Archive | February, 2005

“Big Bang” end for Lumpinee Stadium

22 Feb

by Fairtex (2005-02-22)

Lumpinee Stadium – the great bastion arena of muaythai – celebrated its last anniversary on November 7 with a superfight card that brings together the best of Thailand’s professional fighters.

The event billed as “Super Tuesday�? marked 51 years of history for the historic Lumpinee stadium which will close its doors as a premier ring arena early next year to make way for a new modern venue at Lunlinchee 3, Trok Chan.

The stadium called on all its promoters to “bring out their best �?for Lumpinee’s “Big Bang�? farewell. And the hundreds of thousands of muaythai fans were rapt, as the event of the century featured a 13 all-star card with the best fights going live on Channel 5.

In the fight night of the century Singdum Giat Muh (128 lbs), the fighter who has taken on all challenges with a long winning streak, showed again why he is the best.

Keow Fairtex (122 lbs), considered one of the most gifted fighters of modern times, failed by just one point to beat Pet Manee.

And the sensational Orono Majestic Gym (127) who giving away a two pounds advantage to Yodborgngam Lookbunya lost out in what was a titanic showdown.

All 26 fighters on the card were in the elite league of muaythai.

Lumpinee Stadium set new standards for muaythai when it opened for the first time in 1953 – five years after rival Rajadamnern stadium was built. With the arrival of the Lumpinee venue – and the revision of the national rules and regulations including five-round contests – muaythai set new standards of professionalism, which enabled the sport to evolve as a contest of skill and not just stamina.

Today Muaythai is not only the national sport of Thailand it is an important part of Thai culture. More recently, the sport has shot into international recognition and is bidding for Olympic Games status.

Fairtex Muaythai Fitness & Sports Club for Pattaya

22 Feb

by Fairtex (2005-02-22)

A multi-million dollar (Bt200 million) Fairtex Muaythai Fitness & Sports Club will open next year in Pattaya on 1 July.
The super sports development is already taking shape on nine rai of prime real estate, which is certain to become a new icon for Thailand’s popular beach.

The new Fairtex complex will offer live-in muaythai training as well as a variety of attractions including tennis and badminton, health spa, herbal steam and sauna, restaurants and a big fresh water swimming pool.

The project delivers new standards for sports facilities to Pattaya and will be the first complete sports club for the premier seaside resort.

The Fairtex owned and operated complex is being built within a short distance of the Pattaya Beach front. The design is crafted to blend together fitness and health with a muaythai training core.

The complex is the vision of Fairtex founder Mr. Philip Wong who believes the development will set high standards in excellence for muaythai training, fitness and health.

“Pattaya is moving upmarket and we want to take the sport of muaythai, fitness and health to a new level. The complex will offer a lot more than what is currently available in Pattaya. It will dream training for muaythai enthusiasts as the location and facilities are superb. It will be the one stop location for those who want to be healthy and fighting fit.�?

The live-in facilities will have 50 standard twin-share rooms as well as luxury VIP accommodation. Sports facilities include four outside tennis courts, four indoor badminton courts, a basketball court, four muaythai ring, two squash courts, stretch room and aerobic floor, recreation and leisure centre with Internet and cable TV, a 25 meter by 12.5 meter swimming pool and a nursery for children.

The complex will house two restaurants – Chinese and Italian – as well as a coffee shop.

A main feature of the development will be the inclusion of a Rasayana health centre for high standard detox programs and natural health remedies including a raw food restaurant.

Already on the site is a small forest of 50-100 year old trees that have been transplanted to give the complex cool and shady areas.

An underground car park is being built to provide space for 100 vehicles.

71 countries compete in biggest muaythai event

22 Feb

by Fairtex (2005-02-22)

The biggest muaythai event to be held anywhere in the world took place in Bangkok (November) when 71 countries competed in the Muaythai World Championships.

The nine-day muaythai extravaganza was contested by 500 fighters – 400 men and 100 women reinforcing the fact that muaythai is one of the world’s fastest growing ring sport.

UBC Sports telecast the championships live every day for five hours from the exhibition centre at The Mall in Ngamwongwan.

The event was staged as part of a concerted campaign – backed by the Thai Government – to have muaythai Thai officially recognised and included in future Olympic Games.

In accordance to Olympic requirements fighters at the championship event wore headgear, protective chest jackets and shin guards – an Olympic requirement to reduce to a minimum the risk of injuries.

The global appeal of muaythai results from the skills and excitement of the muaythai ring rules, which allows fighters to exploit the eight physical weapons of kicks, punches, elbows and knee strikes. There are few restriction in the muaythai ring.

Russia and the USA sent strong teams for the championships along with Australia, New Zealand, Sri Lanka, India, Finland and Brazil.

“We came to Thailand to learn muaythai from the Thais and win championship fights,�? enthuses Loyce who says she’s become a dedicated muaythai fighter.

Team America came together through the organisation of Anthony Lin, the president of the Muaythai Federation of America. Speaking at Fairtex Muaythai Fitness training camp where the USA fighters acclimatized and underwent some vigorous training sessions with a stable of professionals Thai fighters – some former Thai champions – Lin said muaythai was poised to evolve into a fashionable lifestyle in the USA.

“We are dispelling the many Hollywood-spawned cultural misconceptions about muaythai. The traditions of muaythai are based on skill, courage and the sporting life. The Americans are catching onto muaythai – it’s exciting for both men and women.�?

Lin says sponsors are beginning to appreciate the popularity of muaythai. Fourstar Group Inc. became the major sponsor of Team USA following the swelling of support for the Thai fighting style.

Captain of Team America was Lynda Loyce who holds the USA women’s titles for both muaythai and kickboxing. Loyce is a crowd favourite in the USA and she added to her considerably reputation with winning a championship title and awarded a prize for performing the best Ram Muay pre-fight dance.

“Muaythai is a very big part of my life. I love it.�?

Since the formation of the World Muaythai Council in 1995 many sanctioned title fights have been fought in countries outside of Thailand. However all the lighter weight divisions titles remain the domain of the Thais fighters from Bangkok’s two main boxing stadiums – Lumpinee and Rajadamnern.

In international muaythai Thailand dominates all world title divisions below 70 kgs. In the heavier divisions western and eastern Europeans countries are the dominant force with many champions being able to mix muaythai with kickboxing and K1 disciplines.

Fairtex Muaythai Fitness Health Camp; Spa

22 Feb

by Fairtex (2005-02-22)

The Fairtex Muaythai Fitness centre outside of Bangkok is expanding to include modern health & spa facilities.

The existing facilities include muaythai (both elite & recreational levels), Krabi-Krabong (Thai sword-fighting art), strength, conditioning, weight reduction, yoga & flexibility, ball exercise (Pilates, FitBall & Chi Ball), aerobic dance fitness and aero combat (aka cardio kickboxing)

Coming soon will be a three-story spa & health complex with traditional Thai massage, steam & sauna facilities, as well as healing, detoxification and all raw health food restaurant.

From a Boat Refugee to Muaythai Star

22 Feb

by Fairtex (2005-02-22)

Saigon-born Jennifer Nguyen was just one year old when she was carried on board a refugee boat in an exodus from Vietnam in 1975.

Today she is an American success story, a semi-professional tennis player and now a muaythai star.

Jennifer narrowly lost the 57 kgs A-grade women’s division of the Muaythai World Championships held in Bangkok.

“I was fortunate to have been got in a week’s trained at the Fairtex Muaythai Fitness. Without the training twice a day in Thailand I doubt if I could have won.�?

Jennifer says switching from tennis to muaythai was spontaneous and she is certain she made the right decision.

“I wanted to learn some martial arts but didn’t want to go through all the levels and gradings that are required with many of the other fighting disciplines.

“As a tennis player I knew how to cope with competition, and I just wanted to get into the ring and test myself. My first trainer in muaythai said, “You don’t want to be a fighter�?. I told him…“ Yes I do.�?

Although she’s turned 30 Jennifer says she has still to peak as a fighter.

“There is no black belt status in the Thai fighting art. In muaythai you as only as good as your next fight.�?

The muaythai championships event has given Jennifer her first look at life in Southeast Asia.

That was four years ago and since then Jennifer has honed her skills into a lean fighting machine.
Don’t be mislead by her smiles and charming demeanor. This lady can fight.

“My parents did their fighting in other ways. They were incredibly strong in the way they have had to leave their country of birth and start a whole new life. Fighting muaythai is combat of my choosing. I knew from the first time I put on the boxing gloves and let fly with my first kick in training that I was in the right place. Muaythai is a battle zone and an art form all rolled into one incredible ring sport. It’s great for stress relief and just makes people live better and stronger.�?

“Getting close to the Thais I realize that we in the west worry about everything for no real reason. After Thailand I hope to go to Vietnam – that will be something special. My parents won’t be going back but I can.�?

But for now Jennifer’s entire focus is on fighting the toughest ring sport on Earth.

Scottish warrior says… I’ll be back

22 Feb

by Fairtex (2005-02-22)

Scottish warrior and a budding future muaythai star, Gary O’Brien was unlikely to be lose out on collecting a gold trophy at the World Muaythai championships.

O’Brien was frustrated after being disqualified when the referee rule he had fouled Iranian Rajabi Ahmad with a knee strike.

Video evidence showed that O’Brien made contact as his opponent was falling following a well executed elbow blow. The referee’s decision that was disputed by many at ringside and the controversy was reported in The Nation newspaper.

“I set it up with an elbow and the knee strike was just a normal follow up reaction. I still consider it to be a fair blow,�? said O’Brien who had won two earlier fights and looking for gold.

“I’ll be back�?, said O’Brien who was training for the event at Fairtex Muaythai Fitness.

Superstar Wakeling stays ahead of the rest

22 Feb

by Fairtex (2005-02-22)

The accolades keep rolling in for British muaythai superstar Steve Wakeling.

Since the 21-year-old won the muaythai world super welterweight (69 kgs) title in February last year the talented fighter from Epson has been tagged “unbeatable�? by martial art and muaythai pundits.

Opponents have been hard to find for the young Englishman, and those who do step into the ring usually end the contest sprawled on the canvass.
Wakeling’s last two fights ended with quick KO when Wakeling landed his signature short elbow strikes.

“It’s always nice to get in a clean elbow shot. I’ve been working on all the Thai weapons since my dad taught me how to kick when I was 10 years old.�?

As a young teenager Wakeling was fascinated by the Thai fighting technique and, since 2002, he’s been a frequent visitor to Bangkok where he has his own personal trainers at Fairtex Muaythai Fitness.

“I get the hard training in Thailand – the level of skills and conditioning training with Thai trainers fighters is a notch higher than the rest of the world.�?

The champ says he expects to be fight for championships over the next eight years, and then he plans to open his own training camp.

His latest opponent was the French champion Johann Feaveau, and Wakeling went Thailand to tweak his knee strikes and elbow weaponary for the the contest which ended quickly.

“I will be looking at defending my muaythai title and then have a crack at the KI.�?

The popular KI tournaments are an eight fighters elimination format where the winner takes home substantial prize money. The rules are almost identical to muaythai but elbows are not allowed.

“Muaythai is a strong foundation for fighting KI – and KI is the money fountain for martial arts ring sports.�?

Mike Tyson was courted to the KI heavyweight division, but declined when he viewed tapes showing the use of knee strikes and heavy kicks.

“Boxers are one dimensional and predictable,�? says Wakeling. “In muaythai and in the KI you learn the art of kicking, knee strikes, grappling as well as punching.�?

While Wakeling is bathing in success and looking to the future with an unbridled confidence, he still remembers the hard years he spent acquiring his skills as a full combat fighter. Along the way he has endured several broken noses as well as a broken shinbone.

His defense has improved over the years and opponents say his kicks get harder each year. And he’s acquired a reputation for being menacingly strong at grappling in the clinch.

“The Thais are excellent at grappling and I never stop learning from them,�? he explains.

“I’ll use elbows and knees when I get the chance but I also like to kick.�?

Has the champ a weakness.

“Not that I know,�? he asserts.

And his future plans?

And while opponents stay wary of fighting the English star, the promoters are busy lining up a super fight between Wakeling and his main rival John Wayne Parr, the Australian glamour fighter who spent several years living and training with the muaythai legend fighter Saengthiennoi who beat all challengers at Lumpinee and Rajadamnern during the ‘90’s.

Parr who has trained at Fairtex Muaythai Fitness took on Thailand’s best and beat many of them. Parr recently returned to Australia where he’s regarded as the Kosta Tsu of martial arts.

Wakeling says he is destined to meet Parr in what will be a classic showdown.

“Parr has been outstanding for years,�? says Wakeling. “ The world of muaythai would love the two of us to fight it out in Bangkok or anywhere.�?

Both Wakeling and Parr know that their hard fought reputations will be on the line when they eventually meet in the ring. They also know that there can only be one champion.

While the promoters crunch the numbers for this “perfect�? match up, Wakeling says he’s happy to fight any challenger who steps up.

Wakeling trains in the Scorpions camp in England and with Fairtex in Thailand and the US.

“I have been fortunate that I have been able to get good conditioning and competition where I train, particularly in Thailand. Keeping the edge is one of the hardest parts of staying on the top of any sport, particularly muaythai.�?

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