© Ryan Quigley/Journal Pioneer
Steve Rogers, right, with trainer Joe Borden.
It was only four months ago Steve Rogers retired from professional Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) after successfully defending his lightweight championship.
During the summer, he worked on home renovation projects, but couldn’t shake a thought from his head.
Rogers wanted to return to his roots – a boxing ring.
“I was throwing the idea around of boxing with my family before I even retired from MMA,” said Rogers. “I just didn’t know what to do with my free time.”
The 33-year-old Summerside native has been involved in boxing for much of his life. He fought as an amateur, was a boxing instructor, and fought professionally in MMA.
Tonight (Friday), Rogers will be fighting at Casino New Brunswick against Nathan Millier, who is 2-0 in professional boxing, for four three-minute rounds in a super middleweight fight (168 pounds).
The fight card, organized by Victory Boxing Promotions with Jensen Strauss Boxing Limitee and Casino New Brunswick, is named Breaking Ground.
It wasn’t hard getting back into his training routine that includes five-kilometre runs and training sessions with training partner Bradley Collicutt, said Rogers.
“I’ve always liked hitting pads,” he said. “I started doing some running and stuff before I went back (to training) so I wouldn’t embarrass myself.”
Though this will be Rogers’ first professional boxing match, he said his experience in nine professional MMA fights will help him against Millier.
“You can think better, you’re calmer,” he said of having experience in professional fights. “If you’re really excited you’re going to expend more energy, whereas if you’re calm you can flow. Your punches will still be as hard, but you’re not wasting any energy.”
Rogers feels he will be able to showcase his striking ability on Friday. That is something he couldn’t do in MMA.
“For some reason every time I got in the cage I couldn’t punch, I just couldn’t let my hands go,” he said. “Now, when I climb in a boxing ring, I can’t choke anyone out there.
“I find a cage way more intense than a ring. Even when I fought MMA in a ring, I still felt better in there when I got in a cage.”
CONFIDENT AND CAPABLE
Rogers said he is confident about his boxing capabilities going into this fight.
“Confidence is important,” he added. “If you’re squared off with someone and you feel like punching or attacking, you have to. You can’t just say, ‘I should, I should, I should,’ because every time you say ‘I should’ you’re probably getting punched in the face.”
Rogers is looking ahead one fight at a time for now, but said his goal in boxing is to win a Canadian title.
“I plan on making a splash in boxing in Canada,” added Rogers. “I’d like to have another belt that sits above (the Elite 1 MMA Lightweight championship) belt.
“Every time I throw a punch, I know exactly what I am doing it for.”