AFTER training six days a week for the past four months, Griffith's Nick Taprell is confident he has done everything in his power to prepare for the Kyokushin Karate World Cup in South Africa.
Taprell will represent Australia in the open middleweight (70-80kg) division at the event, which will be staged in Durban from September 6-7.
The 24-year-old electrician has been training under Frank Cirillo at RMA and Total Fitness for five years but has never competed on an international stage before.
"My nerves are slowly building up because I've never done anything like this before," Taprell said.
"I've fought many times. Over the last four years I've probably missed only two or three tournaments, and we're talking about fighting five or six times a year.
"The nerves are starting to build now, but it's nothing unmanageable.
"I don't know how I'll go sleeping the night before, but I'll just have to relax and calm down."
Given the standard of competition, Taprell can't afford to be anything less than 100 per cent.
One loss is enough to be eliminated from the world cup - and his opponents won't be holding back.
"There aren't many serious injuries in the sport, but at the world championships people will be out to stop the fight as quickly as they can," Taprell said.
"That could be through a knockout, but the majority of the time it's about lasting the distance."
Bouts go for three minutes - a time that seems like an eternity on the competition mat.
"If your conditioning is up to scratch - and by that time it should be - you should be able to last the distance," Taprell said.
"But it's a hell of a lot easier than it sounds.
"You really have to make sure you're switched on when you go out there."