The warriors heart

-The warrior’s heart


As usual, I love to ponder. This past week has given me some extra time to slow down and think; Time to think about family, sport, spirit and put pen to paper. This year we’ve been very active this year for our team. We just love to fight, doesn’t matter where.

I must admit that we are a society that is very driven and obsessed with victory, and our contempt for losing is unparalleled. Everything is about winning. If you don’t think so, go to a book store and take a quick look at the top sellers. Turn on the TV and watch some reality TV, everything we do is about winning, and I wonder how much of it has more to do with us compensating for our mental and spiritual inadequateness.

Seriously, I often find it interesting and perplexing how a fighter can loses a couple of matches and all the sudden the fans turn on them. “He’s a bum” or “he’s finished, he needs to retire”… I don’t get why we let couch-potatoes judge our careers. As if these guys know the sacrifice that fighters make. After all, how can you hold a scoring system that is judged like a beauty contest seriously against someone?

“I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”
Michael Jordan

And that’s where the lore of boxing comes in, were they have a long history of failures and underdog coming back to win or overcome life obstacles.

Speaking with a friend who just popped in from NYC, after training, we were just chatting a bit and he made the comment that “there’s a lot of heart in this sport”. This really resonated with me, because in Muay Thai… it’s not about the KO; winning is nice (don’t get me wrong, I like to win) but it’s about the fight. It’s about the exchange between two strong wills. It’s about who can dig deeper. It’s about two gods locked in immortal combat. It’s when we get to see the human spirit at its finest, and our resolve at its highest determination. Anyone can apply eight pounds of pressure to someone else’s chin, but it takes a champion to push forward and pressure an unrelenting opponent they just can’t seem to vanquish. Everyone gets knocked down from time to time, but champions get up. And that is the difference between success and failure; rather you have the heart and will to get up.

I was caught in the first round for a fight a couple of matches ago… and my buddy was telling me that when I got up he jump out of his seat, as if I had risen. Rising from defeat and refusing to fail is just as much as an accomplishment, and there is no loser in that kind of fight.

Greatness isn’t how many trophies’s, belts and titles you hold, it’s defined only by the size of your determination and perseverance.


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Lion Fight 13, the most exciting card yet


This Friday night, Lion Fights 13 will be on with a completely stacked card, and here are a few reasons you should be very excited.

While writing my analysis of this card, I’m very giddy, as this is one of the most promising fight cards I’ve seen come out of Lion Fights Promotions.

“malaipet vs pinca” and “yodsanklai fairtex vs chike Lindsay” where two awesome match ups, on two diferent cards. However, unlike the previous aforementioned cards… this card has a lot of bad blood on it. Here are the match ups I’m excited to see and why.

  1. Rami Vs Coke 2

Rami Ibrahim is a wonderful guy. I’ve had the pleasure of spending a little time with him at the TBA Muay Thai Classis a couple of times. Rami is a modern day Cinderella man with a huge warrior heart. If you took all the Rocky and the Kick-boxer movies, Arturo Gatti, and wrap them up in a Palestinian package, you get is Rami “the Arabian Nightmare” Ibrahim.

Rami is a huge underdog in this fight, but as we say in Texas “it’s not the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of the fight in the dog”. Rami will most certainly be looking to not only vindicate himself from his last encounter with Coke, but also make it abundantly clear that he deserves that shot at North Jersey Muay Thai’s Ognjen Topic by leaving it all in the ring.

Rami has been around the scene for a long time, floating just under the top crust of world muay thai, trying to break through. This fight for him is ALL or NOTHING. He has everything to gain, and nothing to lose. Expect Rami to be very aggressive.

Coke Chunhawat is a monster and a seasoned veteran in the ring. Generally a polite gentlemen fighter, who smiles at his opponents as he continues to batter them with massive kicking power and supreme ring IQ.

Coke, like many Thai people, aren’t known for talking outside the ring. After all Thailand is considered the land of smiles. However a couple of weeks ago I notice that Coke had been abnormally quite on his Facebook timeline, until one day this popped up on his FB timeline

Coke time line

It may not sound like much, but when a Thai says something outside the ring… That’s a scary thing, because you know all hell is going to break loss inside the ring.

This fight is too close to call; someone is leaving the ring that night in on a medical stretcher.

  1. Kevin Ross Vs Matt Embree 2

Kevin is coming off of two losses, the first that was to Matt Embree via UD. Kevin started his last two fights slowly, and while Kevin took rounds 4 and 5… he was already down 3 rounds. In their last showing, round 4 the tide turned and round 5 Kevin completely turned the heat on Matt Embree almost putting him away. Matt played a smart game, getting up early on the score cards and by the time Ross had to play catch up, it was too late.

In the last couple of months, I’ve seen Kevin do nothing but obsess about fighters that leave it all in the ring, often invoking the names Arturo Gatti and Pornsanae Sitmonchai. If my hunches are correct, I believe Kevin has been holding back in his fights, largely due to his previous knee surgery. Expect to see all five rounds, look like round 4 and 5 of their last match. Kevin is most dangerous when his back is against the wall, and win or lose Kevin will be looking to make a statement and vindicate himself from his previous loss.

Matt Embree is a smart technical fighter. Matt picked all the right shots, and did an amazing job listening to his corner and executing the team game plan. Matt, while happy about the win, will be looking to not let rounds 4 and 5 of their last match happen again. Matt Embree is coming out to make it clear that he is the better fighter, and to prove that his last win wasn’t a fluke.

Recap, expect lots of aggression and fireworks from Ross while Embree will try to slow the fight down to a tactical point match. This should be a bloody fight.

I’m calling this one for Kevin via KO or TKO, unless Matt can figure out a way to suck Kevin Ross into his game.

  1. Tiffany van soest Vs Caley Reese

Tiffany is a great fighter. She’s explosive, strong, and powerful to which she utilizes and executes in her combos. She’s smart, has a great corner team to which she listens and executes the team game plan beautifully.

Tiffany has been riding at the top of the Lion Fights women pack. But many in the Muay Thai scene, that while they love her and her fighting style, have criticized the level of her recent opponents.  Tiffany will be looking to satisfy her fans, and silence her critics by giving her greatest opponent yet the same good’ol USA welcome she gave the last few.

Caley Reese is no scrub. She’s fought all the hard fights and earned her way to the top to rule the global roost at her respective weight class, holding countless titles including several WMC straps.

Caley Reese is an explosive short power combo fighter, throwing power combinations of two’s and three’s, with the experience and precision to make her the most dangerous woman in the world. If she wants to win, she’ll need to be up on the score card the first three rounds, before letting her hands and kicks go.

Recap: This fight will be powerful volume fighter vs a Power fighter. Expect Tiffany to try to push the pace early and take the first three rounds while Caley will be looking to utilize her power, to make Tiffany second guess her approach.

This fight is definitely too close to call, and I think you’re going to see a solid hard fight going to Tiffany via split, unless Caley’s power is too much for Tiffany to handle.

  1. Jason Andrada Vs Andy Singh

Andy singh is a high flying, risk taking fighter, which I believe will work into Andrada’s favor. Andrada has a history of being on the receiving end of a barrage of canon fire, only to capitalize on a mistake to take the fight. Jason is a tough fighter with a lot of power for his size and ring IQ, which makes him very dangerous. Singh is going to have to be a little more technical and tactical if he hopes to not get dropped by Jason Andrada. Don’t count Singh out, as he recently scooped up a WBC title in late 2012. I definitely feel like this is one of the most exciting Adradra fights yet.


I don’t know a lot about Josh Shepard, but Daniel Kim was my old gym mate. Though I can only imagine how much better he’s gotten, since he practically lives at Fairtex now. It was great seeing him a couple of months ago at the Houston Jongsanan seminar, he was looking health, strong and ready to make his depute on the big national stage.

Keep your eyes open for Daniel Kim; Daniel has unbelievable precision, and is a strong southpaw looking to make a statement Friday.

  1. Nick Chasteen

Nick, who has been compared to the “Lebron James of Muay Thai” will also be another one to watch out for. Nick is a Muay Thai Thoroughbred, who comes from a line of kickboxers. Naturally gifted as an athlete, both physically and intellectually and coming out from Bob Karmel and Best Muay Thai in Arizona, Nick should be a really fun and exciting match to see.

I’ll be covering Lion fight 13 on twitter @nmongonia

Join the conversation and add your voice #Lionfight13


DJ Miller Post-Lion Fight 10 recap.

562663_429549970421931_1135098400_nPhoto courtesy of Tigerking Muay Thai

(TFL) Glad we were able to catch up with you, after the biggest match of your life, and thanks for the interview.

Would you mind giving us a play by play?

(DJM) Going into this fight there were a lot more difficult circumstances a lot of people weren’t really aware of. I took this fight on a week 1/2 notice just days before I left for FL to compete in the IKFs in which I made to the finals but couldn’t continue because of a knee injury I wanted to play safe with so it wouldn’t jeopardize my spot in Lion Fight

After back to back weigh cutting and a 27 hr drive my body was drained

The opening of the fight I knew I had to end as fast as I could because my body couldn’t survive 5 rounds

1st few rounds I was rocking him very good, hard crosses, hooks and knees. This was mostly all I could offer due to the lower half of my body still sore from my previous fights

(TFL) Wow, a lot of fighters only fight 3-4 times a year, you fought a tournament and Lion fights right after! You’re a warrior. Could you give us an analysis of what happened in the fight?

(DJM) What happened was, I had him hurt and dazed and tried to force a finish by chasing him constantly; it ultimately burned me down until I caught him with a well-timed neck kick that put him down, but it didn’t have enough behind him to KO so he took the 8-count and got back up.

And honestly I can’t remember much haha, my body was so depleted and the KO was so sudden, it got me good.

(TFL) Tell us about Lion fight’s, how was your experience with them?

(DJM) Lion Fight was such an awesome experience; I got to meet one of my all time favorite fighters Yodsanklai. The venue was so well put together and fun. I could definitely use another go over there.

(TFL) Defeat is never easy, how you holding up brother?

(DJM) I always take defeat as fuel to train harder and stronger. I don’t really like to justify losing but alot of people were encouraging me that the loss was a fluke and the other guy got lucky with the headkick. It is what it is and it’s the name of the game. The experience was too majestic for me to dwell on the pain of loss.

(TFL) What makes champions is their heart… as Kevin Ross said “I’ve been beat, but never defeated.” Will we see you again on Lion fights?

(DJM) The VP of Lion Fight told me personally that she will keep in touch with me and would love to have me back. Even with the loss I did over there what I wanted to do and that was impress the crowd and the staff at Lion Fight. I wanted to give them all a reason to see me back again.

(TFL) That’s awesome. sometimes we forget that wins are great, but putting on a great memorable fight is even more glorious. What’s your next move and game plan?

(DJM) My next move… I’m anticipating another appearance at LF, so I’m taking no time off from training; I’m jumping right back on the horse. We made a lot of great contacts in Vegas, including Bangkok Boxing (Chike Lindsay’s) gym and many others. My training will intensify and I will be waiting and ready for my next competition.

(TFL)  Awesome! Nice to hear it, it takes a great fighter to turn a loss into a victory!

Thanks for the interview, and we look forward to seeing your next bout!