He had first fight at age nine and was hooked for life. Coached by his father, former kickboxing champion Vincent Jauncey, Josh racked up an impressive amateur record with more than half his wins coming by way of KO. Having recently turned pro, Josh is determined to fulfill his destiny and leave his mark in the world of sport. RYU caught up to him between rounds and was rewarded with some candid insights by this ultra competitive and equally respectful young athlete.

Josh Jauncey kickboxing

On what drives him

I’m motivated by all the things I haven’t accomplished yet. There’s a lot of things I want to do in this sport, lots of things I want to become, people I need to beat and expectations for myself I want to meet. The truth is I love winning. I really hate to lose. But I know if you don’t win there’s no way you can be the best. So I strive to be my best and THE best. Because if my best isn’t the best, then why am I doing it?

On the difference between winning and losing

Everything I do is to win the fight, so losing can be rather crushing. But as much as I hate to lose, and see those blemishes on my record, I have learned so much from them. They’ve made me a better fighter. At some point you have to learn to embrace your losses and almost be thankful for them. But I feel like I could learn just as much from not losing!

Josh Jauncey kickboxing

On his mission to be the best

These days many people say “you don’t lose, you just learn”. And I do agree with that. But losing is a failure. I don’t think you should ever feel good about failing. You have to be disappointed in the fact that you failed so you can come back stronger because you hated that feeling so much. You don’t want it happening again. There seems to be a very soft mentality about losing or failing these days. It’s like people are being almost ok with it. I don’t think you should be ok with it. Or afraid of it. You can’t be so worried to fail that it stops you from doing new things. But you also can’t go in there with the idea that it’s ok to lose because that’s not what you set out to do. That’s not the mission. The mission is not to go and fail. The objective is to go and accomplish the mission and win. And that’s how I like to think about things.

On what it means to be a fighter

A fighter is someone who can adapt to adversity. They aren’t quitters. Whether they get knocked down or knocked out, either physically or metaphorically, they’re not going to let that crush them. To be a fighter in life is to be someone who doesn’t give up. It’s showing your true heart. When someone has true heart they don’t know how to give up. No matter how badly they get smashed they’ve still got that fight in them. Even if everything is against them, they’re still going to keep going. They are still going to try. They don’t sit down and say “I’m done”. Fighters keep going and going and going. That’s how they win.

Josh Jauncey kickboxing

On words to live by

I’m only 23 so I’m still evolving. Nothing is set in stone yet. I’m still adapting and figuring out what works best for me. But there was something my Granddad used to say and it does work in most aspects of my life: Que Sera Sera – What Will Be Will Be. There’s nothing really truer, more comforting or freeing than that quote. You can’t do anything about what’s going to happen, so you just find a way to deal with it. And keep living. You can’t stress about the little things that are going to happen anyways. It’s about rolling with the punches rather than freaking out when they are in front of you.

Josh Jauncey kickboxing

On being beautiful tough

Tough has never really gone hand in hand with beauty. Tough is rugged. Functional. But it’s possible to find beauty in toughness. In doing hard things. It shows someone can handle adversity and come away from it and live a life that’s still beautiful. It’s how I describe my fighting style. I’m not afraid to take a hit. Or get in a brawl. But I do consider my style quite beautiful. I like to fight technically while doing some things a little bit unorthodox. Like taking a shot to give a few back. I mean, what’s more beautiful tough than willing to risk everything for the sake of your passion?

On his advice to young competitors

Make sure you’re doing it for the right reasons. Not to impress anybody. Not for the possibility of making money or getting famous, but because you really love it. That’s something my parents instilled in me and I don’t know if they meant to or not, but that’s the way I feel. I can’t think of anything I love more than this sport. When you invest so much time and effort into something you truly love, you are going to get good at it. And when you get so good the money will come. Whether it’s from performing, competing, teaching, coaching, holding workshops, whatever. It might not make you rich, but you will have enough to live a decent life. I know as a top kickboxer I’m not going to be making millions like a boxer or some MMA guys these days. I’m aware of that. But I would never switch from doing something I love just for the money.