Jessica “Thumper” Gladstone was born in Calgary, AB, Canada. She grew up on a small farm outside of Airdrie, until she was 14 years old. Thereafter came the move to the Cypress Hills, where she helped run a cattle ranch for the remainder of her school years. It was a good friend and neighbor who sparked the idea about the sport of Kickboxing, at the time unknowing, that it was an idea that was about to influence the course of this girl’s entire life. She tried her first class in Medicine Hat, AB, at the age of 16.
Jessica was used to hard work having an upbringing in the sphere of cattle ranching, training horses and driving tractors. Kickboxing was naturally a good fit. She remembers being captivated by the sheer power one could produce with their own body. She also was drawn to the community and support that belonging to a club entailed. Jessica joined SACA Kickboxing in Medicine Hat, in 2000, being coached by Shayne Morgan. He introduced her to her first matches and prepared her for some arduous fights. He was especially skilled as a coach in boxing and instilled a good foundation in this aspect. He also taught her about doing what you love for yourself and to never give up. “Go hard or Go home” was the motto, which she carries to this day. She had her first fight at the age of 17, with just eighteen months of training, and soon after earned the Canadian Lightweight National Kickboxing Title in 2002. She continued to train with Shayne Morgan for six years.
Due to work and school obligations, Jessica made her way back to living near Calgary again. As an athlete, it is never an easy decision to change coaches but she wanted to continue on with the sport. She knew that changing her teacher was part of the journey and would contribute to her growth. She joined Team Smandych, at the time called ‘National’, and started to train under Trevor (TNT) Smandych. The progression was seemingly organic, as she was launched into the amazing world of Muay Thai.
With nearly twenty fights under her belt, Jessica was ready to accelerate to a broader fighting scene. Training with Trevor Smandych, or “T”, she further developed her body and mind. Trevor had a unique way with training one’s heart. He also refined her techniques, especially her kicks, and she was introduced to more tools. The clinch, knees, and elbows were added to her already deadly arsenal. Under Team Smandych she was able to travel internationally and fight top names of the world. She fought in tournaments in the USA and won the 2008 IKF World Classic title. Climbing the ladder of experience, Jessica took the next step in her career and turned professional in 2010. She went on to achieve the LBTM North American Muay Thai Championship in Mexico in 2012 against a tough and respected opponent. “That was one thing about training with Trevor” she says, “He always challenged me to my absolute limits with opponents and set up fights that he knew would push me. He believed in me no matter what the outcome might be.”
It was in 2014 when again Jessica was blessed with yet another “step- up” in the course of her career. Artur Nowacki, a well-known and incredibly experienced Muay Thai trainer or, “professor of the sport” as he is called by many, came to coach at Team Smandych. He became head trainer and those who trained with him were introduced to a whole other level of Muay Thai. Jessica couldn’t believe the vast amount of knowledge available to be learned from this coach. Training with Artur she was again able to expand her skills. He taught her what being a true professional actually meant, every session was a dissolution of the past, an exorcism of unskillful habits. “Training and fighting under Artur Nowacki, brought me to places that I never had gone before, both mentally and physically. I learned so much training with him, he is an inspiration and absolute specialist of the sport”. He also introduced her to Vipassana Meditation, which not only became a key element in her training, but in life overall. Perhaps it was timing, maybe it was her readiness, or possibly for reason of no label; for it was with Artur Nowacki, where Jessica truly witnessed the meaning of it all. Muay Thai brought her to the truth.
Jessica has fought the top girls in the world and has travelled far and wide to do so. She touched gloves with the former UFC Champion from Poland, Joanna Jendrzejczyk, in Bangkok, Thailand, and travelled to Perth, Australia, in a tenacious battle for the WMC Intercontinental Title with multi-time World Champion Caley Reece. She faced off against absolute femme warriors in England’s two-time European and five-time World Champion, Alexis Rufus, and one of Germany’s sensationally seasoned fighters, Meryem Uslu.
Jessica showcased on the most prestigious K-1 Kickboxing show to date called Glory. This promotion is televised to over a hundred countries world-wide, with only the best fighters of the world in performance. On this show, she touched gloves with Germany’s highly touted and nearly undefeated fighter, Daniela Graf, at Glory 33 in New Jersey, USA. This spectacular feat earned her a semi-final spot in a Super-Four Elimination tournament, for the first ever, Glory Super Bantamweight Women’s World Title. And with vivacious expression, she subsequently faced off against American famed fighter Tiffany “Time Bomb” Van Soest at Glory 36 ‘Collision’ in Oberhausen, Germany. This event was said to be the biggest Glory show to date, with over 15,000 people watching and broadcasted all over the world.
One of her latest fights to date was on her birthday in 2017, on the biggest promotion in Düsseldorf, Germany, Steko’s Fight Night. There, she once again battled it out in ten amazing rounds of heart, grit and passion for a WKU Kickboxing World Title in true warrior fashion.
Artur and Jessica are now living and teaching together in British Columbia on beautiful Vancouver Island, Canada. Jessica dedicates herself every day to growing a stronger and unshakeable team with Artur Nowacki and the World Class Muay Thai members.
“I will ever stop training and learning. The fighting journey has been my life. I am truly blessed! I have been doing this for over 20 years and it has brought me to see things in myself that I may have never known had I not kept going. Doing what you love to do, that is the key. Do what you love, do what makes you shine the absolute brightest, what helps you to keep learning and growing. Shine brightly and pass it on”.
– Jessica “Thumper” Gladstone
• 2002 WKA Canadian Lightweight Kickboxing Title
• 2003 WKA Canadian Lightweight Kickboxing Title – defense
• 2003 WKA Canadian Super Lightweight Golden Gloves Champion
• 2008 IKF World Classic Lightweight Muay Thai Champion
• 2012 LBTM North American Super Bantamweight Muay Thai Champion
• 2016 IFMA World Tournament contender
• 2016/17 Glory Super Bantamweight Tournament qualifier
• 2017 WKU World Lightweight Kickboxing Title contender