Southern Secret: Myles Simpson

International Kickboxer Magazine, Vol.18, No.2

After another impressive showing at Knees of Fury 28, Myles Simpson seems to be finally getting himself a bit of recognition outside his home state. Jarrod Boyle finds out a bit more about the South Australian up-and-comer.

At the tender age of 23, Myles Simpson has amassed an impressive record of seventeen fights for thirteen wins, with nine of them coming by way of knock out. He has also fought extensively in Thailand, having trained at the Patong Boxing Gym and fought five Thai opponents whilst located there. He is steadily making his way up through the welterweight rankings, having become a regular fixture on South Australia’s number one kickboxing promotion, Knees of Fury. While Myles is knocking at the door of Australia’s welterweight top ten, he is little-known outside his state of origin.

Myles found his way into Muay Thai like so many others; he followed a friend into the gym to see what it was all about. “I was instantly hooked; I really liked it,” he explains. “I love the training, and I love the fighting.” His friend soon lost interest, but by now, Myles was training six days a week. After six months, he made his first trip to Thailand. With little experience and not much more to sustain him than mad enthusiasm, he had his first fight and won.

He has been training out of ‘The Firm’, the Willunga kickboxing club, for the past four years. It helps that the gym is little more than a five minute walk from his house. “We train every day for between an hour and two-and-a-half hours,” he explains, “and we spar pretty much every day. You need that,” he says, “to develop your conditioning. We also train on Sunday mornings, with Saturdays off.” This seems like an odd schedule; when questioned about it, Myles puts it down to his trainers, Mike Peel and Peter Barlow, “trying to prevent the boys having a big night out on Saturday which might interfere with their training!”

“Peter Barlow is more old-school as a trainer,” Myles says. “He’s been around a long time and oversees all our fitness work, making sure we’re fit enough when it comes time to fight. Lots of hill runs, sprints and ploymetrics with weighted vests. Mike has more of a technical focus. He does most of the pad holding and oversees the clinch work.”

“My favourite part of training is definitely sparring. It’s where you really test yourself. You can also try out new things you’ve been doing in training. We tend to do plenty of boxing sparring separately, too. It helps get the hands going. It’s good for me; my hands and elbows are probably the strongest part of my game.” Anyone who has seen Myles fight would be inclined to agree; along with his front-footed style, Myles has a real flair for punching away at his opponent’s defences until he can find an opening. Or make one – whichever comes first. 

Myles is a qualified cabinet maker, having recently completed his apprenticeship. He chooses to work in a factory however, spending most of his days driving forklifts. “The hours are better for training,” he says. “I start at six and finish by two, so it means I can spend more time in the gym. Driving a forklift isn’t as physically taxing as cabinetmaking, either.”    

When asked if he prefers fighting in Australia or Thailand, the answer is surprising; he prefers a home-town crowd. “The atmosphere is better when you’re fighting for family and friends,” he says. His mother is a big fan; “She was a little nervous seeing me for the first time, but now, she gets right into it! She’s one of the loudest in the crowd! My girlfriend found it a bit stressful, but she’s warming up.”

“The tempo of fights is faster here, too. Australians are more inclined to get straight into it, instead of using those early rounds to feel each other out.” There are technical differences between Australians and Thai fighters which suit Myles better, also. “Australians tend to box more.”

“I enjoy training in Thailand, though,” he says. “The schedule is very different there. When I’m in Thailand, I don’t have to do anything other than focus on training. The sessions are longer, too. We can train for anywhere up to three hours, but at a slower pace. You work, and then have a break, as opposed to just working like crazy for the full term. The other difference is that Thais focus much more on kicking and clinching.”

He credits his toughest opponent as having been Anthony Cox. “He’s a really tough guy. He came down in weight in order to fight me. We beat the hell out of each other and when it was over, he took the decision on split points.”

At 23, the one thing Miles really has in his corner is time. When asked about his ambitions, he says generally that he wants to “fight the toughest guys I can for as long as I can. Even though I’ve had seventeen fights, they’ve all been in South Australia, or Thailand. I’d like more opportunities to fight interstate to build my reputation.” Mike Sarracino of JWP’s Boonchu Gym and Beniah Douma from Mad X are at the top of his wish list; ‘If all goes well, hopefully I can get to fight one of them by the end of the year.” Myles is a young fighter making a name for himself on the back of an impressive record. 2010 should be the year in which he makes a major impression on the national scene.       

Myles would like to thank his family, friends and all the crew at The Firm and Ink Kings Tattoo for their ongoing support.

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