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Being the best that he can be

Wilson fighter Holmes’ goal is to be MMA world champ

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Linton “Big Treyn” Holmes is on a path to the top.

Holmes, 19, is in training for the big stage as a martial arts fighter.

“My goal is to be world champion,” Holmes said.

For several years, Holmes has been the subject of filming for a Netflix documentary.  

“They are doing a documentary called ‘The Making of a Champion,’ and he’s going to be featured in that,” said Linton’s father, Bishop Holmes, who is owner of the Kai Thai Academy of Martial Arts in downtown Wilson. When the documentary might air is unclear.

“They have actually been following him around now for some time now,” Bishop Holmes said. “They actually sent a camera crew overseas to follow him.”

Holmes was born in Columbia, Maryland, and spent nine years in Philadelphia before moving to Wilson a decade ago. Holmes attended New Hope Elementary and Elm City Middle. He went to Community Christian School but transferred out because the school didn’t have a wrestling program. He finished his high school career at Fike, where he twice qualified for the North Carolina High School Athletic Association tournament and was a three-time 3-A Big East Conference champion.

Holmes has been working in front of the camera as long as he can remember.

“It’s just part of the journey. My family did a good job of putting me in front of the cameras early on,” Holmes said. “It’s not really new.”

As he has grown, so has the camera time.

“They have tried to keep me in front of the cameras always,” Holmes said. “I was always competing in front of big crowds. They did a good job with that, keeping me in front of that. It’s what we do.”

It goes without saying the senior Holmes is proud of his son.

“He made the United States National Team in 2013 as the youngest member of Team USA,” Bishop Holmes said of his son’s experience in the WKA-World Traditional Karate Association World Championships. “He competed in Italy for Team USA and won gold and silver. He was an outstanding wrestler for Fike under coach Mike Wickham. He is an international kickboxing champion. He just excelled unbelievably in combat sports, whether its wrestling, boxing, jiujitsu, you name it. He just excels. He’s a natural.”

At 5-foot-7, 145 pounds, Linton Holmes is little in size but big in stature.

“Ever since I can remember walking, I was punching or kicking,” Linton Holmes said. “I was kind of groomed for this. I am actually very fortunate to have had so much experience, and I think a lot of times that is a lot of the draw because as a young kid I was able to go all over the world and travel at some high experience levels.”

Recently, Holmes traveled to Thailand to fight in a full-rules muay thai kickboxing competition.

“This was probably the biggest match of his life,” said Bishop Holmes. “He trained six weeks for the competition and then competed.”

As a result, Linton was able to gain a scholarship with one of the most prestigious training facilities and gyms in Thailand — Khongsittha muay thai training camp in Bangkok.

“I’m a professional athlete in an amateur world,” Linton said.

Though he has been trained in kickboxing and Greco wrestling, Linton Holmes said he is most intrigued by mixed martial arts.

“You can blend it all up,” Holmes said. “It’s everything in a blender. Fighting is one thing. Any time you are train in multiple disciplines, that’s MMA. MMA is evolving into its own sport. Everything is blending into one. It’s actually a beautiful thing to see.”

Holmes said he has been training MMA all his life.

“When it’s all said and done, there’s many disciplines that I want to do,” Holmes said. “Hopefully I am fortunate enough to get to try all of the disciplines in hopes of mastering them.”

Holmes is a member of the Backyard Wrestling Club in Wilson, which works in conjunction with the Wilson Police Athletic League.

Holmes gets regular time sparing with talented wrestlers, some of them state champion wrestlers. 

When Linton went to the USA Wrestling Junior Nationals in Fargo, North Dakota, he placed one round from All-American.

“That was my first year actually competing a whole season in freestyle and Greco, so that year I qualified by winning the Greco state championships,” Linton said.

Bishop Holmes said Linton is an inspiration for kids here in the Wilson community.

“The sky is the limit. If you train hard, if you work hard, you can attain anything,” Bishop Holmes said. “He’s no different than any other kid out here except that he devoted himself to the gym and to be the best martial artist that he could be.”

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