COTTONWOOD-Verde Valley local favorite Jesse "The Beast" Duran has a Muay Thai fight August 4 at Players against up-and-comer John Bruer from Chandler for the main event of "Bronze Beauties and Beatdowns."
A modified rules bout, the fighters will be able to throw knees, but not elbows; fighters can't legally throw elbows until they turn 18.
Eight months ago Jesse Duran suffered a knockout against Nemo Vier in a controversial title fight stricken from the record. Vier wore the wrong gloves, forcing IKF officials to rule the fight a "No Contest."
For months after the knockout, Duran didn't train. After sustaining a concussion your brain needs time to heal before you step back into the ring, but even after the healing time ended, Duran wasn't training.
The Beast felt cheated. In the fight game, some people have different ideas of what it takes to win. He needed some time to analyze what drew him to the sport in the first place.
Robert Gonzales wanted to get his son back in the gym, but he stopped trying to encourage Jesse.
"It's not my decision. I didn't want to force him to do anything he didn't want to do," said Gonzales. "This is a serious sport and you can get hurt. The last thing I wanted to do was try to make him fight if his heart wasn't in it."
About three months ago Duran told his dad, "I want to get back in the gym." Since then Duran has trained like he never has before. He runs everyday, sometimes 10 miles. He weighed 170 pounds when he started his training regiment. Now he weighs 152 with a target weight of 145.
"I was bored when I wasn't training to fight," said Duran. "I missed it. I missed training, I missed hitting people, all of it."
In boxing and kickboxing, every fight matters a great deal, but the fight coming up might be the most important of Duran's young life--one he looks back on, win or lose, as a turning point.
"One thing is for sure," said Gonzales with a grin, "we're going to make sure both fighters are wearing the right gloves."
Golden Cobra president Richard Williams said he expects to match 10 fights for the event in the parking lot outside Players Sports Bar in Cottonwood, most of them kickboxing and Muay Thai.
Here is a link the the article on Duran's previous fight.