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Pounding out a career: "Hollywood" Hancock goes for gold

hollywood_punch.jpg

Duffie County's Joshua "Hollywood" Hancock punches a bag during a workout at Health Link.
Photo by Kristopher Wells
People who have problems with their sandwiches at Subway should beware. Smarting off at the cashier could be hazardous to their health.

Thomson resident Joshua "Hollywood" Hancock has been the fifth-ranked middleweight kick boxer in the International Kickboxing Federation, and he can sell sandwiches with the best of them.

Martial arts have been his hobby for more than 20 years. It started when his father took him to a Tae Kwan Do class when he was nine years old. He earned his black belt at 12 and began point fighting at 15. But from the beginning it was something in which he found solace.

"It's like an outlet for me," Mr. Hancock said. "Everybody has their hobbies. Some people fish; some people hunt. I've always done martial arts."

At the age of 21, Mr. Hancock began full contact kickboxing and no holds barred fighting. Along the way, he has captured regional, state and national titles in both. He even fought for the K.I.C.K world title in September of last year.

In no holds barred fighting, Mr. Hancock made it to the undercard of an Ultimate Fighting Championship show. He had a match that was not televised, but he still got to experience a different type of fighting in the octagon.

"As far as no holds barred, it's totally different because you have to learn ground work as well as stand up," he said.

Recently Mr. Hancock has taken on the challenge of learning an additional style of fighting called muay thai. This style is similar to kickboxing but involves throwing knees and elbows in addition to kicking and punching.

Those new moves caused an injury in his last fight. An elbow to the ear ruptured his eardrum which will take several weeks to heal. And that's not the only injury he's ever had, nor is it the worst.

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"Hollywood" Hancock concentrates on making contact with a bag at HealthLink.
Photo by Kristopher Wells
In a kickboxing match Mr. Hancock attempted to pivot on one leg to perform a roundhouse kick, but his foot didn't cooperate. He broke the tibia bone in his leg and dislocated his ankle which ended the fight. He spent long hours in rehab, and a plate now holds his tibia together.

"Actually I healed faster than usual with the broken leg," Mr. Hancock said. "They told me I wouldn't fight for probably a year, and I was back fighting within three months because of the dedication I have, just pushing myself to get back in there."

Now at 30 years old, "Hollywood" Hancock is contemplating retirement from the world of professional fighting. People are telling him that 30 is old for a fighter. But he feels like there is still one thing he wants to accomplish.

"I'm to the point now where I've got to make that decision if I want to retire," Mr. Hancock said. "Right now I haven't come to that conclusion. But if I did, I would like to look back and say I was a champion...

"My goal is to be a champion in muay thai, kickboxing and no holds barred. Which I've already accomplished no holds barred and kickboxing. My goal now is to be a muay thai champion. Once I accomplish that I would probably say 'That's it.'"

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Hancock poses with some of his medals
Photo by Kristopher Wells
Mr. Hancock -- who earned his "Hollywood" nickname from a fight in California -- trains at Healthlink in Thomson, Hollywood Boxing in Dearing and the Augusta Boxing Club.

During his two hours of training each day, he stretches, runs two to three miles, jumps rope, and does drills on a punching bag. Mr. Hancock estimates that he throws between 500 and 1,000 kicks each day during his training just to get his timing right.

But all of the work that he puts into his fighting career is not all for his own glory. Even with a nickname like "Hollywood," it's more about personal enjoyment than making a big impression.

"Some people have asked me do I do it for the fame or the money. The money's not that great in kickboxing, so it's not really for the money or the fame," he said. "It's just something I like to do."



Web posted on Friday, June 11, 2004


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