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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February 2nd, 2013
“It’s just that I didn’t know what to do and I immediately froze,” Lamonakis says of that day in 2002.
After three months in training, she was ready for her first fight. Then came a few more. Until, eventually, the Greek-born heavyweight moved from Massachusetts to New York City in 2005 and began a reign of terror that saw her win the state’s Golden Gloves amateur boxing tournament four years in a row.
Promoters like Lou Dibella started calling and pretty soon Lamonakis would see herself fighting on HBO three times, even stepping into the ring in Madison Square Garden.
All this while maintaining a full-time teaching job in one of New York’s most notorious neighborhoods in Harlem. She can thank her two graduate degrees for that.
This is why people call her “The Scholar.”
“I get in early at work so I can leave when the final bell rings and drive over to training in Brooklyn,” she says, referring to her second home at the world famous Gleason’s Gym.
Lamonakis is currently the number one ranked female heavyweight boxer in the world by Boxrec.com, and is in the top three of several other rankings. In nine proffesional fights, she has 7 wins with 2 draws with 1 knockout victory.
Since turning pro in 2010 at the age of 36, Lamonakis has had to deal with as many runny noses in school as blood noses in the ring. Although maintaining a full-time teaching gig, Lamonakis has not let that stop her from earning a title shot in 2013.
In April, Lamonakis will be fighting for the North American Boxing Federation (NABF) Women’s Heavyweight title. All things considered, Lamonakis is also expected to have a shot at the WBC Women’s title in late May.
Both fights could come against women Lamonakis has already faced in Carlete Ewell and Tiffany Woodard. Lamonakis went the distance with the much more experienced Ewell (15-7-1) and gave the woman her first draw.
“The Scholar” defeated Woodard in her American home state of Massachusetts and drew with her about a year later in New York City’s Roseland Ballroom.
“I never say no to a fight. I don’t back up,” Lamonakis says, “I have a few years left in boxing, and I want to really make it big before my career is up. This is why I came (to Tiger Muay Thai and MMA Training Camp Phuket, Thailand).”
Instead of training once a day, Lamonakis is able to get in sparring time, pad work, strength and conditition as well as footwork training several times over in a week at TMT.
This is no vacation. Still, she can’t help but feel she left something behind.
“I miss my kids and my family. The students come in and sometimes haven’t had food to eat yet so I try and help them out by giving them some money for breakfast of something. The job of a teacher never ends,” Lamonakis says.
Being a role model for her students is what driver her as well.
“I know I have to be a teacher and a role model. I know I have people looking up to me as an example. Boxing, it’s a chess game. Win or lose, you win by just climbing in the ring. You shake hands before and after,” she says.
A lifelong teacher, Lamonakis is also a liaison for Gleason’s Gym by helping kids get free training if they maintain a certain grade point average and stay in school.
She’s also helped the gym’s charity, “Give a Kid A Dream” by helping supervise their fantasy camps in upstate New York, where they teach kids social skills, perform character building exercises, and things they wouldn’t otherwise learn in the classroom but would help in life.
“We’ve had boxers like Riddick Bowe, Juan Laporte, Alicia Ashley visit the kids and have a chat,” Lamonakis says with a smile, “They love it. And it’s not always about boxing, these people share wisdom of growing up in the inner city.”
With her title shot just a few short months away, Lamonakis is focused on her career inside the ring that could serve as an inspiration for other outside of the ring. In just over ten years, she’s gone from a schoolteacher studying for more certifications, to a schoolteacher studying the art of the sweet science.
And she wouldn’t have it any other way.
February 1st, 2013
Tiger Muay Thai trainers Kru Lamsongkram and Kru Yod are on their way back to Montreal to help UFC Welterweight Champion Georges St-Pierre prepare for his UFC 158 fight against Nick Diaz on March 16 in St-Pierre’s hometown. The trainers were last there in November helping GSP train for his epic return to the cage in UFC 154 against Carlos Condit. We will be continually updating you on their training progress!
Watch the Tiger trainers featured on UFC Primetime: 154 Episode Two…
January 30th, 2013
The likes of rap group the Wu-Tang Clan, as well as several comic books have put Chessboxing at the forefront. Still, it’s not like there is a specially outfitted gym just for the sport and several people have to be told it is a real “thing.”
The sport mixes the mental strains of chess with the physicality and grace of boxing, allowing fighters/players to switch competition each round.
“It sort of like brain training,” says Ruthie Wright, Britain’s Female Flyweight Chessboxing Champion.
Tiger Muay Thai and MMA Training Camp Phuket, Thailand recently hosted “The Pink Machine” Wright for several weeks. With the obscure sport still slowly gaining notoriety and recognition, finding females who play chess and also train in boxing are hard to come by.
Wright gained interest in the sport several years back and after training in boxing. She started training to chessbox in late 2011, after being told she would have a fight in March 2012. She ended up having a training camp at TMT in early 2012 only to find out that her opponent would pull out of the fight in February.
This would happen four more times.
Then on September 29, 2012, Wright finally got the chance to compete in an official Chessboxing match at Scala Club in London in front of 1,200 fans. The match ended when Wright’s opponent, Jenny-Anne Dexter, had to stop due to a neck injury – making Wright the first British Female Flyweight champ.
“Hopefully having the title would mean that someone would want to challenge me for that title,” Wright says, recalling how difficult it is find other females to fight. “One of the reasons why it’s difficult to find women to box is because they are worried about their record.”
So how does chessboxing work? It’s seven rounds of three minutes of chess, followed by two minutes of boxing. No headguards, fighters wear 16 oz gloves, and there is a timer near the chess board that fighters have to touch after every move.
While going back and forth between the mental and physical grind, Wright says that picturing the board while trying to knock someone out is the true challenge.
“The hardest bit, is learning to take the snapshot of where you’re at, and then remember it,” she says, “then realize where you are when you sit back down.”
What happens if the match looks even by the end of the bout? Judges first score on the chess and then to boxing. A match ends when either A) a players has checkmated their opponent in chess or B) knocked out or had a referee stoppage in the boxing match. In the event that time runs out, judges first score based on the chessboard. Only if the chessboard looks deadlocked, do the judges go to the boxing scorecards.
“Because I’m learning both a same time so I’m learning immediately how to switch from boxing to chess, boxing to chess,” Wright says, “I would like to think that I can do it until I’m at least 40. I would like to be an ambassador for women in the sport.”
January 27th, 2013
The rules are simple. Instagram a photo showing any Tiger Muay Thai clothing or training gear. Use the hashtag #Tigergram2013 and tag @tigermuaythai in the caption of the photo. The rest is up to you. It can be you wearing a Tiger shorts in front a cool landmark, someone using Tiger gloves at your home gym, or even a tiger shirt on a cute puppy; anything you want. A lot of people come a long way to see us, now we want to see where you go after.
On March 1st we will select our favorite, and the following will be sent right to your front door:
-Autographed photo of UFC fighter Brian Ebersole
-Autographed photo of UFC and Bellator veteran, and current ONE FC fighter, Roger Huerta
-Autographed photo of our own celebrity fitness instructor Ocean Bloom
-2 new Tiger t-shirts
Not bad for the simple act of instagramming. Remember, rep Tiger anyway you want, hashtag #Tigergram2013, tag @tigermuaythai, and win big. Thanks for participating, can’t wait to see what you all come up with.
January 23rd, 2013
It’s booming at the moment at Tiger Muay Thai & MMA Training Camp Phuket, Thailand, with several fighters coming through to polish up their fight game. One of which is multiple-time guest Joe Ray, who just arrived earlier this week and will be training with professional fighters from all over the world.
Ray (8-3), a Strikeforce veteran who knocked out Zorobabel Moreira in just 14 seconds of the first round, is a decorated amateur kickboxer and Muay Thai veteran with heavy hands and knockout power. After initially coming out to TMT for only one month, Ray decided to stay for just over nine months back in 2009-2010.
The 28-year-old Florida native has fought at both Patong Boxing Stadium and Bangla Boxing Stadium in Phuket before making his MMA debut in April 2010 (a TKO win over John Clarke at Strikeforce: Miami).
From there, Ray has gone on to win bouts in Martial Combat, and is currently enjoying a three-fight win streak that started with his first round TKO win over Levi Lalonde.
Ray has been named one of MMA’s rising stars by Bleacher Report and was even ranked 10th by Bloody Elbow’s welterweight scouting report in 2011.
We are excited to have Ray back and look forward to having him train with our stable of legendary Muay Thai trainers (Kru Yod, Kru Nong, Kru Robert, etc.) as well as our professional MMA trainers (Brian Ebersole, Roger Huerta, Wiktor Svensson).
January 15th, 2013
Professional boxer Gwayne Grech, 25, and MMA fighter Jason Michael Culverwell, 26, started out training like many others – when someone pushed them into it.
“When I was younger I didn’t think of doing (MMA) as a career. As you get older, your goals are more obvious,” says Culverwell, “It’s my career at the moment and I would rather wake up and train than wake up and go to work.”
For Culverwell, it was when his former coach, Justin Pulvenis, told him to train full time. For Grech, he went pro after a former heavyweight titleholder, Freddy Rafferty, pushed him into his first amateur – then professional – boxing matches.
The duo met at the garage, a makeshift training ground for young men from their neighborhood in Kwazulu-Natal, South Africa. It was held at the home of Martin De Beer, a noted trainers, and became a haven for the young men to hone the skills they first used growing up in the harsh streets of Kwazulu-Natal.
“We were raised to stand your ground, your head is not a toilet, no one poops on it,” Grech says, “we grew up in a town where you have to fight.”
Though neither would say they were troublemakers, this might explain why both men did not like each other the minute they met – which was in a sparring session in which Culverwell nearly knocked out Grech – a traditional boxer – with a kick he didn’t see coming.
Through that, the boys built up a friendship that would lead them to take the garage and move the location over to a workshop in the industrial section of the city about a year later in 2011.
At the time, Culverwell was still competing in amateur MMA, eventually becoming the Africa Fight League (AFL) Light Heavyweight Champion.
He got the call to move up to the big leagues in African MMA, the EFC, after one of his AFL fights. Admittely, Culverwell was not taking the sport as serious as most.
“Dirk Steenekamp, a commentator for EFC, told me at an afterparty that I should fight EFC. At the time I wasn’t taking it seriously, but soon after I thought you can’t just fight and NOT make something out of it. I want to be a champion one day. This is my life now,” Culverwell says.
Meanwhile, Grech got into some amateur boxing matches, which he won. He quickly went pro in 2012 and currently has a 1-1 record with an eye on competing within the next few months and eventually getting into MMA.
While the friends focus on their fight career, the gym has taken off with Culverwell taking care of most of the day-to-day operations as Grech takes the days to work his full-time job and run some of the training programs when he can.
The duo came to Tiger Muay Thai and MMA Training Camp Phuket, Thailand at the suggestion of TMT alum Don Madge and one of their head coaches. They have developed a special bond with the place, explained best by Grech.
“This place is heaven, I’m in love. If I could marry this place, I would,” he says.
Up next for Culverwell is a bout against UK champ Fraser Opie (10-5) at EFC 18 on March 1 at Carnival City, Johannesburg. The bout could have number one contendor implications as Culverwell looks to finally get a shot at the EFC Light Heavyweight title.