When Eddie Singleton finishes his kickboxing match Saturday, his work will have only just begun.
Singleton, 53, is in the first bout of the 12-card kickboxing event at Fort Gordon's Gym 5. The 243-pounder takes on a fighter 40 pounds heavier and more than 20 years his junior.
But that's the easy part, Singleton said.
"It's easier to fight a guy who is bigger," he said. "What psyches me out is someone really small, because they are so much quicker and faster. It might take one punch for me to knock him out, but I have to hit him. With a big guy, there's more of him to hit."
After hitting his opponent, Singleton then hits the ringside to butter up the corporate sponsors.
"I'm one of the promoters, so I need to fight first and then back to the crowd and schmooze the corporate-table people," he said. "I've business inside and outside the ring."
Training at the Augusta Martial Arts Academy in Martinez for the past four years, Singleton sought out kickboxing to stay in shape for his first love, backpacking. The workouts evolved into sparring, which led to competing.
Though some may think he's crazy - his wife, for example - Singleton believes he's more of an inspiration.
"I think a lot of people are a little inspired that I do this, because of my age," he said. "We get some people coming to the gym now that are a little older, and came after seeing me fight. They see that you're never too old to try something new."
As the owner of Tub Doctor in Martinez, Singleton has only a couple of hours a day to devote to training. However, he says he compensates with mental toughness, which includes not even bothering to learn who his opponent is.
"I don't get involved in people's names that I'm fighting. I train for myself," he said. "I don't psyche myself out by learning about a person's record or how good they're supposed to be."
This will be Singleton's third fight. He lost the first, but won the second with a first-round knockout.
The amateur matches require fighters to wear headgear and consist of three two-minute rounds.
Determined to continue his amateur career, Singleton said he has experienced nothing, so far, that would make him want to quit fighting.
"Physically, I'm in good shape," he said. "There has been nothing to deter me from continuing. Unless I'm in a bout where I get rocked pretty good, I won't change my mind.
The fights begin at 7 p.m. and tickets cost $12. For more information, call the Augusta Martial Arts Academy at 855-5269.
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