GENAH FABIAN - PRO BOXING DEBUT
The Samoan/Maori fighter has kept active over the last few years picking up the WWC World Muaythai Champion title along the way and is currently fighting out of City Kickboxing in Auckland, New Zealand.
When she came home at the end of the 2019 season, there was no inkling of the global pandemic that was about to shut the world down, which then resulted in the PFL MMA competition taking a break in 2020.
She was keen to get a fight in before the 2021 PFL season started, so made the switch to Boxing and trained under Doug Viney and his CKB boxing coaching team.
She then made her Pro Boxing debut in March this year. Genah's boxing coaching team share a behind the scenes look at getting her ready for her Boxing debut on fight night.
Doug Viney: Co-Owner & Head Boxing Coach at City Kickboxing Gym
"It was kind of a headache training Genah. I hate training girls cos sometimes I think that some girls who train they want to be treated like Princesses but I'm not like that, I'm like 'If you want to fight I'm going to treat you like a man'
I'll even teach her how to piss standing up (laughs)
So that's what I did and she came into my boxing camp during lockdown. I checked her weight and she was 93kgs and I said to her 'you can't be at this weight, you need to start bringing your ass down especially if you're getting ready to fight'.
From lockdown and for her boxing fight she came all the way down to 72kgs and that took time. I was up home in Mangawhai for Christmas and Genah was up near there with her Mum and even on New Years Day she was the only one who came and interrupted my New Years Day & nagged me for training. So training wise she's very committed to training.
Even though she's a niusance for me to train, she actually looked really good - she looked really good as a boxer and after the fight I was telling my partner and everyone else how proud I was of her and of how well she performed.
I think this will be the only compliment I'll give her, she doesn't deserve anymore compliments (laughs). I think if PFL fails (which I hope it doesn't) I told her I'd bring her back and train her for the NZ boxing Olympics team or something like that - that's how good I think she could be.
All she has to do is come back and knock out these other girls. In her weight division there's not that many girls that'll be like Genah.
Going into PFL I think she'll be way more confident as a boxer to use her hands because if you watch her fights, she just relies on her big, long, legs but she's got long arms too. Long arms, long legs and a big mouth ... it's a trifecta!"
On coaching with Mooks
"It's great cos me and Mooks have been beating each other up for how many years and I like his style of fighting. When we can combine his style with my style it's just going to make our kids a whole lot better.
I like it. I don't like sparring him but I like working with him"
On working with Sunz
"He's awesome, I've known Sunz for a while - I got him training my kids with sprints and all that kind of stuff. Now we've got him doing the fighters.
We find guys that are on the same path as us & we just find how we can all work together to make all our kids better."
Mooks - Self Made boxing coach & former heavyweight boxer + CKB Assistant boxing coach to Doug
“I’ve known Genah for a while but I hadn’t trained her until this pro fight.I kind of knew her from hanging round fighters really and then really got to know her when I came on to train her for her pro fight.
She was good to deal with and for the most part of it she listened well. Especially fight night - she really listened well.”
On coaching with Doug:
"The hardest thing about Doug is that he made me a coach before I was even a coach at CKB (laughs).
I’ve known him for most of our fighting career and everything’s all good - we fight the same, we think the same - some of the techniques are a little bit different but he’s a breath of fresh air really.
We work well without even having to work together so we can pick up on each other’s style real easy cos we used to train together many times.
My experience with boxing comes out and Dougs been there and done it.
I think our relationships like family really - I got him and I guess he’s got me - well I hope he does!" (laughs)
SELBY - MMA FIGHTER & TRAINER FROM CKB
Currently in Atlantic City with Genah to train & corner her for her PFL MMA fights.
"I met Gen in 2015 or around there. She was already in Thailand and I went over with Mark (Hunt) to do a training camp and we just linked up, as you do when you're from the same country.
She was into Muay Thai then and I ended up cornering her for one of her fights that Kai (Kara-France) was on in Australia. After that she went to MMA.
She's progressed a lot since that time and recently she spent time boxing with Doug (Viney) so her hands have gotten sharper and obviously her ground game has developed with the time that she's spent at the gym.
So it's been good to see her evolve and put things together on the main stage."
On Genah's boxing debut -
"Her boxing debut was really good, it was a complete success. She only got hit with one punch at the start which was a slow start but then she turned it on and used her length really well.
She looked like a seasoned boxer in my eyes and I think Doug said the same thing. So what we've been trying to do is take that - the skills and discipline - to MMA which is slightly different in regards to the kicking and grappling, but just the distance that MMA fighters fight at and applying those same skills."
On her prep for the PFL MMA season
"The prep for the PFL MMA season has been real good, we went to Extreme Couture MMA (Martial Arts school in Las Vegas) and Ray Sefo (President of PFL MMA) was there and there were a few Hawaiian guys there who were really nice to us. Casey who trained in Thailand and Frank was over there with Volko (Alex Volkanovski) so we had a little connect that we linked up with and got training.
I have to say tho that there was a period where the tragedy that happened with Fau , it just sucked everything out of us to be honest and there was a good amount of time there, where we were just running on whatever we could muster to train.
The whole thing has been an experience and experiences make you resilient. Both of us have been put through the pump with this one but I feel like Gen is ready to represent everything that is linked to that tomorrow"
Photo above via Genah's Instagram
On the importance of having someone from home in your corner -
"It's important to have someone from home. I think the connection Genah and I have is history because I've cornered her a few times now and I've been on the scene for a while so we have that relationship in the gym.
The essence of what the gym has at home is hard to emulate somewhere else so to bring that with you is easier done when you bring a team mate for sure.
I mean there's savages in the group like Brad and Izzy who could just go on and fight by themselves but it's definitely better having your team mate with you, you know?"
STEVE TAPA: Owner & Co-Director On2 Sports Management
"How I got involved with Genah was that Eugene and Doug asked if I could get her matched up with a boxing bout before her PFL fights so that she could get a fight under her belt before PFL this year.
She was originally meant to fight on the Parker / Fa undercard but they decided to pull her fight for logistics reasons by the promoter. Which was a shame as she would of been able to display her skills on the boxing world stage for to see.
However we were able to get her matched up later down the line against a durable and tough NZ boxer by the name of Ariane Nicolson who is well known in NZ boxing circles.
Unfortunately as you know the fight was stopped as a non contest due to a cut to Ariane’e eye due to a head clash, however she was very lucky as Genah was starting to put on a display of pure skill for someone who just made her boxing debut that day.Genah is truly a talented individual in which she will do well in all codes of combat sports. Particularly if she ever decided to pursue boxing later on. She has the skills, height, along with the reach and athleticism to match and excel in the sport and put everyone on notice.Cannot wait to see her fight in the PFL!"
Sunz Singh: Coach Sunz - Sport Performance Coach & Strength and Conditioning Coach
"Genah and I first started working together in 2016, blink of an eye and it's now 2021. Like anything over time you understand or rather learn about controlling the controllables, and that's what she does now, only focuses on what she needs to, and controls what she can and the rest will take care of itself. So for me that's huge in terms of development."
On the Importance of Strength and Conditioning training for an athlete"Look I can not stress enough how important strength and conditioning is for any athlete in any code. The benefits in regards to performance outcomes is huge.S&C compliments Genah's MMA/Boxing which is her primary form of training. Put simply S&C is one piece of the puzzle you can not afford to leave out. "On working with Doug & his Boxing team"Working with Doug is one of the easiest, but I think more so because there is a level of trust for each other's craft and respect.As S&C coaches we sometimes just do what the coaches ask, they are in charge. So when I experience coaches that allow me to do what I believe is best, that's when we can get the best results.Doug and me are like big brother and little brother, lots of respect and time for him"