Archive | January, 2008

Oxbow’s Eugene Robinson Chokes Rowdy Concertgoers

21 Jan

by Mary Spicuzza for SF Weekly (2008-01-21)

A large man nicknamed Big Chris approached the stage where Eugene S. Robinson and the rest of his band, Oxbow, were performing. Robinson had just had a bottle launched at his head. Big Chris opened his shirt to reveal a ballpoint-penned imitation of Robinson’s snake tattoo on his stomach while waving his hands in a “threatening manner.”
This particular night Oxbow was playing at the 1 in 12, an anarchist club in Bradford, England — not the type of place with an active security staff. That’s when Robinson, a six-foot-one, 235-pound competitive fighter who is also a former bodybuilder and bouncer, decided to act as his own security — or, as he describes it, give himself over to the “violence and blood and fear” in the air. He dragged Big Chris into a martial arts move known as the “rear naked choke,” wrapping his right arm under the guy’s chin and bracing the back of his head with his left forearm. Robinson leaned back and, seconds later, Big Chris slumped sideways, unconscious. Rather than looking angry, the singer appeared downright joyous through the entire choke-out — a scene captured in the 2003 documentary Music For Adults: A Film About a Band Called Oxbow.

Those familiar with the experimental art-rock band know there will never be a shortage of stories about Robinson’s onstage antics. Typical details include tattoo-covered muscles dripping with sweat, ears covered in duct tape, the singer stripped to his underwear, and plenty of pelvic thrusts.

But the most legendary stories about Oxbow shows involve the 45-year-old Robinson’s proclivity for asskickage. There are the cautionary tales involving those best described as “hecklers gone bad,” such as one man who approached Robinson and confessed to interrupting three live performances by whistling and throwing lit cigarettes and ice chips. He eventually suffered a couple of knockouts at Robinson’s hands when he started causing trouble at a fourth Oxbow show. There was a drunken Red Sox fan who, angry after his team suffered a defeat, confronted Robinson outside a club and ended up on the concrete. And there are the stories about overzealous audience members who’ve ended up being choked, knocked out, or coming close to meeting the business end of a knife.

Robinson admits that the Internet is rife with stories about him being a “prick and a degenerate and a bully.” Many actually focus on his clothes-shedding or his sheer ability to intimidate. One reviewer for Decibel, an extreme-metal magazine, described him as a “singer who harbors a fondness — make that compulsion — for getting his dick out onstage.” One Pitchfork review cites the “fearsome presence” Robinson strikes, while another calls him a “terrifying hulk of a man.”

Still, Robinson insists he has never been obnoxious or violent toward anyone who didn’t deserve it. He’s a proponent of the theory that disrespect begets disrespect. “In every instance I’ve gotten into a fight in public, I was attacked first,” he says.

But those who know Robinson realize he has passions beyond brawling — and that his brain is ultimately far scarier than his brawn. He’s quite the Renaissance man: a Stanford alumnus who majored in communications, a computer geek, an editor, a host with Combat Music Radio, a sex columnist, and now an author. That’s right: The San Francisco vocalist you don’t want to piss off is on tour again — this time with his new book, FIGHT: everything you ever wanted to know about ass-kicking but were afraid you’d get your ass kicked for asking.

“It started for me with another not-so-simple, simple question: ‘What the fuck are you looking at?’” Robinson writes of the roots of his passion in FIGHT.

But he also traces his desire to fight to a deeper aspect of himself that he believes is in his DNA as much as the color of his hair or eyes. “It’s in my blood … the desire to — for want of anything but this colloquialism — the desire to go to the post,” he explained at a recent book reading.

Robinson prides himself on being a “pretty straight fuckin’ shooter,” and argues that fighting is an incredibly honest form of expression. “There’s no real equivocation in an elbow to the jaw, no pussyfooting about the gray shadings of meaning inherent in civilized and power-shielded discourse,” he writes. “It’s a potent tie to our immediate and ever-present animal.”

FIGHT, which resembles a dude-friendly coffee-table book with big color pictures and punching illustrations, is what Robinson calls a “kind-of philosophical monograph on the interpersonal nature of conflict.” In it, the self-proclaimed “fightaholic” unleashes an homage to all sorts of bloody combat and takes on a slew of professional fighters. He hangs out with notorious Irish mobster-turned-author Kevin Weeks (who allegedly helped Leonardo DiCaprio prepare for his role in The Departed), suffers a ruptured quadriceps tendon against fleet-footed fighter Cung Le, and tracks down ex-cons in an attempt to find out whether a fight style known as “jailhouse rock” is fact or fiction. With its descriptions of cage fighters, soccer hooligans, and professional pugilists, the chapters of FIGHT unfold with the pace and rhythm of a good sparring match. “There’s the spastic flurry of hands and the smell that always ends up smelling like chicken soup gone bad (fear),” Robinson writes. “There’s the mumble and the groan and eventually the slip into recognized roles (doer and done to). And finally, if everything works right, there’s the reminder that we are far worse/better than the animals we own as pets and unsophisticated chattel.

“What we are though, is this: we are fighters.”

The origins of the book lie in a discussion Robinson had a few years ago with LA Weekly editor Joe Donnelly, an acquaintance, about redesigning that paper’s music section. But after Donnelly recounted a recent bar fracas, their conversations shifted to fighting. The result — a September 29, 2005 piece titled “Anytime, Anywhere: Hardcore provocateur Eugene Robinson searches for the almost-perfect punch” — serves as the basis of FIGHT.

The piece quickly caught the attention of HarperCollins, which invited Robinson to New York to discuss publishing a book devoted to fighting. Robinson wrote one as a tribute, a how-to guide, and a non-apologia for the fight. Or, as he calls it, “Zen and the Art of Kick-Assertainment.”

FIGHT has gotten plenty of glowing reviews, with some comparing Robinson to James Joyce and Norman Mailer. But it has had a critic or two as well. James F. Sweeney at The Plain Dealer in Cleveland wrote that “Robinson is such a fan of fighting that he offers no real consideration of why violence is so popular or of its role in society.”

Certainly some in the peace-and-love community will come away from the book wondering whether people can simply talk through their differences.

When asked about philosophical arguments against fighting, Robinson seems unconvinced. “These guys who don’t support the idea of fighting are full of shit,” he says late one night at the gym, sometime after riding the stationary bike and lifting shoulder weights but before his midnight run. He mentions Hitler and others who’ve refused to “recognize reasonable boundaries,” over the years: “There are people who need to be stopped. And there is no amount of talk and negotiation out if it, there is no way out of it.”

Robinson says he feels he has little to prove to anybody these days. While he dedicated FIGHT to his enemies — “Every single one of them. Without you, none of this would have ever been possible” — he doesn’t seem worried about his critics. Although, when asked about those enemies, he says he wishes they all had one neck and his “hands were on it.”

Embracing this love of the fight is by no means following the advice Robinson got while he was growing up in Brooklyn. His mom, Irma Norman, says she had long intellectual talks with her son about fighting and alternatives to violence dating back to when he was 4 or 5 years old. She told him that “people who fight are angry people,” and that it would be better to discuss problems.

Robinson remembers the talks, but was never persuaded by her approach to conflict resolution. His response: “Aw, mom, I don’t want to run away. If I run away I’ll just be tired when they’re beating me up. I want karate lessons!”

He ended up sneaking over to a local church for Shotokan karate classes. Still, Robinson and his mom agree he was a “gentle kid” who didn’t fight much. He was more likely to be found sitting on the stoop with friends, having intense discussions about comic books and superheroes. And if they didn’t agree, “Gene would debate and debate and debate until he would win,” Norman says with a laugh. “He would wear his opponents down.” She remembers one friend who never won an argument, and generally knew their discussions were over when she’d hear her son say, ‘Ha! I got you!’”

While Robinson excelled at verbal combat, his entry into the word of competitive fighting started badly. “There was the first one where I got my ass kicked badly by a judo guy when I was 9 years old, which was wonderfully humiliating because I never even got to throw a punch,” he says. “Because every time I stood up, the guy threw me down.” Those gathered to watch were “laughing uproariously” throughout the spectacle. And there was his second fight, which he won with a sole punch. “And I was like, ‘Oh, yes! Now this makes sense to me!’”

Growing up in New York City also taught Robinson the importance of choosing his battles. He remembers hearing about a man who chased down a purse-snatcher in Coney Island, only to be fatally stabbed with a sharpened screwdriver by the thief. “And the punch line for me was that the old lady had 84 cents in her purse,” he says. “Now, old ladies should be able to go hither and yon without being molested, but at the same time I don’t want to get knifed in the chest for 84 fuckin’ cents.”

Knowing when not to fight served Robinson well as a teenager — such as when, at age 13, he upset the girlfriend of a member of the Jolly Stompers gang as school was ending for the day. He describes the scene that ensued as straight out of the gang movie The Warriors. “And what is the expression about the greater part of valor? I hid in the bathroom!” he laughs. “Until at such time I thought it was appropriate to get the fuck out of there.”

Calling that a “completely defensible action,” he offers this survival tip: Next time you are in a building surrounded by people who want to kill you, you hide, too.

Robinson, however, was no thug. He worked in Manhattan as a disco dance instructor, specializing in the Latin Hustle. On other nights he’d head to CBGB and other clubs to see punk shows. After graduating from high school, Robinson moved across the country to attend Stanford University. Norman says she discouraged her son from trying out for the football team because she was worried about him getting hurt — he joined the rugby team instead. “He’s always enjoyed the rough and tumble,” she says with a sigh.

During his time at Stanford, Robinson began playing with the punk band Whipping Boy. Although he started out as a biology major, he switched to communications and worked as a journalist for the Stanford Daily newspaper. He also published a magazine named The Birth of Tragedy.

Robinson struggled with college debt and was at one point so broke that he says a friend talked him into eating grass (or, more specifically, seed) from the backyard. “It tasted grassy, you know, like you would expect grass to taste,” he says. “It wasn’t very filling, though.” After that, he opted to pursue a career in corporate media. He suspects his job hunting was helped by the fact that this was largely the pre-Internet era, before potential employers were easily able to find details about his punk rock alter ego.

Robinson also dipped into acting. He appeared in the notoriously bad 1987 Bill Cosby superhero movie Leonard Part 6, playing a thuggish guard to the villainous Medusa Johnson (Gloria Foster), a vegetarian activist out to take over the world with the help of attack frogs and man-eating rabbits. From playing a tattooed dude in a Miller beer commercial (directed by Gus Van Sant) to a bank robber in an industrial video as well as an international arms dealer in the campy Las Apassionadas, a short film about mercenary soldiers who start fighting for art’s sake, Robinson was cast, not surprisingly, as a tough bad guy.

Still, he hated the “touchy-feely” and fake aspects of acting, and contends that actors aren’t real artists. Music, however, was a different story — as he insists, “Punk rock saved my life!” Robinson may have been surrounded by Young Republicans at Stanford, but “in the 1980s we had the hardcore explosion, and it was a good time to be in California. That’s the only reason I stayed.”

That decision resulted in a cult following for the nearly-two-decade-old Oxbow, which was named the greatest art-rock band in the world by Vice magazine. Robinson says he originally designed the band to be a solo project — or, more accurately, “a well-crafted suicide note” — but teamed up with Niko Wenner and the band. “There’s so much to [Robinson] and Oxbow,” says Mark Thompson of Hydra Head Records, which released the band’s recent album, The Narcotic Story. “They’ve done lots of living, and I love that. That’s what drew me further and further into them — they’ve got so much history.”

Robinson’s friend and former co-worker at EQ magazine, Matt Harper, says those roots in the punk scene may have contributed to Robinson’s desire to defend himself. He suspects some of the rich white kids have a “look at the big black guy onstage” fascination with the singer.

While Robinson may not have been making much money during his early punk- rock and Birth of Tragedy days, it did give him the opportunity to publish work, and his magazine released a record featuring Lydia Lunch and Henry Rollins. (It was called The Birth of Tragedy Magazine’s Fear Power God Spoken Word/Graven Image.) Through Lunch, Robinson met and befriended Dean Kuipers, now deputy editor for The Guide in the Los Angeles Times.

Kuipers immediately noticed Robinson’s gift for what he calls “incredible dramatic effect.” Not long after they met, Robinson picked Kuipers up in a 1967 Chevrolet Chevelle Malibu (which he’d roller-painted black) and the pair drove out to a shooting range. Kuipers rented a gun and joined a row of 10 or so men, who he says looked like “upstanding white guys,” and started firing. The relatively quiet, steady stream of gunfire from the other shooters was suddenly interrupted by an enormous explosion. Everyone looked over at Robinson, who had just fired six shots and was “laughing his head off.”

“There he is with this long-barrel .44 Magnum,” Kuipers recalls. “Totally Dirty Harry.” He describes his friend as the worst nightmare of the other men, who also seemed disconcerted by the way Robinson wrote names on the targets with a Sharpie before firing at them. However, on the way home Robinson was as cheerful and smiling as ever and cooked the pair a huge pot of hamburger and peas for dinner. “Great day, yeah, great day at the range,” Kuipers says with a laugh.

Yet Kuipers worries that Robinson’s love of fighting may ultimately prove to be his downfall. “I’m trying not to encourage that side of Eugene; I think it has limited potential,” he says. “How can that end well? Somebody is going to karate-chop his arm off … or he’s going to kill someone.”

For every story Robinson’s friends have about his abilities as a fighter, they have multiple (often more interesting) ones about the less obvious aspects of his life. They seem a bit bored by the stereotypical tales of asskickage. As Scott Kelly of Combat Music Radio — who met Robinson and Oxbow through his own band, Neurosis, nearly two decades ago — puts it: “He’s the real deal, no doubt. But I’ve seen him fight viciously with his intellect. … His physicality is incidental, really.”

And Robinson’s day job emphasizes his brains over his brawn. He is a senior editor at MacLife magazine, a rather peaceful aspect of his existence. In the Editors’ Blogs section of the tech magazine’s Web site, there’s a photograph of a mild-mannered-looking Robinson gazing out under the headline, “A Neat Hard Drive Is A Happy Hard Drive.” This particular entry details the steps Robinson used to organize the data on his laptop, citing another entry in which he learned a difficult but important lesson: Back up early and often. “They were all gone Johnson but it was not my fault,” Robinson writes of the experience of losing all his files. “Like a hurricane or an earthquake or a record by Kelly Osbourne.”

On a recent weekday, Robinson emerges from the elevator into the sterile South San Francisco office-building lobby where he works. It would be a stretch to say he looks at home amid the corporate office parks, but with his big smile and bear hugs — his muscles and tattoos covered by the professional attire (often a sports jacket or button-up shirt over black jeans or dark pants) he wears to his day job — it’s hard to imagine why words like “dangerous” and “crazy” are so often used to describe him onstage.

In addition to editing, writing, and hosting a podcast for Combat Music Radio, Robinson also writes the “Ask Vinnie” sex column for http://www.skullgame.com — the most recent contribution to the sex-advice column genre. A virtual cultural ambassador of sex columns, Robinson has written “Guy Spy” for Mode magazine and “Avi Baby” for a Jewish newsletter in New York.

As open as he is about sex and violence — topics that inspire discomfort in most people — Robinson is fiercely protective of his personal life. When asked about his private life, he declined to discuss it.

When Robinson does get going, it’s his ability to hop to and from so many different subjects that has helped to earn him the billing of Renaissance Man. “Funny, well read, an excellent writer, very loyal,” Salvatore Russo says when asked to describe his friend. The pair met about four years ago at a basement fight club, the same night Robinson was knocked out by professional fighter Chris Sanford.

“It was like the Fourth of July,” Robinson writes in FIGHT. “There was a silvery burst of light and then ease. And quiet. And tremendous ease. The mat was cool against my face, and as unseen hands lifted me upright I hear myself murmur. Almost whisper, even, ‘I’m okay. I slipped. I tripped.’”

For Robinson, much of his life has been about fighting — which probably explains the nervousness at his recent reading at the SF Camerawork art gallery on Mission Street when an older man confronted him about his book. In the wake of several schoolyard stabbings in Britain, Robinson mentioned that he told HarperCollins that it could pull a section from the book about knife fighting, titled “While My Knife Gently Weeps.” The guy in the audience, who said he was a hypnotist who trained fighters, seemed intent on grilling Robinson about the goal of the book, what he was trying to teach people, and what he was trying to say about fighting. He criticized the experienced competitive fighter for “going for the dollars” rather than being “a good example of the warrior spirit.”

Tension filled the room. What would Robinson — who has studied arts like boxing, karate, Muay Thai, and Brazilian jujitsu — do? Would he choke the guy? Deliver a right cross with a grin?

Robinson began by defending his position — verbally. The two pages on knife fighting, he explained, were added only at the request of one of his publishers. “So, your question is, given an opportunity now to have a fight with British Parliament, wouldn’t I take this fight, gladly engage in the spirit of combat to make a point?” he told his antagonist. “I don’t know what the point of that is.”

No one ended up dead after the confrontation. Robinson never raised a fist. In fact, he never even raised his voice.

Robinson may passionately defend his art, whether it be his music or his writing, but he proudly says he’ll “sell out in a fucking second.” Yet he, like Oxbow, has already been winning plenty of fans with his approach to music and success. While the band’s members have joked about playing shows in front of a handful of people, their new album, The Narcotic Story, has been widely praised. The album’s producer is nominated for a Grammy. And Robinson recently appeared at the London Jazz Festival at the invitation of Barry Adamson, where he read from his book and sang Tom Waits’ “Romeo is Bleeding” to an enthusiastic crowd.

This month, Robinson begins a cross-country tour of clubs, bookstores, and fight clubs to perform and promote FIGHT. He had to take a break from fighting before the tour because of persistent thumb and finger injuries, but agreed to go up against a fighter on his first tour stop in Washington state last weekend. It was with a guy he beat in a fight club years ago and, Robinson says, “he’s been chasing me ever since.” But alas, the other man “begged off.”

While Robinson seems unlikely to slow down anytime soon, there was something a bit different about Oxbow’s most recent show at Great American Music Hall opening for Jesu in November. The sound was definitely Oxbow, and the music was played with a distinct level of sophistication and class. Yet while Robinson took off his jacket and shirt, he remained otherwise clothed throughout the set.

Could it be that Robinson was taking this selling-out approach seriously? Was San Francisco’s most dangerous singer mellowing out or feeling self-conscious?

When asked if he was feeling shy that night, he bursts out laughing. “Me?” he asked. “Shy?” More laughter. “It was cold in there!”

The Russian Crusher Wins!

21 Jan

by FTX (2008-01-21)

Alex Serdyukov returned with an impressive win over Mike Gates.Here is the summary from http://www.palacefightingchampionship.com-
“Moscow, Russia welterweight Alex Serdyukov (6-4) won by technical knockout over Hamilton, MT’s Mike Gates (4-2-1) at 2:05 of the second round.
After an action packed first round, Serdyukov landed a vicious knee to the body, which dropped Gates and then Serdyukov followed up with a barrage of punches and knees to the body.
The fight eventually came back to the feet, but Gates was obviously hurt and was taken down and then mounted where the fight ended.” – Jeremy Luchau for http://www.palacefightingchampionship.com
From everyone at Fairtex, congratulations Alex!Make t a great 2008!

Contender Asia – Trevor Smandych is sent home

20 Jan

by Contender Asia (2008-01-20)

Welcome to The Contender Asia where 16 of the world’s best fighters representing 12 different countries come together in Singapore to compete to become The Contender. The form of martial art chosen? Muay Thai Boxing, an 8-point contact fight that tests the mind, body, heart and spirit. Muay Thai, otherwise known as the art of the 8 limbs originates from Thailand where it also represents Thailand’s national sport. We caught our first glimpse of all 16 contenders through the introductory montage of the show, all 16 who are winners and champions in their own right, so who will send the pretenders to the throne packing to become the ultimate Contender?

In the introduction we first met John Wayne, an Australian with a reputation as big as his size. He said it did not matter whether he was white and believes that given the time and effort he has put in, he will be able to win. Next we meet Trevor the newlywed from Canada who exclaims that he is a force to be reckoned with. Another Australian Bruce believes that this is a test of his own self through this competition.
In the face of this tough competition and colourful characters, who will be The Contender?

Meeting the contenders

We are first introduced to their trainer, Stephen Fox, one of the world’s leading trainers and former Muay Thai World Champion. He owns and runs the world famous Muay Thai gym in Koh Samui and is the Vice President of the World MuayThai Council. He has, together with his team of trainers, handpicked the contenders from all over the world. Stephen meets Jaymee Ong, the host for the show at the main arena in which the contenders will be fighting. Together they introduce the fighters in the show. As they were being introduced, the fighters walked into the arena and lined up in front of the ring.

In the first batch of introductions we met Joakim Karlsson from Sweden, Naruepol Fairtex from Thailand, Jose Pitu Sans from Spain, Zidov Dominik from Switzerland, David Pacquette from the United Kingdom, Dzhabar Askerov from the United Arab Emirates and Yodsaenklai, our second Thai competitor. In his interview, Yodsaenklai, boldly stated, “…I am a world champion famous in Thailand and the world. I’m not afraid of fighting against western fighters.” Homegrown Zach from Singapore came next saying in his interview that he definitely was the underdog in the competition with the least amount of fighting experince. He goes into it with nothing to lose! John Wayne Parr who we met earlier on came next. Following him was Rafik Bakkouri from France who explained in his interview,”I’m a fighter in life and I’m a fighter in the ring.” The second Australian fighter Bruce Macfie came next. Subsequently we met Alain Sylvestre from Canada, Sean Wright from Scotland and Trevor Smandych from Canada, who just got married twenty-four hours before he reached Singapore for The Contender Asia. Next we met, James Martinez from United States of America and finally, the third Aussie in the competition, Soren Mongkontong.

Stephen then explained to all 16 contenders that the arena they were in was where they would be fighting for the right to stay in the competition. Jaymee continued on to explain that each week two men will fight with the loser sent home and the winner staying on course to become Asia’s first contender. The winner would not only have the right to call himselfthe Ultimate Muay Thai fighter but will also walk away with USD$150,000 worth of prize money.
The contenders then started to mingle with each other around the room. Being trained in this traditional Thai form of martial arts, they placed their hands together and bowed in a traditional Thai custom, while they sized up the competition. Sean mentioned in his interview that looking at Stephen, the world class trainer as well as the competition, the reality hit him that this indeed was the ultimate competition and that there was no turning back.

The loft and training area

We were then taken into the loft, home for the fighters for the duration of the Contender Asia where they will be staying as well as training. There were plenty of bedrooms for the fighters, a chic living room area plus a full sized boxing ring surrounded by multitude of punching bags and excellent training equipment. The men looked around at the room in excitement and happiness occasionally testing out the equipment. Stephen explained that the room contained all the state of the art equipment that they could possibly desire, and also this was where they would be training for their fights.

Sean explained that the house was great and it had the best equipment. This was when we first saw the excitement onthe faces of the fighters in their new home. Sean and Rafik stood in the ring and exclaimed, “we are here!” right above ‘The Contender’ sign.Rafik exclaimed that he had never seen grounds like this ever in his life. The men got a feel around the room and started to socialize with each other. They goofed around as they tried out the punching the bags and experimented with some of the equipment. They walked around the kitchen, which was stocked up with all the possible food that a fighter would need; huge bottles of juice, bananas, bread and a whole lot of other types of food items. They peeked around the cupboards to see what else was in store for them.

Zidov continued to joke around with the other housemates and the atmosphere around the room became very light and jovial. The fighters relaxed around their new living room while David explained that in Thailand they usually stayed in shacks and it was nice to be in a comfortable environment for a change. The moment of rest was broken when Stephen and Jaymee entered the room to summon the fighters to the training area.

There, Stephen told them that throughout the competition there will be a series of challenges for them to compete in. The winning team in each challenge will have the right to pick the competitors in the next fight. They will get to pick one person from their own team as well as the opponent from the losing team.
A ‘school yard pick’ was conducted to decide how the fighters will be separated into their individual teams. Stephen had decided the team captains based on the contenders previous records and character. John Wayne Parr was called up first. (Screenshot 9) In the interview he said, “…It was such an honour as there were so many other great fighters… it’s a privilege… I want to be a good role model.” Rafik was then chosen as the other team captain and he said that he was chosen because “he is strong in his mind and in his body.” Jaymee then tossed a coin to determine who will start picking their teammates first. Wayne picked tails and tails it was. He got the first pick.

First up, he chose the Thai world champion, Yodsaenklai because, he said, he is the strongest and also due to the fact that he is Thai. Rafik picked the next Thai boxer, Naruepol. It seemed to be some sort of strategy for the team captains to pick the two Thai boxers first and this was confirmed by David when he said in his interview that if he were captain he would have picked the two Thai boxers as well as they would be best in their own sport.

John Wayne said that felt the pressure at this point and chose his fellow countrymen next, Soren. At this juncture, the camera panned at the third Aussie in the competition, Bruce who rolled his eyes at Wayne’s decision. He said in his interview that he was a better fighter that Soren, hands down and is looked obviously unhappy that he was not chosen next. However, Rafik chose him as his second pick. He then exclaimed that he wanted to be on the opposing team from John Wayne as he had “a score to settle” from the past. Pitu was chosen next by Wayne, followed by Rafik picking David. In his interview, Trevor said that he is a short guy and obviously when picking a team they would naturally go for the one with with the physical attributes. However, he just didn’t want to be picked last.

Tension was rising and prickling in the air as the captains continued to pick their teammates. Wayne picked Dzhabar next. Rafik injected a little humour in his picking style to lighten the mood, and picked Alain. In his interview, Wayne said that Alain might have been a strong asset to his team if only he could have had him. Moving on, he said that he will pick the only Singaporean on the team, Zach! A rather relieved looking Zach joined Wayne. Rafik picked Karlsson next. Wayne picked James. Rafik picked Zidov. Rafik said that Zidov was not afraid of strong guys but liked him cause “he’s mad.”

Wayne then picked Trevor next leaving Sean left as the last pick who automatically joined Rafik’s team. In his interview Trevor said he really did not want to be picked last and that he wanted to be on Wayne’s team. He explained that he had been looking up to him throughout his career and thus it was a great honor for him.A rather sour Sean was picked last by Rafik and he said he felt very pissed off and did not believe that he was the weakest person in the competition. Furthermore, he continued on to say that if people were going to underestimate him then he would use it in his favor.

Stephen then explains to the fighters the meaning of the name of their teams. Wayne’s team was the red team called the Tiger Kings, a name derived from one of the strongest fighters in Muay Thai history, a man of strength. Rafik’s team was the blue team called the Wild Boars, a modern legendary figure in Muay Thai who never once lost in his career. The fighters were given their team shirts and were asked to settle into their bedrooms with their newly formed teams.

Settling in

The men continue to bond with their teammates in their respective rooms. In the Wild Boars room, the men were settling into beds. They displayed photos of loved ones and shared it with their fellow teammates. Many of them also brought along their medals and trophies from their past competitions to perhaps use as a psychological edge over their competitors. David told Bruce about his fiancé Nikki and his proposal to her on New Year’s Eve.

In the Tiger Kings’ room, the men continued to settle in. James shared with Trevor pictures of his family back home in the USA. In return Trevor showed James pictures of his new wife and messages from his loved ones which were given to him for his trip to Singapore. He explained that his wife is very supportive, despite of some people’s distaste with him for leaving her right after their marriage for the competition. Karlsson then showed Dzhabar a picture of his son and explained that though he misses him, he was here to fight for his son. Yodsaenklai showed Wayne his belt from the competition in Australia where he had beaten Wayneen route to becoming champion. The team laughed good-naturedly and remained in good spirits.

Time for training

They met Stephen in the training area and he explained to them that although they were in teams, they might have to fight against each other in the not too distant future. Also, they had to train hard so as to be able to win challenges which were of utmost importance in deciding the fights as mentioned earlier on. They started with some sprints and stretches before working with their Thai trainers. As they were training, the fighters began sizing each

Stephen explained that to fight at the level of the contender, they had to train twice a day, with a minimum of 2 hours in each session, 6 times a week. We then saw the contenders sprinting and warming up as they prepared for their work out session. Some went right to work on their punching bags while others practiced with their trainers. There are 8 weapons, Stephen said, the kicks, the knees, the elbows and the punches which all scored points for the fighter during the fights. Their training session was tough as the men were pushed to their limits; they were made to kick higher and harder with each and every kick that followed. The men, however took it all in their stride and looked very determined to press even harder.

Bruce said it was an honour to be there training as he has a lot of respect for Stephen as he is a great ambassador for the sport. Right then, Wayne said it was a good time to check out the competition by analyzing the other team’s weaknesses as well as the strengths of his own team. Wayne then started analysing the fighters. First, he commented that David from the Wild Boars seemed to be in the best physical shape and technically sound and thus was the man to look out for. He commented that Yodsaenklai was a serious competition because he was very strong and had great boxing skills. He added that he lost to him once in Australia and that if he could beat him in this competition he would be a “superstar”. He continued on to say that Soren was a great fighter and that he had fought with him once and was someone to look out for.He said that although the westerners were very good, the Thais were the ones to beat.

Rafik commented that although Wayne was very popular in the Muay Thai scene with his plethora of titles, he felt that he was putting on weight or as he put it “he’s fat!” Laughing, he said that he believed that it would be really easy to win against Wayne now due to this weakness. Alain commented that Zidov was putting on weight as well and it would be easy to beat him. As the fighters continued to size each other up, they released more powerful kicks and punches.

The Challenge

As the men were brought out for their first challenge, they seemed serious about winning. Wayne commented that it was important to win to be able to determine the fighters for the first match. Jaymee explained that in the challenge they would be running ‘sprints in a relay’ against each other. They had to run, tag a member on the opposite side and only then can the next members start running. The race would end when all members finished their run. The catch, Stephen added, was that instead of running singularly, they would be running in pairs, attached by a rope and a relay. Stephen explained that this would test not only their stamina but also their teamwork. He exclaimed, “there is no ‘I’ in team.” They partner up and start joining each other through the rope and relay. David derived a strategy for the Wild Boars to speed up or slow down according to their partners.

The race began once everyone was finally tied to their partners and were at their starting positions. Jaymee blew the horn and off they ran! Bruce and Alain for the Wild Boars and Dzhabar and Trevor for the Tiger Kings. The Tiger Kings were in the lead but the Wild Boars managed to catch up with them towards the end as they tagged their next pair of teammates.At this point, the Boars pushed ahead into the lead. Zach and Soren ran for the Tiger Kings and tried to make up some ground but however in doing so, they lost their rhythm and Zach tripped over Soren’s foot and hence sent both of them crumbling to the ground along with the Tiger Kings hopes of winning the challenge.

The Wild Boars went on to win the race with ease after the Tiger Kings mishap. In a good show of unity and teamwork, the Tiger Kings rushed to Zach’s aide. He had injured his shoulder as a result of the fall onto the tarred surface. During this time, the Wild Boars howled in the happiness of winning. Stephen told Zach to bounce back from the injury as Zach looked on obviously unhappy, as he had caused his team, the Tiger Kings to lose. Jaymee announced that the Wild Boars won the challenge and they duly released a cheer. The Wild Boars now got to decide the fighters for the first fight of The Contender Asia. Bruce, from the victorious Wild Boars team then jokingly asked, “Who wants to go home?”
The Decision-Making

The Wild Boars headed back into the training area to make their decision. With no one really eager to fight first, there was a long silence in the room before Naruepol finally volunteered to fight first. He said in his interview that he wanted to be the first one to enter the ring. Naruepol said he wanted to fight against Trevor and the team joke that they should send him back to his new wife. Bruce felt that Wayne should be sent out in a strategic move to get rid of the best. He said that they thought he was the strongest; he had a problem with his weight and would be easy to eliminate. David agreed with Bruce’s strategy. Rafik commented jokingly that if Wayne did not lose weight he would die in the ring. David also brought up Zach who being injured would be easy to eliminate. They all seemed to agree that they should take advantage of the situation with Zach.

Back with the Tiger Kings who has retired to the loft, Wayne tried to boost morale by saying, “it doesn’t matter what happened in the race, what was going to happen in the ring was much more important.” In his interview he explained that in the loft, it was very nerve wrecking due to having to wait for the decision. Wayne joked, in an attempt to lighten the mood that perhaps he should have been nicer to Rafik. He believed that they were going to choose him to fight due to his weight problem. Zach added that it would be horrible if they chose him right now, due to his injury. In his interview, Soren took the blame for tripping Zach and felt very bad about it and he was hoping that the Boars would not choose Zach. Trevor thought that they might pick one of their less experienced men in the Tiger King’s team.
In the Wild Boar’s room, due to the language barrier with Naruepol, the team went to the wall with the pictures of all the contenders where Naruepol pointed out the contender he wanted to fight against. He believed that the opponent he chose was not so strong and hence it would be an easy win. The entire team agreed with his decision, which had not been revealed to the audience as yet.

The Decision

The two teams met Stephen and Jaymee in the training area where the decision was to be announced. Naruepol stepped out as the representative of the Wild Boars and pointed at his opponent, Trevor from the Tiger Kings. In his interview, Naruepol said that he was not worried about Trevor because he was not better than him in Muay Thai. Trevor comments that he feels good about his decision but it will be one of his greatest challenges as his opponent was Thai and that the reality was that they were known to be the best. However he also adds that, ‘they’re human.’ Sean comically comments that it would be good if Trevor loses so that he could go back to his honeymoon and everyone will be happy.

The Confrontation with the Blues

In the Wild Boar’s room Rafik started to reveal his true colours as the group settled down around the room. He starts of by telling Sean that Yodsaenklai had explicitly told him that he wanted to fight with the “Scottish guy”. As this has been brought out of the blue, raised eyebrows were exchanged around the room. Bruce questioned him, “Are you sure he said that?” Rafik continued to stick by his story, by saying, “If it wasn’t true, I wouldn’t bring it up.”

When Rafik left the room, everyone exclaimed that Rafik’s story seemed to have been boiled out of thin air. Bruce commented that Rafik might be playing some sort of psychological game and not to trust him till what Yodsaenklai said actually came true. David believed that Rafik was attempting to manipulate. Bruce believed it was perhaps his strategy to get one of his teammates take out the stronger fighter first so that Rafik would not have to deal with it. Sean, confused with this sudden twist of events, decided not to take Rafik’s words to heart. There seemed to be a lack of trust among the Wild Boar’s with regards to their leader.

Dinner Time

For dinner before the fight, both teams had their meals together. Naruepol attempted to analyze Trevor at the dinner table. However he commented that though he saw no fear in Trevor, he had to have some fear as he was competing against a Thai boxer. Trevor on the other hand, said in his interview that he did not like to waste any mental energy before the fight though he was a little worried by Naruepol.

Trevor had a chat with Wayne to gain some advice from the experience that he has had. Wayne suggested, “…to move around and use the space… deliver shots and get out.” Wayne then promised to be in Trevor’s corner during the match. Trevor was elated that Wayne had agreed to help due to his experience in Muay Thai and also due to the fact that Wayne was one of his role models. They shared a hug, before getting ready for the fight.

30 minutes to fight

We first saw Trevor preparing in his room with Wayne. He said he wanted to win this fight because he did not want to return home empty handed to his new wife. Stephen gave him some last words of encouragement before placing the mongkok on his head.

In the Wild Boar’s room, Naruepol explained that he was fighting for his mother who had been so hardworking all her life. He said that if he lost he would be ashamed and would not dare face anyone for a long time. Stephen told him to win it for Thailand and wished him good luck while he placed the mongkok on his head. “I must complete my duty,” he said.

The Fight

Trevor entered the arena to a cheering audience first before Naruepol came out flanked by his teammates. In the ring, they performed the Wai Khru; an ancient Thai dance that was performed before warriors entered the field of battle. Today, the Wai Khru as Stephen put it was a very grood way to warm up before a fight. Both fighters said a short prayer in their corners before the match start. At the sound of the bell, the punches started to fly thick and fast.

1st Round

Trevor threw in the first few punches as Naruepol went right to work with his flying kicks. At the end of the round, it seemed as tho Trevor had managed to throw in more than Naruepol had and this sent the Tiger Kings into ecstacy over Trevor’s early gain in the fight. An upset on the cards perhaps?

2nd Round

Wayne continued to encourage Trevor by telling him he was doing a good job and reminded him to watch his opponent’s hands. When the match starts, within seconds, Naruepol threw Trevor to the floor. This affected Trevor, as he lost his momentum from the first round. Right then, Naruepol threw a high kick aimed for Trevor’s face, which Trevor just managed to partially block. They get stuck in a huddle and Naruepol managed to throw in more elbows into Trevor’s torso. Trevor kicked, missed and fell to the ground. At the end of this round, Naruepol had managed to take the lead by gaining more points with a host of punches to Trevor’s face and body. As Trevor began to look resigned, Wayne continued to encourage him by telling him to further “pressure” his opponent. At the same time Naruepol was told to concentrate on his kicks, by his trainer.

3rd Round

Naruepol was able to get a few early kicks in and we heard Wayne shouting, “Pressure! Pressure! Pressure!” from the outside. Naruepol managed to throw him to the ground yet again. Getting stuck in another huddle, Naruepol almost topples Trevor once again. Soon after, he does successfully do so towards the end of the round. At this point in time, though Trevor put on a brave fight, he seemed frustrated at his inability to match Naruepol’s vigour. By this point, even Naruepol’s trainer tells him that he should “feel sorry for him (Trevor),” as he has already more or less won the match.

4th round,

As we moved into the 4th and final round, it was rather obvious that Naruepol had taken an obvious edge over Trevor, despite Trevor’s efforts in the first round. Wayne tells Trevor to not let himself fall into Naruepol’s game and to instead focus on his own. James, from the audience, shouted out to Trevor to “kill him in this round.”As the round progressed, the competitors got stuck in even fiercer huddles as the crowd cheered enthusiastically. Naruepol tried to topple Trevor again and once almost threw Trevor into the audience. Things continued to remain bleak for Trevor as Wayne shouted “Pressure!” from the audience. He threw wild punches but missed by some margin. Towards the end of the match, Trevor began to look well and truly resigned as Naruepol threw in several kicks as Trevor backed away with no fight left in him.

The match ends with the audience cheering on for Naruepol, who knew that he had won the match. Finally, it was announced, “The winner of the match is from the blue corner…” Cheers ensue for Naruepol, as Trevor quietly backed into his corner.

In the interviews, Naruepol exclaimed that he was extremely happy that he was the first to win in this competition. He felt sorry for Trevor although he commended his spirit in putting up a strong fight against him.

A well and truly beaten Trevor explained that he tried his best but his biggest mistake was “playing Naruepol’s game.” However he was happy that he had Wayne in his corner. Although he really wanted to win for him, he said he did not have any regrets.

In a very sentimental moment, he hung his mongkok on the wall of his changing room and left. Before he left, he took one last look at the ring, longingly. He’s parting words were, “I am disappointed I didn’t mange to achieve what I wanted to.”

Vrede KO1 Shocks Rosario

20 Jan

by wbcmuaythai.com (2008-01-20)

The young Dutch Muaythai sensation Ginty Vrede exploded onto the WBC MUAYTHAI titles scene with a stunning first round KO of world champion Shane “Rocky” Del Rosario at the Las Vegas Hilton Casino Hotel.
It was Rocky’s first defense of his prestigious WBC heavyweight title after his second round KO win over reigning International Champion Ricardo Van de Bos in Los Angeles last September.
Vrede is trained by Colin Oyama who has produced many European world champion fighters in both Muaythai and MMA.
Rocky Rosario had energized the heavyweight division with his youth and devastating power in both his punches and kicks. But he had little time to get started before Vrede landed a superb head high kick to his head.
Vrede has made a habit of knocking out all comers and boasts a 100% rate. He is now being compared to the K1 superstar Remy Bojansky.
Although Vrede barely raised a sweat before delivering his head high KO he is known for his lightening low kicks delivered with immaculate timing and precision. He also has a reputation for his hard right hand punches and powerful knee strikes.
While Rocky started firm favourite in front of his fans in Las Vegas, Vrede showed no signs of any travel fatigue and went about his ring biz in a thoroughly professional manner – and left his opponent tasting the canvas.

Russian Crusher At PFC

16 Jan

by FTX (2008-01-16)

This Thursday January 17th, Alex Serdyukov will return to Action at the Palace Fighting Championships in Lemoore, California.Alex will be looking for a solid win to put him back into contention for a WEC welterweight title shot.
The Russian is not looking past his current opponent Mike Gates though.Alex has been working hard with his trainer Jongsanan Fairtex, as well as teammates Jake Shields, and Gilbert Melendez.The Russian Crusher looks to be in the best shape of his career, and will be out to show that he belongs with the best welterweight fighters in the world.
For tickets and more information please visit- http://www.palacefightingchampionship.com

Contender Muaythai Goes To Air!

15 Jan

by http://www.wmcmuaythai.org (2008-01-15)

Mark Burnett, one of the world’s most famous producers of television shows like Contender, Survivor, The Apprentice, Rock Star and The Restaurant and has now taken on Muaythai for a new reality series. The original Contender for boxing featured Sylvester Stallone and Sugar Ray Leonard as hosts, but now it’s time for the world to see The Contender Asia and the art of Muaythai.
The Contender Asia will follow 16 inspiring Muaythai fighters from around the world through an evolving series of outdoor challenges and World Muaythai Council (WMC) sanctioned matches over 16 episodes. The 16 chosen fighters will train and live together, while the loser of each challenge has to leave the loft to the airport immediately. The fighters will win the hearts of the audience as they talk about their love for Muaythai and their dream to become the ultimate Muaythai champion, under the Contender Asia slogan of “Respect All – Fear None”.
After 4 weeks of the quarter finals, the semi final will follow, then a huge grand final. On the line is US$150,000 in prize money (part of a $250,000 total prize pool) and the belt of the ultimate Contender Champion, sanctioned by the WMC.
The Contender Asia Muaythai has the biggest budget of a reality show outside the USA with an estimated budget of over 250 million baht. WMC Vice President Stephan Fox has been chosen to be the co-host of the series alongside Jaymee Ong, and the Executive Producer is Riaz Mehta of Singapore’s Imagine Omni Media. Scott Cru and Roman DeCarlo are Co-Executive Producers, and Jerry Schaffer is the Supervising Producer and Director. The Hollywood producers and associate producers have been working tirelessly for the past 5 months to make the series happen, and this will take Muaythai to another level.
The series will start to air this Wednesday 16th, prime time on AXN in Asia in over 30 countries to an estimated audience of over 250 million, before moving on to Europe, Oceania, Africa and USA to an audience estimated at close to a billion over the next 6 months.
The Red Carpet Official Launch will be held in Singapore on Wednesday with Hollywood’s number one reality producer, Mark Burnett, presiding over the opening. Also at the opening will be Executive Producers Scot Cru and Chris Campbell.
Through The Contender Asia, the world will understand that Muaythai is a martial art with no equal, steeped in tradition and values and reflecting the culture and history of Thailand. The world will fall in love with both the 16 ambassadors chosen for this project and the sport and art itself.
Watch it on AXN starting 16th January, every Wednesday prime time for 16 entertaining weeks and find out who will be the ultimate Contender.

‘California Kid’ Stands Tall

15 Jan

by Blair Anthony Robertson for sacbee.com (2008-01-15)

He’s a 5-foot-6 mass of muscle who drops bigger foes in a flash-
The toughest, meanest guy in town stands 5-foot-6 and weighs 145 pounds. By all accounts, he has an alter ego – the boy next door who is smart, compassionate and respectful of others.
Raised by parents he describes as “religious hippies,” Urijah Faber was born at home with the help of a midwife.
He ate a macrobiotic, largely vegetarian diet and graduated from the University of California, Davis, with a 3.3 grade-point average in human development.
He finished college aspiring to help others. Instead, he beats them up.
“I love my little baby,” says his mother, Suzanne Tastad. “I just wish he would do something else for a living.”
When Faber is doing his job right, someone else is getting hurt – very hurt. Highlights of his cage-fighting bouts show a man who seems twice as strong and quick as opponents. With Faber, it’s not a fight, it’s an onslaught.
Faber, who is 28 but looks 10 years younger, has kicked, punched, clinched, chopped and choked his way to the top of the ultimate fighting game, a crowd favorite with a worldwide following.
Asked to explain the guillotine hold, which won his last fight on Dec. 12 against highly regarded Jeff Curran, Faber says matter-of-factly, “I’m cutting off the air to his mouth and his brain. It’s not painful – it feels like drowning.”
Faber lives and trains in Sacramento. He’s co-owner of Ultimate Fitness, the midtown gym he opened a year ago. He’s also reigning world featherweight champion for World Extreme Cagefighting, an intense and technically precise fighter with more tools than Home Depot.
“He’s got everything,” says Scott Adams, the matchmaker for the WEC and a former fighter. “Everybody seems to love Urijah. He takes a lot of risks during the fight, which makes him such a dynamic fighter.”
Those who have known Faber for years marvel at his discipline – he’s famous for never missing a workout or eating poorly, and it shows. His physique is all dense, sculpted muscle.
“I’ve never seen anyone work harder,” says Matt Fisher, a chiropractor who co-owns the 8,600-square-foot gym on 17th Street with Faber. “He trains five hours a day. He comes in on Christmas. He comes in on Thanksgiving.”
The hard work does not include traditional weightlifting. Faber gets his muscles via sparring, body-weight exercises and things like sprinting while carrying a tractor tire and having someone punch him in the stomach 50 times in succession.
He says 95 percent of the gym’s members are there to simply get in shape. The serious fighters at Ultimate Fitness have the best of mentors. During a recent training session, Faber led a dozen advanced mixed martial arts fighters through a series of drills.
When he demonstrated how to counter particular holds, his descriptions were precise and intricate, and the others listened intensely. When he put his words into action, he combined the quickness of a whippet with the power of a bull.
Sparring with the champ can be a humbling experience.
“We have 200-pound guys in here who are good wrestlers, and when Urijah grapples with them he just destroys them,” says Fisher.
In a sport where many fighters are covered in tattoos and have nicknames like “Natural Born Killer” and “Lil Evil,” Faber is the “California Kid.” He has no piercings or body ink and his boyish good looks make for an appealing poster boy.
As cage fighting moves into the mainstream and fights are featured on the cable TV channel Versus, Faber might just be the sport’s most articulate and marketable star.
Given his background, he’s also its most unlikely participant.
Born in Isla Vista outside Santa Barbara, Faber moved to Sacramento at 4, a year before his parents divorced. His dad was a construction worker, his mother a model and actress. In their early days, his parents were members of a communal-style Christian environment that stressed natural living.
When he was in the womb, Faber’s mother drank wheat grass juice daily. He was raised on bee pollen, millet, fish and carrot juice, and his parents eschewed immunizations. He has an older brother and younger sister.
“I was a happy kid. I am fortunate to have a great family,” he says.
He excelled in several sports and was a wrestling star at Lincoln High School. He enjoyed a four-year wrestling career at UC Davis, where he made top 12 in the nation at 133 pounds. He also hit the books.
After he graduated in 2003, Faber shared a midtown Sacramento apartment with two others while working part time as a wrestling coach at UC Davis. For a time, he was a busboy at Ink Eats and Drinks on N Street. Money was extremely tight.
One day in 2003, he announced to his roommates that he was going to try ultimate fighting – he was going to climb into a cage at Colusa Casino and essentially have a back-alley brawl.
Back then, the sport was still emerging from an unsavory reputation that prompted several cities to ban cage fighting. It wasn’t sanctioned in California until 2006.
“We said, ‘What are you doing? You’re crazy. You went to college and were a successful wrestler,” recalls David Shapiro, one of Faber’s roommates. “We went to watch the fight and the guy he was fighting came out with a shaved head and all these tattoos.
“Within 30 seconds, Urijah just chokes the guy out and we just said, ‘Wow.’ “
It was actually 45 seconds. And Faber earned $400.
“That was like $500 a minute,” Faber says with a laugh.
Since then, he has been practically unstoppable, amassing a 20-1 record, the lone loss coming more than two years ago.
For his last fight, Faber earned $20,000 to show and another $20,000 for the victory. He also earns money from sponsorships.
His success has allowed him to buy two houses in the north area near American River College. He rents rooms to 12 aspiring fighters, some from troubled backgrounds who have turned their lives around with his guidance.
“You can’t find a better guy than Urijah,” says Shapiro, who played baseball at UC Davis. “He’s such a hard-working, blue-collar guy. To have the success that he has, no one deserves it more.”
While Faber’s mother is supportive and encouraging, she remains troubled by her youngest son’s profession. She can’t bring herself to watch a fight until she learns the outcome.
During Faber’s last bout, she was watching her 15-year-old daughter perform ballet in a version of “The Nutcracker.”
“I actually get sick before he fights,” Tastad says. “I tell people everywhere I go, my son’s one of those crazy cage fighters. I’m really proud of him, but it’s really hard for me.”
Despite his mother’s misgivings, Faber has no plans to stop. He enjoys the competitive aspect of cage fighting and says inflicting pain is simply a byproduct of trying to win.
His next bout will likely be in March against Jens Pulver, known as Lil Evil. WEC officials are hoping to hold the bout in Sacramento.
Pulver’s well-documented life story is the opposite of the California Kid’s. He survived an abusive childhood and turned his life around through cage fighting.
“He’s got incredible knockout power, which is always dangerous,” Faber says. “But I’m going to be more well-rounded and I’ll be in better shape. I’ll have too many tools.”

Van Den Bos Battles To Victory In Pattaya

9 Jan

by Julian Turner for wbcmuaythai.com (2008-01-09)

Heavyweight action fans got the thriller they had been hoping for when Ricardo van den Bos battled to a bloody points victory over tough Tomasz Wozack at Fairtex Stadium in Pattaya on Friday night.
Dutchman van den Bos – who was fighting for the first time since being stopped in a challenge for the WBC Muay Thai title in Los Angeles four months ago – started superbly and knocked Wozack down twice in the first round with right hands. He also opened up a gash above Wozack’s left eye.
The noisy contingent of Dutch fans in the crowd roared van den Bos on to finish the job but Wozack bravely weathered the storm and made it to the interval.
Van den Bos dictated the action in the second round and ended well with a cracking left hand just before the bell.
Wozack gained a foothold in the third with a pinpoint high kick to the head and smashed home another in the fourth during a sustained attack from both hands.
Suddenly van den Bos appeared vulnerable and it was Wozack’s turn to pile on the pressure. The Dutchman decided that attack was the best form of defence and the pair traded heavy shots in a raw and exciting battle of wills.
The pace dipped slightly in the final session as Wozack stuck to using his hands while van den Bos attempted to smash home his elbows when in close.
Official scores were 48-46, 48-46 and 47-46. The Post had it 47-46 to van den Bos.
Van den Bos retained his WBC international title and said he was pleased to have returned to winning ways.
“It was a hard fight and I hope the fans enjoyed it,” said van den Bos.
“I thought I had him in the first round but he came back into it.
“I was disappointed with myself after what happened in Los Angeles and this was just what I needed.”
Promoter Pieter Hoovers said van den Bos had been hampered by a foot injury suffered three weeks before the contest.
“He could have pulled out but he wanted to fight and he got the victory even though he was really only at 60%,” said Hoovers.
“This was a good win for him and we will now try to get him another fight in Thailand.”
First, van den Bos must let a badly broken nose heal but with this kind of exciting display he is worth buying a ticket for when he gets back in the ring.
In the main support, Thai heavyweight Appichai stopped American Yoshi in the third round with leg kicks.
Hoovers, who runs the Hoek van Holland cafe on Jomtien Beach, put the show together with the help of Asiabox boxing promotions.

IFL Gear Sale!

8 Jan

by FTX (2008-01-08)

All of our IFL gear is now on Sale!Every single team jersey is in stock, and shipping now.All jersey prices have been reduced to $30.95, that’s over 40% off!Visit the online store now!
The IFL just held their best event to date, live on HDNet.2008 is already shaping up to be a fantasticyear for the world’s leader in team based MMA.Grab a team jersey now, and show your support.There has never been a better time to grab your official IFL Gear than now.Act fast, because supplies are limited!Everything is available now in our online store.

Kyle Noke To Battle Scott Smith At EliteXC

8 Jan

by FTX (2008-01-08)

It’s official.Australia’s Kyle Noke will take on Scott Smith in the middleweight division of the televised card of EliteXC, Saturday February 16, at the BankUnited Center in the University of Miami.
Noke, the bodyguard of the late Steve ‘Crocodile Hunter’ Irwin and popular Integrated Martial Arts fighter, turned heads in November 2007 when during his EliteXC debut he defeated Seth Kleinbeck by TKO.Noke faces one of his toughest opponents yet in Smith who recently signed with EliteXC after becoming well known through his television appearance on Season 4 of The Ultimate Fighter and his subsequent fights with the UFC.
The Noke and Smith fight will be supporting the EliteXC main event between Kimbo Slice and David ‘Tank’ Abbott.The Slice/Abbott fight promises to be an all out war with there being no love lost between the two men.Kimbo, the legendary backyard street fighter and YouTube sensation destroyed his opponent Bo Cantrell in November 2007 on the same card as Noke’s debut fight against Kleinbeck.At the time Abbott could be heard challenging Slice from the sidelines, at one point loudly suggesting they go straight to the car park to see who was the better fighter.Abbott, notorious for his ‘fight anyone anywhere mentality’, has on numerous occasions called out Kimbo, who himself is a feared knockout artist thanks to his street fighting reputation, and so the fight between the two men has become a highly anticipated slugfest.

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