Davila heading to IKF World Classic

Parkersburg’s Ray Davila, left, pictured here landing a kick against Daniel Hague during an amateur bout last month in Moundsville, is competing in the 2017 International Kickboxing Federation World Classic, which starts Friday in Orlando, Fla. Photo courtesy of Shawn Eisler.

PARKERSBURG — Opportunity is knocking for Ray Davila and the former Parkersburg Big Red is more than amped to be competing later this week in the 2017 International Kickboxing Federation World Classic, which gets underway Friday in Orlando, Fla.

Davila, who is also a boxer and MMA fighter, will carry a 2-0 record with one knockout into the 137-pound amateur kickboxing division.

“I’m very excited. It’s a big opportunity and a chance to become a world champion,” said Davila, who defeated Daniel Hague in Moundsville via unanimous decision last month and knocked out his opponent in his debut earlier this year at the Parkersburg Toughman Contest with a spinning kick to the head.

“We’ve been talking about it since January, but it came up before that. We got pretty serious about it in January. This is all new to me. It’s a new experience and that’s another thing I’m excited about. There are going to be people from around the world and it’s going to be pretty tough.”

Trainer/manager Mike Sheppard will be making the trek to the Sunshine State with Davila and is anxious to see how things turn out.

“They have it (IKF World Classic) every summer and I’ve threatened to take people. There’s been a few other guys and they are busy with work and other stuff,” Sheppard said.

“Raymond needs to do this because we want to turn him pro before next year and it would be a feather in his cap if he could win it and be a world amateur champion. It would give him some more exposure and it would help him with his pro career.”

Following the IKF World Classic, Davila will get back to training for his next kickboxing bout, which will take place on Saturday, Aug. 12 here in town in the Battle at the Boneyard II. He’s expected to be one of the two kickboxing matches and there are six MMA fights on tap as well as eight boxing matches as of now.

“I don’t think anybody around here has ever done that, that I know of,” Sheppard said of Davila’s shot this week. “I did it as a professional, but I didn’t have one amateur kickboxing match. He’s got some work ethic. He’s been working two jobs and he is doing real well.

“The stuff in the fight world rolls back over and comes back around in real life. It helps people mature and adapt and adjust to real-life situations and he’s doing real well. I’m real excited for him.”

When Davila isn’t working out at the Dawghouse Gym “I’m training at the house,” he said. “Kickboxing, it will help out with my stand-up and get it to where it needs to be. MMA is where I want more to push toward too.

“Once I heard about this tournament, I knew it was a great opportunity to go and get my name out there. When I do win this tournament, it’s going to open up bigger opportunities for me in the future.”

The kickboxer replied when asked where his drive comes from, “Honestly, I don’t know. I have the mindset to keep pushing and nothing is going to get handed to me.

“I just always liked combat and stuff and I have a drive for it and I keep telling myself to keep doing it and keep doing it. It’s going to take me somewhere and maybe I can be a world champ some day.”

Of course, Sheppard most likely will be there along with him and Davila gives plenty of credit to his mentor.

“Mike is a big part of it,” he added. “He’s the main reason I’m doing it. He got me into it and I just kind of fell in love with the sport. He’s always there to keep pushing me and tell me to keep going when I don’t feel like doing it.

“He’s there to give me that extra push. I feel great right now. I’m in the best shape I’ve been in so far. I’m feeling healthy and strong and I don’t have to cut weight this time and I will have all my energy.”