Surgery can wait a night

CAMERON MAXWELL -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 12:04 PM ET

At 38, Lee Mein's pro Muay Thai kickboxing career is just beginning.

While most kickboxing combatants are in their mid 20s to early 30s, the Lethbridge brawler figures he's got a bright future.

That's once he's undergone back surgery after his scheduled superfight tonight (Max Bell Centre, 7 p.m.) against Mexico's Raul (Terminator) Romero as part of the Heavyweight Gladiators Kickboxing Series.

Mein said his back shouldn't bother him too much during his first gladiator fight.

"I've got a herniated disc in my lower back that's going to need surgery and after that I'm looking to really get my career going when it's healed up," said Mein, who stands 6 ft. 1 in. and weighs 225 lb.

Looks like he's got the required pain threshold, which is mandatory in Muay Thai kickboxing.

Following a competitive swimming career, Mein started karate when he was 25 then got into kickboxing and Muay Thai. His first mixed martial arts bout came when he was 30.

Mein knows nothing about Romero's style but that won't matter, so long as Mein controls the fight.

"I'll have to go in there and get some shots in when he gives me a chance to get close and just keep hitting," said Mein, who is 4-2 as an amateur. "The first thing is to see what kind of a reach he's got, then go from there."

Cardio has been central to Mein's training.

"You've got to be in good shape because if the fight drags on, you really get tired quickly in this sport," Mein said.

When he's not training, he runs his own gym in Lethbridge called Mein's Mixed Martial Arts. He's also a promoter, running regularly scheduled kickboxing events in Lethbridge under his Rumble label.

Tonight's main event features an eight-man tournament with four Canadian and four American Muay Thai fighters. They'll go through a knockout tournament to determine an eventual champion.

The doors open at 6 p.m.


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