By Mick Hammond
Over the last couple of years Chris Wilson has grown from being a promising prospect to becoming one of the most talented fighters in the 170lb weight class. Currently the Sportfight Welterweight Champion, Wilson will be defending his title for the first time this Friday, January 6th against tough top contender Pat Healy at Sportfight 14.

Recently before his daily routine of teaching and training at Team Quest’s facilities in Oregon, Wilson had a chance to discuss this past year, his fight against Healy, and what goals he has set for himself in 2006.

“I think 2005 was a year of exceptional growth, honestly,” said Wilson of this past year. “I worked on a lot of deficiencies in my game and I think I’ve grown quite a lot. I think I’m satisfied with my performances. But every time I get my hands on one of my past fights, to me there’s always a glaring problem that I need to correct, but I guess that drives you to get better.”

Chris further commented, “I think I’ve come a long way in terms of correcting mistakes. In terms of composure for sure, being able to execute the things in the ring that I’m able to do in the gym. I’m getting better and better at being able to show those skills without freaking out because it’s competition time. It’s hard to put that together, but really I’ve been able to show that more and more in each fight. I think I’m a whole other kind of fighter than I was before.”

Wilson will be able to put those developing skills to use in his next bout against Healy during the headlining bout of Friday’s Rose Garden Arena show. As Chris explains, he knows his fight against Pat isn’t going to be an easy one, as Healy is one of the toughest and most persistent fighters around.

“Pat Healy beat Eddy Ellis for this spot to challenge me and I expect Pat to be strong and explosive,” explained Wilson. “He’s got a wrestling background so I expect him to come out and want to take me down, but I’ve been working my sprawl a lot. I always want to keep it on the feet, that’s not a secret, the question is, can I take someone who wants to also? Almost everyone wants to take me to the ground; in fact, my last couple wins have come by submission, because of that. I’m expecting Pat to come out and throw heavy hands and look for the takedowns.”

Along with fighting, Wilson is an intricate part of Team Quest’s newly remodeled training facility, and it’s something he’s very proud and excited to be a part of.

“I head up the kickboxing problem, teach the advance classes and some of the kid’s classes,” said Chris. “Everything has been going super-well. Right now we have a whole new section of the gym, where you’d call the store front, the big windows at the front of the building that people can see in from the street, that’s really good for passers by and the public.”

“It’s a really nice set up in there, we’ve doubled the space for classes, put in new locker rooms, everything. We’ve got a new schedule coming up soon, we’re adding more classes, and it’s just a lot of changes that are going on and I’m really excited to be a part of them,” continued Wilson.

As far as fighting goes, Chris’ future plans are very clear with his priorities firmly set. “My goals for this year, one is I’m starting off this year with a title defense and a vacation, that’s the first thing. After that my goals are to fight better and better opponents and to work my way over to the Asian market. It’s always been one of my dreams. I’ve studied the Japanese language, all that, but I’d really love to fight over there.”

Wilson added, “I really want to be able to use strikes to a downed opponent, you could almost call that a dream, just because if someone takes a shot at me I want to be able to hit them on the ground. So I would say fighting over there is a big goal for sure.”

Chris closed out the conversation by reiterating the fact that, as he puts it, Friday’s Sportfight main event between he and Healy is going to be a memorable night and a great way for fans to kick off the New Year.

“First of all I’d like to say, I’m absolutely honored and proud to be defending my title in my hometown,” said Chris. “The fanbase here in Portland is superb and they’re just spectacular, they support me a lot. Also, I’d like to thank Strength Coach Online and Mike Dolce, 24-Hour Fitness, Dr. Matt Terreri, and Dr. Dave Bohrer.”

“For the fans, if you can make it to this fight, this is one you don’t want to miss. This is going to be one that people are going to want to find the video of, because I’m going to highlight reel him to prove a point. You don’t want to miss this fight, it’s going to be electrifying, and expect greatness because this is the beginning of it,” concluded Wilson.