Punch and Circumstance


By Adam McFadden

He got his start getting bags at the Rec Center, but no this WSU grad is well on the road to being a professional writer.

Its 9 p.m. and Bristol Marunde is just finishing a wearisome 16-hour day.

He sandwiches a full-time job selling real estate between workouts in the mornings and evenings nearly every day of the week. It may seem like an extreme schedule, but this is the kind of dedication he needed to achieve his goal of becoming a professional fighter.

“Its a really hard schedule,” Marunde said. “That’s for sure.” A few years ago Marunde was a student at WSU, spending time with friends, watching the Ultimate Fighting Championship on TV. Now he is a member of the Tiger Sharks, competing in the International Fight League.

“I saw the fighters and noticed they have something not many people have,” Marunde said. “They have guts to step in the cage and fight.” He got his start at the WSU Student Recreation Center, “just hitting the bags.” Later, after winning his first fight with a knockout, he noticed he had that “something” like the fighters on TV.

Marunde found out about the IFL, which is in its first full season, and loved the idea. The Tiger Sharks have started off at 0-1. Individually, Marunde is 2-4, while fighting in the 185-pound weight class.

The IFL’s fighting style is a blend of boxing, kickboxing, submission grappling and wrestling, according to the IFL Web site. Fighters can win matches by knockout, submission or judges’ decision. They fight inside a boxing ring, where the matches last up to three rounds.

The IFL is unique among fighting leagues because of its team format. Each team has five fighters competing in different weight classes. The IFL is the first team-based mixed martial arts fighting league.

“Compare it to a football, baseball, or basketball team,” Tiger Sharks head coach Maurice Smith said. “It is a team environment and team attitude.” Barunde said although the fighters focus on the physical training, but they must also be mentally sound.

“Everyone is fast enough, everyone is strong enough,” Marunde said. “It is the mental strength that makes a fighter different.” To help clear his mind, he takes trips to his birthplace, Alaska, as often as possible. This helps him refocus and refresh his attitude.

“If I’m stressed about work or other outside things, it shows in my performance,” Marunde said.

Even with the countless hours spent working and the lengthy efforts taken to clear his mind, there is always room for improvement.

“His weaknesses are inexperience and striking,” Smith said.” But he works hard to get better.” Marunde has also recently used his skills outside the ring – for something other than fighting.

Two years ago in Seattle, Marunde heard a scream and responded. He chased and single-handedly detained a wanted rapist attempting to burglarize his neighbor’s apartment.

“Once I caught up with him, I subdued him with a kick to the face,” Marunde said.

The Seattle Chief of Police presented Marunde with the outstanding citizen award for his actions.

The Tiger Sharks’ next fight is on April 7 against the Red Bears.

“We’re getting healthy and gunning for a championship,” Marunde said.

(Source)

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