Muay Thai Superstars in London Showdown

23 Feb

by The Nation newspaper, Thailand (2006-02-23)

Muay Thai doesn’t get any bigger than when the young British superstar Steve Wakeling takes on Australian legend fighter John Wayne Parr for the WBC MUAYTHAI Middleweight World Title in London on 12 March.

Both fighters are S1 tournament champions and regarded in the top eight of the welterweight and middleweight divisions.

Parr has ruled the roost in Muay Thai competition for six years straight, but suffered a shock loss to Thailand’s Yodsaengklai Fairtex in the WBC Super Welterweight World Title contest staged on the Australian Gold Coast last December. He goes up a weight to take on Wakeling, UK superstar.

“I’m desperate to get a WBC title,�? Parr told the Nation. “I lost to Yodsaengklai by one point when he kicked me down in the second round. The fighting Gods weren’t smiling on me, but this (title fight with Wakeling) will be a very different contest. I’m going to London to bring back the WBC green belt to Australia.�?

Parr (29) has fought professionally 78 times for 57 wins while Wakeling (21), nine years younger, has lost only two of 20 professional fights. While Wakeling has brilliance and youth, Parr has fierce desire and experience.

“When I was a teenager I heard a lot about John Wayne Parr. He’s a bit of a legend in the Muay Thai and kickboxing world. He’s traveled around the world fighting the best. I’m now ready to fight the world’s best – that’s what fighting for a WBC world title is all about. I want to prove that I’m worthy to be the best of the best in Muay Thai.�?

Parr started his career training in the camp of Thailand’s great Muay Thai champion Saengthien-Noi. After beating some of Thailand’s top fighters in Lumpinee and Rajadamnern stadiums, Parr went on a world circuit challenging everyone he could and got selected for the big money K1 Max tournaments. Winning a WBC world title will cap off an outstanding career.

“Against Yodsaengklai I struggled to make weight. Now that I’ve gone up to Middleweight I’ll be powered up…I’ll be stronger and harder to beat.�?

Wakeling – whose father and manager Mark learned to fight Muay Thai in Thailand in the 80’s – is training in the new Fairtex Sport Club in Pattaya.

“I’ve never been fitter nor have I trained better for a fight. As far as Muay Thai events go this is really big. I will have the London fans cheering me on, but I know that Parr will be coming at me with everything.�?

Parr has opened a new training gym on the Queensland Gold Coast. Together with his sparing mate Nathan “Carnage�? Corbett – the current WBC Cruiserweight Muay Thai world champion – he’s been working on a master fight plan to unsettle the British superstar.

“Wakeling moves well in the ring, he’s pretty to watch,�? states Parr. “I’ll have to make sure he fights my style…I’ll have to show him that I’m the boss.�?

Parr knows the importance of the contest. “Not many fighters get a second chance to win a WBC World Title, and it’s unlikely that I will get a third shot if I lose. The defining moments of my fighting career will be determined in five rounds against a young talented English bloke who’s got nothing to lose.�?

If Parr loses in London it will be an uphill fight for him to get back into the major league of Muay Thai. “Yeah, it’s gonna be intense alright. It will (be) a war of respect. There can only be one winner and I want to win to fulfill my destiny.�?

The WBC sanctioned world title championship allows the use of punches, elbows and knee strikes as well as head and body kicks. The contest will be broadcast on Sky B Sky around Europe.

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