Behind the Gloves - Devan Syme
Devan Syme is an amateur mixed martial artist & kickboxer training out of Dynamite Muay Thai , Auckland . Fresh off a win in recent King in the Ring event against Elite Thai Kickboxing’s Andre MacDonald. Syme took time out to talk to NZ Fighter about how he ventured into combat sport for the first time, shared his thoughts on the sport in New Zealand now and what it might be like a little down the line.
For the 19 year old, combat sport had been a part of his life from very early on, but training for rugby was what brought him to the gym. “I initially got into combat sports through my older brother, Jordan (Syme) growing up, and watching him fight inspired me to give it a go. I was playing rugby at the time and decided to head to the gym for some fitness at first but instead found a passion for the sport and enjoyed every aspect of it.”
He went on to have his first (padded) fight at 13, in an outdoor show that took place at the Puni BMX track. “I was hooked on the feeling of being in the ring. I was inspired by fellow gym members and my brother was the main event for the same show which I found very special going through a training camp alongside him.”
Talking about training at Dynamite Muay Thai, Syme says alongside enjoying training at the gym, he enjoys building friendships with members of the gym and learning from Coach Higgins. “I have made some lifelong mates that see me at my weakest and strongest when training for a fight that not everyone I know gets to see, as well as being able to soak up the fighting knowledge of coach Doug Higgins.”
For Syme, the most rewarding part about being a combat sport athlete is the feeling of conquering the nerves of stepping foot in a ring. “I enjoy the challenge of training hard, and pushing myself to the limit, mentally and physically”.
What motivates Syme the most to do this, are his family and friends. “To see the enjoyment they get out of watching my fights and especially my Dad, and being taught when growing up that you have to work for what you want, and to get out of my comfort zone as much as possible, which keeps life very interesting.”
Sharing his perspective on the sport, Syme believes that combat sport is on a high in New Zealand right now. “From an amateur point of view there is a very high level of competition because training and dieting is being taken seriously even at the lower level and you are most definitely guaranteed a hard fight every time you jump in the ring.”
When asked about what he thinks combat sport will be like in the next 5 years in New Zealand, Syme believes it will grow and become more popular, and more acknowledgement for the athletes in the sport. “I personally hope fighters get more recognition for the amount of hard work and preparation that they put into a fight, which I think is second to none compared to other sports I have competed in.”
After recent the recent win at King in the Ring Syme is one to watch! To keep up with all the updates and future bouts follow Devan on Instagram @devan_syme.
Photo Credit - Calden Scott Jamieson