn't kill you makes you stronger might sound cliché but for John Robinson it gave him the drive to become a hardcore muay Thai fighter.
When the Tweed Heads boy was just five-years-old he was bullied by classmates in Thailand.
"I was getting picked on at school because of my freckles," the now 13-year-old said.
His father Mick enrolled his son into a muay thai school where he had his first kickboxing fight just a few months later.
The tiny kick boxer was getting paid $20 to step into the ring.
He had a break from the sport but in the past three years he has jumped back onboard and is more than serious about his fights.
The confident teen said the cash was why he loved to fight.
"I get paid," he said.
"It also keeps me fit."
He was 11-years-old when he first knocked someone out cold.
"I remember it," he said.
"It was in Thailand and in the 1st round.
"He cried a lot."
In his career he has been in 12 fights, winning eight - three of those by knock out.
In Australia Robinson usually pockets $250 per fight but in Thailand, where he spends half of the year, he makes roughly $130 per fight.
Although fighting mainly for money, the teen said it was hard work keeping in top shape to fight.
You will find Robinson in his home gym, Valhalla Muay Thai in Machinery Dr, for an hour a day, four times a week, training with ex-fighter and the gym's owner Jim Cass.
But when he's in Thailand it's a different story.
"When I'm there I train for three hours, six days a week," he said.
"And when I am on holiday I train for five hours, six days a week.
"Sometimes it feels like a chore because I get less free time."
A bi-lingual Robinson completes school in both countries.
He said his competitors in Thailand were skilled.
"They're all better because they've been doing it longer," he said.
"But in Australia my skill level is high.
"No one wants to fight me because they're scared."
He is inspired by professional kick boxer Buakaw Banchamek who last month won the Thai Fight Tournament.
"He's awesome," Robinson said.
"He just mows people down."
His father Mick Robinson said he was happy his son didn't spend his days in front of a computer.
When it comes to kickboxing being a dangerous sport Mr Robinson said he wasn't concerned.
"It's just part of muay thai," he said.
"You're going to see a lot of blood.
"I think rugby league is more damaging, all that running into people, they all have to get knee operations in their 20s."
Mr Robinson said his wife Daranee always said it was dangerous but would always cheer for John when he was in the ring.
Trainer Jim Cass said John had excellent potential for the future.
"We're trying to get him a Queensland title in February," he said.
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