"Don't be fooled by the baby-faced promotional photo ... Lucas McAdam is a killer."
This was the reply from Jackals Martial Arts Gym trainer Leighann Banham to promoters of tonight's Rumble on the Ridge kickboxing event in Brisbane when she was asked to send a more up-to-date photo of 13-year-old McAdam who will take on Aussie Jacob Hill for the vacant South Pacific 45kg Muay Thai Kickboxing title.
"We want them to think Lucas will be easy pickings," Banham said before McAdam's final training session on Thursday night.
The bout, which is scheduled for five two-minute rounds, will be McAdam's first attempt at the title. The Napier Boys' High School year 9 student, who has recorded six wins and four losses during the past two years, knows what it takes to win across the Tasman.
In February he beat Brisbane's Hayden Pearske by knockout in a 39kg division bout. However McAdam, who will be the only Kiwi on tonight's 20-fight card, knows Hill, the Australian titleholder and three-state champion with a 10-win, 3-loss record, will be a huge step up.
"I've never trained harder than I have for the past 11 weeks. I've run every morning and every night and I've been in the gym for between two and three hours, six days a week. I'm doing my best to keep up with homework but some of my teachers tell me I'm falling behind a bit."
The third placegetter in the 12-13 years 38kg division at last year's world championships in Thailand, McAdam thrives in the grapple when he can focus on his knee work. He has checked out Hill's recent bouts on You Tube and believed Hill will be relying a lot on speed.
"Lucas will cope ... he is our little pocket rocket," Banham said.
While McAdam is still undecided on a career, he is adamant kickboxing will remain his No1 sport. He is eyeing world titles and Olympic Games representation in the future.
His 17-year-old brother, Aaron, who has also competed for two years, will assist Banham in McAdam's corner tonight and upon his return to the Bay on Monday will resume training for his national 57kg title bout against Aucklander Ben Spears at Auckland's Young Blood event next weekend.
With a record of eight wins, including the national 53.5kg title, and four losses, Aaron McAdam, has a reputation for calmness and ability to out think an opponent.
Spears boasts more experience and a longer range because of his superior height so McAdam's strategies will have to be carefully planned and followed.
He has to shed 3kg before weigh in and is confident of doing so.
"Hopefully Lucas won't pull out his KFC in front of me immediately after his fight in Brisbane. He has a habit of doing that," Aaron said.
A year 12 student at the same school as his brother, Aaron also wants to fight at Olympic Games and world championship levels.
However, he has applied to join the army and, if successful in February, his fighting pursuits may have to be put on hold.
Eleven Hawke's Bay fighters will be in action at Jackals Martial Arts Arena Wars 3 event to be staged in their Onekawa Gym next Saturday.
This event was originally scheduled for last weekend but it was postponed when fighters from out of the Bay were unable to travel on the Taupo to Napier road.
"Basically it's a Jackals against the rest night and there will be at least four women's fights," Banham said.