New dad's extra motivation for fight of his life
EMBOLDENED Ipswich Muay Thai professional Jonathan Aiulu will have his three-month-old daughter Amarni in mind when he steps into the ring as Australia takes on the world on Saturday night.
The Corporate Box Bundamba trained junior welterweight (69kg), with a record of 23 wins and three losses, is preparing to outwill orthodox Thai journeyman Petcheawan in the main event on the card put together by Rogue Muay Thai Boxing.
With more than 100 fights under his belt, the Sydney-based Thai is ultra-experienced and technically sound but the 25-year-old Brassall brawler who recently became a father enters the greatest challenge of his career armed with a new-found sense of purpose.
He believes without a shadow of a doubt that he is willing to venture further, endure untold pain and dig deeper than his rival because he is competing to honour his supportive partner Taylor and their adorable baby girl.
Aiulu said the two great loves of his life had altered it immeasurably for the better and instilled him with the unrelenting determination to be a champion.
He said Taylor did most of the hard work because he was always at training and he was intent on repaying her sacrifice and devotion.
"They mean the world to me,” he said.
"(Amarni's birth) has given me extra motivation to be better and to become something.”
During five years in the game, Aiulu has impressed pundits, earning the alias "the prodigy” during his rise up the Australian ranks.
To earn fights against the world's best he must seize every opportunity.
Earlier this year the right-hander dropped his opponent twice in the third round to comfortably claim the WKBF title.
Backed heavily by friends and family, he will look to unsettle his opponent from the outset and back his hands as he again searches for a decisive blow.
"I'll apply early pressure and keep pushing forward and be aggressive,” he said.
"I know it will be a tough fight. This is my biggest fight so far. But I'm feeling fit and strong and I'm hoping for the win.
"I'm excited. (Fighting in front of home fans) there is a lot of pressure. But I'm up for the challenge and I'm looking forward to it.
"I just need to worry about my gameplan and fight with my heart.”
Buoyed by Amarni's arrival, Aiulu has been punishing himself in training and appears primed to outlast over five brutal three minute rounds.
Two days prior, he had just one kilogram to shed to make weight, so he should be at full strength inside the Eatons Hill Hotel ballroom-turned custom colosseum.
"That's pretty standard,” he said.
The international Muay Thai showcase is tipped to be one of the highest quality assembled in Queensland this year.
Australian, French and Thai athletes will take part in 10 elite match-ups and exciting tag-team championship bouts.
Under this format which bears similarities to WWF wrestling, teams of two vie for supremacy with one waiting outside the ring to be tagged in.
Tickets can be purchased at the door or online via eventbrite.com.au/e/rogue-muay-thai-aus-v-the-world-tickets-72024183271