From Missoula To Japan and Back - ABC FOX Montana Local News, Weather, Sports KTMF | KWYB

From Missoula To Japan and Back

Brian McGrath group up doing martial arts and wrestling…which eventually led to some mixed martial arts fighting.

When life took him to Japan for two years, he began something new…Muay Thai kick-boxing…something he wasn't exactly used to.

"My coach would always says MAI, MAI, MAI-KAY' and that means 'go forward, go forward, much less of a counter-fighting style, and much more aggressive," says McGrath.

After just one amateur fight, the English teacher became a professional fighter in Japan.

"People wanted to see more of the fighter from America, his different style, his different look," says McGrath

While McGrath spent hours training and running around the small village he taught in, his then girlfriend was concerned about whether or not he may get hurt…but as soon as match day arrived, excitement set in.

"I knew all his hard work he did before the fight, so I really wanted him to do his best," says Brian's wife, Emi Hoshino.

Adding to the intrigue of the American fighter in Japan…Brian wasn't technically supposed to be a professional fighter.  As a teacher, and a government employee, he wasn't allowed to have another source of income, meaning none of his students thought he was anything more than an amateur.

"I kind of had to keep that under wraps, until my supervisor came to my wedding, and my coach spilled the beans.  Everything was okay of course, it was right before I left,"

After tying the knot in Japan, Brian and his wife moved back to Missoula, where he grew up and they first met.  While he continues to work for the school district, Brian maintains his training regimen,  hoping to garner enough interest to be booked for a fight

"I know boxing is something he can't stop, he has to do, so I already gave up, and I just try to be nice and support as much as I can," says Hoshino.

The kick-boxing is a part of life for Brian, and while he may have to relocate to a larger city in order to keep his fighting dream alive, he is quick to reflect back on his professional fights in Japan, events that were NOT done for the money

"What I fought for over there was definitely the pride of my gym and the fans, Japanese fans are excellent, you never hear a boo, in fact, you really don't hear much until something exciting happens, then the pace slowly builds, the fans are great, They cheer you on, they love to see good competition, so win or lose they just want to see you do your best,"

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