– Names in the Game: GINA CARANO

by Damon Martin
Laila Ali has proven that women have a place in professional boxing with her obvious skills and a very talented bloodline. Now, Gina Carano hopes to show fans of kickboxing that she is the real deal by competing on the K-1 card at the Mirage in Las Vegas on August 13th.

K-1 has shown a commitment to display the best fighters in the world, regardless of gender and Carano is the latest edition to the K-1 roster of fighters, and she is ready to take the stage and fight her way to the top. Carano, who trains under Master Toddy in Las Vegas, has fought in many smaller shows, but this will be her first fight under the bright lights and big attention of a show like K-1. At only 23 years of age, Carano is still fairly new to the sport, but still very confident in what she brings to the table.

“I’ve been training for about two years, and I kind of just fell into it because of friends. I started at Master Toddy’s and about 4 months later they started talking about wanting me to fight. I had my first couple of fights within about a month and a half of each other. I was pretty nervous for my first fight, but I had trained really hard and I knew what to expect. I actually fought a girl who was about 12 pounds heavier than me and had a little bit more experience than me, and I ended up rocking her pretty good,” said Carano.

With no previous experience in combat sports, Carano’s two years of training isn’t much by professional standards, but she has stepped up and won most of her fights by knockout and continues to strive to be the best in the world. Working with some of the best muay thai specialists in her camp, Carano has training down to a science these days. “Training is going great. I’m getting used to getting hit and taking the punishment. I pretty much work with the guys. Most of the girls fight at a smaller weight than me. Which is good because I figure if I can take a hit from them, I can take a punch from anybody my own size.” stated Carano.

Although the Las Vegas native has fought in many shows prior the K-1 show, this will be her first appearance on a show of this magnitude with a large Las Vegas crowd and the pay-per-view watchers at home. Many fighters have stumbled out of the gates a bit when fighting with the spotlight on them for the first time, but Carano is confident that she can fight through it. “I don’t think the crowd will effect me. Once I’m in there and the fighter is in front of me, it just starts. I’m excited to fight there for everybody” said Carano about her nerves going into the show.

Women have started to get some of the respect they deserve in professional sports, but in an arena such as boxing or kickboxing, the mainstream media is still learning to adapt to watching females that can fight with the best of them. Gina Carano is one of the newest spokespeople for women competing in combat sports and hopes that more people will start to watch. Carano commented, “It’s just an honor to be fighting for K-1 in the first place. I think some things need to change like women should start to be in different weight classes. I feel like I need to represent women in the sport. I’ve got the technique and the power and I think people will appreciate that when they watch.”

When asked about a future outside of kickboxing and moving into the world of boxing or mixed martial arts, Carano stated, “I’m open to anything, but I’m really enjoying thai boxing right now. I really want to be the best I can be in this sport right now. It’s just one of the best things you can do.”

Gina has stayed centered and continues to ready herself for her pay-per-view debut. “I’d like to thank my family and trainers, Master Toddy and Master Chan, as well as my sponsors at Pureformlabs.com”

Now, Carano will gear up for her big debut in K-1 on August 13th. The event will be held live at the Mirage in Las Vegas and shown live on PPV.