Tony Villeneuve taking down an opponent in preparation for his first mixed martial arts fight at the “Battle of Plattsburgh 2” on Saturday, May 11 at the Crete Center in Plattsburgh.
Long before Battle of Plattsburgh festivities take over the city in September, there will be a different battle in Plattsburgh.
And this one will involve mixed martial arts.
Dubbed “Battle in Plattsburgh 2,” the Xtreme Combat Promotions event will bring some of the top amateur fighters in the Northeast together to compete on Saturday, May 11 at the Crete Civic Center in Plattsburgh.
Many of the competitors live in the region, but for one of them, the event is a homecoming.
Former Plattsburgh resident Tony Villeneuve, of Clifton Park, New York, will be competing in the 135-pound class.
His match-up against David Weintraub of New York City will be the first that evening.
To prepare for the fight, his first, Villeneuve has been actively training for 14 months.
“This is something I’ve always wanted to do, and I’m excited to fight in Plattsburgh,” Villeneuve said. “Fame goes with it if you get good, but that’s not what I’m thinking about right now. It just feels good to be able to go out there and compete in something I’ve trained so hard in.”
What Villeneuve is thinking about is his training, and how to win the fight against his opponent, David Weintraub of New York City.
Villeneuve has studied various forms of martial arts, including Taekwondo, Japanese Jiu Jitsu and Judo, and he also keeps himself in peak physical condition.
Between running and biking he covers 100 miles a week, and most of his work-outs include calisthenics and cardiovascular exercises—countless sit-ups, push-ups and squats.
There are also frequent visits to the dojo, and relaxing often involves watching other fighters to study their moves.
The training regime has infiltrated so much of his life that he said it has become something more—a lifestyle.
But the lifestyle, he said, is a healthy one, and it is necessary if he is ever going to go pro.
According to Villeneuve, mixed martial arts is not about violence, and for him, it isn’t about hurting his opponent, either.
“I have respect for my opponents,” Villeneuve said. “I’m not trying to injure anybody or anything like that. Hopefully nobody gets hurt along the way.”
Villeneuve said the sport has changed a lot since it became big in the mid-1990s, and that many of the newer rules and regulations were put in place to protect the fighters.
“We’re not doing soccer kicks to the head or bare-knuckle fighting,” Villeneuve said. “It’s a really safe sport, and the people that compete in the sport love it.”
And a love of the sport is why Villeneuve works so hard.
“If I do lose some fights along the way, which is probably going to happen, I’ll just take what I can from those fights and use it to get better,” Villeneuve said.
He has another fight lined up later this summer, and hopes to have more on the horizon soon.
Fourteen matches in seven different weight classes, from 135 pounds to super heavy weight, are scheduled for “Battle in Plattsburgh 2,” including a title match between Shamel Tyler and Andre Belcarris.
Five of the competitors in Saturday’s event are from Plattsburgh—Ed Bressette, Randy Lamb, Bill Mayette, Frank Palumbo and Matt Provost. Nick Roberts, from Champlain and Lane Sawyer, from Au Sable Forks, will also be competing.