Jamie ‘The Official’ Stamp

Revenge of the beard!

Revenge of the beard!

International Kickboxer Magazine, March/April 2013

In Queensland, people grow all kinds of crazy things in their backyards. At Jamie Stamp’s house in Ormeau, it happens to be a kickboxing gym.

“It started off as a small shed down the back of the house,” says Jamie. “Since Anthony [Vella] has come along, the place has grown in leaps and bounds. It’s getting bigger and bigger! We’ve already got six of our regular fighters matched for February, and there’s fifteen or so fighters down there altogether.”

Jamie Stamp’s reputation has been growing in step with his gym. He won the Evolution title belt at Evolution 26 last year, stopping his opponent, Elliot Compton, in the first round.

“I caught him with an overhand right and knocked him out cold. It was the last fight before all the ruckus started, which was just as well, because I had about a hundred people come down to see me. If the fight hadn’t happened, they would have been very pissed off!”

Jamie made his way into his first Muay Thai gym back in 2006, just before he turned eighteen.

“I was a small kid and I got picked on a lot. One day, my brother said, ‘Come on, let’s go try out Muay Thai.’ But I wasn’t serious until I met Anthony Vella.”

Vella, a former Melbournian, was one of the stars of Australian Muay Thai in the early nineties. He won nineteen of his twenty career fights, losing only to eventual world Thai Boxing champion and Boxing world-champion contender, Paul Briggs. He is probably best remembered for his win over Louie Isofidis, arguably the best pure kickboxer of that era. He carved out that win in the fashion of so many of his others; a grapple like a bear trap and surgical knees, all backed up by a cast-iron chin.

“Early on, [Anthony] sat me down and told me I had to keep the partying and drinking in-check if I wanted the talent to come out. I had to choose one or the other. After that, he trained me to fight on Paul Demicoli’s Eruption show. I won that fight and five years later, I was the main event.”

Anthony is more than just a trainer to Jamie, he’s a mentor as well.

“He’s a hard trainer who doesn’t give compliments, so when you do [get them], you appreciate it. In the corner, he gives you confidence. You feel as if he’s in there with you. If I lose a fight, I feel like he’s lost it, too. If I win, I’m over the moon.”

The reason for that may be because Anthony’s dedication matches that of his fighters.

“He’s working in the mines now, so he’s 4 days on, 3 days off. When he’s back in Ormeau, he always comes down to the gym as much as possible and holds pads for me. Before the Compton fight, I flew up to the mines in Moranbah to be there with him in the last 2 weeks. In the morning I’d do all my cardio, like swimming and running, and after he finished work, we’d go into this little shed and train every night. After pads, we’d do a half-hour of clinching to finish. Anthony weighs eighty-two kilos. He’s much heavier than me, so he worked me hard. In fact, I did all my grappling with him. His knees are devastating. After that, I came back down, cut the weight and fought at Evo.

“I really like Anthony’s style of pad holding,” says Jamie. “He works me at a very high intensity. I prefer that. I’m not really big on that laid-back, technical style the Thais favor. I want to work hard on the pads so my fitness is really strong. I come out hard from the bell and work to overwhelm you.”

Jamie has used this approach to great effect, especially in is most recent fights.

“I think the turning point for me was when I fought Beniah Douma on Eruption 23. He’s had a lot of fights. He fought Michael Tomahawk and beat him; he fought Daddy Kool and beat him, too. He’s got a reputation for being really tough. I went into that fight as the underdog. To tell you the truth, I was scared. As it went on though, I became more and more confident and then I stopped him, in the fourth round.

“Before that, I was definitely a points fighter; I’d rely on a high work rate to win. Fighting Beniah made me realize I had real power in my hands. It not only changed my style, it also gave me confidence. In fact, I think the strongest part of my style is my boxing, and it’s the confidence I have gained that has made it happen.”

While Jamie isn’t especially fond of the Thai approach, he has made good use of it to develop his skills.

“I’ve trained in Thailand three times,” he says. “The first time, I went and trained at Saenchai’s gym, Thirteen Coins. I met this terrific American guy, Joel Bowen. He started up Team Quest Thailand [which is a sister gym to Team Quest in the US]. The second and third times I went to Thailand, I went and trained there.”

It’s more than just the standard of instruction that impressed Jamie.

“I love the city of Chiang Mai. My original trainer from Thirteen Coins moved up there, as well. I really like his style of pad holding; it’s high intensity, like Anthony’s.”

That intense, aggressive style worked to his advantage when fighting in Thailand. It was there that he met his toughest opponent to date.

“I came out hard and so did he, but I wore him down throughout the course of the fight. I would have been behind on the cards to that point. I was really banged up. He’d broken my nose; I had two black eyes and a huge cut on my forehead. I was ready to call it quits. My Thai trainer told me to keep going, though, and then I caught him in the fourth [round]. I’d caught a lot of big hits – kicks, punches, elbows – and after the fight it was straight to the hospital to get stitched up!”

Jamie’s success over the last two years has come as he has discovered his real strengths, which have become the real basis of his style. Now he is in possession of them, he has the ability to see his way to an ultimate destination.

“I want to fight biggest names in Australia at sixty-three kilograms. I’m not so fussed about fighting in Bangkok and Lumpini; I would like to have a few more fights over there and then make my mark here in Australia. There have been a couple of eight-man tournaments on the cards for a while; I want to give that a go. I think it will determine who the best in Australia really is.”

It’s a contest and an outcome that fight fans await every bit as eagerly. No matter who those names are, Jamie is in with more than just a fighting chance.

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