Amateur kickboxers Taylor Maylnyk and Chase Drossos will travel to Italy to represent Team Canada in K-1 kickboxing later this month
Two Barrie teens fought to get to the top of their sport.
Taylor Malynk and Chase Drossos will travel to Italy for Team Canada later this month to compete in the World Association of Kickboxing Organizations (WAKO) K-1 World Championships in Italy.
The recent graduates of Innisdale High School have trained hard over the past 18 months and say they are thrilled to finally be able to return to the ring.
Trained in both Muay Thai fighters and K-1 kickboxing, Malynk is expected to compete in the 18+ category and the 125-pound category. She said Barrie today she entered the sport at the age of 14 after trying jiu-jitsu.
âI didn’t really like rolling on the ground with the sweaty men so I tried to go further by hitting. As soon as I tried Muay Thai I really enjoyed it and got good quickly, âshe said.
In her freshman year, she won two gold medals at the Provincial and National Championships with Muay Thai Ontario.
âI fight Muay Thai and K-1 is a bit similar. Muay Thai is about elbows and knees, “Malynk said.” You use all eight limbs and K-1 is just hands and kicks. It’s a little different, but I still appreciate it.
With the COVID-19 pandemic, they had no opportunity to fight, she said, so instead they focused on their training.
âNow having such a big event after not fighting for so long, we both have our nerves, but we’re both super excited about it,â Malynk said. âI can’t wait to get back in the ring and feel the adrenaline rush that comes with competition.
âIt’s so different to try to mentally prepare and actually be there,â she added. “I am delighted to be in this environment and to have my teammates around – and do what I love.
Provincial champion, Canadian national champion, two-time Pan American Games silver medalist and North American silver medalist, Drossos is expected to compete in the 18+ category and the 105-pound category during the 10-day tournament.
Drossos only discovered the sport after returning to Canada from Costa Rica, where she had spent the previous years living with her family. While she was there she surfed to stay active, which she wasn’t going to be able to continue doing here, so she went looking for another sport to stay in shape.
âWe grew up watching the UFC and I thought I would love to try it,â she said. âBasically I took my dad with me because I needed someone to train with to start with and I was too scared to go it alone. I started out just for fun and to stay in shape, but six months later I had my first fight and fell in love with it.
Drossos admits she enjoys the adrenaline rush she feels every time she steps in the ring – with the feeling of confidence she feels.
âThe confidence I have now just knowing that I can handle myself if I ever need to and feeling strength (as a) woman,â she said.
Drossos trains six days a week and is also excited to finally be able to bring all that hard work back to the ring.
âIt’s been a year and a halfâ¦ and I’ve worked really hard and trained all this time, so I’m super excited to go out there and show what I got,â she said. declared. âI’m only five feet (tall) and a lot of people look at me and say I don’t look like a fighter.
âAt first I had a lot of challenges because of people telling me that I was too small and too lightâ¦ and that I wouldn’t beat them. I had a lot of doubtsâ¦ but I just crossed the line. no. It made me be better, and made me want to prove them wrong.
The competition will bring together fighters from all over the world, which Malnyk says will be a whole new experience for her.
“I’ve just kind of just stayed (in Canada), so now going internationally is going to be a whole new experience for me,” she said, adding that she could attend with her former classmate from class. – and Canadian teammate – will be a unique experience.
âShe’s in a different weight class than mine, but we’ll go together. I feel like I have an advantage with that. I got to know her in high school and we’re close friends now, so we’re going to get to experience this togetherâ¦ and hopefully (we’ll bring back) two gold medals to Barrie.