• IKBF WA super middle weight
  • IKBF Aust super middle weight
  • IFMA world championship super middle weight gold medalist.
  • IKBF is the International Kickboxing Federation and IFMA is International Federation of Muay Thai Amateurs

“In a world full of Grandmasters and Ultimate Fighters, Rob Lovett is surprisingly humble. He prefers not to talk about his accomplishments, instead steering the conversation to those who’ve helped him along the way, and what he’s still got to learn. But the accomplishments speak for themselves. WA and Australian champion. International gold medal winner. Multiple belts in multiple weight divisions.

Not bad for a boy from Belmont who started training Tae Kwon Do at twelve. “I think my parents wanted me to get rid of my energy”, he says. “I wasn’t a very nice person. I think you have to have a bit of mongrel in you to fight, and I had a lot.” But twenty years and tens of thousands of hours later, he’s a different person.

Muay Thai is the traditional martial art of Thailand. Hundreds and perhaps thousands of years old, Muay Thai fighters punch, kick, elbow, knee and grapple in a brutal ballet. It’s possibly the most demanding sport in the world. Traditional Muay Thai fighters practice kicking banana trees and breaking coconuts. Rob uses boxing gloves, medicine balls and skipping ropes.

A qualified fitness instructor, Rob tailors each person’s workout to their physical capabilities. “A lot of what we learn is about biomechanics,” he says. “You don’t have to be strong to hit hard. If you’ve got the fundamental techniques and you can do them well, that’s your foundation.”

What about the danger? Not everybody who trains wants to get in the ring, Rob explains. He hasn’t had a serious injury in all his years of coaching. “If you want to go hard, we can go hard,” he says. “If you just want to get better, that too.”

I take a look inside the gym. There’s no banana trees. Instead there’s happy faces, all ages and body types, skipping or shadowboxing or hitting punching bags. Young men shadowbox, a teenager skips, one young woman kicks a punching bag hard enough to make me wince. It’s not what you expect from the toughest sport in the world, but as Rob himself has shown, appearances can be deceiving.”