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NZ HERALD MMA: Sam Hill looks to defend King in the Ring title before venturing into mixed martial arts

Kicked out of school at 16, Sam Hill's decision to turn to martial arts was one that saved his life.

It was a relationship set up though the common adversity of playground bullying. A seven-days-a-week boarder at South Auckland's Wesley College, Hill was constantly getting picked on through his early high school years.

"I wanted to learn to protect myself," Hill tells the Herald. "Eventually I got asked to leave school [for fighting]. I found a kickboxing gym which I honestly think put me on the straight and narrow and saved me from a whole lot more trouble in my youth."