By Ryan McKinnon
Nathan Boulet represented Canada at the 2018 Pan American Championship in the Male Elite 63.5 kg division. Hailing from Timmins, Ontario, Nathan is used to travelling long distances to test his skills against top competition wherever they might be. However for this competition, a 10 hour flight would supplant the typical 10 hour drive he’s accustomed to making. One of Matthew Poulin’s top athletes at the Total Martial Arts Centre, Nathan made the trip to Buenos Aires with 9 other Canadian athletes to compete against the best nak muay in the western hemisphere.
His first bout versus Gonzalo Diaz Arredondo of Argentina demonstrated Nathan’s craftiness and IQ. He opened the match with a very slick sweep after catching his opponent’s kick. Throughout the match his cross-to-the-body, left-hook-to-the-head combination kept finding its mark. He did a great job of attacking his opponent’s lead leg with low kicks, and striking the body with teeps and crosses, while managing to check the counter leg kicks of Arredondo.
His gold medal bout versus Gonzalo Albinagorta of Peru was extremely exciting from beginning to end, between two well matched athletes in both size and skill level. Both athletes were aggressive, mixed up their techniques well, and demonstrated beautiful Muaythai in every aspect of the bout.
Nathan competed very well against the Peruvian. He took some of Gonzalo’s best boxing combinations, and continued to stay active. Nathan looked much more experienced in the clinch, sweeping his opponent on several occasions, one of those occurring in the first round when Nathan spun his opponent into the ropes, almost sending him outside the ring. It was the hand speed of Albinagorta that gave Nathan his biggest challenge. When asked about his opponent, Boulet replied, “He exploited some of my weaknesses (boxing defence, fighting in close range) wonderfully. He taught me where I need to focus my attention to improve upon my skills as a fighter.”
Boulet demonstrated grit and the spirit of a nak muay in rounds 2 and 3 when the Peruvian increased his pressure and intensity. He continued to look for ways to slow down his opponent after a standing 8 count in round 2, and another in round 3. After continued pressure from Albinagorta, referee Pete Peterson stopped the bout at 1:30 of round 3.
With regards to not getting the gold medal, Nathan exemplifies the spirit of an athlete when he says, “It changes absolutely nothing in my life. I fight because I love the sport. I fight because I love the experience of fighting when I’m in the ring. I fight because I love all the training and I love the lifestyle. I fight because I love the personal growth that comes with always trying to improve myself. My focus is on being the best martial artist that I can be. Winning or losing doesn’t really change anything when I think of it. Had I won gold, my life would be the exact same as it is right now. I love the experience and I love playing Muaythai. I feel fantastic about all of it.”
Nathan is an extremely dedicated athlete who made the decision to retire from his career in real estate to focus on his dream of living the martial arts lifestyle. He has the utmost faith that his chosen path will lead him to greater things. His silver medal at the Pan Ams was earned through his dedication to the sport he loves. A true martial artist, Nathan will continue to sharpen his strengths and improve upon his weaknesses before he competes at the IFMA World Championship this summer in Bangkok.
Ryan McKinnon is the host of The Bloody Ballet Podcast and website, found at www.thebloodyballet.com.