Candice Hardwick: “For me it’s about testing myself against the best out there”

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Candice Hardwick has been involved in the martial arts for nearly a year and a half but has found herself a natural and is continuing to push on up through the rankings. 

It’s going to be a busy end to the year for her as she heads out to Canada for a Muay Thai fight and then fights for the Fusion K1 title back in the UK. 

Training out of Shin Kick martial arts, she has some of the most talented coaches and team mates to help push her and you can see the results with each fight she has. 

Ahead of her two fights I caught up with her to find out a little more about her development and her thoughts on travelling to Canada and taking on the home town favourite out there.

Thanks for your time Candice. I wanted to start by asking about your development in the sport. I was told that 15 months ago you start up to lose weight and now you are competing on top quality shows. It sounds such a whirlwind. How have you found the past 15 months personally?

“I initially started just to lose some baby weight and also have a better understanding of what my partner did. He was always training/fighting and at various fight shows so I wanted to see what the fuss was about. When I went to my first class I got hooked and it has just progressed from there”.

When you first began and didn’t really have the intention to compete, when was the first moment you thought ‘I wouldn’t mind testing myself in the ring’ and looking back on that first fight, how did you find the whole experience?

“The gym I train out of holds interclubs (Heavy sparring) where fighters from different gyms get together and have non decision bouts. It gives valuable fight experience without the pressure of a win or loss. I was asked if I would like to have a go and i’m a firm believer in taking opportunities that come your way and I did just that and it has just gone on from there onwards”.

You train with some cracking competitors and coaches. Who have been some of the bigger influences on your development at the gym?

“My trainer Jesse has played the biggest part in my development, he has pushed me every step of the way and his knowledge of the UK Muay Thai and K1 scene is fantastic and that has rubbed off on me massively. Also my partner fights, so having someone who understands the physical and emotional roller coaster that is part of fighting and training amongst raising young kids helps loads.

All my team have played a part in some respect, it’s a close family unit at the gym”.

I see that you have a big few months coming up, starting on 1st November when you head over to Canada. How did that opportunity come about and how much are you looking forward to showcasing your skills on the world stage?

“It was a random one to be honest, a fellow Muay Thai trainer messaged the details over to my trainer and it went from there. I know Jesse has had fighters on that particular promotion in the past so it was just a case of touching base and finalising the details. I can’t wait to go, I’m happy to fight anywhere that i’m told, whether it is five or 5000 miles away🙂 “.

With it being over in Canada are you going to plan to head over early to get used to the time differences etc as we all know jet lag can be a real pain?

“We fly out a few days before so i’ll have enough time to get use to any differences. That said, my kids don’t seem to like sleeping so i’m use to being awake at random times haha”.

In that fight you take on unbeaten IFMA gold medallist Kelsey Andries. Have you had chance to see any of her fights and what type of match up are you expecting?

“I don’t study my opponents, I get told to fight and i do as i’m asked. I trust my team completely. I train hard and always give 100% that’s all I can do. I like to enjoy the experience too so it’ll be used as a learning curve also”.

With Kelsey coming in unbeaten and also in her home country, do you believe that it could work to your advantage as all the pressure will be on her?

“The pressure will be on her; home crowd, home show and an unbeaten record to protect. I’m not going out there to come second, I’m expecting a tough fight as I always do but she’ll get one too”.

After that you come back to England and compete on the Fusion card and get the chance to fight for the K1 title. How much would it mean to you to win the title?

“Titles are just an added bonus to winning. I started with the aim of getting fit and enjoying a new hobby. That’s still my aim. If I get belts then fantastic, but for me it’s about testing myself against the best out there”.

With those fights being quite close together, do you think that will be more beneficial for you, as you can stay in the fight camp mode?

“I always try to maintain a certain level of fitness. Being in such a difficult weight division and female means we have to take what we can so if a fight is three weeks or three months apart, I just do it🙂 “.

And finally, is there anybody you would like to thank/give a shout out to?

“Yes, My trainers Jesse Saunders, Scott Corah and Steve Effs, all the team at Shin Kick who all push me and help improve my game constantly, Liz Saunders who always gives me encouragement whether it is training or career goals . Lastly my partner Rob Hayward, puts up with my mood swings (his claims), holds pads for me and supports me every step”.

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