Name: Alexis Rufus (fight name (Alexis ‘Ruthless’ Rufus) Age:34 Weight: 53-55kg Gym: Stars Gym Fight record: 35 fights (28 w, 7 l) Titles: WMC MAD, WKA, ISKA, WPMF, IKF World Champion, WMC & ISKA European Champion, UKMF British Champion, UKMF English Champion
I have been training in Muay Thai for just under 10 years. I started for fitness and as an alternative to normal gym training. I have a huge competitive side which surfaced very soon after I started training and after seeing my trainer at the time win his European title, I knew this is what I wanted to do. A year later he had trained me up for my first pro fight.
2. You have trained in Thailand, what are the differences between Thailand and home?
I have been to Thailand a number of times, my first trip was in 2006. Each time I went I trained and fought out there. Some of the differences for me between training in Thailand and home are the intensity, the heat, the more relaxed attitude which resulted in less stress and less injury, the amount of running, the sparring – in Thailand it is more technique based and you won’t find Thais trying to knock each other out during a sparring session! The main difference is the high level of respect – for teacher, for the sport and for your fellow training partners.
This sport always brings new challenges but I think the biggest was moving to Thailand in 2012, leaving the UK, leaving my job, my home, my family & friends and not knowing how long I would be there for or how I would afford to live out there training and fighting full time with no job. Somehow I managed to do it and I learnt a huge amount about myself and about what I am capable of.
4. Have you ever had any bad injuries?
I have had a lot of injuries from training and fighting! The worst include cracked shin bone, cracked knuckle, dislocated toe, shin infections and bursitis.
The most important things to remember as a fighter is respect and that no one is invincible.
6. What would you say is your best weapon?
My best weapon is belief in myself. Without that my physical capabilities would not count.
7. Your hardest fight and why?
My hardest fight was against Jessica Gladstone in 2010 in Canada. It was at a higher weight category for me and was an all out war for 5 rounds. When I thought I had broken her in round 2 she came back and stood her ground until the final bell. We both took a lot of shots that night and at the end it boiled down to the will to win. Jessica was one of the toughest girls I have fought and I have huge respect for her.
8. Anything you dislike in Muay Thai?
I do not dislike anything about Muay Thai as the sport itself, but I do dislike the way a lot of Westerners take themselves way too seriously in this fight game. I think my time out in Thailand brought me down to earth a great deal and what I stressed about or thought was so important back at home, actually wasn’t. It really grounds you and I think the more you relax and less you stress, the more focused and successful you can be.
In 2014 I plan to keep busy this year and maintain my no. 1 spot in my weight category. There are a few ladies left that I would like to fight and I hope that I will get the opportunity to fight them. My biggest hope is to get the opportunity to fight for a WBC belt and win of course!
10. Any advise for people just starting out fighting?
My biggest advise for people just starting out fighting is to enjoy it, keep busy and learn from your peers. Also visit Thailand and learn from the Thais. There is so much to learn on so many levels that you just won’t get in the Western world.
My career has spun nearly a decade and I have met some amazing people on my journey and shared the ring with so many inspirational women. I want to thank all those who helped me on my way with my training, both physical and mental. Also thank my friends and family who stuck by me and believed in me. To all my fans too who believed in me and supported me along the way. To my trainer Neil Dunn who has literally shed blood, sweat and tears along side me. He is an absolute rock and a very dear friend.
Interview by Natasha Sky, photos supplied Jan 2014