Blair Geraghty had less than 10 days to learn the ins and outs of kickboxing before heading to the Australian titles – and he still walked away with three gold medals.
The 11-year-old had spent countless hours – including time training in Thailand – preparing for a Muaythai fight, scheduled to be held the same day as the titles.
But less than two weeks before the bout, his opponent’s family got in touch and said the fight was off.
Blair was disappointed, but that feeling didn’t last long – he picked up a late entry in the WAKO (World Association of Kickboxing Organisations) Australian titles for the same day
Dad Johnny said it was a tight turnaround to learn the kickboxing rules, a discipline Blair didn’t usually tackle, but his son was feeling confident.
“He was nervous at first but once he was out there he was ready to go,” Geraghty said.
“He was collecting his medal for one event when they were calling him up for his next one.”
In the end Blair won gold in continuous sparring, light kick and mod MMA.
The Harrington Park boy said he knew he had the ability to be competitive at the tournament, but was wary of the fact he was unfamiliar with his opponents.
“When you’re fighting someone you don’t know it’s a little scary – are they going to be good or are they going to be bad,” he said.
“Everyone’s fighting style is different. You don’t know if they’re fast or strong.
“I was a bit nervous about that, but at the same time I had a lot of confidence in myself. If someone can be better than you, you can be better than them.”
Blair said he had his ultimate idol – UFC star Conor McGregor – on his mind at the kickboxing titles.
“Basically, I just went in with the mindset of McGregor,” the St Justin’s Catholic Primary School pupil said.
“That’s always what I think about – what would McGregor do?
“I look up to him and think about what he’s feeling when he gets into the ring.”
Blair’s trainer at Bujutsu Martial Arts in Smeaton Grange, Mark Szalajko said there were still big things to come for the youngster.
“Blair is one of Australia’s most experienced and successful junior competitors,” he said.
“His level of dedication is second to none. He has a massive future in the martial arts world.”
“There is no limit, it’s above the sky,” he said.
“It’s like anything, if you’re gonna put in the hard work and effort you’re gonna accomplish your goals.
“It’s all about being confident and having heart – you can’t buy heart, you know?”
Blair will now compete in the 2017 Hungarian Kickboxing World Cup in the 10-12 year old boys’, under-37kg division.