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06

JUNE 2008 £3.50

GP 2008 - SCHILT WINS AGAIN!!!

SAKMONGKOL Thailand’s most famous fighter

UK’s No.1 THAI BOXER Liam Harrison EXCLUSIVE Interview

TENERIFE ALTITUDE TRAINING TKO Gym visit

DREAM.1 Japan’s new MMA event

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I’M DONE & DUSTED

ISKA World Champion Dale Wood retires for GOOD!

PLUS: SHOW REPORTS, PROFILES & A L L RANKINGS


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CONTENTS 10

NEWS ROUND-UP Domestic & International

14

DALE WOOD The Jester Retires From Court

18

KBX SUPER 8 The Future of Full Contact

24

K-1 WORLD GP 2008 Hari Shocks Sefo, Schilt Wins in Yokohama

Ask yourself a question? Do you enjoy travelling the length of breadth of the country to watch, participate, or referee in show?

30

SEAN ‘SUGARBOY’ BOWMAN By Cris Janson-Piers

I certainly don’t!

32

SAKMONGKOL SITUCHOKE Thailand’s Most Famous Ever Fighter

34

LIAM HARRISON The UK’s Number 1 Thai Boxer

41

AFK PROMOTIONS

42

CAGE RAGE 26 Extreme

44

FULL CONTACT VS MUAYTHAI Marlon Hunt to Face Thai Boxing Legend Di Paolo

48

MY CONTENTION Boxing Column With Joe Holroyd

52

TKO GYM High-Altitude Boxing Training Camp in Tenerife

58

HEIWA DREAM.1 GRAND PRIX Cro Cop’s Saitama DREAM Comes True

63

ROSE BAKER WAKO Midlands Open Champion

64

ISKA RESULTS

66

PROKICK ‘BASH ‘N’ MASH’ Ringside at The Hilton Hotel

69

LADYKILLERS 2 Report & Results

72

CRAWLEY WARRIORS XI Photo’s by Ruth Ashdown

74

RETURN OF THE KING ISKA World Championship Kickboxing

77

INDEPENDENT BRITISH THAI BOXING RANKINGS

78

WAKO PRO & AMATEUR RANKINGS

80

ISKA MUAYTHAI & KICKBOXING RANKINGS

82

FIGHTERS BRITISH INDEPENDENT KICKBOXING RANKINGS

CONTENTS EDITORIAL

Well, that was the answer I would have most likely given, however, until I attended Cage Rage earlier this month in my home town, Birmingham. Nothing to do with the show.....someone commented to me that it looked like Wembley Arena had been “beamed up (and then down again I think he meant) to Birmingham” for the night. The fights were good, the weather was lovely; I was even there with a contingent of friends and the whole FIGHTERS MAGAZINE staff, to make a nice change from the manic nature of any trip to the show’s London home. Surely these are the ingredients of a great night......home (and the pub) was only 15 minutes away......? No need to sacrifice any of the normal Saturday afternoon lazing and shopping. A normal Saturday plus some cage fighting for dessert. Perfect eh? Yet somehow it just wasn’t the same. And it didn’t seem it was just me. I heard accents from all over the UK at the NEC yet the ones having the most fun were undeniably not the Brummies. Are the Martial Arts more fun to watch when you have to make a Herculean effort to see them? Who’d have thought that the long hours in the car, the tedious route planning, the too-many-service-station-coffee jitters in the early afternoon and the loneliness of the M40 in the middle of the night could actually enhance the whole “experience”? It’s strange how we answer questions like the one that starts this column without really thinking about them. It seems that we believe that the easiest route to anything (victory in the ring, reaching that black belt, even enjoying an MMA show) is the most satisfying, with the less effort required the better. Why don’t we stop to consider our own experiences and what they tell us? They tell us unequivocally that the finest rewards come from the finest labours. Everything else is an anticlimax. So bear that in mind next time you choose the football over the training hall! Marcus Marcus.Haig@Fightersmag.co.uk


HEIWA DREAM.1 GRAND PRIX page 58

WWW.FIGHTERSMAG.CO.UK EDITOR Marcus Haig SENIOR DESIGNER Mark John Davies GRAPHIC DESIGN Kevin Thompson Matthew Riches ADVERTISING/SALES Julie Davies (0121 356 7616) UK THAI SUB EDITOR Dan Green UK MMA SUB EDITOR Rob Nutley UK BJJ SUB EDITOR Carl Fisher UK KICKBOXING SUB EDITOR Cris Janson-Piers UK BOXING SUB EDITOR Joe Holroyd

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Page 14 WWW.FIGHTERSMAG.CO.UK June 2008

Dale

Wood

The Jester retires from court...

Some champions just never know when to quit do they? The lure of the glory and the final payday can often be all that’s needed to entice largely intelligent, sensible men down the wrong path. Boxing is littered with Champions who went on a little too long, took one too many beatings and ultimately paid the price with their health and their reputations. Armed with this knowledge, and given his tender age (29), I set out to find out just how seriously Dale Wood’s proclamation of retirement was intended. I mean, we’ve all had a bad day at the office and thought “what the **** am I doing here every day?” Its human nature; human nature to tackle new challenges and experience the things we long to do. It is human nature to believe the grass is greener on the other side, no matter how lush the pasture we occupy. Unfortunately it is also human nature to believe that the future will play out like the past; that former glories can be relived in the flesh. These opposing forces play out their own mini 12 rounder inside a champion’s head; to retire and miss out on future conquest or to don the armour and head into the fray once more. Which of these forces would gain ultimate control of the Jester from Matlock? It seems the war is already over.....


DALE WOOD - THE JESTIRE RETIRES FROM COURT Page 15

So Dale, are you for real? Done and dusted at 29? DALE WOOD: There is no chance of me making a comeback....no, definitely done and dusted. Let me tell you a story of how I got robbed of the WAKO pro title in Germany. I was warned against taking that fight! I didn’t have to take the fight but I was young and stubborn, we fought over 10 rounds and I totally battered him. I knocked him from pillar to post. When I lost, it affected my whole approach to kickboxing. You see, I had a defence offered from Germany from the title I just won. I would hate to lose another title in the same way. I do think you should defend titles, though, for the credibility of the sport. In an ideal world I would love to have made a defence but I’m just not in the position to. The preparation needed is too much for too little reward. I was in great shape for the rematch with Brian; I took 8 weeks off teaching. It was so hard going back to the gym and seeing all the kids. I felt like I didn’t know the anymore. It was like they were someone else’s students. With the new gym I can’t do it. I have to either defend or retire. The answer is an easy one for me. Tell us about the new gym DALE WOOD: well it’s in Matlock, and is three times the size of our current premises. Obviously this will mean we can accommodate more students, but also more of my own time! Our current gym is not a commercial gym; we are not based in a big enough place. I opened my own classes at 18 and my friend Mark and I opened the gym in a lock up 5 years ago. 4 years ago we opened Jesters. It’s hard work because we both have full time jobs. First and Foremost, it’s a fighters’ gym, Thai and kick. We have MMA and Jiu Jitsu classes also. We have 60 students and offer something different every day of the week. It’s not just about fighting though; I had no intention of fighting when I first started training at 14. I just wanted something to help me with my athletics really, which at the time was my number 1 sport.

To read the rest of this article make sure you get your copy of fighters available from WH Smiths & all good newsagents

I hear you’re learning sign language; can you tell us a bit more about that? DALE WOOD: I am learning sign language; to get deaf people into the sport. Ok, they’re disabled, but that pigeon holing doesn’t stop them from fighting. Sign language has always intrigued me. I work for the council and they encourage these kinds of things, all very PC. I am coming up for an exam now, should do ok. I am getting more confident with it and I will be doing support work with the deaf. I don’t see any reason why they shouldn’t enjoy kickboxing like everyone else. Do you have any experience with people with disabilities? DALE WOOD: I used to work in a kids home with children who had behavioural problems. That led me into my work with the prison service. I am hoping to become a mentor on a county scheme; it’s amazing how much a couple of sessions per week help these kids let off some steam. Some councils are against this though as they think teaching these kids to fight is wrong....they don’t understand the discipline and role model influence to be honest. I’m a big believer that martial arts can really improve people’s lives. I’m not looking for more professional fighters here! Kids lose a bit of weight, gain some self esteem and you’re halfway there!...


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World GP 2008 Hari Shocks Sefo; Schilt wins in Yokohama Written by Monty DiPietro. Photos courtesy of FEG

Hari vs Sefo

Hari showed no mercy in a sensational 1st round KO


K-1 WORLD GRAND PRIX 2008 Page 25

OKOHAMA, April 13, 2008 — Moroccan muay thai dynamo and Defending K-1 Heavyweight Champion Badr Hari, 23, scored three quick first-round downs to defeat Ray Sefo tonight at the K-1 World Grand Prix 2008 in Yokohama. In the evening’s Main Event, Defending K1 World Grand Prix Champion Semmy Schilt defeated challenger Mark Hunt.

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HUNT vs SCHILT It had been more than six years since Mark Hunt’s incredible 2001 World GP Tokyo Dome Final performance, when the New Zealand boxer dispatched K-1 stars Francisco Filho, Stefan Leko and Jerome LeBanner to become the first non-European K-1 World GP Champion. Hunt wanted very much to score another upset tonight, against the juggernaut that is Semmy Schilt. Schilt towers a full 33cm/13” taller than Hunt, but from the bell the scrappy Kiwi undertook valiant attempts to overcome this disadvantage — leaping forward to throw the right overhand punch to the delight of the crowd. Hunt also strived to control the distance with low kicks. Alas, Schilt threw low kicks as well, and unfortunately for Hunt and for underdog fans everywhere, Schilt’s kicks were a heck of a lot harder, and there were a heck of a lot more of them. By midway through the first round, Hunt’s left leg had been brutalized. To make matters worse, Hunt also received a hard left knee to the chops late in the round. As the seconds clicked down, Schilt went all-out, and at the clapper delivered a spinning back kick smack into his opponent’s midsection. Hunt fell in a heap and lay there with pain tattooed on his face. A most convincing KO win for Schilt. “We practiced the spinning back kick in training,” smiled Schilt in his post flight interview, “but I didn’t know it would work out so well. I’m glad I won because he was also a GP Champion, so now I have beaten all the active K-1 Champs!” Asked what advice he could offer anyone contemplating fighting him, Schilt simply smiled, “I’d tell them not to take the fight!” “I felt like I’d been kicked by a horse,” said a distressed Hunt, “I think anybody who got caught with that kick, even Ernesto Hoost, would have been out. I only started getting my air back when I heard the ring announcer call the number ‘eight’.”

SEFO vs HARI Ray Sefo versus Badr Hari meanwhile was a highly-anticipated matchup, the civil New Zealand veteran facing the volatile Moroccan rising star. Despite some trash talk in pre-fight interviews, there were smiles on both fighters’ faces as they met center-ring for the referee’s instructions. Then it was straight to business. An explosive start — both fighters attacking aggressively, Sefo firing in a right that put his opponent off balance, Hari responding with a number of knees then a devastating left cross to score a down. After resumption, Hari went right after Sefo, who was forced to the ropes, closed up in defense. Sefo has a great chin, but Hari brought up a hard knee then added a right straight to score another down. Hari showed no mercy, firing one punch after another, and again bringing the knee up on the doubled-over Sefo. The crowd watched nervously, well aware that Sefo had many times before taken a beating only to rebound and return the favor. But on this night, “Sugarfoot” could not sustain a counterattack. As Hari’s fists flew, the referee stepped in and waved his arms, signaling a sensational first-round KO victory for Badr Hari. “Before the fight, I said I’d get a KO, and I delivered!” said Hari afterward. “In the ring, you can’t miss anything, but Ray blinked and I landed the blow, and that was that.” “I was feeling okay,” said Sefo, “and then I got caught by the knee and it all went down from there. Badr was the better fighter, that’s all.”

The card comprised nine bouts, all fought under regular K-1 Rules.

TEIXEIRA vs FUJIMOTO The penultimate contest featured a couple of superbly conditioned combatants — kyokushin stylist Ewerton Teixeira of Brazil and Japanese karate fighter Yusuke Fujimoto. Teixeira entered the ring with but one K-1 bout to his name — a 2004 win against Petar Majstorovic. Fujimoto, meanwhile, is the K-1 ‘07 Asia GP Champion and has honed his skills at the respected Mejiro Gym in Holland. Teixeira missed with a high kick and a spinning back kick early on, but then answered Fujimoto’s hard low kicks in kind. A Teixeira right set Fujimoto stumbling, but Fujimoto also got some good punches through in the first. In the second, both fighters closed frequently and

Fujimoto vs Teixeira


Page 26 WWW.FIGHTERSMAG.CO.UK June 2008

second time. The poor kid beat the count, rising to his feet only be sent back down by Musashi’s decisive left straight. An impressive win, Musashi sending the message that he still has a lot of fight left in him.

FEITOSA vs ROBERTS The Brazilian with the magic legs, kyokushin fighter Glaube Feitosa, met low- kick specialist Alex Roberts, a kujyuken fighter from the United Kingdom making his K-1 debut. Roberts started with a couple of low kicks and a knee to the midsection, but these did not at all rattle Feitosa, who remained characteristically cool. A number of technical exchanges followed, and by the end of the round although neither fighter had dominated, Feitosa had the edge, and Roberts’ nose was bloodied.

fearlessly, leading with the fists and making good contact. This was shaping up to be one heck of a battle. In the third there was more aggressive punching, Teixeira missing with a number of his ambitious kicks, Fujimoto repeatedly closing with the right but absorbing punishment from Teixeira’s quick counters. A spirited round, in which Teixeira’s left straight punch would have put many fighters down — Fujimoto showing a good chain to stay on his feet and answering deftly with a spinning back punch that made partial contact. Judges saw a draw and called for a tiebreaker round. Teixeira landed a dandy left straight punch here, Fujimoto was also good with body blows, moving forward but now beginning

Feitosa vs Roberts

to either slip and fall to the canvas or grab hold of his opponent to stay on his feet, suggesting possible damage to his left leg. When the round ended, the judges once again pronounced a draw, sending the fighters to a second and final tiebreaker. Here Teixeira’s superior stamina proved the difference, as he kept on coming while Fujimoto began falling apart. It was a left straight on a counter that scored Teixeira his first down, followed by a left hook for a second down just 20 seconds later. Fujimoto was now awfully wobbly, and Teixeira’s right straight punch was the coup de grace, dropping the Japanese fighter for the third time and giving the Brazilian the KO win.

MUSASHI vs SAWAYASHIKI At 35 years of age, seidokaikan veteran Musashi is Japan’s most accomplished K-1 fighter. Tonight he faced a challenge from compatriot Junichi Sawayashiki, a 23 year old kickboxer. His stunning upset win over Jerome LeBanner last year established Sawayashiki as one of Japan’s most promising youngsters. The fighters exchanged jabs and low kicks through the early going, Musashi getting a good middle kick through, Sawayashiki making partial contact with a high kick in the first round. In the second, Musashi worked the body blows before getting a left kick up and on target to score a down. After resumption, Musashi put his opponent on the ropes and laid in with the fists, and soon a left uppercut had dropped Sawayashiki a

If Roberts the rookie was beginning to believe he was holding his own against one of the world’s best, that thought flew out of his mind the minute Feitosa’s left foot connected with the right side of his head. The British fighter collapsed to the canvas ingloriously, and Feitosa had yet another clip for his kyokushin high-kick highlight reel.

MO vs MAEDA The Squat Samoan with the herculean right hook, Mighty Mo, stepped in against cocky Japanese kickboxer Keijiro Maeda. Maeda cycled at the far perimeter, occasionally tossing in a kick, while Mo tracked him from the center of the ring. Mo did catch the Japanese fighter on several occasions and Maeda did go to the canvas, but these were ruled slips. Apart from endlessly circling, Maeda’s unusual strategy involved diving into the clinch or darting away when it looked like he might get punched. In the second, Mo answered one of Maeda’s dive-and-hug maneuvers with a knee, but otherwise had a difficult time tagging his wily opponent. Maeda continued with the kick-and-run strategy in the third, a number of low kicks making good contact, a number of them also hitting Mo below the belt. Mo now attempted his own low kicks, but these were woefully inadequate. You had to give Maeda credit — he had put Mo off his game. It wasn’t pretty, but it forced a tiebreaker round...

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K-1 WORLD GRAND PRIX 2008 Page 27

Mo vs Maeda

Cocky Maeda kicks & moves his way to a decision win


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Fighters Profile

Sean “Sugarboy”

Bowman By Cris Janson-Piers

In my continued search for up and coming or established fighters to profile, this month I have chosen a fighter I have seen fight and studied whilst training. His calm and polite nature outside the ring or whilst helping others train hides the beast within, when he shows true fight spirit in the ring with his aggressive and strong style. He can mix and match on the inside or he can play the evasive fighter on the outside whilst waiting for his opportunity. He has a good stoppage record so that’s something to think about for fighters who want to rumble. Mainly a Full Contact Fighter he has also been successful in K1, again finishing this fight with a stoppage. Name: Sean Bowman Ring Name: “Sugarboy” Age: 27 Height: 5ft 9 inches Weight: 54kg Orthodox or Southpaw: Both Camp: Touchgloves Coach and contact details: Nathan Kitchen email: info@touchgloves.co.uk tel: 07974333489 Manager and contact details: Same Years Training: 5 Undefeated fight record and who against: Eoghan Murphy (Bridgestone, Dublin) points win 3 rounds Shane Bennett (tko) points win 3 rounds

Barry Lock (WUMA) points win 7 rnds Eoghan Murphy (Bridgestone,Dublin) 5 rounds k1 rules tko3rd Keith Morris (Paragon Gym) 7 rounds ko 3rd Advars Pusts (Latvia)10rnds tko3rd Titles held: ISKA British, WUMA World, FIST Anglo/Irish K1 rules Other styles studied now or in the past: Amateur boxing and K1 style Employment: LOL (Chuckles!) Marital or Relationship Status: 2 children and long time girlfriend Past times and Hobbies: Sean had a very troublesome 19 years in his life where he was also reared as a bare knuckle fighter and still has a very strong family devotion. The full contact fight game, with its discipline has definitely help settle

him and helped him to become a more serious athlete and hold a place at the top of the British bantamweight rankings. What are your ultimate goals in the fight game: To win as many creditable world titles as possible, to beat everyone in the bantamweight, super bantamweight and featherweight divisions without a loss. Sean is the complete package of what is asked for in full contact kickboxing, rangy, fit, very clever, tough and durable, but comes with a variety of hard and hurtful shots. He’s a great show headliner but with a humble personality outside of the ring. After competition he dedicates his off peak training to helping other fighters both adult and children at Touchgloves. A great all round professional athlete and a personality that people warm to.


SEAN “SUGARBOY” BOWMAN Page 31

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My goal is to retire undefeated!


Page 32 WWW.FIGHTERSMAG.CO.UK June 2008

Sakmongkol

Situchoke Thailand’s most famous ever Fighter

Sakmongkol Situchoke is one of Thailand’s most famous ever fighters. He made a name for himself as Lumpini Champion in muaythai’s golden era and then fought all over Europe fighting and beating the very best including Ramon Dekkers (when Sakmongkol) was only 18 years old, Peter Crooke and John Wayne Parr. He has fought in England once before where he beat Peter Crooke, previously rated England’s pound for pound finest and is now coming back here to face Britain’s most succesful muaythai fighter Steven Wakeling under full Thai rules on Muaythai Legends on Saturday August 16th. He boasts an impressive record of 191 wins from 251 fights. Fighters magazine got a chance to ahve a brief chat with him about coming to England again. What age did you start fighting and what made you decide to become a boxer? SAKMONGKOL: I had my first fight when I was 8, my Father got me into the sport, he started training me two years before I had my first fight.

What was Ramon Dekker like as an opponent? SAKMONGKOL: He never really hurt me, as I kept a very tight defence, but he was very dangerous and one mistake could have been very bad for me. How much longer do you think you will fight for?

What main titles have you held during your career? SAKMONGKOL: I won the Lumpini 135 pound title and the WMC Middleweight title, which I won from Hollandís Ivan Hyppolite. I have wonn several other tiles, but these were the two biggest. Can you tells us some of the big name Thai fighters you have fought? SAKMONGKOL: Namkabuan Nongkeepahuyuth, Somrak Khamsing, Sangtiennoi Sor Rungrot, Orono Por Muangubon, Jongsanan Fairtex and many other big names.

SAKMONGKOL: As long as I feel I can and my body can take the training and the fight. You fought in England before against Peter Crooke, how did that go? SAKMONGKOL: I was quite nervous before hand as thought it could be a tough fight, but it went o.k for me. To be honest I found it a fairly straight forward fight and am looking forward to a harder challenge against Wakeling. What do you know about Steve Wakeling?

What about Foreign opponents? SAKMONGKOL: Danny Bill, Ramon Dekkers, John Wayne Parr, Ivan Hyppolyte. Who has been your toughest opponent in your career? SAKMONGKOL: Jongsanan Fairtex, he would never give an inch and I would have to concentrate all the time as one mistake, he would make you pay.

SAKMONGKOL: I have never seen him fight, but have heard a lot about him and read about him in some magazines and online, I am looking forward to fighting him. Finally do you have anything you want to say to the English fight fans before you come over for the event?

What about out of the Foreign boxers you have faced?

SAKMONGKOL: I just want to say that I will be coming in great shape and looking to put on a good show for the fans. I am not just coming for the money as my name and reputation as a fighter means more to me than that.

SAKMONGKOL: Danny Bill was technically the hardest to fight as he has great skills, but Ivan Hyppolite hurt me the most.

For further information on Muaythai Legends or tickets call the box office on 0208 688 9291


SAKMONGKOL SITUCHOKE Page 33

‘‘

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Page 34 WWW.FIGHTERSMAG.CO.UK June 2008

Liam

Harrison

The UK’s Number 1 Thai Boxer Photos by Sabena Bibi

Liam Harrison is one of Britain’s hottest properties in muaythai and is without a doubt one of the best farangs in the world fighting in Thailand’s stadiums today. He has knockout power in his hands and it is rare to see one so young have accomplished so much in the fight game. He is WMC world champion (amongst others) and has fought (and beaten) a number of top Bangkok ranked Thais to get there. Not many fighters in the world go and take the top Thais on in their own stadiums. Harrison began training at Bad Company Leeds when he was 13 years old and was fighting soon after. He was 14 years old when he had his first fight without head contact on a small gym show. He was quite mature and large for his age so he was able to fight without padding. Nearly straight after that Harrison then fought Martin Shivnan in his first head contact fight which was against

Martin Shivnan from GFC Muaythai on a Master Sken Show - “I won by KO in the 1st round, I was hooked after that! It’s funny because my first fight was at 60kg and I still fight around that weight now! I’m still the same size now as I was then!”

“Not many win adult titles at 16” Following his first knockout win, Harrison won several fights on the trot and then got to fight for an Area title when he was 16 years old on Master Sken’s show against Abdul Arif. The fight was on the undercard of a WMC world title and Harrison won by another first round KO. He went on to defend that title successfully two times as well. The importance of defending titles a result of his schooling from Richard Smith. Already winning an adult title at the age of sixteen, Harrison fortunately had his parents full support when he decided to make a go of it as a full time fighter “My parents have always been behind me and supported me! When I was younger and decided to drop out of college to become a full time fighter they were behind me 100% and said they would help me as much as possible!! They love the sport too which is great and are always at my fights!! They even flew over to Italy to watch me fight there and my Dad even came to Japan!”

“All the UKs best current fighters have been training since they were kids” Starting so young Harrison feels played a big factor in his fight career development.”When you look at how good the Thais are it’s partly because they have been in the gym since they were 10 years old, some younger, training hard and picking up experience! All the UKs best current fighters have been training since they were kids too so its definitely a factor.” Now at the age of just 23 Harrison had already had between 50 and 60 fights in total. He has only 6 losses on his record and they are all to former Thai champions or current ranked Thais. “I’ve never lost to another Western fighter which I’m very proud of!” Harrison holds the Thais in high respect and since going full time with fighting and teaching Harrison spends several months each year in Thailand training. Harrison’s coach Richard Smith has been going to Jitti Gym for many years and it ended up naturally being his first choice the first time he went to Thailand and he has been going there ever since as he loved it so much...

To read the rest of this article make sure you get your copy of fighters available from WH Smiths & all good newsagents


LIAM HARRISON - THE UK’S NO.1 THAI BOXER Page 35


Page 48 WWW.FIGHTERSMAG.CO.UK June 2008

My Contention Calzaghe, Hopkins, brain damage... and the stuff of legend. Boxing Column with Joe Holroyd


BOXING COLUMN WITH JOE HOLROYD Page 49

he media-hyped build-up to Calzaghe’s 2007 contest with Contenders star Peter Manfredo trumpeted the American as the ‘reallife Rocky’. It worked for me: with a face and fight-strategy bearing unfavourable comparison to a punch-bag and an American public rallying behind their blue-collar hero’s unlikely challenge to an infinitely more skilful champion... it could easily have been Manfredo that Antonio Tarver beat the crap out of in the latest farcical Rocky film. Except, as in Calzaghe’s crushing of Manfredo, it would probably take Tarver no more than 3 rounds to put the Contender out of contention, and Tarver would probably emerge unscathed.

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Don’t get me wrong, Hopkins is clearly no saint - inside or outside of the ring. But what he clearly should be - without contention - is a boxing legend. Yet he remains a relatively unpopular fighter. Why? Because once he gets inside that ring despite whatever games he’s played with media soundbytes before the fight - he knows that the playing is over; he knows that he is there to box.

great role models as they do so. Further to this, we have seen huge re-investment in amateur boxing, record numbers of new clubs opening and a whole barrage of new initiatives to get boxing back into schools. With the ethos of self-discipline and respect that most boxing-training is predicated on, no wonder it has turned so many young men’s lives - not least Bernard Hopkins’ - around.

And yet a sizeable proportion of the British public remain sceptical. Barnes expands his comments in The Times to pronounce the inherent barbarism of two men trying to inflict temporary and longterm brain-damage on one another a moral ‘no brainer’. While he concedes that it is statistically no more dangerous than Manfredo, like many a Contenders sky-diving or motor-racing, it is the fact ‘prospect’, is simply not nearly as good a that boxers want to knock their opponent boxer as his manufactured fame would sugout that is uniquely barbaric; they want gest. What he certainly is however, is a great effectively - to bring about the brain damopponent. A great opponent, that is, from age that inevitably accompanies each the perspective of an established champion bashing of the brain against the inside of wanting to do any or all of the following: the skull causing a K.O. And while Barnes 1) Make lots of money can reconcile himself to the 2) Keep themselves ‘busy’ 3) Clock-up another successful Bernard ‘The Executioner’ Hopkins couldn’t care less boxer choosing to put himself into this dangerous environ‘defence’ of their title. what the crowd wants; his job is step into a highly ment, he cannot make such dangerous environment - where the ordinary laws of allowances for the fans. We saw it in Miguel Cotto’s 5round annihilation of Contender society are suspended - and emerge from that environment I’m not nearly so morally absoAlfonso Gomez. We’re very victorious and (relatively!) unscathed. lutist as Barnes. I love watching likely to see it this weekend boxing, and I have no plans to when Oscar De la Hoya warms stop watching it. But I can see what is unscathed. And he considers himself himself-up for a Mayweather rematch often so ugly about boxing fans and, accountable to one person only inside the against the admittedly far more serious indeed, boxing journalists: from noisy, square-circle - himself. Contenders-product Steve Forbes. Forbes drunken mobs - some of whom have will give De la Hoya a good fight, but his never stepped into the ring before in their tendency to fight in bursts will mean he is Which is exactly as it should be. Which is life - baying for blood and hollering their unlikely to test De la Hoya’s sometimes exactly what every trainer worth his salt discontent if a fighter should dare to make questionable conditioning inside the later instils in their fighters from the moment protecting himself more of a priority than rounds, and his lack of firepower will make they step into the gym: protect yourself at an upset even less likely. And we certainly all times. And so, as a question-mark hangs knocking his opponent out, to jaded middle-class arm-chair critics dishing out prosaw it in the Calzaghe-Manfredo farce.. over Hopkins status as a boxing legend, nouncements on fighters ‘not doing and certain factions of the crowd ‘boo’ at enough’ in the ring. Someone who gave Calzaghe an altogether his strategic approach to the business of winning 12-round fights against the very different experience inside the ring last best opponents out there, I can’t help but month was Bernard Hopkins. Sure, So perhaps a little bit more respect for the sympathise with some comments made Hopkins didn’t plod-forward with enough ring-craftsmanship - if nothing else - of the recently in The Times by Simon Barnes aggression to catch the Vegas judges eyes, likes of Hopkins, would do us all some to the effect that whilst he has no problem but rather fought an almost perfect defengood. Perhaps if boxing-culture didn’t permorally with boxers, he does question the sive fight (did you compare his face to petually foreground the importance of the morality of boxing fans. Calzaghe’s after the fight?!) Yes, Hopkins big K.O win, the sweet science might refused to fight Calzaghe’s fight and defend itself more convincingly against the instead gave him a masterclass in counterlikes of Barnes. I’m not going to question Boxing is experiencing something of a punching canniness. Admittedly, Hopkins Calzaghe’s contentious victory over resurgence at the moment. Quite apart might have given-himself a little breathing- from The Contenders and other realityHopkins; if you watched the fight, you’ve space inside the 10th round; but taking 2 probably already done that for yourself. programming of its kind, personalities minutes out of the 5 technically allowed But I will make this contention: if Joe such as Joe Calzaghe, Amir Khan and following a low blow, can you really blame David Haye are recapturing the public’s Calzaghe is a boxing legend, then Bernard the 43 year old? Hopkins is most certainly one also. interest in the sport - and providing some And boxing is one thing that this guy can do incredibly well. Felix Trinidad, Oscar De La Hoya and Howard Eastman, to name but a few, learnt exactly that as Hopkins notched-up an astounding 20 successful defences of his middleweight belts against real world-class contenders. The problem is this: once that opening bell rings to start the first round, Bernard ‘The Executioner’ Hopkins couldn’t care less what the crowd wants; his job is step into a highly dangerous environment where the ordinary laws of society are suspended - and emerge from that environment victorious and (relatively!)


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DREAM.1 Lightweight Grand Prix 2008 1st Round

CroCop’s Saitama DREAM Comes True Written by Monty DiPietro. Photos courtesy of FEG

Mizuno vs Cro Cop


CRO COP’S SAITAMA DREAM COMES TRUE Page 59

AITAMA, March 15, 2008 — Returning to one of his favorite venues, Mirko CroCop made it look easy tonight. The cool but lethal Croatian mixed martial arts superstar required a mere 56 seconds to dispatch Tatsuya Mizuno by KO at the DREAM.1 Lightweight Grand Prix 2008 1st Round.

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Held before a sellout crowd at the Saitama Super Arena — with millions of Japanese television viewers watching live — DREAM.1 featured seven qualification bouts in the DREAM Lightweight (70 kg/154 lbs) class, along with a trio of open-weight fights. This was the inaugural DREAM production — but such is the talent on tap that fans have already dubbed DREAM one of the world’s finest mixed martial arts productions. All bouts were fought under Official DREAM mixed martial arts rules, with a 10 min first and 5 min second round.

Cro Cop vs Mizuno Probably the most highly-anticipated fight on the card featured 33 year-old Mirko CroCop, who took on Japanese judo fighter Tatsuya Mizuno. CroCop wasted no time here, firing in the low kicks from the bell, stepping forward to lock up Mizuno’s right arm then pumping in uppercuts and straight punches to deposit his opponent on the canvas in a heap of pain. CroCop leapt atop the unresponsive Mizuno for a ground and pound finish, leaving the referee no choice but to jump in and call it. “A lot of fighters refuse to fight me these days, but he had courage and he accepted,” said CroCop afterward from center ring. “For my next fight, I will need a stronger opponent, so anyone is welcome!” Who will answer the call?

CALVAN vs Aoki The evening’s Main Event was a DREAM Lightweight Grand Prix 2008 elimination bout matchup featuring last year’s HERO’s Middleweight Champion, J.Z. Calvan of Brazil; and Japanese judoka Shinya Aoki. Calvan is widely regarded as the man to beat in the DREAM Lightweight class, and the jiu jitsu fighter’s protracted, chummyrapper ring entrance bespoke both his feelgood nature and his total confidence. Calvan threw a couple of straight punches from the opening bell, and thrice Aoki went to the canvas. There the Japanese fighter waited, but other than passing with a single punch, Calvan declined the invitation to approach, prompting breaks and standing

re-starts. A Calvan straight left punch got through, and a high kick sailed just high before Aoki dove in the Brazilian’s legs and held on. The cornered Calvan now dropped a series of hard blows onto Aoki’s back, and with the elbow apparently making first contact, the referee stepped in to call time. A distressed Aoki was given three minutes to recover. After that, the unhappy Japanese fighter, still showing pain, conferred at length with the referee and ringside doctor and was given more time. Meanwhile Calvan, alone in a corner with his towel draped Druid-like over his head, repeatedly raised his arms slowly toward the heavens — looking to be either practicing taichi or praying to aliens. The silent crowd waited. Alas, after all this, the ringside doctor stepped up to announce that Aoki still had prohibitive numbness in his arm from a blow to a nerve, and so would not continue. Calvan knelt and bowed to his opponent. A tearful Aoki expressed his disappointment to the crowd, after which Calvan also apologized for the incident. Under official DREAM Rules, elbow strikes to the head, neck and spine are forbidden. As it stands, the bout has been ruled a no-contest.

HANSEN vs BOKU The first of the card’s Lightweight Grand Prix 2008 1st Round tournament elimination bouts saw lean, mean Norwegian shooto fighting machine Joachim Hansen step in against Japanese striker Koutetsu Boku. Hanson got an early fist in and the pair went

to the mat to grapple. Boku was good in guard before Hansen managed a rear mount and began to put the punches in, looking for the armbar but instead seeing Boku twist free and to his feet. The fists flew now, both men connecting, neither falling. Hansen took a clinch to a down and side mount before again finding a rear mount. But for a bit of face-washing in transition, Boku did not get the ground attacks going. The round ended with Boku in guard and out of danger. Some strikes to start the second before Boku again settled into open guard, which Hansen could do little to pass...

To read the rest of this article why not take out a subscription by calling +44 (0) 121 344 3737 Hansen vs Boku


Cage Rage Contenders hits

Nuts tv

Some of the most promising young mixed martial arts fighters in the UK are squaring up for the ultimate prize in a brand new show being broadcast on Nuts TV. Cage Rage Contenders is where the journey begins for a new breed of fighter with a never-say-die attitude – and with the men prepared to put it all on the line to give viewers a real show of aggression, skill and unbelievable fighting skills. The show – which is part of the Nuts TV hugely popular Fights and Darts hour - is the platform for new fighters, selected from hundreds of applicants, to battle it out in The Octagon to land their dream spot of entering the Cage Rage Championships mega-card at Wembley Arena. Cage Rage Contenders Monday – Thursday 23:30 – 24:00 Now Nuts TV is bringing the latest Japanese fighting sensation BUSHIDO: The way of the Warrior to the great British viewing public Perfect for the purists who aren ’t satisfied with bad wrestling in leotards,Bushido is the most brutal form of hand-to- hand combat to bring together all the known fighting styles of the present day.Now Nuts TV is the first UK broadcaster to televise thrilling bouts of the sport that would make even Mr Miyagi wince! Viewers can follow the series on Nuts TV as it builds to a climax and concludes with several dramatic encounters featuring Japanese favourites Nakano and Kakihara ,and Gary Albright from the US. Bushido will be a highlight of Nuts TV 'Fights &Darts'hour.Every night between 11pm and midnight,viewers will enjoy programming around this genre including Superfights – chronicling some of the best British fights of all time featuring Nigel Benn,Chris Eubank and Michael Watson,

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Ladykillers 2 eastmaster Promotions followed up their first all girls show with another very successful event at The Forum Leisure Centre in Wythenshawe, Greater Manchester on Saturday 16th February.

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The show featured some top domestic contests including a British title and one world and one intercontinental title. Girls are often harder to match than guys so pulling off an all girls show is a certain unique challenge and the promoters did a good job.

IKF WORLD TITLE FIGHT 53.1KG MAX The main event was the world title contest between Michelle Preston of ETK New Zealand, formerly from Warrington Kickboxing Studio, and Hilary Mack of Caledonian Gym in Glasgow. Round 1: Mack came out throwing solid body kicks, Preston preferred to box and move and use her low kicks.

Ashdown vs Grizzle

Round 2: Preston pushed forward with fast hands and had Mack on the back for for the whole of this round. Round 3: This round both girls went straight into the clinch, Mack scoring well with side and spring knees Preston countered with some good knees of her own. Round 4: Mack started off well with left and right body kicks. Both girls went into the clinch. Preston finished strong with her box and low kicks. Round 5: Preston came out strong and pushed forward with push kicks to the body and face. Mack hitting back but visibly tired at this stage. Exciting World title fight. Points Decision: Michelle Preston

IKF INTECONTINENTAL TITLE FIGHT 53.1KG MAX Emily Bearden (5 points gym, America) vs Jackie Short (Carlisle Muaythai, England)

Round 1: Bearden started the round off well with perfectly timed push kicks and strong body kicks, Short countered well with sharp punch and knee combinations. Round 2: In this round both girls had a good exchange with punch and kicks! Round 3: Bearden again starting the round off well with body kicks and right punch. Short started to work well and dominate in the clinch. Round 4: Short throws a good right and goes straight in for the clinch, both girls knee well, Short just connecting more with her knees. Round 5: Bearden came out strong with straight punches, Short came back with good punches of her own. Points Decision: Jackie Short


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5 x 2 mins 67 kilo prestige fight: Zoey Mason (Touch Gloves, Cornwall) vs Helene Garnett (Wicker Camp, Sheffield) Round 1: Mason came out using good punch combinations, Garnett using good movement and picking her shots. Round 2: This round seen Garnett pick up the pace, Garnett landed heavy punch combinations and heavy low kicks, Mason took the shots well and came back with some good combinations of her own. Round 3: Mason going forward attacking with straight punch and body kicks, Garnett countered well with heavy low kicks. Round 4: Mason staying busy in this round throwing punch kick and knee combinations. Garnett’s leg kicks where visibly starting to takes its toll on Masons legs. Round 5: Garnett stepped it up a gear in this round taking the fight to Mason throwing hard accurate punch combinations, Mason gets an 8 count in this round Garnett goes at her opponent again to force another 8 count, referee stops the contest to save Mason from any further punishment, a very well fought contest by both girls. Decision: Referee stops the contest in the 5th round winner Helene Garnett

IKF BRITISH TITLE FIGHT 53.1KG MAX Ruth Ashdown (Crawley Thai Boxing) vs Michelle Grizzle (Master A, Manchester) Round 1: Both girls went straight into action. This was a clinch and knee round from both girls. Round 2: Grizzle starts off well with nice push kicks. Ashdown pushes forward with

Short vs Beardon

nice body kicks. Again both girls end up back into the clinch where it was quite even. Round 3: Grizzle quite busy in this round hitting and moving, Ashdown countering with punches, both girls not giving an inch. Round 4: This round saw both girls pick there shots well. Ashdown Landed perfectly timed body kicks for most of the round! Round 5: Again both girls come out strong Grizzle using her good movement and boxing skills, Ashdown countered well with leg and body kicks. A very close entertaining fight! Points Decision: Ruth Ashdown

Other results from the show: 3 x 2 mins 57kg: Ann Larson (SMTC, Scotland) vs Parrie Webb (Mr M’s Fight Factory) This was a great opening bout with some very good exchanges from both girls. Webb catching her opponent with big right hands and right heavy kicks. Point’s decision: Parrie Webb 3 x 2 mins 52kg: vs Jill Watmough (Master A, Manchester) beat Wendy Bake (Phoenix Gym, County Durham) on points This was an even fight and very well matched, but the cleaner shots came from Watmough. 3 x 2 mins 63kg: Rachel Price-Whittle (Pray Pichai camp, B’ham) beat Rachel Clements (Wicker Camp, Sheffield) by 2nd round TKO The agressor of the match and the stronger of the two fight-

Mack vs Preston

ers was Rachel Price-Whittle. The bout saw some strong heavy punch combinations from PriceWhittle, Clements took a lot of punishment but came back with some great push kicks to the face. Clements corner withdrew her after 2nd round 3 x 2 mins 67kg: Sophia Thompson (G Camp, Manchester) beat Sarah Morris (Golden Team, Leeds) on points There were some good punch combinations thrown by both girls, Sophia taking Morris down to the floor with good low kicks. 3 x 2 mins 52kg: Kirsty Mack (Caledonian Gym, Scotland) beat Kim Shannon (K Star, Birmingham) on points The 1st and 2nd rounds both Shannon and Mack threw a lot of punch and kick combinations, the sharper of the two was Mack, The last round saw Shannon take the fight to Mack with good punch combinations followed by nice low kicks. 3 x 2 mins 61kg: Sarah Mcarthy (Badcompany Gym, Leeds) beat Sarah Adams (SMTC, Scotland) by 2nd round TKO Girls started off well, Mcarthy had the edge with good punches and kicks and great clinch work. Referee stopped the contest in the 2nd round 3 x 2 mins 58kg: Nicola Simpson (Golden Team) beat Abbie Jones (Mr M’s Fight Factor, Manchester) on points Simpson went at her opponent from the opening bell giving Jones two standing 8 counts in the 1st round. In the 2nd round Jones tried her best to stay out of trouble with great footwork. An excellent right head kick and right hand stunned Jones in the 3rd round. 3 x 2 mins 55kg: Mandy Stainthorpe (Hanuman Muaythai, Darlington) beat Lindsey Holmes (Peles Gym, Altrincham) on points Stainthorpe had great technique very Sharpe and accurate, Holmes tried her best to come back into the fight but had no answer to Stainthorpe’s knee strikes.


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Garnett vs Mason


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