Saanich kickboxer Suraj Bangarh is likely heading into his final fight as an amateur.
The 23-year-old is currently studying at the Justice Institute of B.C. with the hopes of becoming a police officer.
He’ll likely be moving into pro kickboxing or starting his career following Friday’s Border Wars kickboxing promotion in the Pearkes Arena field house.
The event should look at lot like the May 2014 and March 2015 promotions at Pearkes by the same promoter, Stan Peterec. Each hit a capacity of 1,500 people.
“It’s the last chance to see two of our top amateur fighters before they go pro,” said Peterec, Bangarh’s coach. “Because of the new rules we can’t have pro kickboxing in B.C. anymore. Until we can, Bangarh will have to fight out of country.”
Bangarh, with 16 wins in 20 matches, is running out of amateur opponents. He’ll headline the event versus Ireland’s Carl Hand for the ISKA Super Lightweight title.
It’s a move down in weight for Bangarh (132 to 137 pounds) who won the ISKA Super Welterweight title in 2013, only to lose it in his 2014 title defence.
“This is a test run for me as a pro-level fight,” Bangarh said. “[Hand] has a lot of experience, 20 matches, and I don’t know much about him so it will be an interesting match. It’s my last amateur fight and if it goes well I’d like to fight pro.”
As far as Bangarh knows there aren’t a lot of police officers with international fighting experience in the ring.
“It’s something that’s kept me on a straight path. I’ve always enjoyed coming to the gym and working on technique and strength.”
To fight pro, however, it will likely mean fighting out of country, which means it will come second to Bangarh’s pursuit of a career in law enforcement. The most likely designation for a pro fight at this time would be China, Peterec said.
“[China’s] an easy place to find pro fights right now,” said the former world kickboxing champion and member of the Greater Victoria Sports Hall of Fame. “The big promotions, K1 and Glory, fill stadiums in the U.S. and they’re calling me, asking when [the laws] will change in B.C., so we’re hopeful.”
Aside from Bangarh vs. Hand, the remaining six fights for Border Wars are centred on a Canada vs. U.S.A. rivalry. Victoria’s adopted Campbell River son Chase Ingalls (20-0) will fight Omar Boyd, with locals Greg Lamothe and Tim Packer fighting Emmanuel Carter and Brandon Beck, respectively.
Tickets for the event start at $31.50 and are available through Peterec’s Muay Thai and Island MMA at 831 Fisgard St., Sports Traders at 508 Discovery St. and Suits U at 942 Fort St., or at the door.
Border Wars starts at 7 p.m.