Chris Romulo

Ognjen Topic reflects on Saenchai and the ‘mentality of fighting’ for success

Ognjen Topic recently fought Muay Thai legend, Saenchai, last month at Yokkao 22 in Honk Kong and unfortunately, lost by decision. There aren’t many Farangs that are given much of a chance in the minds of Thai boxing fans when matched-up against the +400 fight veteran but then again, Topic is regarded as ‘one of the best technically gifted Thai fighters’ of the current crop (by none other than Damien Trainor who, was coaching at CSA Gym during November).

However, Topic himself was the first to admit that the fight didn’t unfold anywhere as what he would’ve liked or had planned:

“I’m not happy at all about the fight but we’re talking about a guy that’s been doing it for a very long time and he has quite a bit more experience than I do so, I’m trying to stay positive. It’s difficult especially when you’re competitive individual.”

“Before the fight and during the fight I felt great mentally, physically you know. I didn’t look at him as some, some god of Muay Thai. I just looked at him as an opponent and I prepared myself as I always do. I went into the fight with the mentality of winning and even when I was in the fight, you know it was difficult, I still wanted to beat him so, that’s that.”

It’s interesting that Topic mentioned the ‘mentality of fighting’ because not only is it fair to say that fighting is 99% in the mind but so is having the self-belief and aptitude in achieving our life goals and dreams too. Self doubt can really cripple fighters mentality; a good example of this would be the way how pro boxer, Nicholas Walters surrendered after six rounds against Vasyl Lomachenko, over the weekend in Las Vegas. Topic explained what he does away from the gym in his spare time to help him mentally with moving forward in his fighting career.

“Another thing I like to do is sometime if I have some downtime is I go on YouTube and look up documentaries on any businessman. You know I like I’m into cars so I’ll go look up the guy that started the company Koenigsegg, you know an exotic car company or Pagani. So, you kinda just listen to how they talk and how they began these things, their story and their dreams and how everything came to fruition. Then it kinda you know puts things into perspective you can follow this steps as well from other people and then you can learn from them.”

“So it really doesn’t matter what profession it is, you can always take something away from any I guess, elite person, on that high level that has that mentality to be persistent and dedicated to their craft.”

Simon Marcus vs Joe Schilling

Simon Marcus vs Joe Schilling

Muay Thai is one of the oldest forms of fighting and as a professional sport, doesn’t gain the high levels of mainstream media coverage compared to pro boxing. The likes of Joe Schilling and Kevin Ross have both previously voiced the difficulties that they’ve faced in their careers before the emergence of GLORY, Lion Fight, Bellator Kickboxing and Muay Thai Grand Prix in recent years. Even kickboxing has struggled especially since the “Golden era” of the ‘old skool’ K-1 days in Japan.

However the tide would seem to be turning for both Muay Thai and kickboxing especially now that the UFC have, for the first time ever, partnered with another sporting promotion i.e. GLORY Kickboxing to be their PPV online media partner via UFC Fight Pass for streaming, GLORY Collision: Rico Verhoeven vs Badr Hari.

Even UFC colour commentator, Joe Rogan has been voicing his support and love for K1/Thai rules and recently had Kevin Ross, Gaston Bolanos and their coach (CSA Gym owner), Kieran Fitzpatrick on the Joe Rogan Experience podcast which, Topic was delighted about for the long term benefit of the sport.

tsc-ep-39-gaston-bolanos“It was great. I really hope that a lot of people tuned in. Kevin Ross really gave a really good explanation on you know, Muay Thai and the difference between the striking between Muay Thai and MMA and it pretty much how all of us Muay Thai fighters feel you know but we never really have a stage to say that; and I think he kinda opened up Joe Rogan’s eyes as well, you know with clinch and things like that because it doesn’t seem like a lot of those guys understand and know the difference between the two, the two sports. So its great that they were on the show and they were able to kind of give that differentiation.”


Episode 26 – Chris Romulo

In this episode of The Striking Corner we speak with East Coast Muay Thai legend Chris Romulo. He talks about his career as a fighter, the concept of “Physical Culture”, the growth of Muay Thai on the East Coast, the support of the Muay Thai community after his gym was destroyed by Hurricane Sandy in 2012, and so much more!

Chris is an inspirational guy with a true passion for Muay Thai and Martial Arts as a whole. He also offers some advice for those beginning their Muay Thai careers and looking to fight. Check it out!

All it takes is heart – NY’s Christopher Romulo retires from active competition. Story by John Wolcott

By John Wolcott

In the world of Muaythai there are many aspects of the art that can be taught to and learned by a student. Everything from technique and balance to ring strategy and how to score points. However, there is one thing that cannot be taught or learned, and that is heart. Heart is one of those qualities that a person is born with; a feature that you either have, or you don’t. Heart is what makes up the substance of a fighter. It’s that intangible force that reveals itself when adversity is at its peak. Heart is something that is tested time and again and grows with each obstacle it overcomes. Heart is what raises a champion off of the canvas when they have been felled in battle. It’s what motivates a combatant to step up and take on any and all challenges placed in front of them. Heart, when speaking in terms of the fighter, is what fuels and drives a person to be the best they can be both inside and outside of the ring, not only for themselves, but for everyone around them.

As a fighter methodically moves under the bright lights of the ring canopy it’s easy to tell who has it and who doesn’t. It’s their display of heart which tells us a story of who they are, what they are capable of achieving, and just how far they are willing to push themselves. It’s a fighter’s heart which also inspires us, and in turn, causes us to look at our own lives and demand more from ourselves. As fight fans, we’ve all experienced this as we watch our favorite fighters do battle. Being from the New York City area, I’d experienced this every time I’d see Chris Romulo fight. As he’d make his way to the ring, draped in his trademark red cape which distinctly displayed the Philippine symbol for strength, heart was the weapon in which he drew to slay the dragons before him.

1If heart is about overcoming adversity than Chris Romulo fits the bill. I can vividly recall two occasions where Romulo surpassed previous expectations and showed New York fight fans that, despite being on the brink of defeat, it was his heart that carried him forth to victory. Even on shaky legs he managed dig the soles of his feet into the canvas beneath him, shake off the punishment from his adversary, and bounce back to end the fight early by scoring a knock out of his own. And let us not forget earlier this year when Romulo was the first east coast Muaythai fighter to publicly go on record and take the challenge that his west coast counterparts had offered. Having gotten the chance to do so, Romulo took on the seasoned veteran in Shawn Yarborough. Despite being the smaller, less experienced fighter, Chris Romulo showed fans once again exactly what his heart was made of. Mind you, throughout his fighting career he did this with the utmost integrity. Read More