It’s going to be a night of firsts for Shawn Sitthikoun and Joe Westbrook.
Surrey’s Sitthikoun (2-2) will battle Nanaimo’s Westbrook (2-3) for the amateur welterweight title at Mamba Fight Night 8 in Burnaby, B.C. on Friday night.
Although he has gone the distance twice in his amateur career, this will be Sitthikoun’s first five-round fight, which is a situation he’s fully prepared for coming in.
“I do a lot of sparring where we’ll do upwards of 10 rounds, including five minute rounds with the pros,” said Sitthikoun in an interview with MMA Empire.
“It’s not something that scares me; I’m ready to put that work in. I’m excited if it goes those extra rounds, but I’m not counting on it to go past three rounds.”
Much like his adversary, Westbrook, 34, has also went to the judges twice in his five-fight amateur career, winning one and losing one.
Westbrook said he’s more than prepared for his first five round fight, and said he fully expects this to be a tough, grinding 15-minute battle.
“I’m beyond ready for a five round fight. I’m expecting a war coming in,” said Westbrook in an interview with MMA Empire.
“I’ve been working my cardio ever since I found out I’d be taking this fight because I knew it was going to be a five-round war. Whatever he brings to the table, I’ll be ready.”
Title Paves Path For Sitthikoun
With this being his first crack at a title, it’s also an opportunity for Sitthikoun, 27, to really make a statement with his amateur career.
He said a win Friday night will go a long way in setting up the rest of 2020 for him, as well as when he may make the jump to the next level.
“It’s going to be a confirmation for this life I’ve chose, and it’s going to set the tone for the rest of the year,” said Sitthikoun.
“Coming into 2020, new decade, get a few fights, win this title, and I want to go pro by the end of year as well. It’s going to mean a lot in terms of what the rest of my year is going to look like.”
Primarily training out of Tristar Vancouver, Sitthikoun has also been splitting time at Mamba MMA for this camp, working with Kultar Gill.
Come fight night, Sitthikoun said he believes his level of preparation throughout training camp will give him an edge over Westbrook.
“I haven’t felt this ready for a fight yet in my career. I’ve been working with some of B.C.’s best guys,” said Sitthikoun.
“I’ve been working a lot on my stand up, wrestling, and jiu-jitsu. I’m going to be very well-rounded and prepared for whatever he’s got to throw me. We’re going to be fighting this fight at my tempo, and he’s going to be playing my fight.”
Speed Advantage For Westbrook
Westbrook’s last three contests have been contested in the lightweight division, while Sitthikoun’s been bouncing back and forth between welterweight and middleweight.
So, while Sitthikoun is poised to hold a size and strength advantage, Westbrook said he believes his own speed advantage will work in his favour.
“I think he’s going to have a little bit of a size advantage on me, but I do think I have the speed advantage from fighting those lightweights,” said Westbrook.
With this also being Westbrook’s first shot at a belt in his amateur career, he said this is something he’s been working towards since his debut.
Now that the opportunity is in front of him, he said it’s the perfect time to put a cap on his amateur career.
“It’s everything at this point. This is what it’s all come down to for my amateur career; it’s what all the blood, sweat and tears have been all about,” said Westbrook.
“I’m planning on going in there, giving it my all, walking away with that belt and, within one or two more amateur fights, I want to make that pro debut and prove I’m ready for it.”
“I’d like to thank all my training partners at Tristar Vancouver and Mamba MMA (Kajan Johnson, Kultar Gill), the guys at Strike Recovery, and the guys at New Edge Alliance for strength and conditioning.” Follow Sitthikoun on social media: FACEBOOK, INSTAGRAM
“I’d like to thank my team at CJ Martial Arts (Jordy and Cara), and everyone at my old gym Heiho Dojo (Laine Ingalls, Dan Westbrook, Brock, Mike).” Follow Westbrook on social media: FACEBOOK, INSTAGRAM