Tiger Muay Thai News Archive
Get all the latest news on what is going on at Tiger Muay Thai and MMA training camp, Phuket, Thailand. Get the latest fight results, and bios of our team fighters on MMA Thailand and Team Tiger Muay Thai.
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May 14th, 2012
With three fights on the card last night (May 13th) at Bangla Boxing Stadium, Tiger Muay Thai & MMA Training Camp Phuket, Thailand exhibited the skills and training of seasoned veterans but came up just short on two occasions as one bout turned out to be one of the best Muay Thai fights in months.
American born fighters Derek Formoso and Trevor Hicks, along with Tiger Muay Thai trainer Seuadao, brought crowds to their feet on several occasions. Though Formoso was the only winner of the night, Seudao’s clear “Fight of the Night” bout ended in a contentious decision.
Formoso (4-1), a native of Sacramento, California, started the fight in his usual aggressive style, doling out kicking combinations that landed a few times. He sent his opponent to the mat with a leg sweep in the first round, after taking some hard elbows early in the round.
In the second round, Formoso was on form giving his opponent jab to the face, followed by a jumping knee to the head, and a quick barrage of punches that ended with a clean kick to the head. Still, his opponent created opportunities to counter Formoso with several elbows. (see the fight here).
“When I landed a blind knee to his face, I thought he was going to go down,” the 21-year-old said after the fight. “I was trying to get him against the ropes so he wouldn’t slip out – I noticed he was good at that.”
Trevor Hicks, of Tucson, Arizona, showed just as much aggression though it resulted in a different outcome by the third round. The 25-year-old former college football player attempted to outbox his opponent, Norwegian-native Erik, using his reach advantage.
Erik, who was recently featured on an episode of “Norway’s Best Fighter,” showed his kicking ability and gave Hicks a tough go in the first round, despite the American landing some big time jab and right hook combinations. Erik picked his moments and eventually took Hicks down in the third round with several kicks to the midsection after working in some devastating knees throughout the fight.
The night’s main event featured a bout between trainers of Dragon Muay Thai and Tiger Muay Thai – a fight that could have easily gone either way. Pradub “Seuadao” Ruangram went an aggressive five rounds with Petzilla of Dragon. The two veterans trading heavy kicks throughout.
The 28-year-old Seuadao, a veteran of over 200 fights, landed several elbows in the second round and followed it up with push kicks to the face in the third. Immediately following the controversial split decision, the judges had to be escorted out of the stadium due to the contentious crowd’s upset at the fight’s conclusion. (See the fight here)
May 13th, 2012
Miki’ala Freitas has always just been ‘one of the guys.’ As a kid growing up in Hawaii, she had two older brothers and a handful of male cousins to compete with. Whether it was boxing, surfing, football, hiking, or even fishing, they pushed her to keep up—and she pushed herself even harder to not disappoint.
At 26 years-old, “Miki” Freitas has long-since grown up, but she still takes time to reflect back on those days with affection and gratitude. Without them, she might not have developed the spirit and the heart she has today—the heart and soul of a warrior.
“I caught plenty of beatings from my brothers as we competed growing up,” she recalls. “They were definitely key in building my overall toughness. They never cut me any slack, and they always expected me to keep up. They molded all of my athletic abilities.”
Miki’ is a rising MMA star back in the United States, where she’s dominated her fights on the amateur circuit in California. But a fight scheduled for June 22 may very well be her last—before she turns Pro that is. And just like she has her real brothers to thank for sharpening her warrior instincts, she has another group of “brothers” to thank for sharpening her skills and advancing her fight career.
She began formal training at the Muay Thai Lao gym in 2009, while attending school at Sacramento State University. But when she grew curious about mixed martial arts, Miki’ branched out to Urijah Faber’s Ultimate Fitness gym, and has since been training with his famous fight team.
Along with Faber (who was recently bestowed the honor of being a coach on the popular reality show, The Ultimate Fighter), Team Alpha Male counts several other UFC fighters as members—such as Chad Mendes, Joseph Benavides, Danny Castillo, and Justin Buchholz. For Miki’ala, the opportunity to train with elite athletes has been pivotal in her rapid development.
“I’m the only girl, so they kind of baby me—but those guys have all taken me under their wing and are always willing to give me extra help,” she said. “It’s definitely a huge benefit training there…But, I still like to joke and call it ‘Team Alpha Female…’”
For now, however, Miki’ has committed to nearly three months of Muay Thai training here at Tiger Muay Thai & MMA in Phuket, Thailand. And after a win at Patong Stadium two weeks ago (see the video here), she’ll take another fight at Bangla Stadium at the end of the month. It’s all part of her relentless determination to become an elite fighter herself, someday very soon…
And on that day, the ‘blood, sweat, and tears’ of keeping up with the boys for so long will finally pay off.
May 11th, 2012
This weekend sees six of Tiger Muay Thai & MMA Phuket, Thailand’s top Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu grapplers pack up their GIs and head to Manila, Philippines to take part in the annual Pan Asian BJJ Gi and No Gi International Open.
The event at the SM Mall Of Asia is the largest gathering of competitors in the South East Asian region. Now in its 8th year, the competition is recognized by the International Brazillian Jiu-Jitsu Federation as the premier BJJ event in South East Asia.
Tiger’s own Gear Shop Manager and BJJ veteran, Kitty Teppo, 27, will be joined by fellow grapplers Chris Hines, 26, Jesper Freyschuss, 25, Alex Schild, 23, Oscar Mendoza, 35 and Matt Andrews, 33. In what will be their Pan Asian games debut, team leader Kitty knows that intense preparation will be vital their success.
“We’ve been focusing on technique, sparring and long cardio workouts to cut a bit of weight. Training with Wiktor at the evening class has been great where he has been doing a really good job. He knows that we are going into competition so he changes the drills and techniques to our advantage.”
This will be Kitty’s second large scale tournament this year. In March 2012, she and fellow Tiger competitor ‘Tommy’ Yang Seung Ho took part in the Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship Malaysia Trials. This time round, Kitty knows traveling as larger team will be the backbone of their strategy.
“The good thing about going out there with a team is you have the support of your team. You’re doing it together and you’re in the same boat. It’s more fun to have that support and also when you know your own teammate’s game it’s easy for you to corner them.”
After the success of ‘Tommy’ Yang Seung Ho’ bronze medal win at April 2012’s World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Tournament in Abu Dhabi, all hopes are on for Kitty & Co. to represent Tiger at the grandest BJJ stages in the region
“For Tiger it’s a good thing that we have a team going, we can show that we have a good, legit BJJ programme. We have good trainers here who are taking care of us. Last time we went to compete there were only two of us. It will be interesting to see what we can do with six of us going there.”
May 11th, 2012
Climbing five of the seven summits in the world was not enough for Luke Richmond. The former Australian Army infantryman needed to test the limits of his fitness – something beyond the tough routines he doles out for guests at Tiger Muay Thai and MMA Training Camp in Phuket, Thailand on a regular basis. He found it in qualifying for the CrossFit Games: Asia Regionals – one of the toughest competitions on the planet.
The event pulled in 50 of the top CrossFit athletes on the continent, with the winner earning an invite to the World CrossFit Games in Southern California in July. The three-day event took place in South Korea and, with a round of cuts at the end of each day, only 22 were left standing in the end. Despite a slow start, Richmond ended up placing 5th – not bad for someone who only took up the sport a year ago.
Richmond sat down for a quick chat shortly after the competition to talk about this unique experience.
How does it feel coming in 5th after your first time in the competition?
“It’s really just given me a kick in the ass, a lot of confidence, and shown me how I want to progress from here. I want to dedicate more time to my weaknesses. Hanging around those athletes pushes you hard and makes you realize where you need to get to. I really didn’t train specifically for this the whole year, I did a lot of expeditions, climbing mountains, so that really didn’t help me going into the games. If I dedicated 12 months of just CrossFit, who knows where I could end up.”
Did you know anyone there beforehand?
“No, I was just going in as an unknown. But the first day I was there I met the guys that came second, third, and fourth. We were just hanging out together everyday and competing, and we ended up second, fourth, third, and fifth. We were just hanging out in the warm up area and bantering about. That’s the best thing about it. None of that ‘I’m an Olympian, going for the gold’ stuff. It’s just fun and fitness. It’s going out, smashing the workout, come back, and see who wins.”
How was the competition, is it more you competing against them or against yourself?
“I think it’s a bit of both. When you’re going into a workout, all you want to do is do well. On some of the workouts you have to pace it a little. You can’t just go as fast as you can because you’ll burn out so you’re competing against yourself straight away trying to do the best you can. But when the guy next to you is going harder, it gives you that little bit of a push as well. Obviously on the build up of the three days, you start seeing who is sitting where on the leader board so you want to come in at a higher place on the next workout. That competitive spirit starts coming out. You push harder than you have pushed before.”
The first workout out you came in 27th out of 50, your lowest placement by far. Any thoughts on that?
“What CrossFit and competition does is really expose your weaknesses, and you can’t hide them during competition. My weaknesses were snatching and handstand pushups, and it was two workouts that were just that so the first workout crushed me. I ended at a time of nine minutes. There are guys who finished in two minutes and just nailed that workout. But then those same guys came in very low on the heavier workouts because I was stronger in them. The key is to have your weaknesses strong enough so you can finish in the top five across all six events and you’ll win. You don’t have to win any individual event, you just have to be good at everything.”
Mentally, how was it losing your first workout?
“It’s sort of a relief and it isn’t. You knew you were going to end up stuffing up one workout. Being the first one on the first day, it’s very unlucky. But it took the pressure off too because all I could do was crush every workout that came next. I came in 3rd and 4th in the other workouts. In fact, one of the two guys who beat me in the second workout ended up setting record time.”
How do you think this experience is going to benefit the people who take your classes at Tiger Muay Thai and MMA Training Camp?
It just all flows down hill. What I learn I pass on straight away. Being around guys who are competing is going to change the way I coach in small parts. Obviously, that’s going to benefit the client as well. And that’s what fitness and training is all about, there’s no one way – it’s a constantly evolving training method.
When you started CrossFit did you think you you were going to do this?
Not at all. When I discovered CrossFit I thought it was just good fitness, great for mountains. Now, I think about how I trained before and it just felt like a waste of time. It’s very much an addiction, it’s not a hobby or something you do before summer to look good. It’s a lifestyle as the sport of fitness to keep you healthy for the rest of your life. The competition is addictive, once you get over the nerves it’s really fun. I can’t wait for next year.
May 8th, 2012
It’s sounds like the plot to a ‘Bromance’ movie: two best friends leave behind their sleepy, humble, English market town for Thailand in a quest to fulfil their lifelong dream of learning Muay Thai.
Stu Jotham, 27 and James Miles, 31, hail from Stroud, Gloucestershire. An English town known more for its textiles and rolling valleys than their Mixed Martial Art dojos. Friends for over eight years, James and Stu bonded over a mutual passion of fighting. Having both trained in MMA and Kickboxing, it was the zeal to become scholars of Muay Thai that lead both men to ‘up-sticks’ from their humble origins and fly to Tiger Muay Thai & MMA in Phuket, Thailand for a three month voyage of self-discovery and training. This was a trip that would change their lives forever and lead both men into fighting two very different battles inside and outside of the ring.
To them, making the pilgrimage to Tiger Muay Thai was more than just a typical lad’s holiday in South East Asia.
“To a lot of people they think of a holiday as sun, sea and relaxing. Not me!” Jokes Stu. “Training twice a day everyday, getting beat up by some top people from all walks of life and from every corner of the world is a perfect holiday”
In May, 2010 Stu and James arrived at Tiger’s facility in Thailand and from day one they knew they were in for a testing three months of training.
“The first thing I did was tell myself I know nothing and forgot everything I learnt in the past so I could be an open book and learn from the very beginning,” said Stu. “To say I felt like falling over was an understatement. But, we both felt great that our first session went well and the trainers acknowledged we trained hard and both had previous experience.”
Over the next few months, they would continue to do battle with wits, bruises, bug bites and blisters. However, despite the arduous toll on their bodies and minds, both Stu and Matt were firmly aware of their improving skill sets.
“The training at Tiger was world class and all the trainers had a great way of getting the best out of you,” claims Miles. “My experience was the best three months of my life and it’s where I got my passion for Muay Thai.”
Not content with putting their bodies through two daily training sessions, six days per week, the boys soon found themselves making their in-ring Muay Thai debuts. James competing at Tiger’s notorious in-camp BBQ Beatdown and Stu at the world renowned Bangla Stadium in Phuket. Their months of dedication and hard work paid off as both fighters emphatically fought to pick up their first Muay Thai wins.
It was the perfect end to the perfect holiday – three months of worth of world class training culminating into their first big Muay Thai win together with countless unforgettable memories and new friendships. With all that, now behind them the pair headed back to their native England to plan their assault on the British Muay Thai scene.
Upon returning home, Stu and James continued their training the EastWest Muay Thai Gym in Gloucestershire where James also acts as Assistant Coach.
“Tiger gave me all the basics of Muay Thai to carry on when I got home and really take my training to the next level.” said James.
With their sights set on conquering the U.K scene, the boys balanced their training and coaching with full-time jobs to help bring them closer to their dream of Muay Thai gold. But for one of the boys that dream would soon come a tragic end and quickly become a nightmare that neither one of them could have seen coming.
In April 2011, tragedy struck. Whilst riding his motorbike, Stu suffered a freak accident when a former police officer’s car crashed into him at speed. As Stu fell to the ground, the car collided with his right leg, crushing it on impact. Despite the severity of the incident, he is still able to recall the incident in explicit detail.
“To be blunt, the impact of the car into my right leg basically caused it to burst open. The car ripped a huge amount of tissue and bone out of my leg. Then, as I hit the road I grounded a very large section of my leg away as I slid.”
Stu credits his years of training for how he was able to handle the trauma of the accident.
“Annoyingly, I remember the whole thing as I didn’t lose consciousness but they put that down to fitness as I was in fight training at the time. I remembered trying to stand up then I just looked at my leg. It was horrific. It looked like a shark had come up and bit a half of my leg off.”
Stu was rushed into hospital where doctors assessed the severity of the injury and quickly made the decision to relocate him to a trauma unit for immediate surgery. After initial surgery, Stu awoke to the distressing news that there was a 95% chance he would have his leg amputated that night.
Ever the fighter, he was still able hold up his guard against his new unlikely opponents – the doctors.
“I looked the doctor straight in the eye and said, ‘No your bloody not. I’ve got a fight in four weeks!’ I knew in my heart they were not taking my leg off. I told them to do whatever they can because my legs were my life.”
Three painstaking operations later, doctors were able to save Stu’s leg from amputation. Using groundbreaking techniques, they removed Stu’s entire latissimus dorsi together with rib muscles from the right side his body. The rib muscles were then attached down into his leg along with tissue from his back with skin grafts from his unaffected left leg to hold everything together. The operation was a success that came at a high price. As a result of losing a third of his knee, half his fibula and part of his femur, Stu was told he would be unable to walk without assistance for at least 18 months.
However, despite the doctor’s initial analysis, an iron-willed Stu triumphed against adversity and with a lot courage and a little bit of stubbornness, he was able to walk on his own two feet – a mere four months after the brutal accident that cost him his freedom.
“I struggled every day to try and get there. If there is one thing Martial Arts has taught me it was stubbornness,” laughs Jotham . “I wasn’t going to let a bunch of doctors write me off. I don’t give up, I always look forward and don’t stop ‘till I’m happy…or sore.”
And only three months later, a resilient Stu had a brace fitted to his leg which allowed him to return to his passion of training.
“I still only have half a working leg so I’m not going to be throwing any kicks soon.”
While aiding his best friend, James continued to train back at the gym for his next fight and who better to hold up the pads than the ultimate fighter himself, Stu.
“I joined James’s club and started training him up and helping him out. It was training for me again because I would force myself to be on my feet for more than an hour at a time.”
With Stu in his corner, James triumphed in April of 2012 by winning the Southern Area Muay Thai Title in Bedford, England. A win that James has dedicated to his inspirational best friend and training partner, Stu Jotham.
“There is not much I can say about Stu other than we have known each other for about eight years. He is the best friend a man could ask for. If it wasn’t for him, I don’t think I could have achieved as much as I have. He had a very promising fight career before having the bike accident. He really is my inspiration for fighting because he can’t. He has a very large knowledge of training and not just training hard – but training smart. I, like most fighters, suffer from nerves and if my head coach David Willmot and Stuart were not there with me every step, it would not be possible.”
With the Southern strap around his waist, James now has his sights set on global martial arts promotion K-1. For for him, there is not greater motivation than representing his local club.
“I am looking forward to competing more in Thai Boxing and possibly K-1. There are a few exciting fights in the pipeline and hopefully more titles for our club which I am very proud to be part of.”
As James continues to climb his way up through the fight world, Stu continues to fight his way to a brighter future. Stu currently awaits a donor leg that will then pave the way for a potential bone and ligament transfer. A rare procedure that sees him one of the first in Britain to receive.
“This type of operation hasn’t been done many times in the country so I’m a bit of a guinea pig to them. But they are happy to work on me because I’m young, fairly fit and determined to get back to a fairly normal independent life.”
Despite missing out on the fight career he dreamed of for so long, Stu is relishing in his new coaching role. Now armed with a wealth of experience in both kickboxing and Muay Thai, he now knows his mind is his deadliest weapon – for now.
“I can still explain the dynamics of kicks and help people out that way. I can still work my boxing and show techniques that my body will allow. Well it seems to be working so far as the results show form James’s last fights and others from the club. I know I will never fight again in Muay Thai, Kickboxing or MMA but I will not rule out boxing because in my mind I can do it one day”
Stu Jothan and James Miller began their journey into Muay Thai together and despite facing two very different individual battles, they emerged triumphant – together.
“I ended up taking on the responsibility of getting James ready for his last two fights. I work well with James, he listens well and works hard, that’s all I want,” said Stu. “James fights for me as well now and so I feel I want to pass on as much as I can to him and help him on his journey to become the best that he can be. It’s pure ‘Bromance’.”
“Tiger changed me to be a better man. I knew I could set goals and reach them. I learnt how to push myself more than before and I learnt how to be a better fighter. We both did. We met some lifelong friends at Tiger and we will never forget the times we shared.”
May 4th, 2012
The Tiger Muay Thai & MMA Phuket, Thailand team didn’t hold anything back this past Thursday night (4th May) as it took Matt Semper a mere 2 minutes to finish off his opponent while Czech Republic native, David Tygr Ploc, was victorious in his Muay Thai debut.
“I think we need to make a name for my left hand,” joked Semper after the fight at Patong Boxing Stadium Thailand, which he quickly ended in the first round. The Bronx, New York native came into the fight relaxed, absorbing few kicks and picking his moment.
Just as the crowd and fighters were warming up, the fight climaxed when Semper threw his first combination: a right punch to the body followed by a left hook to the head. His opponent, 26-year-old Thai fighter Rachpracah, stayed on the mat for nearly a minute after.
“Once I attempted to throw an elbow in the first round, I knew I was winning this,” boasted Semper. The win is the American’s last fight before heading over to Iran later this month to compete in a Muay Thai competition which will see Matt matched up with one of the Middle East’s top fighters.
The Tiger Muay Thai & MMA Phuket, Thailand team kept the wins rolling as David Tygr Ploc stayed calm under pressure during his debut. Ploc, a veteran of over 60 boxing bouts and 20 kickboxing fights, last fought in 2009 back in his native Czech Republic.
After getting knocked down in the second round by a swift low kick to his left, the 38-year-old relied on his ‘stand-up’ experience and landed several jabs to his smaller but more experienced opponent, Petdam of Thailand
The third round saw Ploc finally knock down Petdam with a right roundhouse kick. The two traded heavy blows well into the fifth round, as Ploc kept working his combinations peppering them with the occasional kicks. Ploc won the fight on a decision by the judges.
“Muay Thai is very dangerous,” Ploc commented after the fight, “I respect the Thai people, they know how to fight. It’s very difficult to do this, but I feel good after this.”