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Rolling with the punches

AK Promotions working to get kickboxing into Olympics
By: Amanda Calzada Placer Herald Correspondent
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Fighting is more than a few kicks for two-time world champion Johnny Davis, who is changing the world through the sport of kickboxing. “Since childhood, most of us have had to take a stance for or against something. Often times, the mental or emotional urges to follow the group in doing something that we knew was wrong or detrimental to us were the toughest to fight,” said Davis. The challenge of endurance combined with vision of ambition goes beyond the ring for the current owner of AK Promotions Kickboxing and Boxing Club of Rocklin. As a 12 year-old boy, when Davis first began his kickboxing career in South Carolina, he remembers writing “Future World Champion” on his school assignments. He also remembers making sacrifices to attain his goals, which included losing a few friends in the midst of adolescence troubles. Davis credits his determination to guiding him down a straight path during his teenage and adult years. In 1984, Davis was presented the “Outstanding Young Men of America” Award for his character. He also earned the “Presidential Award” in 1988. The past two years were difficult for him, but through effective goal-setting, Davis was able to make headway on both a personal and professional level. “A lot of things kids are lacking today are goals and purposes,” said Davis, who encourages a lifestyle of clean living which includes opening the mind, heart, and eyes to other people. As of this year, the CEO of the International Kickboxing Federation announced Davis the No.1 promoter on the West Coast. Since Davis’ retirement as an athlete in 1988, he has developed a new style of kickboxing called point kickboxing, which features semi-contact fighting so that athletes can gain confidence and transition smoothly from the gym to the ring. Outside the athletic aspect, Davis has held a career as a motivational speaker and freelance writer. As a voice for the sport, Davis has been nicknamed a politician for his efforts. Two years ago, the state of California did not authorize junior fighters or those under 16 years of age to compete. With the support of the IKF, Davis persuaded California to reevaluate and change their regulations. In celebration of the modifications, 2011 marks the first year California will host the IKF West Coast classic in Sacramento from Nov. 25-27, something Davis says is a boost to the economy. There is also an event Sept. 2 at the Doubletree Hotel, 2001 Point West Way, Sacramento. It features IKF Championship Muay Thai Kickboxing; doors open at 5:30 p.m., fights begin at 7. One of Davis’ current goals is to make kickboxing an Olympic event. At the 2008 Olympic games in Beijing, he had the opportunity to introduce this idea to the Olympic Committee, the furthest any individual has come to making kickboxing part of the Olympic Games. Those interested in joining AK Promotions for competition, personal protection, or just stress reduction can visit akpromotions.org. Classes are available to men, women, and children of all levels and abilities. More information regarding events, like the IKF Muay Thai Championship in Sacramento this November, is also found at akpromotions.org “Tough times don’t last,” said Davis, “tough people do.”