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Meet Kickboxing Champion Victoria, The Hardest 12-Year-Old In The UK
4 Oct 2016 8:16 AM
This article was first published on August 10th, 2016.
Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee. Victoria Louise Perkins, nickname Tigger, is a 12-year-old kickboxing champion from Swansea. Starting training age six after seeing her older brother doing it, she has since won two Welsh titles and one British, and can push and pull a car. With her head shaved both sides and an expression to put the fear of god into her opponents, Victoria is charmingly, alarmingly hard. She recalls the thrill of her hand being raised in the mark of victory for the British title with a pride that 99% of 12-year-olds couldn't possibly fathom.
Originally printed in PYLOT magazine, photographer Tom Johnson and stylist Charlotte James shoot Victoria in a stunning series of stills. Read the interview below, where the not even teenage Victoria discusses the psychology of what it takes for a boy to step into the ring with her. If this is what she's like at 12, imagine what's to come. She's a million dollar baby.
How long have you been kickboxing? Six and a half years.
How many times do you train a week? I train three times a week for kickboxing but two times a week for different sports and activities.
You and your family all train together. Tell me about that, are you all kick boxers? Most of my family do enjoy doing kickboxing but not all of us do. My eldest sister doesn’t enjoy kickboxing so she doesn’t do it. As my father is the main coach and instructor he is a little bit harder on me because I am the highest graded student. As my family does do some kickboxing it’s a bit more challenging, because everyone wants to be the best and sometimes the arguments from home carry on into the gym and vice versa, but we always support each other.
We saw a video of you pushing a car while training? I train to fight and I do whatever is required like pushing and pulling cars or flipping tyres.
Do you have a role model? My role models are MMA fighter Ronda Rousey and Irish boxer Katie Taylor.
What’s your favourite subject at school? My favourite subjects are P.E and Games.
Are you into any other sports? Yes, I’m into football. And as an extra way to keep fit I play for Pontardawe.
Is it quite rare to be a girl in kickboxing? Quite a lot of girls do kickboxing, but not a lot of the girls do full contact fighting. And even fewer are as successful as I am.
I know you’ve been fighting lots of boys too, how is that? Fighting boys is not the easiest thing in the world to do. There are not a lot of girls that will step through the ropes with a boy and even fewer that can win. I must say though it is just as difficult for boys to step in the ring with a girl, it’s a difficult situation for them to be in. If they win they have beaten a girl but when I beat them they can get ribbed by their friends.
I remember you saying that some boys won’t fight you because you’re a girl? Boys are always in a difficult situation when fighting a girl, but to be honest I think most use the fact I’m a girl to their advantage to make sure they don’t have to fight me.
Tell me about your career so far. I started doing kickboxing in a local gym when I saw my eldest brother do a training session and I wanted to have a little go, and I’ve been doing it ever since. I started at the age of six. My father started training me and my brother in a local community centre and that is when the gym started. The gym has moved a couple of times to different places such as community centre, units and now into a permanent building. During my kickboxing career I have only lost three times but this is only in full contact, I have won sixteen other fights since then. My sixteen wins consist of six different title belt wins. My title belts are two Welsh titles, one Southern area title, one Hells gate, one Hammertime promotions title, and one British Title. And that’s not the end of titles heading my way.
Tell me about your favourite fight so far. My favourite fight so far must be when I won my British title. And this fight was definitely not an easy fight. It took place in Kent which was a bit of a trip, but it was worth it for the feeling of my hand being raised when I won. How many belts and trophies do you have in total? I have six belts and too many trophies to count.
When is your next fight? My next fight is my Welsh Title fight on the 20th August.
What’s next for you? Hopefully I will be win a European title or even a World title.
Photography: Tom Johnson Styling and Casting: Charlotte James Models: Andrew, Joseph, Kristian and Victoria Photography Assistant: Anya Broido Styling Assistant: Asha Hai
Special thanks to Western Dragons Martial Arts Club, Swansea.