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Fighting his way to the top
|John Savage, a former Westside resident and Franklin Heights graduate, was recently named the 2009 Amateur Kickboxing Championship Heavyweight titleholder at the International Kickboxing Federation’s World Classic Ameteur Kickboxing Championship in Orlando, Fla.
In his three years of fighting at the International Kickboxing Federation’s World Classic Amateur Kickboxing Championship in Orlando Fla., John Savage has encountered a variety of difficulties.
With his first appearance came a knockout – the only of Savage’s career – at the hands of Louisiana fighter Wallace Britton, who eventually went on to win the 2007 Heavyweight Division title.
In 2008, just weeks before the World Classic, he was bitten by a Brown Recluse Spider. He spent his time fighting off the infection and rehabilitating instead of battling human opponents.
Then, in late July at the 11th annual IKF Championship, he stepped into the ring with Iranian fighter Farhad Fathi for the title.
They fought beyond the standard three round bouts. During the fourth, Savage gained the upper hand, or foot, and became the 2009 Amateur Kickboxing Championship Heavyweight titleholder.
“When I won, I felt like I was on top of the world,” he said. “It was like I had just won the Super Bowl. I was real proud of myself, very emotional, really excited, and ready to eat something very greasy.”
His interest in kickboxing and martial arts was piqued at a young age when he watched Chuck Norris spin, kick and dispatch his enemies on the television screen in his childhood home on the Westside of Columbus and in movie theaters.
He began taking lessons at the age of 13 and has since learned the art of Muay Thai and Tae Kwon Do with the help of instructors Tony Mosley, co-owner of the Ohio Muay Thai Academy – Westside, and Tony Boles of the Powell TaeKwonDo Academy. Mosley and Boles also train him for his fights.
Savage started competitively fighting at the age of 18 and since then has fought at venues as small as local bars holding amateur fight nights to large events such as the IKF and the U.S. Open TaeKwonDo Championships.
“This is my passion, I love to do this,” said the 1991 graduate of Franklin Heights High School. “It keeps me out of trouble and helps me stay in shape. I’m 35 and I’m in the best shape I have ever been in.”
However, Savage did say that his age has him pondering retirement from competitive kickboxing after an event in Atlantic City, N.J. in September.
“Before 34, I never had many injuries,” said Savage, who now lives in Groveport.
Savage explained that the fight during the 2009 IKF event had left him with a broken toe, thumb and a bruise the size of someone’s arm.
“That was the worst bruise I ever had,” he lamented. “I used to heal after one or two days, but now it takes up to two weeks.”
But, he admits, he has been saying he will retire from the sport for the past two years, usually after a match.
“I love kickboxing because there is a lot of sportsmanship involved, and a lot of respect between the fighters.”
“It makes you test yourself, and it makes you ask a lot of questions about what’s inside of you.”
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