October 13, 2018, John Hurney won the fight with Stephen Bobinchuck for two world title belts. Hurney competes in Muay Thai for over a decade, winning his first world titles a few weeks ago. Stephen Bobinchuck is from Florida and has had over 20 fights on the official US Muay Thai team.
Hurney trains at Combat Sports Academy in Dublin and is in the light heavyweight division in Muay Thai fighting.
He trains over 10 hours a week on top of having a job and a young son. His typical training day consists of a 3-mile run, pad work for an hour, jump rope for 15 minutes, shadow boxing for another 15 minutes, and some partner drills including both live sparing and light sparing.
“My motivation has changed throughout the years, it started as I just want to fight. I ended up enjoying the thrill of fighting, which leads to I wanted to become a champ and get a belt. Currently, I want to fight on TV,” said John Hurney.
After his win last Tuesday, he officially achieved his goal to fight on television. Though he does not have any competitions in the near future, he does not plan to rest.
“I will keep training to fix some of the mistakes I made. I just want to keep fighting and keep getting better,” said Hurney.
The two new belts that Hurney won are tangible reminders of the fruits of his hard work, which will be displayed on the wall of his gym.
Though fighting is Hurney’s passion, commercial fighting is a controversial topic and many students at Amador hold strong to their opinions on Muay Thai.
Some support MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) fighting, as long as the risks are known and the fighters are safe.
“I support [MMA] because I view fighting as entertainment. As long as people understand the risks and dangers that they are involved in, I think it is absolutely fine for people to watch and participate in MMA,” said Christopher Reese (‘19), AV varsity wrestler.
However, many do hold reservations against fighting, mostly because of the commercial aspect of it.
“Fighting can be a sport if it’s done correctly, but I haven’t witnessed that. In my opinion wrestling and martial arts, tournaments are interesting, but WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment) isn’t genuine fighting. I do not support publicized fighting because it’s mostly for profit. There are spectators paying to watch, but it benefits a company more than the fighter. It doesn’t exude any personality, honor, or grace, which is the foundation of Muay Thai,” said James Ottaway (‘19) who has trained in MMA in the past.
However, for Hurney, Muay Thai is his passion. For emerging athletes, Hurney urges them to never give up.
“At the end of the day, you are the one that chooses your path. You will question yourself and want to quit. Don’t quit, keep going, the bad days are the days you will learn the most. The worst thing that anyone can do is get old, look back on their life, and say to themselves ‘I wish I would have done that.’ Look back and say “I did that!” And this can be used for anything you choose to do in life,” says Hurney.
Ultimately, Hurney’s dedication to Muay Thai will only lead him to more victories. His constant practice even during times without a match is inspirational and influential to other athletes. Hurney fulfilled his goal of winning not one, but two world title belts, and defeating Stephen Bobinchuck a worthy opponent on live television. However, even so, he will continue to train and fight in the sport he loves.