|Carly Webber Photography|
Next Saturday night on February 1st, Roshambo MMA will crown their first ever women’s pinweight champion when Shauna Carew faces off against American Sarah Lagerstrom. It will be nine months between fights for Carew when she battles Lagerstrom. It is not because she did not want to fight. Instead, it is because she still has a tough time finding opponents in her weight class. Things do seem to be getting better though. Shauna took some time out of her busy schedule as she prepares for her first title fight here is what she had to say on that topic and others.
The following interview was originally conducted for hov-mma:
DW – It seems like while the sport is growing worldwide, especially the women’s side of it yet, you are still struggling to find fights. Are there signs that it is getting better in Australia?
Shauna Carew- Over the past couple of years the women’s scene here has seen a lot of growth, with more and more girls becoming involved in the sport. I guess over time the divisions here will deepen and there will be more opportunities for the girls coming into the scene now. It’s just unfortunate that I am so light and there just aren’t many girls this small around, let alone girls this small that do MMA!
DW- What some of the avenues you have explored in trying to find fights?
SC- We’ve contacted gyms, fighters, coaches, managers and promoters Australia wide and everyone is constantly looking for opponents for me.
DW- Can you describe your excitement to finally be fighting again?
SC- It’s awesome! I’m so excited, I get so anxious not being able to fight as often as I’d like, it’s like an addiction and I can’t get my fix!
DW- Do you think the fact that this is a title fight for Roshambo shows how committed they are to the women’s side of the sport?
SC- Absolutely, Roshambo tried to match me for their first show but couldn’t, so they held a female’s exhibition match with two other girls, it shows they have supported it from day one.
DW- How thankful are you to Roshambo for this opportunity to fight for their first pinweight title?
SC- I can’t thank them enough! It’s very rare for fighters in Australia to get international opponents, especially one all the way from America. Having it at Pinweight (100lb) is great for me, I am happy to fight at 105 lb – but I naturally walk around close to this weight so 100 is a much better fight weight for me.
DW- During the nine months since your last fight your head coach left Impact MMA. How has that affected your training in the last six months? How have you dealt with it personally with your training?
SC- It was really tough for a long time, my head coach Mal Vanderaar was someone I was very close with. He made me the fighter I am today and I will be forever grateful to him for that. I had the opportunity to follow him, however I chose to stay on at Impact for a number of reasons, but primarily I couldn’t walk away from the gym that had been my home since day 1. I’ve had to take responsibility for myself, where Mal used to be ‘that guy’ that was across all aspects of my MMA career – now I have taken on a lot of that myself and have sought help from others in the MMA community. My muay thai coach Brett Irvine has helped me a lot and continues to do so. He spends a lot of extra time with me and my striking continues to improve because of him. Nathan Starh is the wrestling and grappling coach at Impact MMA and has helped me a lot also. I’ve done a lot of work with the guys at Gamebred Combat Club over the past few months, and we are establishing a great group of girls with Claire Fryer, Alex Muir, Bec Rawlings and Kerry Barrett. Over the past months my BJJ coach Antonio Mota from MOTA-VATION BJJ has helped me significantly, aside from improving my game, his support and guidance in so many ways has been awesome and he has taken on a lot of what I was missing from not having a ‘head coach’ anymore. He’s the one to give me a kick up the ass when I need it and is there for me whenever I need help with anything.
DW- Given the limited opportunities to fight so far in your career you cannot support yourself on just fighting. How many hours a week do you work at your other job? How many hours a day do you train?
SC- I work full time shift work so between working and training there is not much time for anything else. I work a lot of early morning, afternoon and overnight shifts, so I have to find time around that to fit in training. On days I’ve worked from the morning or on days off I’ll be in the gym from 4:30-8 pm every night. Weights 3 times a week, running and hill sprints and then day time training if I am working nights. It’s hard to make sure I get enough sleep to recover, but it’s my life and I love it!
DW- Your boxing looked very crisp in your last fight. Has that been a point of emphasis for you? Who have you been working with? Is it something that you find you pick up easily?
SC- Thanks, in the lead up to that fight I had spent a lot of time with my Muay Thai coach Brett Irvine, in the 6 weeks prior to that fight, my striking improved immensely. We have kept that momentum going and hopefully will show even better striking this time round. The whole sport has not come naturally to me, it takes me a while to pick things up, but because its something I am so passionate about and I want to be the best I can – so I keep pushing.
DW- Do you find yourself learning more as you have to take more control over your training?
SC- I have learnt to be stronger and make sure I am doing what I need to do without having anyone to tell me. A lot of people have reached out to help me and I am really grateful for that.
DW- What about the sport surprised you with how much you liked it?
SC- The adrenaline of being in there and being able to test my skills against someone else is amazing! I love that feeling!
DW- What about yourself has surprised you as you have grown within the sport?
SC- My resilience, in the past I have always given up if something got too hard – but with this – no matter how bad a day I have, no matter how long it takes me to get better, I have never given up, never walked away and said it’s too hard. I want this more than anything and will keep going as long as the body holds out
DW- You have made it no secret your admiration for Invicta FC and in a recent interview with Neil Rooke you said, “Getting to Invicta is my goal. That’s what I want to achieve in the sport…If I can get a fight there, that would mean everything to me.” Talk a little bit about what you admire so much about Invicta FC and why you want to fight there so much.
SC- Invicta have done amazing things for WMMA – they have given girls so many awesome opportunities to show their skills and have helped build the sport worldwide. Although this coming fight for me is at pinweight, there are many girls in Invicta’s atomweight division that I would love to test my skills against! I know they have been watching me for a while, I just need to keep going and hopefully the phone will ring one day.
DW- Who would you like to thank?
SC- I Would love to thank everyone who has helped me along my MMA career so far, from coaches, gyms, training partners, sponsors and fans of the sport – you are all awesome!
Impact MMA – Brett Irvine, Ethan Law, Nathan Stahr
Mota-Vation BJJ – Antonio Mota
Gamebred Combat Club – Brendan O’Reilly, Nathan Ross, Simon Clough, Eilleen Forrest
Kellie Rose Designs
Fighters Against Child Abuse Australia.
You should follow her on both. One of the things that comes through when you talk to her, read her tweets and Facebook posts and that is her love and passion for the sport. Give her some support as she fights for the first Roshambo pinweight title next Saturday night. All of the action will go down next Saturday night at Sleeman Sports Complex in the Chandler Theatre, South East Queensland, Australia.
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