Chris Algieri said he has accomplished everything he could in becoming a world-class kickboxer.
He started competing in the sport at 16 and turned professional at 19. He followed with an ISKA welterweight title and a WKA super welterweight championship at 21 and finished with a record of 20-0.
But the kickboxing championships and accolades weren't enough for Algieri. The 27-year-old Greenlawn native always has been a boxing fan and thought he eventually would end up compete in the sport.
He announced his retirement from kickboxing near the end of 2008 and competed in his first boxing match in April, 2009. It's been all roses since the change in direction for Algieri, who is 10-0.
He'll get a chance to improve on that mark on Thursday when he takes on Philadelphia's Julius Edmonds in an eight-round junior welterweight bout at the Plattduetsche Park Restaurant in Franklin Square.
With a successful kickboxing career, why the switch?
"I've always been a boxing fan," said the St. Anthony's graduate, who trains at Bellmore Kickboxing Academy. "Everybody always talked about how good my hands were. Anytime I got into a sticky situation in the ring while kickboxing, I'd always fall back to my hands to get the advantage back."
Many athletes have attempted to change sports, like former NFL players Herschel Walker and Johnnie Morton, who became MMA fighters. Others, like former boxing world champion James Toney ventured into the MMA field. Most have failed.
That hasn't been the case for Algieri, who said the switch wasn't too difficult.
Outside of having to work on his stamina, because boxing has three-minute rounds, compared with a kickboxing round that lasts two minutes, Algieri said he didn't have too tough a time adjusting. "The punch techniques are the same," Algieri said. "And I always sparred with boxers."
Algieri said he received some advice from a former pro boxer he'll never forget. Former three-time world champion Mike McCallum sought out Algieri during one of his training sessions to advise him. "He saw me sparring in Las Vegas and came over to me and introduced himself," Algieri said. "He told me to stick with the jab and go to the body as much as I can."
Algieri said that conversation is still fresh in his mind.
"That was over 10 months ago and I'm still thinking about it," Algieri said.
The most difficult battle for Algieri has been outside of the ring. With no amateur boxing background, finding fights can be difficult.
But Algieri is now under contract with Star Boxing Inc., a promotion company with experienced management he believes will do right by him.
"I didn't have a track record in boxing when I turned pro. And what I did in kickboxing doesn't count in this sport," Algieri said. "So I have to just fight my way up."