“I was in and out of hospital for six months before they sent me to Starship. They had no idea what to do so I was wired up in some crazy room and forced to take a purple inhaler instead of the traditional brown and blue inhaler,” Oliver Schmid rues when discussing his former battles with asthma.
Out of breath playing football, Schmid found solace in Taekwondo. In four years he received a black belt in Kumgang Academy from Master Detlef.
At the age of 14, over the worst of his asthma, Schmid entered a kick boxing ring for the first time.
Why did the Westlake Boys’ High School student embrace such a violent sport?
“Full contact is a real adrenaline rush. I enjoy the discipline of the gym and the strategy involved in out muscling someone. Fighting is not just about beating someone up,” Schmid responds.
Battling a knee infection, Schmid managed to win his debut fight with only two months of training behind him. He has since fought 20 times under the tutelage of South African international Jason Vorster, a specialist in Shuriken MMA.
“Jason has been massive for me. He helps me train six times a week and brings so much experience, support and encouragement,” Schmid marvels.
In 2016, Schmid was the Oceana and intercontinental Junior K1 championship, defending the former title in Australia last year.
“It was pretty cool to go to Australia and fight tough guys my age. I had two fights which were 3x2 minute rounds and beat two Aussies by decision,” Schmid recalls.
Finding competitive opposition in New Zealand is a consistent challenge and the 70kg Schmid often fights well above his weight.
“I've fought guys in their mid-20’s. I enjoy the challenge, but sometimes it's scary when you get an experienced dude with lots of tattoos and missing teeth,” Schmid laughs.
Schmid, 16, is unbeaten in his age group in Australian K1 kickboxing . Seeking greater challenges he is attempting to fundraise $5000 to compete in the Junior World Championships in Italy. This is Schmid’s last chance to test himself against other fighters in his age group from all over the world in the Junior K1 category.
“The draw for Italy is determined on the first day of the tournament. It would be huge for me to compete. I put in a lot of work and want to make a career of it. This is a big step,” Schmid reveals.
The Junior World Championships are in Venice from 15-23 September.
New Zealand has a proud history in kickboxing with Mark Hunt having won the K1 world title and Ray Sefo being a household name in Japan.
Schmid was born in the US and spent several years in Hungary before migrating to Auckland. His parents run the Manuka Corner honey business in Auckland.