Here it is. The first offical Fighter Girls interview. This was done with Sunshine Fettkether in Janurary, 2002. Sunshine is well on her way to establishing herself as one of the premiere thai boxers in America and overseas. Yes, she’s also the chick that knocked out that guy in a thai boxing match in Arizona, but thats not the way she wants to be remembered, and deservidly so. So thank you to Sunshine for taking the time to do this, and to everyone else, enjoy.
FG: What’s your full name?
SF: Deborah Sunshine Fettkether
FG: How or who came up with the name Sunshine? We love it, by the way.
SF: Fettkether is my married name. I’m not sure how my parents came up with Sunshine, but that’s what I’ve always gone by, never Deborah.
FG: What is your height and weight?
SF: I’m 5’8″ 147 pounds
FG: Who are your Coaches and Trainers?
SF: Bob Karmel and Raul Monreal at Back Alley Camp in Chandler, Arizona
FG: How about your training partners?
SF: Oscar Rosas, Danny Brandt and Ian Jarvis are some of my sparring partners. We have a lot of women in the Gym also, but I don’t spar them much because they’re smaller.
FG: Are you single/married?
SF: I’ve been married 4 years to my husband, Mike
FG: Where do you reside?
SF: In Mesa, Arizona
FG: Are you from that same area?
SF: No, I’m from back east. My Dad was in the military so we moved every 2 years or so. When he retired about 8 years ago, we moved to Arizona
FG: How did you get started in kickboxing?
SF: About 5 years ago, when I met my husband, we had both been into martial arts since we were 12 or 13 and decided to check out a new Muay Thai gym that had opened up in Tempe, AZ. We both signed up and I’ve been doing it ever since.
FG: Any styles besides kick boxing?
SF: I started in Tae Kwon Do. I’ve also done Shotokan, BJJ, Wing Chun Kung Fu, and boxing.
FG: How long have you been at it?
SF: Muay Thai, 5 years.
FG: Do you train mainly with men or women?
SF: For sparring, maily men. Although we have a lot of women at the gym, I don’t spar them much because of the size difference. The next biggest woman under me is 130 pounds.
FG: What does your daily training consist of?
SF: When I have a fight coming up, I train twice a day. Once in the morning, then again at night. I also have to run in between training sessions. A workout usually consists of stretching, jumping rope(30 min straight), 3-5 rounds of shadow boxing, pad work with a trainer(anywhere from 5-12, 3 min rounds, depending on the number of rounds I’ll be fighting), heavy bag work, sparring(3 times a week), If I’m boxing we add double end ball and speed bag.
FG: Do you train full time or part time?
SF: I guess most people would consider that full time.
FG: What do you do for work?
SF: I work at a treatment center for kids with developmental disabilities. I do graveyard, so its mostly paperwork and because of the hours I have plenty of time to train.
FG: What do you believe gives you the edge in competition?
SF: I think my endurance and the training and preparation we do for every fight. If I’m going to fight 5 rounds I go into the fight knowing I could fight 10 if I had to.
FG: What weaknesses do you have that you are trying to correct?
SF: My aggressiveness. That’s something that doesn’t come natural to me and I have to work at it.
FG: Is there another fighter whose style you think you emanate or resemble?
SF: No, not really. I tend to do things my way.
FG: Who are your favorite fighters and why?
SF: I really like to watch Oscar De La Hoya fight. The way he boxes is so technically pretty, he’s fun to watch and to learn from.
FG: Who would you most like to fight and under what rules?
SF: I just want a really good REAL Muay Thai fight against a good fighter that actually trains full time in Muay Thai. Not a girl that kickboxes and decided to take a Muay Thai rules fight so she trains knees for a month. Unfortunately, I have to look outside the United States to get that type of fight. I know of NO US female fighter with REAL Muay Thai training willing to fight me. I’m supposed to be fighting Sue Glassey full Thai rules in New Zealand on March 16. She’s a European Muay Thai champion, so I’m looking forward to that.
FG: Do you have any plans to fight in NHB/MMA in the near future?
SF: No, with boxing and Muay Thai I don’t have time to grapple. I’ve done jujitsu before and don’t enjoy it as much as stand up fighting. My first fight was MMA. I got choked out with a guillotine after about 6 minutes. It was suppsed to be one 10 minute round. I had only trained about a month on the ground and a couple months in Muay Thai. I had no idea what to do when she took me down, I wanted to stand. I’m suprised I lasted 6 minutes.
FG: How much longer do you plan on competing?
SF: I guess another couple years or so.
FG: How many more times do you plan on fighting in that time?
SF: As much as possible. I love to train and fight. I’d fight once a week if it were up to me. Last year I had 6 pro fights, which isn’t bad, but I’d like to have more this year.
FG: What do you hope to do once you stop competing professionally?
SF: For one thing I need to finish college. My husband and I want to have kids. Actually, I’d be more than happy with one, but he wants a couple….we’ll see.
FG: Where would you like to see women’s fighting go?
SF: I’d like to see it get more popular and more accepted so that promoters are more willing to put female fights on their cards. I want to see female fighters looked upon as legitimate athletes who work just as hard as the male fighters.
FG: Do you think women get unfairly ranked in this sport?
SF: There are always going to be those close-minded people who think women should be at home doing laundry or something, and shouldn’t be fighting. Fortunately, those people are becoming fewer and fewer.
FG: Tell us about your recent trip to The Ukraine, How were you treated?
SF: Other than the bad judging and decisions we were treated very well. The decisions in the fights were very blatantly bad. Their Team was very good, really tough, but so was Team USA. I knocked my fighter down twice, she had to get treatment for her left leg because of damage from my kicks, but they still ruled it a draw. The Ukrainians are great hosts, very friendly and eager to show us their country and their way of doing things.
FG: And how was it different from fighting in the US?
SF: It was by far the biggest crowd I’ve ever fought in front of. Kickboxing would never draw those numbers in the US. The production of the shows was very good. Another thing was the cheerleaders….I’ve never had a team of cheerleaders cheering in between rounds before.
FG: What has been your most memorable fight to date and why?
SF: Probably my first pro boxing match. The girl I fought was really tall and had awesome reach. She had the hardest punch I’ve ever felt, even counting all the men I’ve trained with. She got me really good with a straight right in the second round. I felt my knees start to give out and my eyes closed for a second. That’s the closest anyone has ever come to knocking me out.
FG: Do you have any advice for the new up comers girls who re just starting out?
SF: I know it can be intimidating to walk into a gym full of male fighters and start training. You just have to tough out the first few days or so, know that you have just as much right to be there as any guy in the place. Eventually you’ll get used to it and start feeling comfortable.
FG: Who has been your biggest influence?
SF: As far as the martial arts go, I would have to say my first TKD instructor, Robert Kane. He was very traditional, focused more on street self-defense, not the flashy kicks and fancy forms normally associated with Tae Kwon Do. The way he presented the martial arts to me sparked an interest that will last a lifetime.
FG: Who is your favorite fighter to watch?
SF: Oscar De La Hoya, I also like to watch old Muhammad Ali fights.
FG: What is your record in the different events that you have competed in?
SF: 2-1 amatuer boxing, 10-3-1 amatuer Muay Thai and kickboxing. 1-1 pro Muay Thai. The Ukrainian fights are being called exhibitions by the US sanctioning body (USKBA), so they don’t count on my record.
FG: When was you first fight?
SF: In 1997, here in Arizona. It was MMA. I think we were calling them shootfights back then.
FG: Do you have any other fights scheduled?
SF: Feb 3 in Tanzania Africa vs. Monica Mwasanga and then March 16 vs. Sue Glassey in New Zealand.
FG: Do you find it difficult to strike a balance between being a woman and being a fighter?
SF: No, not at all. I guess I was born to do this, it just comes natural.
FG: Do you think that the people around you like your husband or other close friends don’t treat you like or forget that you’re a woman because you fight?
SF: No, not my husband at all. I don’t feel as though anyone else does either.
FG: What’s the one thing you most want your fans to know about you?
SF: A lot of people, especially locally, know me as “the girl that fought the guy”. I want people to forget about that whole thing. Its over with, it was almost 2 years ago, and I will not be fighting any more men.
FG: What is your favorite past time other then fighting?
SF: Shopping and going to the mall. My husband is the only guy I’ve ever met that likes going to the mall. So I suppose my favorite pastime would be shopping with my husband.
FG: Thank you for taking the time to do this interview.