We flew into Las Vegas on Thursday night and headed straight for the Mandalay Bay to set up the Fairtex booth.As we finished up, the convention hall was pretty empty.We were some of the last people to leave for the night.Before heading back the room, we snapped some photos around the Expo floor, and grabbed some burgers.Burger Bar at Mandalay Bay is fantastic, especially when you’re tired and hungry.
Every superman, and superwoman, has their kryptonite — Muay Thai champion Jenna Castillo’s weakness isn’t in the ring.
So here’s little word of advice for Marissa Bota, Castillo’s opponent for Fight Night at the Fox Saturday night — grab your car, head down the 101 to Palo Alto and exit at Woodside Road.
After a couple of turns, you’ll be at Sprinkles Bakery. Buy a couple of cupcakes and take them to the fight with you. Once there, offer them to Castillo — she’s weak for those things. Maybe she’ll be moved by the gesture and not completely humiliate you in the ring.
Hey, it’s worth a shot.
Any other way, Bota will be force to go toe to toe with Castillo, a 27-year-old champion out of Millbrae. And no disrespect toward Bota, but women who have stepped into the ring with Castillo haven’t faired very well.
Castillo and her match lead the way for three other female fights Saturday night in Redwood City for Fight Night at the Fox, a night of Muay Thai-style fighting. For Castillo, it’ll be her sixth Muay Thai fight — she’s 4-1 in the other five.
All joking aside, the 5-foot-2 Mills High School product is looking forward to stepping into the ring — it’s her passion. Some may say, including Castillo, that this is what she was born to do.
Growing up, Castillo tried everything. But it wasn’t until she tried karate for the first time at the age of nine that she truly found what’s been her calling ever since.
“My mother said that it was the first time she saw that fire in my eyes,” Castillo said. She adds that from that moment on, her mother has dedicated herself to ensuring that Castillo lives up to her full potential.
Fighting quickly became the only thing Castillo truly cared about and it was affecting her life in a negative way. At Mills, Castillo sported a .5 grade point average and was in danger of not graduating.
“I was too busy day-dreaming about fighting,” Castillo said.
It wasn’t until an encounter with Cung Le, the famed mixed martial artist, that Castillo turned her life around. He forced her to raise her grades and graduate and in return, Le promised to train her. More than nine years have passed since that encounter and Castillo has flourished in the fighting world.
Castillo championships include the 2000 and 2002 USAWKF National Champion, National IKF Sanshou Bantamweight Champion, IKF West Coast Muay Thai Bantamweight Champion and IKF Featherweight Muay Thai Champion. She’s fought all around the world, from Barbados to China. Saturday, Castillo will be fighting for her second world title in the last year.
Despite her success, Castillo stays grounded, knowing that all of it can end at anytime. She goes into the fight as the favorite, but knows better than to take anything for granted.
“I take it one fight at a time,” Castillo said. “I never look at it like I have an advantage. I go into (fights) expecting everything, expecting the expected (and the unexpected). Win or lose, you get to do something you love.”
A large part of her success has to do with her work ethic. Castillo trains feverishly, starting her days at 5:30 a.m. and going all the way until 11:00 p.m. If you want to find Castillo at any point of the day, chances are she’ll be in the gym, either working on her game or teaching a class.
It isn’t just her physical game. Castillo understands that in many ways, the sport of mixed martial arts is a mental thing. Nine years of fighting professionally have helped Castillo develop a keen sense of her craft — she’s terribly intelligent and can beat you with strikes and with her mind.
“I think I have an obligation to do my best in the sport,” Castillo said.
It’s this feeling that has Castillo eager to carry the torch for the younger generation of women fighters. She says she sees herself teaching and training when her fighting days are over.
As far as Saturday’s fight, Castillo isn’t predicting anything.
“I see myself giving it my all in the ring,” she said.
That spells trouble for her opponent who, come Saturday, will have to face the wrath of Castillo. Funny thing is, for the pain Castillo inflicts, she actually is a sweet person; sweet like a pair of cupcakes.
Jenna Costillo is a student of Ganyao “Dr. Knee” Fairtex, training out of Fairtex Muaythai Fitness in San Francisco, CA.
The UFC Fan Expo, part of UFC 100 Weekend, is fast approaching.Next week, on July 10th and 11th, the Mandaly Bay Convention Center will play host to the world’s premier MMA event. Millions of fans will have the opportunity to celebrate their passion for MMA through the experience of exhibitions, training and development, fan-inspired special events and competitions, meet and greets with the elite fighters, and demos of various fighting techniques – all held in conjunction with the UFC fighter weigh-ins and the 100th Pay-Per-View Fight Card.
Make sure to visit the Fairtex booth, number 527, for VIP autograph signings, show specials, other surprises.On July 10th-1tth the UFC Fan Expo is THE place to be for fight fans.Fairtex family, REPRESENT!Don’t forget to rock your favorite Fairtex t-shirt to the show.See you in Las Vegas…
For more information visit http://www.ufcfanexpo.com
Fairtex San Francisco boxing coach Tareq Azim will fight in the Co-Main Event of the upcoming Fight Night At The Fox on July 11th.Tareq is a perpetual favorite amongst the San Francisco gym members, and everyone is looking forward to seeing him fight on the 11th.
Tareq came to Fairtex from Wildcard boxing in LA, where he worked extensively under legendary boxing trainer Freddie Roach.Tareq posses a dizzying combination of speed and power, both which we expect to be on display at The Fox.Please remember to wear your Fairtex Project Afghanistan T-Shirts in support of Tareq.
Tickets for this event can be purchased through Tareq directly, or by visiting http://www.foxdream.com