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Orillia youth battles to bronze medal at World Cup in Calgary

The 12-year-old suffered a devastating injury that took away his chance for gold but he was 'excited to take the podium' at the international event

When he was seven-years-old, Mikey Griffin decided to try martial arts. He immediately fell in love with the sport.

Griffin trained at Black Lotus in Orillia for three-and-a-half years, sometimes six days a week and often three times a day, eventually earning a coveted spot on their fight team. 

There were many, many obstacles in his path, but he persevered and proved himself worthy of the team. 

After a couple of defeats in his initial bouts, victories soon followed and he has never looked back.

When the pandemic forced the closure of Black Lotus Kickboxing, the Orillia family was faced with the task of finding a dojo that was still operational and competition-oriented so he could continue to do what he loves most. 

“We owed him that,” said his mom, Lindsay. 

“We reached out to Legacy Fight Club in Barrie to set up a trial. They welcomed us with open arms and after the first class, Mikey knew that this was where he belonged. It felt like home,” she explained. 

“They were just as excited to have him join the team as he was to be there,” she added, noting this is where his Muay Thai ('The Art of Eight Limbs') journey began.

Griffin was introduced to fight coach, Marlon Venezuela, and his fight training soon kicked into a higher gear. 

His coaches are nothing short of exceptional, his mom explained, noting they are “inspiring, motivational, dedicated, disciplined and completely devoted to their students.”

Griffin, now 12, appreciated their laid-back nature and “awesome sense of humour” that makes training enjoyable. 

They are a fight club that focuses on the personal growth and development of their students and the ‘take-away’ from competition — not the wins and the losses. 

Legacy has given the young Orillia athlete many opportunities to compete and grow in his craft. One of those opportunities was a chance to travel to Calgary in April to compete at the WBC Muay Thai Youth Nationals. A strong showing there would mean a chance to be on the national team.

Griffin and a teammate from Legacy, Myles Venezuela, shone in Calgary and were subsequently named members of Team Canada.

That past weekend, they competed at the WBC Muay Thai World Cup at the Winsport in Calgary, where they were joined by athletes from 10 other countries. 

Griffin pulled off the best fight of his amateur career in the semi-finals, but unfortunately the fight came to a sudden halt in the third round when he suffered a tibial injury. He had to be helped out of the ring by doctors and paramedics. 

Griffin was disappointed he couldn't continue to fight for the world championship title belt, but he was in good spirits and “excited to take the podium” for his well-earned bronze medal. 

Griffin, who is entering Grade 8 at Monsignor Lee Catholic School in September, has been invited to compete in the WKA World Championships in Wales, United Kingdom in October with Team Canada.

“Mikey would like to thank his teammates, coaches, friends, family and community for their ongoing support and encouragement,” said his mom.