Sun | Nov 18, 2018

Dusard eyes pro ranks after ISKA World Champs

Published:Monday | September 3, 2018 | 12:00 AMAinsley Walters/Gleaner Writer

Nicholas Dusard badly needs an individual gold at next week's International Sports Karate Association (ISKA) Amateur Members' Association World Championship on home soil to kick-start a new phase of his decorated martial arts career.

"I want to do some pro kickboxing, through ISKA. I want to start venturing into that. I am working on my boxing," said Dusard, 28, who joined Oshane Murray and London 2012 Olympian Kenneth Edwards as pioneers for Jamaica's foray into ISKA, winning gold at the 2014 Cyprus Amateur Members Association World Championship.

Murray and Edwards had set the tone by mining gold medals in the Netherlands and Barcelona, Spain, in 2012 and 2013, respectively. Neither, however, ventured on to the pro circuit as Murray's career was ended permanently by a spinal injury and Edwards remained active, locally and internationally, in tae kwon do tournaments.

Should he strike a second ISKA Amateur Members Association World Championship gold and really decide to go pro after the tournament, which starts at the Montego Bay Convention Centre with weigh-ins next week Monday, Dusard could be featured on live events worldwide, well-attended and viewed by television audiences circling the globe.

ISKA is the world's most well-recognised sanctioning and regulatory body for combat sports and competitive martial arts. Its events are featured on ESPN, GLORY World Series elite professional kickboxing competition as seen on SPIKE TV, Strikeforce MMA as seen on CBS and Showtime as well as K-1 USA, and Chuck Norris' World Combat League.

Dusard is now working himself back to full fitness after taking almost two years off to pursue studies in Trinidad and Tobago.

"I left Jamaica in 2016 for Trinidad, where I completed a master's in construction management at the St Augustine campus of UWI. I did a couple of WAKO (World Association of Kickboxing Organizations) competitions, but not much. I was very focused on school for two years," he explained.

Dusard returned to active competition last November at the WAKO World Champs in Budapest, Hungary, and won bronze, fighting at-70 kilos. His latest bout was at another ISKA tournament, July's United States Open, where he lost the featured tae kwon do Night of Champions match to Italian sensation Timothy Bos.

"I am very fit. I can go the rounds. The only issue is getting sparring in, but I should be up to speed by the time the championship starts next Wednesday," he said of the week-long event, which ends Saturday with a gala night.

"I have been sparring last night, and I am not far off. It's just to get that rust off. I am very confident for this one, more so than the US Open and WAKO Champs before that. I have a chance to put in a lot more work. Before the US Open, I was still finishing my thesis in Canada. Now I have a chance to train in the summer, living almost next door the gym where I work out," he assured.