John Greubel eventually wants to pursue an acting career. For now, the Lakeside graduate gets his kicks winning national championships.
Greubel successfully defended his International Kickboxing Federation junior welterweight championship recently in Kansas City, keeping the title in the family for the third straight year.
John's older brother, Mark Greubel, captured the IKF title in 1999.
John, 19, defeated Southeast Regional champion Jason Kuhn of Douglasville, Ga., in the title match with a split decision in the fourth round. The match was ruled a draw after the scheduled three rounds, forcing the extra period.
"The only reason it went four rounds was because I lost a point in the third for a penalty," John said. "That's my longest fight ever. It was tough, but it was a great win."
John, unbeaten in seven fights, trains at the Augusta Martial Arts Academy along with Mark, who is unbeaten in 10 matches.
Mark's last fight came in June 2000, when he broke his arm in the Professional Karate Commission championship bout. The 24-year-old, who fought two weight classes up, finished the fight and won a split decision over Lee Brannon.
"I had trained too hard to get to the nationals to come away empty handed," Mark said. "My opponent outweighed me, but I was able to survive. When you get a reputation for being good, sometimes it's hard to get fights. So most of the time we have to move up and fight bigger people."
Next year, the Greubels hope to bring home three IKF titles. John expects 21-year-old brother Paul to compete as a junior welterweight while he competes as a welterweight and Mark fights as a super welterweight.
But whatever happens, the Greubels don't expect to be involved in a brother-versus-brother matchup, no matter what the situation.
"We wouldn't fight each other," John said. "Whenever Mark and I spar, it's always like a chess match. We know each other too well. Besides, I wouldn't want to beat him up. I don't know who's better. We both have two national titles, but he has a better record."
"It's always brotherly love when we compete," Mark said. "So you know we try to kill each other. Since I'm the older brother and he's the little brother, he wants to beat me up, because he couldn't back then."
While Mark has been hampered with injuries over the past year, John has enjoyed a wonderful start to his fighting career. He won a gold medal in boxing at the Georgia Games in July. The 5-foot-11, 142-pounder will try to capture the PKC championship scheduled for November in Greenville, S.C.
After that, John has one more goal to achieve in fighting before he explores another dream.
"I want us all to win titles together, so I'll probably do one more IKF and PKC," he said. "Then I'm moving to California. I really want to be an actor. It's something I've been thinking about for a long time; now my mind is made up. That's the good thing about the academy - you don't just learn to fight; we gain a great deal of discipline and determination as well."
Reach Patrick Green at (706) 823-3221.
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