Daniel Miller is SBG Buford's Martial Arts Student of the Month for April 2021

The comback of the night definitely went to SBG Buford's Daniel Miller, who came back from a near knockout in round 1 to win his most recent Kickboxing fight!

Muay Thai, Kickboxing

It was the 7th Muay Thai/Kickboxing fight of Daniel Miller's martial arts career and one that was more personal to Daniel. Coming in with a 3-3 record, Daniel's last fight was a loss and one that didn't sit well with him. Of the losses Daniel has suffered in the past, only the third one was definitive (the first two were very close decisions and could have gone either way) and Daniel was not content having that be his "last fight". On top of that, he wanted to get his record over the .500 mark and saw this as the perfect opportunity.

Daniel has been training in Muay Thai and Kickboxing for nearly a decade. He came to Straight Blast Gym Buford in 2015 and has been one of our top competitors and teammates over that span. Not only is he a fantastic (and safe) training partner but he will also teach Muay Thai classes if one of the SBG coaches needs a last-minute substitute. With Daniel's experience, he is incredibly valuable to Straight Blast Gym Buford's Muay Thai program and Competition Team.

At the beginning of the year, Muay Thai Coach Jim Sheppard began putting together a team to compete in the IKF's annual Spring Classic Kickboxing tournament in Myrtle Beach, North Carolina. The team was comprised of a lot of first-time competitors, and Coach Jim wanted a veteran fighter to help lead the team. That person was Daniel Miller.

About 8 weeks before the tournament was set to take place, Daniel began training harder than we've ever seen him. He would show up an hour before class to run 3-5 miles or hit pads with other Muay Thai students. Come fight weekend, he made weight and was looking more ready than ever before.

Muay Thai Coach Jim Sheppard said this about Daniel:

"I've been a part of several fight camps for Daniel but this one felt different. You could tell he was willing to do whatever it took to get the win, not only for himself but as a leader of our Muay Thai program. The younger guys and girls look up to him and that can add extra pressure to perform well. He handled that pressure like a champ, both during his preparation and the fight itself."

In round 1 of his fight, Daniel got sat-down after a nasty head kick from his opponent. Daniel's eyes looked pretty vacant as he was given an 8-count from the referee. We later found out that the ref was close to stopping the fight. It was a direct kick to the dome and you could tell Daniel was rocked pretty good.

When round 2 began, Daniel began circling away from his opponent's strong side, taking away that powerful roundhouse kick that he was rocked with during the opening round. Not only did this take away his opponent's best strike, but it opened up Daniel to start landing strikes of his own, which he did over and over again.

Rounds 2 and 3 were all Daniel, and when the final bell rang his coaches felt good that he'd dominated the last two frames enough to get the decision win. The announcer got on the mic and informed the crowd that the judges had ruled the fight a draw (10-8 for the opponent in round 1, and then 10-9 for Daniel in rounds 2 and 3) and that Daniel was going to fight a 4th round. Both fighters were exhausted, but Daniel was able to sustain a higher pace and out-struck his tired and beat-up opponent in route to an INCREDIBLE comeback win. As the announcer declared Daniel the winner the crowd erupted into cheers, knowing that they had just seen an incredible comeback win.

Of all of Daniel's Muay Thai/Kickboxing victories, this one was by far the most impressive. Not only did he gut out a very tough first round and make the adjustments needed to earn the comeback win, but the 2 months leading up to the fight saw Daniel bust his butt every day to get in great shape and make his reaction time razor-sharp. It was an incredible showing from one of Straight Blast Gym's longest-tenured and most respected Muay Thai athletes.

Congrats on an amazing win Daniel, and thank you for all of your hard work and leadership over the past 6 years!

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