A pair of family connections is the reason Red Deer’s Will Quijada is a fighter and he is thankful for the influence.
The 24-year-old has been involved in the sport of Muay Thai for seven years and says his dad’s passion for boxing along with an older brother already in the game got him hooked.
“He (his brother) started off with the muay Thai before I did. As I grew older I was looking for a way to get into better shape,” he said.
For Quijada, the sport has been good to him as he currently is on a 10-fight win streak in the ring, sporting a 12-4 record to this point.
More recently, he was involved in the Canadian championships and walked away with a national title in his weight class.
“There were two fights in one day and so I earned the right to represent Canada,” noted the 147-pounder.
He will head off to Russia in September to wear the Canadian colours at the world championships and is well into a very rigorous 10-week training regimen in order to be at his peak in time for the world event.
“I’m doing my strength and conditioning during the day, rest and then running right after and then resting up and then my Muay Thai practice in the evening,” he explained about the four to six hours a day he puts in.
He’s no stranger to working hard at his craft, spending six weeks in Thailand on what he described as a “training vacation.”
“I lived at the camp so I woke up, ate, went to train, took a nap, woke up, ate and went and trained and just lived that for about six weeks.”
The sport of Muay Thai is that country’s national past time so much like anyone interested in a hockey career would look at Canada as a good place to pick up some skills, so it is with Muay Thai and Thailand.
“You go anywhere in Thailand and there are training camps all over the place,” said Quijada.
“It’s also known as the science of eight limbs so you have punches, kicks, knees, elbows, takedowns, sweeps, so making it really neat. Just like kickboxing, just a few more weapons.”
With all those options he is hard pressed to narrow it down as to what area is his strength admitting the clinch is where most people say he has an advantage but he does see himself in a different light when in the ring.
“I like to bang, I like to punch, I like to kick,” he laughed.
Quijada says the game plan for now is to see how things play out in Russia and then he will make plans for his future in the sport or a possible foray into the world of the UFC.
“I will give it about three to five years and hopefully turn pro as a Muay Thai fighter,” he conceded.
No matter what road he chooses to follow Quijada says Muay Thai has provided him with plenty to be thankful for both in the ring and out of it.
“It helps you focus on what’s really important, gets your priorities in line and a little bit of sacrifice here but there’s a big reward at the end.”