Kick-boxer's path is real-life theatre

JIM KERNAGHAN -- London Free Press

, Last Updated: 7:13 AM ET

One thing has always led to another for Ian Jacklin. He was handy with his dukes, so he went on to became a London kick-boxer of renown.

That led to U.S. bouts, which led to Los Angeles, which led to action films, which led to lead roles in low-budget movies, and now to making movies himself.

And as if that hasn't been exciting enough, he became involved in a whole new drama. He hooked up with his biological mother.

"It was a beautiful thing," Jacklin said from Elmira, N.Y., where he lives when he's not in L.A. "You hear about bad reunions in these things but this was something I was looking forward to my entire life and it was beautiful."

Jacklin, who once fought for the world middleweight title, put his name on a list with the adoption agency 12 years ago. Just over a year ago, he got an e-mail telling him his mother Mariah was looking for him.

The result came like a quick kick in the chin during one of his bouts.

"Boom. A week later, there she is. The good part is, my (adoptive) parents and everyone gets along. My mom lived right in an area I used to hang out in -- Grey Street. It was so ironic. We know many of the same people."

Even the London cop to whom his birth mother is married, Roger Bumstead.

"The first time I met Roger, walking up to the door to meet my biological mother, I look at this guy and I sort of recognized him. He might have chased me when I was a kid.

"He's either worked with or arrested most of my friends -- half of them are cops, half are criminals," Jacklin added with a laugh.

Jacklin, who retired from the ring 10 years ago at 26, made some acting progress in the B-films and once got a one-month stint on Days of Our Lives TV soap. But he tired of the cattle calls and set his sights on the other side of the camera.

"I said I wanted to do four things in my life. I wanted to be a BMX racer, and I did. I wanted to be a kick-boxing champ, and I did. I wanted to be a movie star, and even though it was low-budget work, I was the star.

"And I always thought I'd like to make my own movies, and I am."

He is producer/director of Co-Dependent Pictures. His first film, a documentary called Small Town Bands, is about musical groups trying to make it.

He has shown it at a number of independent movie houses. In the works is one he named for its website, icurecancer.com, about alternative cancer treatments.

"It's about three-quarters done. I'm going to L.A. in a couple of days to speak to some money people about more financing," he explained.

He might well be living the top for a third film. Being reunited with his biological family has been fascinating.

"I'd like to make it clear that (his adoptive parents) are my parents," he said. "They changed my diapers, they brought me up. But the other part is one of the coolest things I've ever experienced. I have a half-sister, five aunts, a lot of cousins.

"I got to learn a lot about the family history. I met everyone and we have many of the same features. I looked into their eyes and saw mine. It was one of the better moments of my life."

His birth mother's father died before he got to meet him but he found some explanations about himself in his grandfather.

"That's the most interesting thing," Jacklin said. "He was quite artistic and I've always been inclined that way."

When he is home for Christmas, he'd like to show his film work in London.

It would be hard to match the real-life theatre.


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