Huntly's top karate fighter Lucas Reihana McKinnon is looking to stamp his mark on the international stage later this month. In 2015, the 33-year-old left an impression on Japan after making it to the third day of the world Kyokushin karate tournament, this year he aims to go one better at the world weight Karate Championships.
The NZ Super Heavyweight Kyokushin can't wait to compete with the best at this year's sixth World Weight Category Championships
Lucas Reihana McKinnon (Tainui, Te Arawa) says, "There are eight of us descending from all over the world so I'm sort of wrapping up for that and the last stretch of preparations for myself and trying to get into the best conditioning as possible."
The top NZ fighter says in five years he has learnt what it takes to compete against the best from Japan, Brazil, Bulgaria, Poland and Russia.
Stephen Takiwa (Ngāti Kahungunu) says, "He is up there, they respect him as well, they love him in Japan, he has that mana when he gets out there and he doesn't step back for anybody."
A total of 32 fighters will compete across the Lightweight, Middleweight, Heavyweight and Super-heavyweight categories.
Takiwa says, "It's just getting the skill to fight the top fighters in the sport. It's very hard in New Zealand because there are only a few around and over there you are fighting the top fighters all the time."
The championships will be held in Tokyo, Japan on April 16. Lucas will use today's Waikato Kyokushin Championship to draw on inspiration to prepare himself for his toughest international tournament.
McKinnon says, "They have come from as far as Illawarra Australia but also South Island, Wellington and Napier but they have all come and we have got the privilege and honour from Rākaumanga to have it here."
Lucas will use the next few weeks to continue to train before flying to Japan to represent New Zealand.