Tonight, Saturday the 14th of November,Shamrock FC is hosting their fifth installment of Xtreme Fight Night. This is an evening that showcases not only mma but outstanding boxing and kickboxing athletes as well. Someone very familiar with this platform is the extraordinary muay thai/kickboxing prospect from Team Vaghi Tara Walker. In her third bout for the promotion she will take on Kenia Rosas for the inaugural Shamrock FC amatuer flyweight kickboxing title. Tara’s last fight ended in a draw so she is more than ready to take that belt. We were blessed enough to get a moment of time from the competitor during her weight cut which is always a daunting task. The following interview deals with where she is mentally for her third fight for XFN and how thankful she is to have this opportunity. We would like to thank Tara Walker and her team for this interview. This interview was conducted by MMA Wreckage featured columnist Travis Brown.
With this being your third XFN/Shamrock FC event how has your mindset changed now that you know what to expect from the promotion?
I’m a lot more at ease I think. Going into it I didn’t really know what to expect because dealing with promotions some of them are really well put together and some are not. Some don’t have things worked out, don’t have gloves for you some don’t have certain things that you think would normally be on their list of things to take care of their fighters. But XFN and Shamrock has always been extremely professional by being on time and everything that they say they are going to do they do. So I have no worries or qualms and my mind is completely at ease. I love fighting for them. When they ask me if I want to fight I definitely will say yes.
Give us your thoughts on your last fight and how you think you could have improved on that performance?
Um, I was really disappointed at that last one. Lindsey Williams is who I fought and she was a last minute replacement fighter. She was awesome and I think Shamrock did very good in finding a replacement fighter within a week’s notice. Which was great. I really did not agree with the judging in the third round and a lot of people seem to agree with me. The didn’t think it should have ended up as a draw. The one thing that I can say is I should have finished her in the third round. If you let it go to the judges that’s the chance that you take. She knew that I won she told me afterwards and I felt that won. So even though it was a draw I was proud of my performance. I just can’t let it be that close the next time. I definitely think i’m slow coming out in the first round trying to figure someone out and that’s where I end up losing. So maybe getting into quicker in the first round is what I need to do.
So do you think that with it being a last minute replacement fight it caused you to hesitate even more in the first round?
Yes and no. Yes probably because I had no idea who I was going to be fighting. At the same time I don’t try to technically prepare for just one fighter I just try to be as best prepared as I can be. That’s just one of my flaws in every fight that I have that start off slow in the first round trying to figure somebody out. How they are going to come at me, what I need to do to get at them. You know just try to react a little bit faster is my game plan from this point on.
How has your training evolved since your first XFN fight and what are some of the things you are improving on everyday?
So my first XFN fight was this year in February and this year was probably the busiest I have ever been before. I usually go training for a fight and only have one or two a year. This year I wanted to get four fights in but It didn’t happen for me. So I just been trying to stay busier. Usually i would fight and then take a month or two off from the gym. This year I have just been training non stop. So I don’t really take any time to get out of shape and I get lucky on things. I just have just been trying to get better. I make almost every class and workout when I can also working out outside of the gym and doing two a days a lot of days. I’m just trying to constantly stay in shape where I can really just focus on my technique when I’m in class.
How much do you know about your opponent Kenia Rosas and what advantages do you think your hold in the contest?
Um, I really only know what my coaches have told me. I really couldn’t find much footage on the internet about her. She’s fairly young so I don’t know how long she’s been training but she does have a very good record in my opinion. I heard she was 5-0 kickboxing and 3-2 mma. So that’s a little intimidating but at the same time I want to fight people who have good records and have good skills. She’s pretty young so I think I have an advantage because I have probably been training longer than she has. Those fights could have been tournaments so I’m not sure. I think my main advantage is having been training a little bit longer, being a little bit older and I think that I’ll just probably be better.
How has your team helped you for this upcoming fight and who are the people that keep you motivated each day?
Oh god, our gym. I mean I can’t even say enough good things about our gym because it’s like family. I spend most of my time and Vaghi Martial Arts. I’m there Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday. We also run on Sundays together and Saturday’s I also train out at St. Charles MMA. So I guess the biggest people are my two coaches Quentin O’Brien and Patrick Christie. They are not only coaches but really good friends of mine that check on me outside of class too. Celeste Doerwaldt is the only other female at my gym and she is my largest help in regards to sparring another woman. We do have a St. Louis women’s sparring group and we try to get together once a month just to have other females to train with. I spare every weekend and on Thursday’s at our gym. There are guys that are my size and even ones who aren’t my size that I spare with. You can always learn something from somebody and I’m very comfortable with anybody, right handers, left handers. People taller shorter. So I think i’m pretty well rounded. I really couldn’t ask for better people to train with who are constantly pushing me.
Are there any upcoming fights or opportunities for you outside of St. Louis in the near future?
Yeah actually the reason why I didn’t fight on XFN 4 was because my coaches knew some of the people who put on the Friday Night Fights up in New York. So we have been trying to get me up to New York and I was suppose to go up there in September. They ended up using their resources for an 8 man tournament. So they didn’t want to bring people from the rest of the country. They wanted to use all their monetary resources to bring in really good people for that tournament. It was like a men’s 150 tournament. So the goal is to still try and get me to go up to New York at some point and I think that would be a really great opportunity for me to get out there. So I know that’s on the agenda to try for maybe early next year. As far as that it’s just kinda that Patrick’s the one who sets up all my fights and I just kinda listen to what he says. We’ve been offered and if he thinks it’s a good opportunity we will consider. I know we are looking at some tournaments next year whether it’s the WK or up in Iowa again would be fun but as far as that XFN has probably been the best promotion here in St. Louis I’ve fought on yet. So when people ask us if we want to fight we will take XFN over a lot of the other ones. Just because they are so professional and always treat us really well.
What do you feel needs to happen for St. Louis to host a major kickboxing or muay thai promotion and how excited would you be to see that?
Oh gosh, I’d be ecstatic and like we were so excited when Bellator came here. We had some guys from our team fight on the card and I felt like that was huge. I don’t even know what it would take to get one to come here but there would have to be some big names to showcase a lot of the St. Louis talent to big in a huge crowd. That’s what would get the word out I guess. It would need to be promoted the right way.
Do you feel like XFN/ Shamrock FC is the type of promotion that continues to need to happen to see something like this eventually?
Yes definitely I mean because there are so many people who don’t even know what muay thai and kickboxing are all about. Everytime I run into somebody they are like “Oh are you the mma fighter” or “are you going to fight Ronda Rousey?” I’m like no it’s not even the same sport.
No we are going after Tiffany Van Soest!
Exactly, exactly! So having these XFN shows where it showcases boxing, kickboxing and mma it’s getting the word out and showing people what the differences is between the sports they are starting become more and more popular. All these shows are selling out so there is a demand for them. Now they are starting to stream them online and some are even being televised in certain areas. It’s huge. So I think it definitely going in the right direction. I think there is still a lot of work a lot of people who don’t know what muay thai and kickboxing is. They only know boxing and UFC so it’s a lot of work but I think all the St. Louis promotions are doing a great job so if we just keep putting on good shows and getting the word out eventually it will happen. St. Louis is a sports town and I think it would be for kickboxing and muay thai promotion as well.
Watch Tara and Kenia battle it out for the amatuer flyweight kickboxing title tonight at XFN 5.
#ShamrockFC tonight at Lumiere Casino. Still tickets available for tonight 50.00 and 60.00. Go to https://cagetix.com/shamrockfc
Images courtesy of Jimmy Range Photography