Episode 1 – Trevor Goes Home

23 Jan

by FTX (2008-01-23)

The Contender Asia finally premiered yesterday and like all Muay Thai fans, I was part of the overplayed hype and glued myself to AXN even before 9pm. The premiere, however, wasn’t quite the 10/10 I was expecting (and I guess this is partly because I went to see some of the live matches).
Personally, the disappointment came from two main areas. One was the editing of the fight. Muay Thai fans love watching full length fight videos. Edited fights, somehow, seem incomplete, therefore not quite as fulfilling as a full length one. The first fight was edited quite a bit, cutting angles and missing turns. It was as if the camera man was in the way. The plus point, however, was that there were some great shots on knees and elbows. The impact and execution of techniques were visible. The sound effect, almost like working a heavy bag, of course, was a bonus. The other disappointment was the lack of training videos. We didn’t get to see much of the Contenders working the pads or even shadow boxing. Then again, it’s only the first show. I am keeping my hopes up for the next!
The show began at a rather slow pace, with the introduction of the Contenders and splitting them into two groups – the red Tiger Kings and the blue Wild Boars. John Wayne Parr was the selected leader of the red Tiger Kings and picked two-time world champion Yodsaenklai, Soren, Zach, Trevor, Pitu, Dzhabar and James and leader of the blue Wild Boars, Rafik, picked Naruepol, Zidov, Bruce, David, Alain, Yukay and Sean was the last to be picked. The living quarters and facilities, I must say, is probably the best Singapore has ever seen.
The Tiger Kings lost in their first challenge (We must be proud of Zach. He kept his head up after his bad fall and wasn’t the slightest bit intimidated even though he knew he might be picked to fight), leaving the Wild Boars with victory and had to have one of their team members picked to fight the Wild Boars. Naruepol from the Blue team volunteered and by common consensus, picked Trevor from the Red team.
The first fight was a pretty fast-paced one. Trevor threw in quick punches, focusing mainly on the 1-2s and low kicks. One cannot deny that Trevor has some great technique and aggression. Naruepol, on the other hand, appeared unfazed, absorbing the low kicks and playing defense on the punches. One strong hook could have gotten Naruepol down, however, the Thai’s experience is evident as he quickly anticipates Trevor’s moves and teases his opponent with jabs, throwing knees and high kicks, not giving up in an almost possible knock out match.
The match remained pretty much that. The climax came after the 4th Round when the Thai corner said, “Don’t use your elbows to knock him out. Pity him.” (All these said in Thai, of course) Don’t we all feel bad for Trevor! The poor guy flew halfway across the world, left his wife whom he just married for 24hrs, and gets sent home on the first day. All these and it wasn’t even his choice. An unfortunate victim of circumstances. The fight ended and we’re all impressed by Trevor for his fighting spirit, and Naruepol is undoubtedly, one of the best Thai fighters.
(Contender Asia Fans gave an excellent play-by-play commentary on the fight. To view the commentary, sign up or log in to Contender Asia Fans.)
Overall, the premiere of Contender Asia has left us Muay Thai fans in greater anticipation and the explosive-ness of the show will inspire those outside the circle of us common Muay Thai practitioners. Low-budget series or not, this show has set the ground work for the growing sport in the region, especially in Singapore where Muay Thai still remains a less than popular sport.
The next fight is on 23rd January 2008, Wednesday, 9pm, AXN. Keep watching!

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