Randall Rayment has come a long way in his life, and much of his success he attributes to fighting.
Next month, the martial artist and boxer will travel overseas for an international fight against Japanese heavyweight champion Kyotaro Fujimoto.
While his professional career is reaching a high and on the rise, Rayment, 31, said his time in the ring is a metaphor for the life he has lived.
“I feel like I’ve had to fight my way here,” he said.
“It’s been a big challenge but I haven’t looked back. I haven’t had any trouble with the police since and I’m living my life.”
Rayment grew up in Merrylands but had a tough upbringing and became mixed up with drugs.
At 21, he was incarcerated and said he had a chance to look at his life.
Rayment was given a chance by the courts and sent to the ONE80TC rehabilitation centre for 12 months.
He graduated, got a Certificate IV in drug and alcohol and worked at the centre for the next 15 months.
It was also where he learned to fight.
One of the workers at the centre was a boxing enthusiast who took Rayment under his wing and started his training at a PCYC gym.
Now 10 years later, Rayment credits this period with turning his life around.
“I’ve always had a lot of major respect for a fighter and any time I’ve met someone, I was in awe,” he said.
“I’m a big fan of Rocky – I actually thought Rocky was real until I was about eight and I asked my parents. I never had Santa Claus but I had Rocky.
“I know I can’t fight forever and fighting has always been my true love. If it wasn’t for fighting, I doubt I would be here.”
The journey started with mixed martial arts after Rayment began learning jiu jitsu while still in rehab.
He turned professional at 24, debuting in MMA and taking nine fights with seven wins and two losses, which saw him fall just short of winning the Australian Fighting Championship title in 2015.
The fighter said he hopes to get back in the ring for another MMA bout but is wary age is getting the better of him with “only a couple of fights left in me”.
His first boxing match was in December 2014 when he was struggling to get a fight in MMA.
Straight after that, he booked a fight with NRL star Paul Gallen.
Currently, Rayment has won eight of his 11 fights since turning professional, but is on a six-fight winning streak.
“I’ve only really learned to box as a professional,” he said.
“I’m still young for a heavyweight and I’m learning on the fly because time is not on my side so I’ve got to make the most of it now.”
Now set to fight Fujimoto on November 4 in Tokyo, Rayment is set for the biggest fight of his career.
He credited a fight against Herman Purcell in Toowoomba with setting up the bout as it pushed him well into the top 10 in the Australian heavyweight rankings.
The undefeated Fujimoto has fought four Australians in the past year and will prove a formidable opponent.
There will be two belts available for the winner: the OPBF Heavyweight title and the WBO Asia Pacific Heavyweight title.
“It’s like a bucket list I never asked for – I’m going to be able to be a happy old man,” Rayment said.
“There is nothing worse than seeing a grumpy old man because he never reached the potential he could have.
“But I’m going to have some good stories to tell. And I’m going to become a great trainer one day after fighting and put back into the sport.”
However the fight turns out, Rayment said his goal is “to go as far as I can, and if I can do that, I’ll be a happy old man”.