When Janet Todd steps into the ONE Championship ring for the first time ever, she will have the chance to leave “The Lion City” with the inaugural ONE Atomweight Muay Thai World Title.
She will face reigning ONE Atomweight Kickboxing World Champion Stamp Fairtex for the vacant belt in the headline attraction of ONE: CALL TO GREATNESS, which emanates from the Singapore Indoor Stadium on Friday, 22 February.
The 33-year-old American has previously competed on the international stage, but this upcoming main-event showdown marks the biggest challenge of her career.
As she puts the finishing touches on her preparation, take this opportunity to learn a little bit more about “JT,” her upbringing in the United States, and her unusual path to discovering martial arts.
Flips, Not Kicks
View this post on Instagram
In my training with @jackiemguerra and @gamereadyp, we’ve been fusing mental building with our physical training. We flow through our sessions like meditation, using the power of thought, breath, focus and the guru techniques Jackie has authored to unleash my full potential. I am learning how to create my own reality, inside and outside of the ring. As Jackie says, “Your thoughts create things, and the body is constantly perfecting what you practice”! The cleared mental pathways, coupled with GRP’s advanced heart rate variability and neurokinetic strength training, have transformed my body, allowed me to reach new personal records, perform better with each fight, and win gold at the 2018 Pan American Games. It’s amazing how our thoughts can dictate our reality…. I love this journey! • • Thank you to the team -????: @jonwjohnson ; ????: @jhlichtenstein ; ????: @glorianoto ; ????????♀️: @jamalhammadi ????????????: @kongnyc #powerofshe #athleta #affirmations #muaythai #selflove #strength #getgameready #motivation
Todd was born and raised in Hermosa Beach, California. Her father was a mural artist and her mother, who moved to the United States from her native Japan, worked as a yoga teacher.
Although “JT” grew up in America, her first language was actually Japanese. However, she learned English as she got older.
“When I watch videos of me when I was little, I have a Japanese accent with my English,” the Muay Thai star says with a laugh. “My mom stayed at home, taught us Japanese, and took us around everywhere for piano practice or gymnastics, or for my sister, it was soccer.”
Todd was a natural athlete growing up, but she did not have any interest in martial arts. Instead, she participated in gymnastics.
As she approached her teenage years, however, she realized how much time and attention the sport required.
“It takes over your life a little bit,” she says. “I wanted a social life, so I quit gymnastics in middle school and to replace that, I did cheerleading, so it meshed well.”
From Cardio Kickboxing To Muay Thai
Will Janet Todd's Muay Thai measure up to Stamp Fairtex in Singapore?Singapore | 22 February | 6:00PM | LIVE and FREE on the ONE Super App: http://bit.ly/ONESuperApp | TV: Check local listings for global broadcast | Tickets: http://bit.ly/onegreatness19
Posted by ONE Championship on Tuesday, 5 February 2019
Once high school ended, Todd stopped cheerleading and focused entirely on her college education.
She was accepted into a five-year master’s program in aerospace engineering at California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, California.
Education came first, but she still wanted to stay in shape and get involved in some kind of physical activity. That is when she discovered cardio kickboxing, which allowed her to remain active without giving up important study time.
When “JT” entered her senior year of college, she was introduced to ‘the art of eight limbs’ by her then-boyfriend, and she was instantly hooked on the stand-up martial art.
“At the time, he was just a guy I was seeing, but now he’s my husband. He introduced me to a Muay Thai gym in the central coast area,” Todd reveals.
“I loved it right away. Learning new movements was really interesting for me because I didn’t come from a martial arts background. So learning to kick was fun because my kicks were probably really [bad] when I started.
“Being able to learn new movements and then perfecting those new movements was something I really enjoyed.”
Struggling To Find Opportunities
Once she fell in love with Muay Thai, Todd could not get enough of the sport.
After practicing for so long, she finally cornered one of her training partners during an amateur bout. From there, the seed was planted for her own career.
“I got to see her fight and got to see her hard work from the gym really pay off in the fight,” the American says. “She TKO’d this girl with some really beautiful knees, and I was like, ‘This is something I really want to do.’ She kind of inspired me to want to do it myself.”
Following that experience, “JT” booked her own amateur bout and she walked away from the ring victorious.
That would be her last taste of competition for a while. She had just completed her master’s program and was simultaneously beginning a new career. While she actively trained, her competitive Muay Thai endeavors were placed on hold.
Four years later, Todd finally had a break in her busy schedule and returned to the sport she loved so much. This time, there was no turning back.
The American tried staying as busy as possible, but she quickly ran into one of her biggest problems yet. Muay Thai is not a sport that is widely promoted in the United States, so she struggled to find opportunities where she could compete on a regular basis.
“In other parts of the world, they’re fighting every weekend, whereas down here, a promoter wants you to sell tickets [to the event], and if you don’t sell tickets, they generally won’t put you on a card,” she explains.
“The fights are once a month and if you’re lucky to get on that card, you’re fighting once a month. If not, you’re fighting every two or three months. The opportunities are kind of few and far between compared to other countries.”
Challenging For A World Title
Can Janet Todd shock the ???? and take home ONE gold against Stamp Fairtex?Singapore | 22 February | 7:00PM | LIVE and FREE on the ONE Super App: http://bit.ly/ONESuperApp | TV: Check local listings for global broadcast | Tickets: http://bit.ly/onegreatness19
Posted by ONE Championship on Tuesday, 29 January 2019
To help build up her Muay Thai career, Todd started accepting matches outside of the United States. She began competing in tournaments all across the globe, and started finding success.
In 2017 alone, she participated in 14 bouts and racked up several knockouts. She also claimed a bronze medal at the IFMA World Championships, a bronze medal at the World Games, and a gold medal at the IFMA Pan American Championships.
Now, she will step onto the global stage for martial arts and challenge for the biggest prize of her career — the inaugural ONE Atomweight Muay Thai World Championship.
Todd knows this is an opportunity of a lifetime, and she is putting everything into her preparation at Boxing Works in Torrance, California so she can bring the World Title back home to the United States.
“It will be my first World Title, so obviously I’m super excited about it,” she states.
“I really want to prove to everyone that I’m worthy of that title. I always said I wanted to be the best in the world, and literally, the opportunity is right in front of me. It’s a dream come true.”