24 October 2020

Tonna takes loss in his stride with quarantine kilometres for Lifeline

| Michael Weaver
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Josh Tonna lands a kick on Sam-A

Canberra’s Josh Tonna puts a kick into the ribs of Sam-A during their world title bout in Singapore. Photo: ONE Championship.

There are 10 steps from the door to the window in Josh Tonna’s hotel room in Sydney where he is currently in quarantine following his world title Muay Thai fight in Singapore.

Facing the disappointment of the second-round loss against the number-one ranked fighter, Thailand’s Sam-A Gaiyanghadao, Josh started pacing those 10 steps from the door to the window, and kept going.

As he nears the final days of his mandatory two weeks in quarantine, he’s trod 500 km in his hotel room. He has also raised more than $5000 for Lifeline Canberra in the process.

Having lost the biggest fight of his life, unable to see his family, and isolated from everyone, he literally took the loss in his stride and walked 55 km on day one. He walked another 55km the next day and hasn’t fallen below 42 km (the distance of an Olympic marathon) any day since.

“I’m starting to wear out the carpet,” Josh tells Region Media while pacing it out and passing the time.

“I’m talking to lots of people and my family and friend back home in Canberra and Queanbeyan. I listen to podcasts, do some meditation or just listen to the silence.”

Josh Tonna

Josh Tonna is his hotel team room during a two-week quarantine period. Photo: Supplied.

He said the loss to the dual Muay Thai and kickboxing world champion stung, but said he was never going to sit and think of what could have been against the fighter he says is the Michael Jordan of Muay Thai.

“Sam-A is simply a few steps above everyone else and I really wanted to beat him and truly believed I could win,” Josh says.

“When we arrived back to Sydney, I was feeling pretty low. I wanted to move, so I just started walking in the room to take my mind off the fight.

“After a couple of days, I felt I could do something positive with this, so I talked with my wife and the others in my team and we came up with the idea of raising some money for charity.

“It started with a goal of raising $1500 which is already above $3200. We were aiming to raise $5000 for Lifeline as they are the organisation that helps lift people up when they need it.”

He met that target yesterday (24 October). His quarantine period ends on 27 October.

Josh Tonna is consolled by Sam-A

Josh Tonna is consoled by Sam-A after their world title bout. Photo: ONE Championship.

His only company is the nurse who occasionally comes to do a COVID-19 test. There is no fresh air, but a nice view of Sydney from the window.

“That’s why I chose Lifeline as an organisation to raise some money for because you can relate to the way they help people who are isolated and feel like they have no one to turn to.

“They’re just a phone call away, so I can really relate to what they deal with on a daily basis.”

Josh says he is grateful to come away unscathed from the fight that ended in the second round of the five-round bout after Sam-A floored Tonna three times in the round.

“He hits like a truck – very hard and very accurate and he mixes his punches and kicks so well that it made it hard to work him out.

“I’ve definitely learnt some lessons from this fight, but overall it was such a positive experience to get to the stage where I was the number one contender,” Josh says.

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Meanwhile, he will just keep walking, keep talking and is looking forward to seeing his wife and two young children and getting back into the Muay U gym at Fyshwick with his Muay Thai mates.

Lifeline Canberra CEO Carrie Leeson said it was inspirational to hear about Josh’s selfless act to raise money for them.

“Josh is amazing to be supporting Lifeline Canberra. We look forward to hearing your updates as we are with you every step of the way,” Ms Leeson said.

You can find out more about and donate via Josh Tonna’s 500 km challenge page.

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