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Monday, September 2, 2013

Muay Thai Singapore Challenge 2013: Tale of 2 fighters

Credits: Muay Thai Singapore Challenge
Catch Muay Thai heavyweights all over the globe fight it out at Singapore's first ever epic fight tournament held at The Coliseum™, Hard Rock Hotel®, Resorts World™ Sentosa on the 13th of April 2013. Participants include top finalists from "The Challenger Asia", regional up-and-coming fighters as well as home grown talents duking it out for titles and glory in one of the world's oldest martial art form.

The first ever in Singapore, there will also be a “Muay Thai against Drugs” charity belt to help raise awareness and funds for disadvantaged children, living in environments with limited opportunities, sanctioned by the World Muay Thai Council, and the International Federation of Muay Thai Amateur.

“Muay Thai Against Drugs” has been established in more than 50 countries and promotes awareness against drug abuse and help foster positive influences in the lives of youth today. Since the project launch, over 10,000 children have participated and benefited from the program.

I speak to two of the fighters before their interview with 938live and Capital95.8fm. Take a peek into their dynamic martial world, as well as find out what really makes them so passionate about the sport.

Chai Kai Quan AKA 'Tyrant'
 Kai, is your twenty–three year old regular guy. He is good-looking, slightly soft-spoken and works in insurance by day. But it is his burning passion in Muay Thai that as he says, truly defines him. 

An avid practitioner of almost 7 years, he is one of 5 local representatives in the largest Muay Thai fight competition ever held in Singapore. His stumbling into the Muay Thai sport was one partly inspired by his father, whom practices a variety of Chinese martial arts including the renowned Wing Chun Fists. “I first fell in love with it when I saw how beautifully strokes of the fight can be executed”, and set out to search for an ideal place to train.
Interview with Daniel Martin of 938Live

He eventually settled on BXY, citing on well-equipped facilities and convenient location. It was there that he started his training journey from age 16, in preparation for all of his 9 fights to date.

“Muay Thai really disciplines you”, he says; and that he ‘hasn’t been out to party in the longest time’. Strict to his regime, he makes it a point not to drink before any training, and watches his diet to maintain his optimal weight. In fact, his daily training routine consists of running 20 clicks daily, topped off with even longer gym sessions.

Throughout our whole interview, Kai reiterates his love for the sport despite the often violent and dangerous nature of the sport. He recounts a relatively severe ankle injury in his 4th match that put him out of commission for almost 6 weeks. He also fondly recalled of another memorable fight with a French fighter who trainer specially in Thailand, and despite putting up a valiant fight, he lost the match by a three-pointer(based on execution of the moves). Of course that didn’t stop him, as he went on to win 4 fights in fighter career.

Myth busted!
Before we ended the interview, I just had to ask him about this certain urban legend that I was told by many. So, was it true that Muay Thai fighters often do hardcore practice by kicking sturdy banana trees to kill off their shin nerves as preparation?

 “No lah!” he dismissed with a short laugh, “a few fighters in Thailand train the more traditional way but they just use a baby banana tree which is much softer. You can break your leg if you kick it the wrong way.”

Well, that settles that. Seems like this writer has been had.

So what can we expect from him in this competition? 

“I’m actually up against an Indonesian fighter whose friend I have fought and won before.” Ah…does this mean that he will be having an easier time this round? He shakes his head, continuing in a pumped up manner, “in the ring, nothing is for certain.  Anything can happen. I’ve been training hard and I really hope that my hard work will pay off.”

Kudos to this young kindred spirit and his dedication to Muay Thai certainly leaves much to be inspired.

Later in the day, we met up with another Singaporean fighter, Ian Koh. Unlike his earlier counterpart, the Peranakan fighter is quite the chatterbug.  

Ian Koh aka 'T-Minor'
His fight name which I had come to know was T-Minor, which pokes fun at a congenital low blood count condition which he has (thalassemia minor). Yet, Ian does not let the sickness limit him as he strives to push new boundaries which each fight he has. 

“Each fight makes me push myself even further, and break new personal bests”, he tells us. He remembers a particular fight where he was down with a fever of 38C the night before. While having reservations about going on with it, Ian’s trainer Joe firmly told him to go ahead with it. And so he did, and won the fight, adding yet another victory under his burgeoning belt of titles.

Such is the unspoken rapport between trainer and fighter, a common bond found beyond the fighting ring.

Before I ended the interview, Ian leaves us with his feeling about the upcoming tournament.

Echoing the earlier sentiment expressed by Kai, he says "I've been training very hard for the last few months, and will be doing so until the very day itself. You can prepare so much but it really also depends on the competition as well. No one can really predict what happens in the ring, so its best to be prepared for anything."

Said like a true pro.

With that, we wish both of them the best of luck for the upcoming fight and may they clinch the championship for Singapore!

Stay tuned for my next post to know more about the fights, the winners and the losers in the road to glory in the Muay Thai arena!

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