His martial-arts career started in the late 1980s and continues to this day. His name is John Wayne Parr, and he is considered to be one of the most valuable players in this game.
The most important moment of the kickboxer’s career came on July 7, 2004. Parr competed in K-1 World Max Final in Tokyo. In the quarterfinal, he faced a young newcomer from Thailand known at the time as Buakaw Por. Pramuk — this young man later came to be known as Buakaw Banchamek.
After three rounds, the judges scored the fight as a draw and sent the fight to a fourth round. Buakaw emerged as the winner via split decision and went on to destroy Kohiruimaki and Masato in the semifinal and final, respectively, to become the first K-1 champion from Thailand.
Parr may have lost the fight, but from that moment on, the kickboxing community began to recognize him as the man who delivered one of the strongest challenges to the best version of a great Buakaw.
The gunslinger is still in the game, now fighting under the Bellator Kickboxing banner. He agreed to sit down with Combat Press and answer a few questions. Here’s our interview with the baddest man in Australia.
You are, probably, the most experienced active kickboxing veteran. What inspires you to continue your professional career at age 42?
Thank you. Ever since I could walk, I wanted to be a fighter. I started fighting at age 11 and enjoyed the lifestyle ever since. I like the excitement of preparing for each fight and the [thrill] of going on adventures, traveling to different countries and representing my country. I know I’m getting old, but I want to keep fighting until the wheels fall off.
Your daughter Jazzy followed your example and chose a career as a professional fighter. What is her weight class and record?
My daughter has had 22 fights, with 17 wins. So far, she has had the opportunity to fight in England, Thailand and Canada at 15 years old. Her fight weight is 50 kilograms [110 pounds].
Do you want her to sign with GLORY or the UFC in the future?
It all depends what opportunities open up for her when she gets older and if she is still enjoying the sport when she matures.
Would you like to have a fight if GLORY organizes a tournament in Australia?
I’m happy fighting for Bellator Kickboxing at the present time. They have been looking after me the last two years, and they have treated me very professionally, making it a pleasure to fight for [them].
In April, you lost your fight in Bellator Kickboxing, which was the third and final fight under that Bellator contract. Did you sign a new contract with them?
Yes. [I] signed up for three more fights. Hopefully, the first fight will be on December 1st in Italy.
Do you still want revenge on Buakaw?
I would love to fight Buakaw again, as I believe it’s a fight I can win, and it would be amazing to have a win against him on my resume. Unfortunately, I can not make the 70-kilogram [155-pound] weight limit anymore, so unless Buakaw goes up in weight, it will be impossible to make it happen.
What fighter is the MVP in GLORY right now?
Heavyweight champion Rico Verhoeven would have to be the face of the company at present. He proved he is a superstar after beating Badr Hari.
What kickboxing fight do you want the most?
I’ve been lucky to fight everyone I wanted to fight, sometimes two or three times. Now, I’m just happy to compete.
Can Conor McGregor against Khabib Nurmagomedov be considered the biggest fight among all martial arts?
Those two gentlemen are already legends among people in the sport. Their legacy is already set in stone.
Who is the GOAT in MMA?
Georges St-Pierre would have to be up there. Randy Couture, Chuck Liddell, Tito Ortiz — the list is way too long with too many to name.
What’s your prediction for kickboxing as an industry for the next five years?
Hopefully, Muay Thai is accepted in the Olympics in the next few years. That will give it more exposure to the world and more incentive for young kids to train.