Tracy fighter Mikey “Too Raw” Shaw knew that his next step in the fight world would be a big one. There could be no turning back.
On Nov. 9, Shaw made the move from amateur to professional and won his first pro bout on a first-round technical knockout in Alexandria, Minnesota.
Shaw, 26, drew the headline fight at Runes in the Ring, a daylong martial arts event hosted by 3soteric Gym and Fyte Promotions of Minnesota. It was a muay thai welterweight bout (146 pounds) and was the pro debut for both Shaw, who was 12-3 as an amateur, and Chase Rueger of Hinkley, Minnesota, who was 8-4 in kickboxing and 4-2 in mixed martial arts.
The fight was scheduled to go for five 3-minute rounds, but Shaw had pursued Rueger into a corner, where he caught him with a knee and then an elbow to the head. Rueger fell to the mat as the referee came in to stop the bout 2 minutes, 19 seconds into the first round.
“The knee that I hit him with before that, I could tell that one hurt him. You could hear him gasp when I threw that knee,” Shaw said. “The next knee was the one that landed.”
Shaw said his share of the purse came out to $600. While there were no championship titles or belts on the line, he knew it was his most important fight yet just because it meant he could no longer fight as an amateur.
“People have been telling me to go professional for a while, but I’ve never felt like I was mentally there. This fight, it really proved to me that my mind is there,” Shaw said. “The skills are there. Everything is coming together.”
As with all his other fights, Shaw trained to go the distance. He said most of his fights since 2015 have gone all five rounds.
“Even if a fight was scheduled for three rounds, I’ve never adjusted my training,” he said. “I just train as hard as I possibly can and get my cardio up as much as I possibly can and get in the best shape possible so I can go 10 rounds. I want to be able to push the pace for as long as possible.”
He expected that Rueger, fighting in front of his local crowd, would also have taken on an intense training program to get prepared. Shaw researched his opponent beforehand and knew that he had trained at Jackson Wink MMA Academy in New Mexico, a destination for top MMA fighters.
As for his own preparation, Shaw has enough experience to know that any fighter can be full of surprises.
“I don’t go crazy with the film study, because guys change with every fight. I’m not the same guy I was a couple fights ago or a few years ago,” Shaw said. “All of my stuff on YouTube is old. It’s similar with him.
“I try to watch his best performance to get an idea of where he’s going to dig deep or where he pulled out all of his tools, and then I look at his most recent fight to see what he’s looking like lately.”
“I prepared for a few things that I saw that he really liked to do, and then let the fight play out and saw how it went,” Shaw added. “It went exactly how I thought it would, as far as the techniques he was throwing. I didn’t know it would be a first-round finish.”
He had Rueger figured as more of a traditional kickboxer, with hands and feet used for striking and a preference for high kicks and side kicks, while the muay thai style also allows contact with knees and elbows. He also expected that Rueger’s training partners would help him adjust his style for a new challenge.
“Every fight is a test for myself. I’ve fought so many different styles, so this fight I felt the nerves of fighting somebody who was a little more unorthodox, or had a more of a high pace and had techniques that maybe I hadn’t seen before,” Shaw said.
“I can’t overextend myself or get too aggressive because I might run into a shot that I don’t see coming. Those are the ones that can get you.”
Shaw hasn’t scheduled his next fight yet but hopes to compete again in the late winter or early spring. In the meantime, he continues to work out with coach Carlos Torres of GFBC Striking and with Guerilla Jiu Jitsu in Pleasanton. He is also coaching his own crew of about 20 up-and-coming fighters.
Shaw said that training younger fighters helps him see the milestones in his own fight journey.
“I tell the guys I train, you find the pockets to rest in and the moments where you compose yourself. It’s not like nonstop flurry of things happening,” he said.
“I find those moments to break a fight down and analyze it as it’s playing out. Not get too overexcited, or trying to rush anything. I play it moment by moment.”