WHAT started as a 10-week fitness challenge has now progressed to Byron Bay athlete Hannah Morgan aiming for a Queensland Muay Thai title next month.
Morgan, 29, trains at the Solace Muay Thai gym at Ballina and has only been competing in the sport since late 2019.
"I knew someone that trained at the gym and I thought I'd give it a go just for the 10-week fitness challenge," Morgan said.
"I played soccer for 14 years and always had a bit of a fiery side to the way I played the game.
"It was a goal pretty early on to have an exhibition fight and I kind of threw myself straight into the deep end.
"It was never about how many fights I was going to have, I was happy just to have one but I got fairly addicted to it from there."
Morgan fights in the 52-53kg weight division and has an impressive 4-1 win-loss record from her first five fights.
"That one loss put even more fire in my belly," Morgan said.
"I was pretty devastated at the time but the girl who beat me finished second at one of the biggest events in Australia.
"Talking to her after that fight made me feel so much better and I knew it was time to knuckle down and work on where I needed to improve."
Last month she won her first professional fight by a split points decision against the experienced Callie Ryan who has won boxing fights against Olympians.
"I'm pretty proud of my efforts and I'm training five to six days a week now," Morgan said.
"I've been really lucky, a lot of the promoters are putting me near the main events to help get the women a bit more exposure."
Gym owner Spiro Darzanos has been running Solace Muay Thai at Ballina since 2018.
One of his main goals was to mentor teenagers and provide them with a pathway to improve in and out of the ring.
He also took on beginners and has had multiple fighters compete in Queensland over the past few years.
Kids classes are also becoming popular with Morgan one of his main assistant coaches.
"Helping the kids was another step up and it really helps me with my training, too," Morgan said.
"I'm able to break down techniques and it means I have to be on top of everything to make sure I'm teaching them correctly.
'"Spiro has been amazing, he's put a lot of time and money into the place.
"I'm very lucky that he saw something in me and he has put a lot of his energy into building me up as an athlete."
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