By Tyler Lowey, Times Reporter
The “Animal” made good at one of the biggest boxing events to hit Western Canada by picking up his first career professional win.
Local fighter Justin Schmit defeated Zach “The Last Warrior” Manywounds on his home turf Jan. 20 at the Grey Eagle Casino Events Centre.
Schmit’s fight was the second of the evening that was dominated by Alberta-born fighters, climaxing with an impressive showing by six-time world champion Zab Judah who picked up his 44th career win over Noel Rincon in the Dekada Fight Night main event.
“This is what combat sports are all about,” said Schmit. “I’m honoured to compete against one of my friends. I have great respect for him, his family and his team. In the end, we threw down and that’s what this night was all about.”
Schmit entered the ring in front of more than 500 fight fans with an 0-3 professional record while his adversary, Manywounds, was 2-0 and fighting for the first time in his backyard at Tsuu T’ina Nation.
“It was a perfect storm. Zach had all his fans and friends out, I had some fans and family members out.
We went out and had a respectful fight,” said Schmit. “I’m elated to pick up the win.”
Manywounds entered the fight with a slight advantage on paper. Fighting at 180 lbs., he had less weight to cut and stood five inches taller than the Strathmore product.
But none of that mattered once the first bell rang. Schmit came out, pushed the pace and did his best to dictate the fight with a series of body shots.
“I knew I wanted to work his body a lot,” said Schmit. “I felt like I probably pushed a little too hard in the first two rounds. I took the third off a little bit, but then in the fourth, we started swinging for the fences.”
Manywounds wasn’t landing too many punishing blows on Schmit, who didn’t look any worse for wear until the end of the second round, when an inadvertent head-butt gashed his nose.
“I’m not too sure what happened there, maybe our heads hit each other,” joked Schmit. “He’s got a pretty big head.”
Schmit was able to land some devastating body blows once he pinned Manywounds up against the ropes and directed him into the corners.
“In the fourth round he started to clutch and grab a bit,” said Schmit. “I could feel his gas tank emptying, so I kept working the body and hit him with a couple of solid left hooks on the way out a couple of times.”
The win was extra gratifying for Schmit, who was fresh off a medical suspension after being knocked out of his last mixed-martial arts fight back on Sept. 30 in Lethbridge.
The doctors cleared him in no time after the fight, but there were a few tense moments after weigh-in, when Schmit started packing on the pounds he worked so hard to shed the weeks leading up to the fight.
Healthy and with a win under his belt, Schmit will turn his attention back to the MMA world where he owns a 4-7 record, when he plans to fight William Quintal (2-1) March 16 at the XXFC 17 in Grande Prairie.
“I don’t know how many more years I have left, but I will stay as healthy as I can because I am blessed with this opportunity to make a living out of fighting, so I want to continue to do it as long as possible.”