Salutes & Awards

June 1, 2012

Dancer, actress morphs into fighter

by Airman 1st Class David Owsianka
56th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

Athena Austin, daughter of retired Master Sgt. Steven Austin, 56th Maintenance Group load crew member, performs a jump kick during the 4th round of the Muay Thai Atom weight championship April 17 at Celebrity Theatre. Austin won the championship in five rounds by a unanimous decision.

When someone says the word fighter what may come to mind is someone who is big, strong or muscular.

Well, if those are the only things that come to mind, you will be amazed when meeting the 5’1″, 105-pound Muay Thai atom weight contender Athena Austin, daughter of retired Master Sgt. Steven Austin, 56th Maintenance Group load crew member.

Growing up, Austin was never into sports. She was always dancing in the studios or acting out a scene in theaters. She took up Muay Thai two years ago as a way to stay in shape.

“I didn’t realize that it was an actual fighting sport until I researched it,” Austin said. “About a month into the training, my coach got me into sparring; I did well and decided to give it a shot.”

Since starting, she has been in four bouts; two smoker and two amateur fights. In smoker, the fighters would wear head gear and shin guards. Amateur and smoker are three two-minute round contests; title fights are five two-minute rounds.

Her first fight was a smoker in Las Vegas, only eight months after beginning to learn the sport.

“Going into it, I was nervous and constantly thought, ‘Am I ready? Maybe I should just stop and go home,’” Austin said.

Even though she lost the bout, it was a night she will never forget.

“It ended up being fun,” she said. “Even though I lost by a split decision, I believe it was still a good learning experience.”

Other fighters who train with Austin believe she has what it takes to make it to the next level.

“When Austin fights she is a high-intensity firecracker,” said Vinn Xayaveth, a fellow Muay Thai fighter. “Once she lets her hands go, she is hard to deal with.”

Not long into her Muay Thai career, Austin was given the opportunity to contend for the title belt on her fourth fight. She had two months to get ready for her biggest fight yet.

Her training consisted of running, strength and conditioning, sparring sessions, and pad and bag work.

“The training was good preparation for the fight,” Austin said. “Even though I am an amateur, my coach trains me on a professional level.”

As the bell rang to start the championship fight April 7, the fighters were off. It was a fast-paced fight from the get go; with both fighters wanting to prove their worth.

“From start to finish it stayed the same up-tempo pace,” Austin said. “All of my training leading up to the fight came into play.”

With both competitors unable to win by knockout, the fight went to the score cards. And by a unanimous decision, Austin became the new Muay Thai Atom weight champion.

“Once I heard my name being announced as the new champ, it made me feel like all of the training I endured, and all the bumps and bruises I received was worth it,” she said.

After becoming the reigning champ, Austin has decided to continue fighting.

“My goal is to turn pro, whether it’s in Muay Thai or mixed martial arts,” she said. “It would mean a lot because it would mean all of my hard work paid off, and I would be able to do something I enjoy doing.”




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 

Thunderbolt of the Week

Staff Sgt. Clemente Fernandez III 56th Medical Support Squadron Outpatient records NCO in-charge Hometown: San Antonio Years in service: Six Family: Mom, Rosemary; dad, Clemente; sisters, Linda and Roxanne; and son, Clemente IV Previous assignments: Incirlik Air Base, Turkey, and Yokota AB, Japan Inspirations: My dad. He made sure I understood the importance of working...
 
 
Courtesy photo

Heroes walk amongst us every day

Courtesy photo “The occasion is piled high with difficulty, and we must rise with the occasion.” ~Abraham Lincoln One Airman did just that when he found himself downrange in the thick of war. It was April 2008 and Maj. Scot...
 
 

THUNDERBOLT OF THE WEEK

Staff Sgt. Perry Vitali Jr. 56th Security Forces Squadron Element leader Hometown: Scottsdale, Ariz. Years in service: Eight Education: Pursuing a Community College of the Air Force degree in criminal justice and a master physical trainer certification at the International Sports Sciences Association Previous assignments: F.E. Warren Air Force Base, Wyo., Osan Air Base, South...
 

 
Grace Lee

Day taken to commemorate Tuskegee Airmen

Grace Lee David Toliver, Archer-Ragsdale Arizona Chapter Tuskegee Airmen, Inc. president, speaks March 27 at the inaugural Tuskegee Airmen Commemoration Day ceremony at the Luke Air Force Base Tuskegee Airmen Memorial Air Park....
 
 

Thunderbolt of the Week

Senior Airman Zachary James 607th Air Control Squadron Cyber Transport Systems Journeyman Hometown: Kingsland, Texas Years in service: 3.5 years Education: Pursuing Community College of the Air Force degree in electronic systems technology Inspirations: Henry David Thoreau, Ernest Hemmingway and retired Senior Master Sgt. John Howard James Goals: To provide for the people I value...
 
 

ALS graduates 38 senior airmen

The 56th Fighter Wing Airman Leadership School graduated 38 senior airmen March 27 in class 14-3. The award winners are: John L. Levitow Award: Jacob Haydon, 56th Civil Engineer Squadron Distinguished graduates: Joshua McIntosh, 56th Operations Support Squadron; Jonathan Sigerson, 56th Component Maintenance Squadron; and Joseph Vandervennet, 56th Maintenance Group Commandant’s Award: Jonathan...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>


Directory powered by Business Directory Plugin