The amateur fighting career of local resident Krys Ruesch-Beem didn't get off to the best of starts, but things turned around after he began training with professional MMA fighter Jamie Point.
Ruesch-Beem, who lost his first four fights but ended his amateur career with three wins and a no contest, is set to make his professional debut Oct. 27 at Cage Rage 3 at the Bluewater Resort & Casino in Parker.
"Once I started training with Jamie, I got 100 times better," Ruesch-Beem said.
Prior to the two coming together, Ruesch-Beem basically trained himself.
"I had the equipment but no coaching," he said. "I was almost a garage fighter."
During their first training session, Point showed Ruesch-Beem all of the flaws in his style. Simply put, Ruesch-Beem's deficiencies were a lack of endurance, a lack of confidence and no fight strategy.
He would try to get in and get out of his opponents' range by carefully selecting his strikes. He also had trouble finishing his bouts.
He's working hard to correct the latter.
"The kid goes every day until he throws up," Point said. "And he keeps coming back."
Though Point, who was trained by retired UFC fighter Tony Fryklund, ratcheted up the intensity of the training Ruesch-Beem was used to, the focus remained on takedown defense and strategy.
Fighting as a professional is much different than the amateur level. The fighters are better-trained and are able to execute strategies on the fly, Point said. Despite the higher level of competition, Point says Ruesch-Beem is ready.
"We wouldn't be taking this fight if he wasn't," Point said.
Ruesch-Beem has a plan for every day, and he's constantly asking what's next and offering up skills he wants to work on.
"He's making daily, weekly, monthly improvements," Point said. "He's willing to put in the hours, so I keep pushing. He's becoming more confident in his skill set."
The selective, tentative style is gone, replaced with the will to take the attack to his opponents.
"Jamie is always saying, 'Forward with combinations, forward with combinations,'" Ruesch-Beem said.
That comes from having confidence in his skill set and the strategy created for the fight, Point said. It frees up Ruesch-Beem to be aggressive by knowing that the strategy can handle anything the other fighter tries to counter with.
Ruesch-Beem is on the main card, which features four professional fights, for the Bluewater Casino event in October. He is set to fight Jeff Fletcher out of Casa Grande.
Ruesch-Beem believes that he's a better fighter than Fletcher and knows he's fully prepared for the bout.
Ruesch-Beem's Still Standing Fight Team will also send Brian Skinner to fight on the event's amateur undercard. This will be Skinner's fourth fight and he's seeking his first win.
Skinner despises ground-based fighting, and attributes that disdain to his first three losses. Skinner, who's also being trained by Point, doesn't believe his ground game will be a factor when he fights Adrian Aguilar, another amateur fighter.
"I don't think this kid's tough enough to keep me down," Skinner said.
Tickets for the event are on sale through Bluewater's website, http://www.bluewaterfun.com.
Ruesch-Beem and Skinner train at Kingman CrossFit and Still Standing Muay Thai (753-9500).