MMA champ calls Newcastle home
October 31, 2013
By Christina Corrales-Toy
All it took was 12 seconds.
Well, 12 seconds, a swift kick to the face, and moments later, Newcastle resident Anthony Hamilton hoisted a gilded belt above his head, cementing his worth as one of the world’s top heavyweight fighters.
Hamilton bested opponent Smealinho Rama in a Maximum Fighting Championship match in Canada on Oct. 4, earning the league’s title of heavyweight champion of the world.
“I had never really thrown a lot of kicks in any of my other fights, but I had thrown them in practice,” Hamilton said. “So, I felt comfortable doing it, and I guess it just worked out perfectly.”
Perfect may be an understatement for the move that experts are calling the mixed martial arts knockout of the year.
The shot came in the match’s second round, after a tough first, in which Rama and Hamilton exchanged blows. Hamilton admitted the nerves of competing in such a significant event played a role in the preliminary bout.
“I got a little tired, I think, because there was so much media buildup,” he said. “There was a little bit of pressure, it was my first time up there fighting and it was such a big fight that it’s hard not to get yourself worked up for something like that.”
He is now the proud owner of a shiny, impressive championship belt that he keeps in his Newcastle home. He’ll have a chance to defend it in another fight set for January, for which he started training Oct. 21.
Mixed martial arts is an activity that combines elements of several combat sports, and accordingly, Hamilton’s training routine is just as varied.
He does yoga, kickboxing, swimming, weight training and his favorite, running the trails of Newcastle, to keep him in top shape for competition. He even spends time training at high altitudes in Albuquerque, N.M., which helps with oxygen levels.
“Fighting is so much, so I have to do things that will allow me to be flexible, let me be explosive, let me have good endurance, let me be strong, all these different things that I can use in the fight,” Hamilton said.
When preparing for a fight, the training regimen takes up most of his time, which is difficult, considering Hamilton also has a full-time job. He routinely trains two to three times a day for five hours, five or six days a week.
He fits in workouts before work, during lunch breaks and after work. It cuts into time with his wife and two children, but it’s a familial sacrifice they’re willing to make.
Hamilton said he feels he’s close to getting the call up to what would be the major leagues of the sport — the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
“I want to be champion of the world, but not just in the Maximum Fighting Championship. I want to be in the UFC,” he said. “That’s where the majority of the best fighters are, and that’s where I want to be. That’s where I feel like I belong.”
Hamilton was close to getting the call when the league came to Seattle more than a year ago. Organizers felt he didn’t have the experience then, but with the heavyweight championship now to his name, prospects look brighter for Hamilton.
When that call comes, though, it will mean the world to Hamilton, who grew up in Kent and played football and wrestled while in college.
“All those long days, those early mornings, late nights, the sacrifices, not just me but everything that my family and friends have put into this, it would mean everything to us,” he said. “I’d probably have a breakdown once I signed my first contract.”
Hamilton and his wife Candice moved to Newcastle in 2008. They’ve since added two children to their brood.
“I think this is the place that we want to spend the rest of our life. We love this place,” he said. “Everything is really nice here. I grew up really poor, and I never want to go back to that.”