Tabasum Sharqi (left) opens a book she received for graduating at the top of her Fatima Girls High School class at a ceremony held at the Kunar Department of Women’s (click for more)
Soldiers from the Polish Army and the Texas National Guard Agribusiness Development Team-IV check their shot grouping during qualification on the Polish AK-74 5.56 mm Mini-Beryl short assault rifle Feb. (click for more)
U.S. Army Soldiers from Company B, 1st Battalion, 26th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, Task Force Duke, play an impromptu game of volleyball against a team (click for more)
Dr. Mehirulla Muslim, the Nurgaram District subgovernor, addresses an audience of teachers, government officials and citizens during a ceremony to celebrate a completed solar panel electricity project Feb. 21 in (click for more)
U.S. Army Spc. Raheem Stewart, an automations specialist with TF Phoenix, steps along the rafters of the building his team helped wire for communications. Stewart, from Dallas, was one of (click for more)
An Afghan National Army soldier from Weapons Company, 1st Battalion, 201st Infantry Regiment, searches a pile of rocks in the courtyard of a high-value target home outside the village of (click for more)
U.S. Army Capt. Nicole Zupka of Fair Lawn, N.J., a battlewatch captain with Combined Joint Task Force-Paladin, helps an Afghan child with her writing skills during female engagement team training (click for more)
LOGAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan – Afghan National Army soldiers move through Kharwar District to prevent the Taliban’s freedom of movement Feb. 12. U.S. and Afghan soldiers braved more than 3 feet (click for more)
Kentucky Agribusiness Development Team II members, U.S. Army Spc. Justin Allen (left), a London, Ky., native, and U.S. Army Sgt. Nicholas Combs, a Corbin, Ky., native, get to know a (click for more)
NANGARHAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan – On most late nights at Forward Operating Base Torkham Gate, Afghanistan, visitors will find a lone figure in the base gym, kicking a heavy bag over…and over…and over again.
That person is U.S. Army Pfc. Scott Suhr, a 23-year-old infantryman from Olin, Iowa with Company B, 1st Battalion, 133rd Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st infantry Division. Suhr, who compiled an 8-4 amateur fight record and fought for a welterweight title, is not giving up on his dream of being a professional mixed martial arts fighter, even if he is several thousand miles and many months away from having a chance to pursue that goal again.
“I like fighting more than anything else I’ve ever done in my life,” Suhr said as he reflected on the thrill of cage-fighting for a packed arena. “I’ve always loved tae kwon do, I love the wrestling, I love the fighting aspect, but as a competition not a bar brawl. I won’t fight someone just to fight them.”
Mixed martial arts fighting is the latest in a string of athletic endeavors for Suhr, but he said it is the one sport he is now focused on. To say Suhr was a well-rounded athlete growing up would be an understatement. He played baseball, basketball, football, ran track and wrestled during high school, and, by his own admission, was good at them all.
Suhr said he started wrestling in sixth grade for Aurelia Middle School.
“I liked the individuality aspect of it. It’s me and him; I can’t make excuses for anything,” he said.
“I didn’t want to hurt somebody, I just liked the competition. No matter what I participate in, as long as it’s competitive, I love it.”
By his senior year, he placed third in the state of Iowa in wrestling.
In college, Suhr said he was watching the Ultimate Fighting Championship on TV, when he decided he wanted to give it a try.
“I said to myself, ‘These guys have to start off somewhere,’” Suhr recalled. “I noticed a lot of them were wrestlers, and I started looking up online where they were training.”
Wrestling was the only aspect of mixed martial arts fighting Suhr had experience with so he hired a muy tai expert as his trainer.
“When I first started training, I could not believe the things he could do,” Suhr said. “He was so fast and moved so fluidly. I learned so much from training with him.”
After four months, he competed in his first amateur fight.
With several thousand people in the audience, Suhr said he was in awe as he walked to the cage.
“I had butterflies and jitters,” he said. “There was a big crowd, loud music, and walking into the cage was almost worse than the state wrestling championships. They shut the cage, and I shook hands with my opponent and the ref was talking to us. The bell rang, and it hit me - this is real!”
Suhr lost that fight in the second round but said he was not discouraged.
“I was motivated, because I knew I could have beaten him,” Suhr said. “I knew I could compete at that level.”
Suhr said he was immediately in love with mixed martial arts fighting.
“It’s so hard, it really does test your body,” he said. “In fighting, you’ve got three 5-minute periods, and you’ve never been that tired before in your life. The physicality of it is just so much more, the mental game is so much more. You’re thinking of what he’s going to do, what I’m going to do. You put it all together and it’s the ultimate challenge for your body and mind.”
He eventually began winning and earned the opportunity to compete for the Burlington Circuit Welterweight Title. Suhr lost the fight but is determined to not only win the next title, but also join the professional circuit when he returns home.
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