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Courtesy of Windsor Star
At 18 years old, T.J. Laramie is determined to be the best. After overcoming loss and hardships from an early age, the up-
BORN AND RAISED
T.J. grew up in Windsor’s east end with his parents and siblings. He’s been in the area for as long as he can remember. Sadly, in 2005, he lost his older brother and his mother. Not long after they had passed away, he moved in with his aunt for close to five years. Near the end of grade eight, he moved back in with his dad. And so began his passion for Mixed Martial Arts.
THE GLOVES COME ON
In his first year at St. Joseph’s Catholic High School, T.J.’s dad introduced him and his younger brother to UFC. The bond between the Laramie men then grew stronger. At first, he was simply a fan, but quickly realized that he wanted to challenge himself in the sport he liked to watch so much. He started training at Maximum Training Centre (MTC) under Rino Belcastro, and things took off.
Once he had some experience under his belt, as well as an impressive resume of titles, it was time to enter the cage professionally. Aged 17, T.J. flew out to Japan in March 2015 for his first fight. He fought an experienced veteran of the sport, and won via TKO in two and a half minutes. And that was just the beginning. Though he had to wait until the age of 18 to fight professionally in North America, he continued to train and push himself. Eight months later, in November, he made his Canadian debut for Hard Knocks Fighting. Again, he was victorious
His next fight came a couple of months later, in January 2016. In just 25 seconds, T.J. was able to knock out his opponent. After throwing a pair of left-
OUT OF THE CAGE AND INTO THE SHOP
Aside from his fighting career, T.J. got a job in his teens before discovering his second true passion – cutting hair. There was something about a fresh haircut. He would spend time at the barber’s every week. With the help of YouTube videos, he practiced some cuts and styles at home. At the age of 16, he was cutting his friends’ hair regularly out of his house. Fast-
A PERSONAL TOUCH OF INK
T.J. proudly displays both of his passions with tattoos. His first tattoo came at the age of 14: the word ‘Survivor’, inked on his right forearm. “I feel like I’ve come out and strived off of what I’ve gone through, and took all these negatives and turned them into positives.”
On his 15th birthday, he got his second piece done: a pair of boxing gloves with a quote from Muhammad Ali, one of his most admired fighters. On his left-
He got his third tattoo when he was 18: a classic barber with a scar over his brow to give him some character. In T.J.’s eyes, there are two things that he will always have in his life: barbering and fighting. Dawned with a straight-