Saint John woman trains for international MMA match

Fourteen months after Saint John's Amanda Ryall started kickboxing to lose five pounds, she has shed 105 pounds and is getting ready for an international mixed martial arts match in March.

Amanda Ryall heading to U.S. Virgin Islands in March

A woman from Saint John is on the ticket to fight in an international mixed martial arts cage match in the U.S. Virgin Islands in March.

Amanda Ryall, who only started kickboxing 14 months ago, is the only woman in Saint John involved in the combat sport and one of only half a dozen women fighting in Atlantic Canada.

She says she started training as a way to lose five pounds.

Today, she's down about 105 pounds and has one win under her belt — her first fight last August in Moncton.

"It was nerve wracking. I didn't really know what to expect," Ryall told CBC's Information Morning Saint John on Friday.

"There was a lot of people there, there was a lot of people watching me. I was more scared, I think, of embarrassing myself than anything. But as soon as I stepped into the ring, it was like I couldn't see anybody else, and I was just very focused and it was just amazing."

Ryall, who fights under the name Amanda Charlene and has also become an instructor, says you have to love the sport to put up with its physical and mental demands.

"I'm constantly covered in bruises, constantly sore, sometimes go home and cry, I sometimes wake up crying. A lot of Advil," she said.

"I mean, you're physically exhausted, so mental exhaustion sets in a lot quicker. I've been to the point where I'm in the middle of class doing something and I just have to leave class because I'm mentally gone."

Ryall says she still has about 20 pounds to lose in the next eight weeks to qualify for her weight class in the March 22 match against Charlene Whitley, of the United States.

She is also busy finding sponsors and fundraising for the trip to the event, called MMA in Paradise.