In the first episode of 2018, we decided we needed to start off the new year of The Striking Corner right! And who better to kick off 2018, then CSA Gym owner and head coach extraordinaire, Kirian Fitzgibbons! “Coach K”, as he is known to his many students and peers, is without a doubt one of the top striking coaches in North America, coaching the likes of Kevin Ross, Gaston Bolaños, Zoila Frausto, Zach Bunnell, Eddie Abasolo, Alexis Davis, Miriam Nakamoto, and the list goes on and on. Coach K has been a huge part of the growth of Muay Thai and Kickboxing in America for quite some time. He knows all the players and has seen it all. He is very passionate about combat sports, his students, and his brand. He pulls no punches when giving his opinions, takes no bullshit, and we love him for it. Yet for some, his take no prisoners attitude rubs them the wrong way however the success of his gym, his fighters, and his system cannot be denied. In this episode, we discuss everything from his background in combat sports and defensive tactics to the state of Muay Thai and Kickboxing in America. We also discuss why many fighters need to stop bitching, understand that in combat sports you have to learn to promote yourself and that there truly is no secret to success, it’s all about hard work, structure, and the occasional usage of the term “motherfucker!” Enjoy!
GLORY Kickboxing visited the Mecca of fight sports once again, as Glory 48 took place at Madison Square Garden in New York City this past Friday, Dec. 1st, 2017. The event featured a great card highlighted by two title fights, one of which was the highly anticipated super bantamweight world title fight between USA’s Tiffany “Timebomb” Van Soest and Anissa Meksen of France. The Striking Corner’s Victor Alvarez was on hand with his camera to capture all of the action on this amazing night of fights. Check out the full results and images from the event below:
GLORY 48 New York:
– Kevin Vannostrand def. Anvar Boynazarov by KO at 1:06, Round 1; Vannostrand claims interim GLORY featherweight title
– Robert Thomas def. Mike Lemaire by KO at 0:18, Round 3; Thomas wins GLORY middleweight tournament
– Thiago Silva def. John King by unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27, 30-27)
– Robert Thomas def. Wayne Barrett by unanimous decision (30-26, 29-27, 29-27); Thomas advances to GLORY middleweight tournament semifinal
– Mike Lemaire def. Matt Baker by unanimous decision (extra round); Thomas advances to GLORY middleweight tournament semifinal
GLORY 48 SuperFight Series:
– Anissa Meksen def. Tiffany Van Soest by unanimous decision (49-46, 49-46, 49-46); Meksen claims GLORY women’s super bantamweight title
– Chris Camozzi def. Kyle Weickhardt by TKO at 3:00, Round 3
– Elvis Gashi def. Nate Richardson by unanimous decision (30-26, 30-26, 30-26)
– Ivan Galaz def. Paul Banasziak by majority decision (29-28, 29-27, 29-27)
– Itay Gershon def. Justin Houghton by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
News recently emerged that Dutch kickboxing promotion, Enfusion Live are headed to Canada on July 8, 2017 with further details of the venue for Enfusion Live 51 and the overall fight card, to be announced in due course.
However, Iman Barlow had some very interesting things to say in her post-fight interview after winning the Muay Thai Grand Prix bantamweight title against, Therese Gunnarsson at MTGP 7. “Pretty Killer” thinks she could be facing Canadian fighter, Ashley Nichols in her next fight come July 8.
“Maybe Canada. Enfusion Live in Canada which, would be wicked in July. Then Lion Fight hopefully, return to Lion defend that belt end of July.”
“Its a Canadian girl. Ashley Nichols I think, I think, I think. But obviously she’s Canadian so I’m guessing I think it might be her and she’s returning home from Thailand; and she’s a good fighter and obviously we were together on the ‘Reality’. We didn’t fight each other but we were there together, so we will see.”
The kickboxing and Muay Thai platform for international female fights in the North Americas seems to be building momentum, especially with Tiffany Van Soest from California, becoming GLORY Kickboxing‘s first female champion; and GLORY having recently signed multiple world champion, Anissa Meksen.
Both Van Soest and Meksen’s careers enter a very interesting stage this year along with Barlow. All three are widely regarded as three of the very best in their division, with Meksen having a second round stoppage win over “Pretty Killer” in 2014. However, after MTGP 7, she was accused by Iman’s Dad, Mark Barlow, of twice pulling out of rematches with Iman for Enfusion.
Then there’s the beef that’s brewing between Van Soest and Barlow. Tiffany isn’t one to pull her punches when verbally lambasting any of her rivals, especially Barlow, after the latter didn’t sign a GLORY contract due to, alleged miscommunications between her manager, Edwin Van Os (owner of Enfusion Live) and GLORY, over the proposed terms for fighting under the GLORY banner.
The coming weeks and months seem likely to unfold with some interesting developments for all three women and it will be interesting to see if Barlow vs. Van Soest could possibly happen this year, with their being no restrictions for such a match-up by Enfusion. However, Iman’s contract with Enfusion prevents her from fighting Meksen outside of the Dutch promotion, for reason explained in her post-fight interview.
In this episode of The Striking Corner, Eric and Vinny speak with our good friend Phoenix Carnevale! Phoenix is a passionate follower of all things hip-hop, martial arts, comic books, movies, superheroes, etc. She is an actress, fight commentator, martial artist, fight journalist, and she is also the host of Everlast’s In Fighting Shape podcast.
An avid MMA fan, Phoenix has interviewed top UFC fighters such as Jon Jones, Ronda Rousey, Frankie Edgar, Georges St. Pierre, and many more…in this episode the guys talk about MMA, the culture of MMA, and how Muay Thai and Kickboxing are falling short in the marketing game compared to the seemingly unstoppable juggernaut that is MMA. They also discuss women in MMA and Combat Sports. Phoenix has a lot of great insight and the conversation was great. Check it out!
Richard Abraham (11-3) will welcome former Thai Fight ‘Super Champion’ Antoine Pinto (130-36-1) to GLORY Kickboxing tomorrow in the co-main event of, GLORY 38 at the Sears Center, Chicago. Abraham is undefeated in GLORY and on a four fight win streak since making his own GLORY debut a year ago at GLORY 27.
Abraham’s fighting career was influenced by his upbringing which, was a tough one for him and his siblings, after his Mom passed when he was 12 years of age. He and his brother, struggled to deal with the emotional anguish which, spilled over into violent aggression growing up, especially when insults would fly around amongst other youngsters. Eventually though, he learnt to curb his aggression and focused his energy instead on Muay Thai and winning various titles including the WKA world championships in Muay Thai and kickboxing.
Losing his Mom as a child and growing up fighting
“When I was younger I lost my Mom the I was 12 and back then the ‘your Momma’ jokes was like the biggest thing. So it was like your Momma this, your Momma that you know at time I’m angry. That turned into a lot of gifts for me, you know, my brother and I; people spout off about something, we try to give people a chance but people still get brave and get stupid you know. It’s just a fight to me, you win or lose, it’s not whatever.”
“I’m not overwhelmed but like I have to run a business, I have to provide for my family, have six kids, I train fighters, I personal train people and I train at a very high level. So what kinda takes priority in my life is I mean, for what I need to care about and that’s about it.”
Committed to the cause and no excuses
“A lot of people don’t want to put in the work, its easy to fall behind with excuses. No one would blame me if I said, man, I’ve got my family, I’ve got to support my family, you know. I can’t kickbox no more. No one would blame me, I don’t think anyone would. Just my life is so busy, I’ve got to run my business. Actually, I make less money because I’ve less time focusing on fighting, it’s not bad money, not phenomenal. I would make more money if I just focused on what I did. So I take a step back and look at what’s important in my life and what legacy I want leave and my kids to view me.”
“If you want something bad enough, you’ll make time for it if not, you’ll make an excuse.”
Pinto’s ring experience tremendously exceeds that of Abraham’s. However, the Chicago based fighter’s development over the years has gathered momentum and with his resolute mindset, the co-main event between both fighters will certainly make for a very interesting match-up.
Click here to listen and download the full podcast with Richard Abraham.
Multiple Muay Thai champion, Antoine Pinto will engage with Chicago’s Richard Abraham tomorrow night in the Sears Center at GLORY 38. The match-up will be Pinto’s GLORY Kickboxing debut after having fought for almost a lifetime under Thai rules and the fight itself is the co-main event of the night. Artem Vakhitovs vs. Saulo Cavalari will headline the event which, will be Vakhitov’s first title defence.
So why change over to kickboxing after winning Muay Thai titles for the last 12 years?
“I think my brother and I got to a point where we weren’t really having any challenge in fighting Muay Thai. We’ve been fighting at the top for many many tears now and I pretty much won everything that you can possibly want win against some of the best fighters already. I just felt there’s no more challenges.”
“We got an offer from GLORY to go fight there and I just felt this is good you know, this is new challenge for me, you know, new rules, new weight, new. Its just the fun again being the challenger again and not being the champion so its good.”
Making the transition from Muay Thai rules to GLORY Kickboxing
“People say that its gonna be so hard, you guys changing rules, this and that. We’re not coming from MMA, we’re not coming from football whatever, you know. Its still fighting, its the same you know, especially fighting in Thai Fight where we don’t actually get to clinch. The only thing that I say we don’t have is the elbows. So its not like that much different, you know I feel like its still very similar. I’m use to fighting three rounds, this is also three rounds. So I don’t find it that much different, is just the style that the opponent have that’s a little bit different to be honest.”
Antoine had given himself six months to prepare properly for his GLORY debut and adopt to the change of rules and fighting style which, is something that hinders many fighters before him, from transitioning form one rule-set to the other with a high volume of success. However, making the necessary adjustments doesn’t bother the 26 year old in the slightest and he’s confident of being the victor after fighting Abraham at GLORY 38 tomorrow.
“I mean I’m gonna have to be honest I had no idea who he was until they told me I’m gonna fight this guy so I had to look it up and see what he looks like and see some of his fights with my team, my trainers and he’s a decent fighter, you know, he’s pretty good. He’s good but you know, I mean no disrespect towards him; I still feel we on a different level you know, he’s still baby in this game. I’ve been fighting for so many years and he’s got what like 30 fights? I had that when I was 15.”
Click here to listen and download the full podcast with Antoine Pinto.