A bout with cancer and several serious surgeries haven’t diminished Jeff Hoffman’s desire to get back into the ring.
Born and raised in Langford, Hoffman has been training hard for Fury III Rumble, a Night of Combat, featuring kickboxing and boxing at the Songhees Wellness Centre on March 4.
He will compete in the 195-pound weight category in a modified version of Muay Thai, a combat sport with origins in Thailand that combines stand-up striking with various clenching techniques.
“It’s known as the art of eight limbs because you can use your elbows, knees, hands and feet,” Hoffman explained during an interview at Fighter Fitness on Goldstream Avenue, the supplements and training store he opened three years ago. “In the modified version, there are no elbows allowed and no knees to the head.”
The 45-year-old fighter got into the sport at 17 and has competed on and off as an amateur for the past 21 years. “My passion for the sport is what’s kept me into it,” he said. “I have a lot of fighters I sponsor through my shop, because it’s all about giving back to the sport you love. I’m very passionate about helping whoever walks through the door reach their full potential.”
One of the fighters he sponsors, former Edmonton Eskimo football player Adam Braidwood, is currently one of the top-ranked heavyweight boxers in Canada and will take part in a title fight next month, Hoffman noted proudly.
Since recently returning from Thailand, where he spent three weeks preparing for the fight, Hoffman has been training for Fury III at Martial Arts Unlimited with Greg Lamothe, well-known in fight circles.
“I’m ready to go 100 per cent,” Hoffman said. “I feel more focused for this fight than I have been in a long time.”
He freely admits, however, that getting ready for a fight has become more of a challenge as he’s gotten older.
Past injuries from 20 years of motocross racing include back and elbow surgery. Hoffman also endured a battle with cancer last year, and had a malignant melanoma and lymph nodes removed.
Hoffman credits Dr. Bruce Pinel, a sports psychologist who has worked with the Vancouver Canucks, Lamothe and the team at Martial Arts Unlimited for helping him prepare for the upcoming tilt.
“As you get older, (the injuries and surgeries) creep up on you,” he said. “It’s not just the training, it’s dealing with the non-stop aches and pains.”