Gun Saint turns to kickboxing

Birregurra footballer Roy Armistead is pictured with his kickboxing coach Shawn Sutton after switching sports.

Deans Marsh export Roy Armistead put a promising football career with Birregurra on hold to pursue kickboxing this year, and the 21-year-old is enjoying the spoils. Armistead is undefeated in his first four fights – no surprise considering he trains about three hours a day, six days a week – and is eyeing a fifth straight win this weekend. Colac Herald sports reporter Ben Martin spoke with Armistead about his shock switch in sports.

THE SWITCH

Birregurra footballer Roy Armistead concedes he does miss hitting the field with his beloved Saints teammates.

Armistead was out there during Birregurra’s heartbreaking loss to Lorne in last year’s Colac district league grand final, his 59th senior game since debuting as a teenager in 2013.

The league powerhouse is in the midst of its 11th finals campaign in 12 seasons, with a third flag in four years in sight.

But this year the Saints are having to do it without Armistead, following his shock decision to put football on hold to pursue a new passion; kickboxing.
“I suppose everyone was a bit surprised when I told them,” Armistead said.

“Mainly because I was 100-per-cent keen on footy, and I was doing pretty well with that,” he said.

“But then all of a sudden I wanted to go full time with this, it was a bit of a random shock.”

Armistead, also a talented cricketer and tennis player, said he had always had an interest in mixed martial arts.

He’s always had toughness; the multiple junior premiership footballer at Birregurra put off a hernia operation to play in the 2013 under-17.5 grand final, and won the best-on-ground medal.

But it wasn’t until June last year that he finally decided to take up kickboxing.

He found a gym Elite Training Centre in Geelong on Google, and the rest is history.

Armistead’s commitment is staggering; when he started he was travelling to Geelong from his home in Deans Marsh or work as a builder in Colac twice a week, while training with Birregurra two other days.

“I always wanted to do it, since I was a young bloke,” he said of kickboxing.

“Some people just do the training for the fitness, but I knew I was going to get into fighting, straight up, I’ve always loved it.”

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