A lot of kids who grow up, especially mixed bloods, either get beat up a lot or learn how to fight. Melvin Murray learned how to fight.

Growing up in Prince George, B.C., was tough for Mel and his brother who are half Cree. “My brother looks more Native, he got into a lot more fights.” At around age 15 his parents split up. His mother knew that her son had to take care of himself. She encouraged him to take up boxing. He boxed for three years before moving on to kickboxing.

He has been kickboxing for 12 years so far. He’s tried Tae kwon do and karate but finds kickboxing more to his style. He says it “has the most contact of the martial arts.”

He is 30 years old and weighs in at 148 lbs. He’s been competing for 10 years with a record of 27-2 (8 ko’s). His ring name is “The Mule” for his kicking ability. He is currently ranked fourth in the world in the welterweight class. Mel had fought and won in Montreal once before. He was back in Montreal for a title shot at the kickboxing extravaganza, Kobudomania.

This visit was not to be triumphant. He went against Victor “The Ukrainian Pitbull” Vargotsky, 21-5. Vargotsky, who is a local from the Tri-Star gym, proved why he was champ. He didn’t flinch. Whatever Mel gave him didn’t seem to faze him. It was scary. Kick after kick to the head and body proved to be not enough to get Vargotsky down.

In the end it was the close body shots which let him keep the title. After the 10 rounds Victor won with a 105-105, 101-105, 102-105 decision.

Also on the card was another local, also from Tri-Star. Conrad “Batman” Pla also proved why he was Champ. He fought for 10 or 11 rounds with a broken arm… Even scarier. His opponent, Orlando “The Warrior” Rivera from New York, put up a good fight. Even with a wicked punch Orlando couldn’t take away the title.

Mel says the sport gives you a lot of discipline and improves you as a person. “With the trips out, I’ve seen different places and people and that has taught me how to interact with people and not be narrow-minded.”