POWERPLAY Promotions News

Jacinta Paskalidis: Short, Sharp and Sweet

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Fighting out of Powerplay in Brunswick under the tutelage of idol and mentor Joe Nader, Jacinta Paskalidis has a bright future ahead of her. The young fighter’s love for our sport runs deep with fighting in her blood. 

Daughter of world champion Evan Paskalidis, Jacinta has been immersed in the sport from a very young age. For Jacinta, fighting is about constantly striving as well as contributing to a sport she loves. Her aim is to display skill and technique in the ring and reach world champion status like her father.

What got you into Muay Thai?

My family got me into Muay Thai. My dad trained with Dana Goodson, so I was just surrounded by it ever since I can remember. I started training and doing classes at 11 years of age when Joe Nader opened up Powerplay, and just went from there. Initially, I was attracted to Muay Thai because I was surrounded by it so much and couldn’t imagine life without it. But long term, it became about what I personally wanted to achieve and contribute to the sport.

So, fighting runs in your family? Tell me a bit about your dad, world champion Evan Paskalidis…

My dad trained with Dana Goodson, which is how he worked his way up to winning a world title. Dana had a major impact for the sport in Australia. With this, I met and was surrounded by many fighters such as Stan ‘The Man’, Sam Greco, Songoul Orcheric, but most importantly my trainer, Joe Nader. So in the end it was just normal. His career was pretty much the beginning of my career, and from knowing such huge talent in the sport, it just got me excited about the sport. My uncle trained with Dana too, he was also really young when he started, so it is kind of funny how I am following more in his footsteps, being so young, training with older and much more experienced guys.

What propelled you to start fighting?

I knew from day one I wanted to fight, and said I wanted a world title. There was no question. It was more ‘when can I start fighting?’

How do you prepare mentally for a fight?

Preparing mentally for a fight, I normally don’t think about it. I just focus on training. But as I get to the last week, it hits me. I don’t really care what my opponent is doing, I just focus on what I have to do and what I have trained.

What is your pre-fight training approach or philosophy?

Pre-fight training approach is simple. Three things: short, sharp and sweet. That’s how I train, that’s how I fight. Everything I do consciously and unconsciously is just that. Punches and kicks have to be short and sharp, and have to look good while throwing them, so, nice and sweet.

Tell me a bit about yourself personally?

Currently I am at uni, studying exercise and sports science, so as you can tell, I love sport. If I am not training, I am most likely at uni or studying. But if I get time, I love skateboarding, motocross and surfing. So, if I have no fights coming up I can go a bit crazy and try some tricks.

Tell me about your first ever fight and what that was like and how it compares to now?

In my first ever fight, I was 15 years old, fully padded, having an amateur bout. It was crazy! The rush of adrenaline…everything was so fast but I loved it, and knew I wanted to fight again as soon as possible. However, looking back at it now, it was funny, and nothing like it is now.

What have you learnt from your first fight to now — not only about fighting but also about yourself?

I’ve learnt so much from every fight. You just improve so much from each one. But from then to now, I learnt more about the mental aspect of fighting. Not everything is about winning or losing, or what titles you have. It’s the experience and knowing it’s not what you hold, it’s more about challenging yourself and fighting great fighters and making great friends within the sport.

What is the underlying motivation or attraction to fighting?

Fighting is life. I couldn’t imagine doing anything else. It’s just love of the sport; however, I would love to start working up the ranks and achieving a world title shot. Competing in this sport, for me, is not about being the strongest or toughest, it is the pure skill and technique that makes me love it. Just displaying great skill and putting on a great fight for fans and for the sport. Oh, and getting really cool fight shorts and a crazy photo make it pretty cool as well.

Who has been your hardest fight to date and why?

My hardest fight would be against Kim Baldacchino, which was on the last Powerplay show. She is a very clean and technical fighter, and it was very close round-to-round. Regardless of the result, that fight displayed great skill on both our behalves, and I would love a rematch.

What has been your greatest achievement or proudest moment in the sport?

My proudest moment…I can’t say. Every time I fight, it’s just a step up and improvement so it becomes the first thing on my list. But to be typical, my title fight against Jaimie Sherer. It was a good, hard fight. Also, I can say I met my idol Lucia Rijker in 2012 and that was awesome; I cried when I got home after meeting her.

Who has inspired or guided you along the way?

My trainer, Joe, is both my mentor and idol; he is such a great person in and out of the gym. He really cares and has looked out for me in the sport. I am very appreciative. Also, my girl, Sarah ‘Missy’ Howett. I was 11 when I met her, and I just thought — I want to be like her.

What is your next goal or what do you hope to achieve this year?

I would love a title shot, state or Australian to keep me pushing.

Whom do you have your sights on next?

Pretty much everyone [laughs]. I was actually thinking I would love to fight Lorryn Williams in the upcoming year, just because we are the youngest in the sport at the moment. I am 20 and she is 21, so it would make for a good war. There are talks of some fights coming up, some big step-up fights, around midyear, which would be a good challenge for me.

Any advice for aspiring fighters?

Just train hard and keep pushing. But have fun, that’s the best part! 

Article by IK Magazine