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Fighting to find peace

Anderson cruises to point-boxing victory at Smiley’s tournament

Posted 9/21/23

ORANGE PARK – Mike Anderson finds inner peace every time he throws a punch. He feels a sense of calmness with every jab and emotional tranquility with each uppercut.

The Fleming Island …

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Fighting to find peace

Anderson cruises to point-boxing victory at Smiley’s tournament


Posted

ORANGE PARK – Mike Anderson finds inner peace every time he throws a punch. He feels a sense of calmness with every jab and emotional tranquility with each uppercut.

The Fleming Island Cruiserweight was in his happy place last Saturday, competing at the International Kickboxing Federation-Point Muay Thai Kickboxing and Boxing tournament at Smiley’s Academy of Martial Arts on Wells Road.

Anderson said fighting is a necessary outlet that helps him from a complicated past.

“I basically fight not to hurt anyone or feel mad or aggressive,” he said. “It’s more of an outlet for me. I would say I may have had a troubled past or things that did not go well in my life. But when I do martial arts or I’m in there fighting, this makes me feel a part of something and makes me feel like nothing else matters. You know, so all my worries go away.

“You know, if I’m ever in bad situations, I just work it out in a different way besides just lifting weights or going to run outside.”

Ulysses Moore of Orange Park also posted a division victory by beating Jacksonville’s Jenzzal Menzeezz in the Men’s Novice Super Cruiserweight competition.

Most of the fighters are early in their careers. Some aspire to be in the Mixed Martial Arts or Ultimate Fighting Championship. Anderson, however, competed in the full contact Combat Night in Jacksonville on May 6. He defeated Conaan Prichard in his first MMA amateur appearance. His next fight will be on Nov. 4.

While expecting to compete in Muay Thai kickboxing, Anderson beat Jacksonville’s Ivan Slaughter in the championship fight to win the 190.1-to-200-pound Point Boxing division.

“I kind of wanted to lean more towards the kickboxing, but I ended up putting on the boxing match, which is fine because I would say I’ve done martial arts for maybe 11 years,” Anderson said. “I’ve done kickboxing and boxing, and then for about six years now with MMA – full contact, being in the cage.”

Anderson, who operates Better Me Fitness on Blanding Boulevard in Orange Park, was one of 49 fighters from 15 divisions at the event. His motto at Better Me Fitness is “Be Better, Not Bitter.”

Anderson has trained with James Smiley for nearly six years. That’s where he got the courage to transition more into MMA.

“I was a little nervous getting into the MMA because I broke my leg really bad,” he said. “In 2006 I shattered my tibia and fibula in half and fractured my ankle. I was kind of nervous being in that kind of sport. But going to Smiley’s gave me the confidence I needed to learn how to protect it and not put myself at risk.”

Other Modified Muay Thai point sparring results last Saturday included Jeremiah Berkey (Jacksonville) defeating Prince Abdullah (Gainesville) in Boys’s Welterweight; Kyle Bricks (Starke) d. Luis Ryce (Jacksonville) in Men’s Light Cruiserweight; Matthew Morales (Fernandina Beach) d. Vernon Peterson (Kissimmee) in Men’s Light Welterweight; Jonathan Correa (Jacksonville) d. Ethan Sharpe (Jacksonville) in Men’s Welterweight; Ryan Redfern (Jacksonville) d. Kevin Veen (Jacksonville) in Men’s Novice Light Middleweight; Troy Head (Jacksonville) d. Benjamin T. Mills (Yulee) in Men’s Novice Cruiserweight; Jayden Castro (Port Orange) d. James Berkey (Jacksonville) in Men’s Middleweight; Christian Johnson (Port Orange) d. Austin Doyle (Jacksonville) Men’s Heavyweight; and Angelo Fernandez (Jacksonville) d. Joshua Spence-Lehmann (Gainesville) in Men’s Light Heavyweight.

In boxing point sparring, Rolando Castillo (St. Augustine) d. Luis Velez (Orange Park) in Boy’s Super Cruiserweight; Anthony Nelson (Jacksonville) d. Logan Kramer (Jacksonville) in Middleweight; Troy Head (Jacksonville) d. Benjamin T. Mills (Yulee) in Men’s Novice Cruiserweight; and Kervens Francois (Valdosta, Georgia) d. Brandon Gavinovich (Saint Johns) in Boy’s Novice Middleweight.