|Saxon Vaughn goes for the focus mit his father, Bob Vaughn, is holding up during training. VVN/Jon Pelletier|
|Dakota Vaughn practices a round house kick for his upcoming fight. VVN/Jon Pelletier|
|Boxers train at Golden Cobra Center of Fitness on Thursday, March 8.|
In the coming weeks, the Golden Cobra Center of Fitness will be putting on another card of kickboxing, boxing and muay thai fights with hopes of raising funds to travel for a competition in Florida over the summer.
"We're a non-profit, so doing fund-raising and events gets to help the gym with travel," said gym owner Richard Williams, "We're trying to go to Florida this year, so that's our main focus, all the fund raisers, hopefully we can make a little bit and put it towards our trip to Florida"
Williams, the only International Kickboxing Federation (IKF) approved promoter in Arizona, will be hosting the event at his gym, hoping for an exciting slate of fights with a card that is headlined by two title fights. The top two fights are not only for gold; they feature two brothers that have been competing and training for a good portion of their life.
"I figured we would just do it here and try to do it a little bit low overhead," Williams said. "See what we can do and try to raise some money and bring home some more titles for golden cobra."
Saxon Vaughn, 15, and his 17-year-old brother Dakota Vaughn will be headlining the card. For Dakota, this is his first shot at a belt after having two kickboxing matches, while this is Saxon's second title fight.
"I'm just looking forward to getting there, feeling the excitement again and doing what I know and doing what I do best," Dakota said. "This is my first title shot, so I'm really excited. I haven't really fought for a belt like this and this caliber, so I'm pretty excited."
The Vaughn brothers have been actively participating in some type of combat sport, whether it be wrestling, boxing or kickboxing, for the better part of a decade. Their father, Bob Vaughn, began teaching them when they were young as a way to learn self-defense and keep them busy, but left the option to continue the sports up to them when they were old enough,
"My dad started teaching us at a young age, around 5. He wanted us to know some basics and he said once we get good, it's up to us whether or not to continue, but he just wanted to teach us the basics."
There are many reasons people continue in sports, and for the Vaughn brothers, the excitement of one-on-one competition and the physical and mental aspects of the game are what keep them training.
"I like the excitement of it," Saxon said. "In combat sports, it's one-on-one, like in football, and team sports like that, you can rely on a teammate. In fighting, it's just you out there and you got to be ready, you got to be ready to fight."
For the oldest Vaughn, the mental aspect is what draws him to kickboxing.
"It's more of a mindset than a physical ability, because everyone's built different. That's why I like these sports, because it's not like football where you're matched up differently, somebody's [possibly] bigger than you. You're matched up at the same weight, so it's just will power and how to get it done."
While there may be some controversy over whether or not children should compete in this type of sport, it is the natural progression of training. It puts the children into a positive environment and it helps keep them out of trouble.
"[Training] keeps them busy," Williams said. "It keeps these kids busy, off the streets and away from the bad elements. You keep them in a safe environment, help them to train, train hard and achieve goals. Its not just every day you get to... you got to earn your way to a title."
Once the competitors have earned their way to a title, it can drive them to keep going and strive for another.
"It's a great feeling," the younger Vaughn said. "I've already won one title fight, so I'm looking forward to getting this next belt."
The event will be March 23, , at the Golden Cobra Fitness Center, 24 N. Main St. For more information, please contact the gym at (928) 300-0281.