Hawke's Bay kickboxer Lucas McAdam reckons he owes his father Glenn a world title for the bashings he has withstood during trainings.
"Dad is wearing a few bruises from all the time he has spent holding the pads. He has been doing this since I was 8 and a world title would be the ultimate payback," McAdam said.
The Jackals Martial Arts fighter flew to Brisbane on Wednesday to prepare for tomorrow's Siam Cup World Muay Thai under-18 60kg lightweight title bout against Aussie Josh King in Beenleigh. This title is being contested for the first time and their fight, which is scheduled for five rounds, is the main event on a 27-bout card.
"This is the biggest fight of my career. But I'm the fittest I have been after a tough eight weeks of training. The school holidays have come at the right time and have allowed me to train twice a day," McAdam said.
The Napier Boys' High School Year 12 student has won 18 of his 29 bouts, lost 10 and drew one. His last fight was in April when he beat Hamilton-based Colombian Ale Tellez by a split decision for the New Zealand 61.2kg division title.
In December last year McAdam, 16, won the Siam Cup Oceania crown with a unanimous points decision win against Gold Coast's Jesse Jones in Beenleigh so he is no stranger to beating Aussies in the town which is a half-hour drive from Brisbane. In March he won two gold medals and a silver with five wins and one loss during his third visit to the World Muay Thai Organisation world championships in Thailand.
"It's going to be a good test for Lucas but he is ready," his trainer Andrew Banham said.
"He has trained his butt off and is ready for whatever comes."
Banham pointed out 16-year-old King has been the Aussie No 1 in his age group for several years and has won numerous gold medals at the world champs. For the past four months King has been training and fighting in Thailand and recently had four wins at Lumpinee Stadium, which is regarded as "the Mecca of Muay Thai".
"We've seen Josh fight plenty of times, so that will help," Banham said.
McAdam, who was on weight at his final training session before leaving on Wednesday, didn't want to elaborate too much on the details of his tactics in case King found out.
"Basically I have to stick to my game plan, move around and adapt to whatever he brings. If I can download his information from the early rounds that could prove beneficial later on."
In recent years McAdam has regularly highlighted the contrast in recognition for him and his opponents but never complained. He's happy to take it on the chin.
"Most of my opponents from Brazil, Uzbekistan, Lebanon and Kazakhstan are fully funded. When they return home with their medals they are welcomed home with parades and are considered national heroes where as I return to school like nothing has happened," McAdam said after returning from Thailand in March.
"Compared with them I suppose I'm fighting for fun. They're fighting for careers in the sport ... a better way of life. You can see the desperation in their eyes," McAdam recalled.
He believed a win tomorrow night would be a huge boost to his and Muay Thai's profile in the Bay.
"It would be a big achievement. I'm sure the Aussies would want me back if I could win it."
There's no doubt his father, a former Muay Thai exponent, would be happy to take more poundings while he holds the pads if that's what it takes for his son to retain a world title. Considering what McAdam has won over the years, tomorrow's title is the logical next step up from his previous national, South Pacific and Oceania title successes.
With his parents Glenn and Jo in the crowd and trainers Andrew and Leighann Banham in his corner, McAdam won't be short of support tomorrow. The Banhams also had a six-year stint in Aussie before returning home in 2013 so they won't be short of friends to back their lad.
It has the potential to be a cracker of a Aussie-Kiwi battle and with the number of Kiwis in and around Brisbane the McAdams are likely to be blown away by the support for their corner.