FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Portland, Maine (April 15, 2019)
Fighting families are a familiar story line in combat sports.
Boxing fans can trace the lineage of names such as Frazier, Patterson, Mayweather, Camacho and Chavez. Mixed martial arts enthusiasts have long cheered for the brothers Diaz, Nogueira and Shamrock.
Even in the smaller circle of New England Fights, regular followers know the father-and-sons angle of the Bang family, as well as some notable domestic partnerships that have stepped into the cage separately on the same night.
“NEF 38: Stormborn” will serve up a unique variation on that theme Saturday, April 27 at Aura in Portland. That’s where two parents, both of whom took a two-year hiatus to bring a son into the world, will take that renewed purpose of their lives into the cage for the first time.
With their 15-month-old son almost certainly somewhere in the building, the Dover, New Hampshire-based couple of Keegan Hornstra and Adina Beaudry will be at center stage. Hornstra (3-10) takes on Zenon Herrera (1-7) in a battle of professional welterweights, while Beaudry (2-0) tackles an amateur strawweight scrap with Traci Baldwin (1-0).
Young master Niklaus is never far from mom and dad when they’re hard at work training, either in nearby Somersworth at Nostos MMA or in Saco, Maine, at Evolution Athletix.
“It means everything to have him there,” Hornstra said. “He’s definitely growing up with it, not just the fights but the full training experience.”
Beaudry said that when Niklaus sees one of his parents lifting weights, it’s standard procedure for him to pick up one of the lighter kettle bells, himself.
“It’s fun to watch him do that, but having him there is also definitely the biggest challenge for me,” Beaudry said. “The thing that’s a little different is that I work from home, so he’s with me almost all the time. So of course he’s there with me when I train, but it’s kind of hard to turn off mom and concentrate on what you’re doing when your child is crying in the corner.”
Then again, sweating it out and daydreaming about combative challenges are strong family traditions.
Hornstra started karate so young that he also can’t remember exactly what age it was, although he said there is photographic evidence of him in uniform at 7 or 8.
Martial arts instilled him with confidence, but perhaps also set him up for a dose of humility, as he moved into middle school.
“Karate was something my parents put me in to help me channel some of my over-activity,” Hornstra said. “Then in probably sixth or seventh grade, I got in a little bit of a physical altercation with another kid. As it turned out, his father was a boxer, and I suddenly discovered I had a little bit to learn about boxing.”
That experience encouraged Hornstra to broaden his stand-up routine, including Muay Thai study. After joining the United States Army, he gravitated to grappling, then Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.
Once his enlistment was over, Hornstra pursued MMA as a natural outlet for putting together all those disciplines. Including amateurs, he’s a veteran of 21 cage fights.
“I’ve always been competitive. I don’t do sedentary things very well,” Hornstra said. “And even though I enjoy working out, running and traditional gym stuff, that in and of itself isn’t enough for me unless I’m applying it in something like MMA. Some guys can be happy with that. Everything I do has to have a purpose.”
In addition to his break for the transition to fatherhood, Hornstra has devoted much of the past two years to training other MMA fighters on the boxing side of the ledger. One notable pupil is Zac “Rocky” Richard, who will battle Tom Pagliarulo for the vacant NEF amateur featherweight championship at Stormborn.
Hornstra also enjoys helping train his child’s mother and sees her as a major player in New England’s still-developing roster of female fighters.
“She comes from a great background at Seacoast BJJ,” Hornstra said. “The thing about most female fighters is, men are naturally aggressive. You’ll find girls that want to fight, but a lot maybe are doing it because their boyfriend does it, and they don’t have that natural inclination. She naturally likes to fight. She doesn’t back down from anything.”
Beaudry also started out in karate as a teenager.
“I’ve done grappling, catch wrestling, Muay Thai, all the different martial arts disciplines,” she said.
“About four years ago I was looking for something to bring it all together. It has been completely different.”
Even after motherhood, Beaudry said it will be a challenge for her to bulk up to 115 pounds for the bout with Baldwin. She would like to see the dawn of a true atomweight (105) division in the area but doesn’t envision enough fighters on the horizon at present.
Beaudry and Hornstra train under the talented duo of Nate Libby and Taylor Costantino at Evolution. All the while, the thought of two much less experienced eyes watching them serves as a driving force.
“I think he’ll definitely have a natural appreciation for it, just from being around us and being around the gym,” Beaudry said of her son. “We definitely plan to place him into some form of martial arts, just because it’s good for kids in their development. Ultimately it will be his decision how far he wants to go with it. We won’t push him.”
Do they worry about Niklaus turning 18 someday and tackling the inherent risks of the cage?
“I would enjoy it,” Hornstra said, “but I think it might be a little different for his mother.”
The eye roll and shrug were audible in Beaudry’s voice.
“There are a lot of things in the world that worry me a whole lot more than the idea of him fighting,” she said.
NEF’s next mixed-martial-arts event, “NEF 38: STORMBORN,” will take place on Saturday, April 27, 2019 at Aura in Portland, Maine with a bell time of 7 pm. Tickets are on sale now at www.AuraMaine.com.
About New England Fights
New England Fights (“NEF”) is a fight events promotions company. NEF’s mission is to create the highest quality events for fighters and fans alike. NEF’s executive team has extensive experience in combat sports management, events production, media relations, marketing, legal and advertising.