Win or bust for rookie Terry
Being the youngest professional mixed martial arts fighter in the country, most people think Tanera Terry will be an easy opponent.
The 18-year-old from Palmerston North’s Fight Shop NZ gym has been professional for a nearly a year, which is rare for someone so young in New Zealand.
He has a record of one win and two losses, which he will be looking to improve in the main event at the Domination Muay Thai and MMA fight in Christchurch tonight, fighting Wellington’s Grant Toa Toa.
Older fighters think they can beat him because he is so young, but Terry relishes the challenge.
“That doesn’t matter too much for me,” he said.
People turning pro at his age is rare because a lot do it for fitness, but never compete. Also a UCOL student, Terry trains twice a day, “trying to make a dream come true” of one day fighting in the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
In Terry’s most recent fight, he lost to Oceania lightweight champion Kieran Joblin with an arm bar and his other loss was on points.
The win was against Jason Smith, who had 16 fights and expected to dominate Terry, but the youngster knocked Smith out in the second round.
“I can’t really have too many losses from now,” Terry said. “The UFC don’t want people that lose. Now I’m trying to get those wins under my belt.”
Terry goes into this bout with his fighting weight at about 70kg, having cut down from 78kg.
The payday for young pros isn’t amazing, but it goes up as they climb the ranks.
Next weekend, Terry will have his fourth bout in Hastings against the undefeated Bryce Gambarazzi.
Toa Toa comes from a kickboxing background and Gambarazzi’s strength is grappling, so the two fights will require Terry to change his tactics in just one week.
Terry is one of four Fight Shop exports fighting in Christchurch tonight, along with Airana Ngarewa, Kingi Hiroti and Tenali Iosefa.
It will be the debut amateur fight for Ngarewa, a 19-year-old Massey University student.
Originally from Patea, he has been with Fight Shop for nine months and training for the 67kg fight.
“I’ve done all the training and done all I can in preparation,” he said. “Whatever happens on the night happens.”
He wants to fight in the UFC, but is taking “one step at a time”.
The 36-year-old Iosefa from Palmerston North, is having his fifth amateur bout, having had two wins and two losses previously.
He is looking to use his Brazilian jiu-jitsu background in the 84kg fight, which has helped him with his other wins.
“I’ll do the same thing; take him down and punish him.”
Hiroti, 23, is competing in his second amateur Muay Thai bout.
A Feilding meat worker, Hiroto has been into MMA for four years.
Originally from Wanganui, he has been living in Manawatu for two years. firstname.lastname@example.org