By Nicole Kato
Like other teenagers his age, Edward Thommes grew up feeling somewhat invulnerable as a fighter. And then one day, he ran into another brawler, a friend, with more chutzpah and skill than he had, and his cockiness was suddenly and shockingly cut down to size.
“One day (my friends) were boxing in the back yard,” recalls Thommes, a 2010 graduate of Pearl City High School. “I jumped in and actually did pretty good. So since I was big-headed and thought I was a good fighter, I boxed one of my best friends, who trained in kickboxing at the time, and he beat me up. That made me realize I had a lot to learn.”
Humbed by the experience, Thommes, who was just 13 at the time, started boxing at a local gym, where he slowly improved his striking skills as well as his suddenly shaken confidence. In the process, he also shed a lot of weight — 30 pounds, to be exact.
Today, at age 20, he’s a leaner, meaner and back- to-being-confident fight- ing machine. He proved himself against Arnold Berdon, whom he beat for the featherweight title at Destiny’s Na Koa II event last Saturday. The victory pushed Thommes’ record to an impressive 8-1.
“It was a dream come true,” says the feather-weight champ, who’s living up to his nickname, “The Promise.” “I train so hard for every single fight. For the past seven weeks, I would sometimes wake up in the morning from a dream that I won the fight and realized I hadn’t fought yet.
“I love winning fights; it’s something I work so hard for,” he adds. “I’m very passionate about what I do.”
Along with all the hours of intense physical training came the frequent moments of mental preparation, which Thommes says is the key to his fights.
“Whenever I walk into the cage, I’m terrified. It horrifies me that the outcome could be me having my after party in the hospital” he says. “But what gives me comfort is knowing that I am prepared for whatever my opponent throws at me, and I will never give up.”
Quitting is definitely not part of Thommes’ makeup. In fact, he claims his self-confi- dence stems from his reliance upon a higher power and his fear of being a disappointment to young fight fans.
“Every time I enter (the cage), I’m going to do my best to honor my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, in there — win or lose,” says Thommes, who fights for 808 Top Team, Warhorse Strength and Alliance BJJ Hawaii. “I also want to be someone a parent could tell their kid, ‘Hey, he’s not perfect, but that’s how you should handle (yourself).’”
Although his recent win calls for celebration, Thommes notes that he’s prepared to continue training and get better every single day.
“I’m going to work hard to achieve my goals and let the fire within me burn with passion in fighting and everything I do,” he says.