COODANUP resident Michael Letizia stepped into the cage at the Mixed Martial Arts WA Development Day on February 25 and scored best performance as well as a spot in the International Mixed Martial Arts Federation Australian Open (IMMAFA).
The 17-year-old boxer said he initially competed in the Development Day for fun.
“Due to winning a title, I’m now eligible to fight in the IMMAFA Australian Open and I’ll try to win a spot at the IMMAFA International Open in Bahrain,” he said.
He said he loved to punch and kick things when he was a kid.
“I started boxing when I was 10 but I initially started it for fitness as I was a bigger kid,” he said.
“I was on and off doing boxing and it wasn’t until two years ago I heard a MMA gym in Mandurah was starting up and it was relatively close to where I live so I jumped at the opportunity to train in mixed martial arts – I’ve been doing it ever since.”
Letizia will also fight as part of the Under-19’s State Boxing team at the Australian National Boxing Champions on March 21 to 24, to be held in Perth.
Letizia said his two coaches from Next Generation Gym Mandurah, Marcus McKeever and Anthony Drilich, would help him prepare for his next competition.
“I’ve started ramping up the training as of now so I hope to qualify for nationals,” he said.
Letizia said his long time goal would be to compete in the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s.
“I want to keep fighting and keep getting experience and see where I go,” he said.
The IMMAFA Australian Open will be held in Melbourne and will take place from March 16 to 18 as part of the Arnolds Sports Festival Australia.