Episode 66- Chessboxing with Matt Thomas
It seems like every sport these days claims to be the ultimate in matching up brains and brawn, but few can compete for the title like Chessboxing can. This international sensation, which is literally a battle on the chessboard and in the boxing ring, has been wowing audiences and testing the power of its competitors for more than two decades.
We’ve been tracking the sport for a while now and have been completely fascinated with it. So, we were excited when we had the opportunity to speak with Matt Thomas. Matt is a World Champion Chessboxer and an all-around great guy. By day he even uses his fists for good through his charity Brawls for a Cause.
We talked to Matt about how he got involved with the sport, how he quickly became a champion, his strategy and what it’s like behind the scenes of the sport. Chessboxing has been on the rise with international competitors joining the ranks for quite a while now, but America has been a bit slow to join in. Matt was, in fact, one of the first.
His stories of the competition were awesome and play out like some of the best sports movies from the backstories of the competitors to the rivalries in the ring. We found Chessboxing to be everything we’d hoped it would be.
He talked about what it’s like to have to switch gears from the chessboard to the ring and back throughout each round and the challenges that come when competitors’ style and strategies differ depending which aspect of the sport their pursuing. He also explained that for competitors it’s really anybody’s game. Many champions have been far better chess players than boxers and vice versa. We tried to figure out whether Luke or Heidi would take home the belt in the sport and decided Luke would definitely win in the brains category and Heidi would definitely win in the ring. So, again, it’s anybody’s match.
We learned the training regime for getting ready for competition and how each country focuses their efforts. Matt even shared with us some of his most embarrassing moments and who his toughest trainers were.
Matt was passionate and excited about where the sport is headed and how far it can actually go across the globe. We see the Olympic roster in its future for sure.
When he’s not globetrotting throwing killer chess and boxing combinations, Matt continues to work in the boxing ring in a totally different way.
He talked to us about his organization Brawls for a Cause. This unconventional non-profit puts people in a ring to fight for causes they believe in. Participants have never fought before and go through a rigorous training program to prepare for their fight all in the name of helping those in need. It’s become a huge hit with more and more events being planned each year.
If you think you have what it takes to become a Chessboxing champ or simply want to see the sport up close and personal visit the Chessboxing website here. If you have a cause you’d like to brawl for visit Matt’s website here.