Local Muay Thai fighter returns from nationals with bronze

Red Deer's Will Quijada reflects on Toronto tournament

  • Nov. 16, 2016 3:40 p.m.

Although it had been four years since his last fight, local martial artist Will Quijada is feeling like a million bucks after stepping into the ring for the Canadian National Muay Thai Championship in Toronto this past weekend.

The annual tournament was Canada’s largest Muay Thai tournament ever with about 156 fighters on the card competing for the right to represent Canada at the IMFA World Championships

“It was tough but it felt so good to get back in there. I felt calm, cool, ready to go. I was ready,” recalled Quijada, 29, of his semi-final bout with Matt Mackillop of the Siam No. 1 House of Muay Thai in Toronto this past Saturday.

“I fought on Saturday for the semi-final against a pro Muay Thai fighter. I’m still an amateur so that was a big step up in competition,” said Quijada, who represented Canada on the world stage back in 2012.

Unfortunately, the Absolute Fitness co-owner had some things going against him right off the hop which hampered him from putting on the best fight that he could, the first being a lack of sleep due to the time difference.

“Not having the time to re-hydrate properly kind of sucked. But it was a really close fight. No way did I get my butt whooped. He probably pushed the pace a little bit more in the third and I think that’s what won him the fight. But it was very close, could have gone either way.”

Despite the loss in the semi-final matchup on Saturday, Quijada said being back in the ring was completely worth all of the hard work and training he has put in over the past year.

“I’m still buzzing off of the tournament.”

Over the past four years, Quijada has been focusing on training amateur and professional fighters at the local level, working as a personal trainer out of Absolute Fitness.

He said that time spent as a trainer helped him gain a better appreciation for how much fun it is to be in the ring and doing what he loves.

“It’s probably the most fun I’ve had in a long time. I loved every minute leading up to the fight, waiting for the fight and getting into the ring. Everything was so much fun.”

It wasn’t all fun and games, though. Competing in any kind of martial art at a high level requires a lot of hard work and dedication.

“Training is my life,” Quijada said, adding he trains all year round, regardless of whether he’s got a fight or and event coming up.

And when he does have a bout, the training only ramps up.

“About six to eight weeks out from the fight time, that’s when we start getting a little bit more intense. We do a lot more conditioning, we do a little bit more focused pad work. More sparring, more drilling. I’m training anywhere from three to six hours a day, five days a week for those six weeks.”

On top of that, fighters have to make sure that they can make their target weight by weigh-in time, meaning lots of dieting and no junk food.

“I go on a big clean eating diet. Absolutely no cheese, absolutely no alcohol. It’s a lot of vegetables and protein and a few carbs here and there to help get me down to weight and keep me fueled.”

It’s all worth it though, because when everything’s said and done, Quijada gets to represent his city on some of the biggest stages in the country.

“It was a big honour to do that. I had a lot of people help sponsor me to fly out to Toronto. That was a huge help, I had a GoFundMe where people were able to donate and I also raffled off some personal training through Absolute Fitness. It all helped tremendously.”

Quijada added that he’s going to take some time to rest and recuperate after last weekend’s fight before trying to get back in the ring himself.

He’ll be spending the next few weeks helping local fighters prepare for the Havoc MMA event in the City on Dec. 2nd.

zcormier@reddeerexpress.com

Just Posted

SUV smashes into deck in Anders

Red Deer RCMP believe driver experienced medical incident

Riggers hosting home tournament this weekend

Riggers looking to round into form heading in playoffs

Westerner Days kicks off this week

Lots to see and do for the whole family

Bucs’ continue to power through AFL

67-0 win over Grand Prairie pushes Bucs’ towards showdown with Ft. Mac

Niek Theelen continues to build his comedian career

Engaging performer is a popular draw across the region

‘Flipping Amazing’ Pancake Breakfast welcomes 6,000 Central Albertans

Westerner Days is, unofficially, underway after Bower Place held their annual Pancake Breakfast.

Hawaii volcano boat tours continue after ‘lava bomb’ injuries

“An explosion occurred near the shoreline hurling hot lava rocks towards the boat and injuring several passengers.”

Trump returns from summit with Putin to forceful criticism

“Shameful,” ”disgraceful,” ”weak,” were a few of the comments. Makes the U.S. “look like a pushover,” said GOP Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee.

Obama to deliver Mandela address in likely rebuke to Trump

Former U.S. President Barack Obama Monday praised Kenya’s president and opposition leader for working together but said this East African country must do more to end corruption.

Trudeau asks transport minister to tackle Greyhound’s western pullout

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says he’s asked Transport Minister Marc Garneau to find solutions in Greyhound Canada’s absence.

Missing B.C. Serval cat creates buzz online, pleas for help

Aquila, an African Serval, disappeared from a Fernie, B.C. backyard sometime on Friday, July 13.

Trudeau’s youth council divided over Trans Mountain pipeline purchase

A letter signed by 16 past and present members was made public today, asking the federal government to reverse course

Hulk Hogan reinstated into wrestling Hall of Fame

Hogan had used racial slurs caught on video when talking about his daughter sleeping with a black man

Most Read