Brent Surgrue of the Fortitude Gym in Masterton, right, landing a kick on Jason Paenga. PHOTO/LIONESS PHOTOGRAPHY


A bit of self-reflection and a change in training habits helped Masterton muay thai fighter Brent Surgrue turn around his recent form and claim a dominant victory on Saturday.

Surgrue fought Jason Paenga at the Arena Wars 7 event at Jackals Martial Arts and Fitness centre in Napier, and secured a third-round knockout.

Trainer Zane Hopman said the result was especially pleasing to Surgrue.

“He’s come off a couple of losses, and when we sat down at the end of last year to work out what he was doing, pretty much everything was back to front and not helping him train efficiently.

“We tried to iron out all the kinks for 2018 and help him to start afresh.”

They were determined to make sure Surgrue was only worried about himself, and went to extreme lengths to make that happen.

“We’ve been really working on what he’s strong at, and helping him to build on that,” Hopman said.

“We didn’t want him to worry about his opponent — I didn’t even tell him who the guy was so he couldn’t Google him or anything.”

It was about Surgrue trusting what they were telling him and teaching him, and it paid off in the end, Hopman said.

The fight was fairly even through the opening rounds, and both fighters went tit for tat in the opening exchanges.

Surgrue’s ability to adapt and listen to what the trainers were telling him proved crucial in the end.

“Brent listened well in the corner, and he stopped him in the third round with a punch combination which was exactly what we had asked . . . it was pretty pleasing to see it come off.

“It helps when what you’re saying ends up being the right thing too.”

Surgrue will have a week to recover before preparations begin for another fight night at Easter weekend in Hawera, at which three fighters from The Fortitude Gym in Masterton will be involved.

The fighters have been making the most of the gym’s recent move to a new facility on Bentley St, and Hopman said it would be an exciting year ahead for the group.