Stacey Kensley enjoys her Muay Thai and Kickboxing, however, she also dabbles in a bit of boxing. Photo: Supplied.
Stacey Kensley enjoys her Muay Thai and Kickboxing, however, she also dabbles in a bit of boxing. Photo: Supplied.

Fighter Stacey Kensley has her success in her own hands

By Julian Kiewitz Time of article published Sep 8, 2020

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CAPE TOWN - Stacey Kensley welcomes the Fight to Fame show to South African shores.

As long as it’s done right and does not get lost in too much drama and showboating, then she is happy to see it flourish as it will then be for the benefit of the greater combat sport community.

“A show like that will be great for the exposure of a lot of fighters and it will also show people the hard work that goes into training and the sacrifices that need to be made,” says the Muay Thai fighter (3-3).

The show - set to start in October - will see combat sport athletes compete in stunts, assessments and challenges with the aim of earning a Hollywood contract (acting or stunt work) - thus building the new generation of Diana Lee Inosantos, Bruce Lees, Ronda Rouseys and Jean-Claude Van Dammes.

Often in combat sport, some fighters feel the need to speak or act a certain way to sell the show, yes, there is an entertainment element to the sport, but sometimes, the sales pitch is taken overboard and the purity of the sport is lost in the showbiz.

“Hopefully the contestants chosen will represent the sport in a tasteful manner and not fall trap to making the show more entertaining through too much drama, there are many emotions involved when training and preparing for a fight so there will be some elements of entertainment,” adds Stacey.

Stacey Kensley aims to go professional in the near future. Photo: Supplied.

It is true that the rise in interest in combat sport of late has been a healthy one, but the need for new forms of revenue, support and interest will do wonders for martial artists in Africa and South Africa. Especially if it is to be established as a mainstream sport like the big guns - rugby, soccer, cricket, etc.

“In order to take the sport to the next level, we all need to start attending more events, even online shows which will start happening now because of Covid-19, I think sponsors are a massive deal too, no money equals no event, which means no fighting. So those two go hand-in-hand, more people attending fights, more exposure for sponsors. I feel the government could also assist with funding, but perhaps as the sport grows, so will the government get involved,” adds Stacey.

The Muay Thai and Kickboxing specialist (3-3) loves her game because: “It teaches you a lot about yourself, it teaches you control, and most of all how to be present. Fighting has a lot to do with mental strength, which is an aspect we tend to neglect,” says the Thaiholics athlete who has a strong team around her.

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Her coach being one of the land’s most recognised Muay Thai leaders, an instructor and boxing champion - Nicholas Radley, while her boyfriend is the 2015 South African Kickboxing champion, Rafel Wozniak.

“Nic is a talented fighter and teacher and he is also a wonderful friend. My boyfriend Rafel is my best friend and my main support when fighting,” says Stacey who aims to earn her SA colours in Muay Thai and enter the World Championships.”

“I didn't join the gym thinking I would become a fighter, I joined for fitness reasons and a passion began to develop. I am currently a Pro-Amateur fighter and hoping to go professional in 2021 or 2022 if there are opponents for me.

It’s a really cool story thinking about Stacey and Rafel, both love their combat sport, they too push the boundaries, and last but not least, they’re both out there for the people putting their lives at risk as firefighters for the protection of the land and its inhabitants.

“I truly love my job and I am very blessed to have this as a career,” says the Kommetjie-based firefighter who enjoys outdoor activities, especially those that “might strike up some fear and adrenaline.”

Stacey Kensley doing the Wai Khru moments before her fight. Photo: Supplied.

Aside from her work in the firefighting field, Stacey might have missed those outdoor activities due to the coronavirus-enforced lockdown, but she has used the time to reflect on the important things in life, too.

“Lockdown has taught me that if you want to be somewhere, you have to take your success into your own hands, it's not always easy training alone but it brings a lot of inner strength. I also learnt how much I appreciate my gym and the people in it, human encouragement and support is so important in life and we tend to disregard it because we are dealing with our own problems.”

“The freedom to do what we want is a beautiful thing so I just really hope people are more present for their own life, even when taking a simple walk on the beach and to cherish the people that make it so much more enjoyable.”

For more details on the show, and if you would like to enter, visit


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