For the next day on the itinerary was registration. There were a lot of countries there, and while 101 countries had notified IFMA that they’d be in attendance, we had another 47 countries show up unannounced and ready to fight. So needless to say the registration team was a bit overwhelmed.
So what do you do?…you grab a chair and hang out with some really cool people on your team, and make it a good time with some laughs. We finally got the team paid for and registered, after some confusion. And once again it was head back to the hotel. This time we got out and enjoyed the beach a little bit, went for a run, hit pads and trained with some awesome people. Getting to hit pads again felt great, but I could tell my body still wasn’t awake from the trip yet.
The next day was weigh-ins and due to the large amount of combatants, the initial weigh-ins was split between two days. Obviously we wanted to have that second day as a rest day. Equally overwhelmed was the medical and weigh-in teams, due to the unexpected high volume of last minute show ups. Finally we got everything sorted and it was time to relax… a little. We ate dinner and had a couple of laughs, and went to bed.
The first day of competition, and everyone made weight like champions. Sam and one of the juniors were up to bat, however due to a reshuffle we all were reseated in our brackets. Come to find out a group of 4-5 competitors didn’t check the brackets the night before, and thought that they were weren’t supposed to fight that day and didn’t weigh in. so these guys were booted for failure to make weight.
Fortunately, we had a Team coordinator (Cheryl) and coach (Thiago) that were diligent in monitoring the brackets for change. They would be up at 12-1am to watch the bracket’s, only to wake up at 5-6am to start getting ready for a day that didn’t end until 10-11pm.
It was nice to have the first day off, it gave us a day to just watch the fights and see how things were going to be run. We had a blast cheering and watching some good fights.
The days started to blur together, and it didn’t matter. We had such a great team of individuals, that we just had fun and made the best of everything.
Finally the day was upon us; Ethan fought first and did a great job. He put on a great fight but was unable to score enough rounds to win the decision. However, he did get to show off his combos, and foot work. You have to give him props for jumping in the deep end and swimming with the sharks.
Next up was me; I was fighting someone from the home town team, Malaysia. My opponent, far more experienced than I was, came out fighting a slickster kick style. I took the first round to study his game a bit while working a kick game. The following round, my corner-man/team coach (Thiago Azeredo), figured out his weakness and had me start working my footwork and counters, and then applying pressure… sure enough we started to see the cracks appear in in that second round, as we took that round. Third round came up and my corner had me pour the heat on more, and as he started to weather I saw my opportunity, and force him to place his hand and landed it… a right elbow, spot on the button. I felt the elbow go through like butter, as all my kinetic energy was delivered. I saw him fall back and his eyes roll back into his head. So I knew he was out. Walking back to my corner, I knew he wasn’t getting back up… but my corner called for me to go to neutral corner anyways. The ref just walks up and took my opponent’s mouth piece out and called for the doctor. While standing in the neutral corner, I realized that he hadn’t really moved yet, and then I started to worry. Once he started to stand up, I felt a lot more relieved that he was ok. We’ve all been knocked out, and that pretty much what we both are trying to do… but you know, you don’t want to be responsible for someone’s death or ending their career. I have to give him a lot of respect; he was a tough and smart guy. He fought hard and earned his country a lot of respect.
Afterwards, several people came up and said that that was the highlight reel KO of the event… I don’t know. Anyhow, it was a good fight. It was technical… not wild and sloppy. And getting the opportunity to fight like that was amazing and an honor. After the win there was no time for excitement, as the rest of the team was still coming up to bat the next day and I was looking down the barrel of fighting Algeria/France.
(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!
As always, it’s a pleasure to have DJ back with us on TheFightersLife.net and welcome back!
Last we spoke you had just vindicated yourself against Eric Haycraft’s fighter, Adam Edgerton, and took the StriKing Junior middleweight title. (www.Strikingfights.com)
that gold strap looks good on ya!
Tell us what you’ve been up to since last we spoke?
(DJM) I’ve recently switched gyms and intensified my training taking on 7 day a week training camps and working on my boxing a whole lot more
(TFL) How has training been going?
(DJM) Training has been going very good. I’m waking up every morning anxious to knowing where my athleticism will be taken everyday.
(TFL) What changes have you made recently to your game?
(DJM) boxing, boxing, and boxing, really looking to showcase what I’ve learned by utilizing my hands a little bit more.
(TFL) I see you’ve got a huge shot at a pro qualifier fight with Lion Fights?
(DJM) Yes I do. I’ve taken this fight on short notice, but with the way my gym trains, I’m pretty much training for a championship bout everyday regularly. So it will be a great opportunity and a great experience.
(TFL) You must be excited. Tell us your reaction when you where given the opportunity?
(DJM) I literally froze. I woke up to a text message by StriKing promoter Ty Pilgrim, asking if I wanted to fight on Lion Fights amateur card. I re-read the message five times and couldn’t believe what I was being asked. The feeling was amazing
(TFL) Who are you fighting, and what school are they from?
(DJM) I’m fighting Niko Ruiz from Saekson Muay Thai. Saekson Janjira is a legend and one of my all time favorite fighters. I know he trains every one of his fighter’s very well so I’ll know Ruiz will come with an A game, which is what I want.
(TFL) What do you know about your opponent’s style?
(DJM) From the footage I found on him I’ve noticed he likes the clinch very much. I also love the clinch, but I will aim for keeping the fight at my distance so I can work my skills and put on a good show for the fans.
(TFL) Tell us a bit of your training and fighting history, where you started and where you are now?
(DJM) My training is vigorous, a combination of sprints, circuit/weight training, bag work, boxing drills, body conditioning, it’s the complete package. My very first fight was in a club. I climbed up the ladder for a short time by knocking around MMA guys trying to do Muay Thai until I finally started get matched up with kickboxers, and it all has just been getting better from that point. I’ve watched Lionfight on TV and the internet and it’s so surreal that I am actually going to be a part of it.
As a Muay Thai fighter, we often have to work more and spend a lot of money fighting as amateurs, with little pay off… There’s no UFC for us. How long of a road has it been for you?
(DJM) It’s been a long road. I’ve been training and fighting for 4 years and have dreamed of traveling the world and competing as a Muay Thai fighter. To me it’s not about the money, it’s about a passion. I don’t have to have a 10 story house with 5 Ferraris in the driveway, As long as I’m able to do what I love, that’s my payout
(TFL) Well DJ, it’s great to have you back… we’ll be cheering you on at #Lionfight10 and #TFL
(DJM) Thank you, I’ll keep everyone posted via Facebook, right after security yanks me off of Yodsanklai. (Laughs)
(TFL) Don’t forget to catch DJ’s fight and many other great Muay Thai fights July 26th at Lion Fight 10 on AXS.TV
Follow the conversation at @NMONGONIA #Lionfight10
This has been brought to you by the following.
(TFL) First and foremost, I wanted to thank you for being back with us. So what have you been up to since we last talked?
(Ognjen Topic’) Just relaxing and enjoying the time off from fighting.
(TFL) Do you have any fights in the development, and if so, what event and event information?
(Ognjen Topic’) The next fight will be July 26th. This event will be for Lion Fight Promotions in Las Vegas.
(TFL) Can we catch your fight on TV, and any idea as to whom your opponent might be?
(Ognjen Topic’) Coke Chunawat will be my opponent and yes, the fans can see the fight on AXS TV. Call your provider to see if you have or how you can get the channel.
(TFL) When did you get the call, and how happy were they to have you back?
(Ognjen Topic’) We’ve been in contact with the promoter since the last fight so we’ve been planning the fight since then. I am always excited to fight, especially against worthy opponents and great promotions such as Lion Fight.
(TFL) Well I’ve got to say, you’re getting some great exposure. I’m sure you could provide a few companies with some great advertising opportunities, do you have any sponsors yet?
(Ognjen Topic’) As of now no. I’m in the process of looking for sponsors and if anyone would like to do business they are free to contact me via twitter @TopicCreative.
(TFL) I must say that we’re all pretty excited to watch you fight again. Tell us a little bit about your coach, gym and training partners?
(Ognjen Topic’) Thank you, I always appreciate the support. My coaches are Ray Cruz and Joe Bumanlang. I also work with the assistant coaches Mike Laserna and Luis Casco, It’s a team effort. Training partners consist of my coaches and the members at the gym. Even our beginner students give me a challenge.
(TFL) Now, I’ve been snooping around, and I got a tip off from a reliable source that Yokkao was coming to the States soon. Have you heard anything about this and are there any comments you’d like to add?
(Ognjen Topic’) Yokkao is doing great things for the sport so I would love to see them in the USA. I think the fighters here have shown that we are able to fight on the elite level. It would be an honor to be sponsored by Yokkao.
(TFL) I won’t keep you much longer. Are there any “shout-outs” or people you’d like to thank?
(Ognjen Topic’) Just a shout out to my gym and my family.
Here is a video of me training back in May 2012
Thanks for all of your support Nathan.
(TFL) Anytime Ognjen, you can always rely on us to help support you and the Muay Thai scene as a whole. Let us know if there is anything we can ever do to help.
Don’t miss out on what is going to be an exciting night of fights!
(TFL) I want to introduce you to a friend of mine from the TBA classic, Wayne Pokornik.
Thanks for being with us Wayne. I remember when we first met at the TBA Muay Thai Classic a couple of years back. My team had just ran out of medical tape for wrapping our hands, and you just gave us a bunch of medical tape, which was a huge help. You’re a real stand up kind of guy.
I know you’ve been through a lot, and you have fought at a bunch of different weight classes, and had your share of wars. You’re the classic never give up, Rocky Balboa type.
Tell us a little about your fighting record and history?
(WP) I am really honored to be talking to you. When we first met at the TBA I was glad to be able to help you out. It was only something small, but in the fight game tape is a big part.
When I started fighting there was no local amateur fights. I had to pray to get onto an out of town fight card. In order to take fights I paid for my own gas, hotel, whatever I needed to do in order to get a fight. I jumped around weight classes and took whatever fights were offered. I’ve always looked to find the toughest fights possible.
(TFL) Any fights recently?
(WP) I just fought March 9 here in Winnipeg, Manitoba.
(TFL) Nice! How did it go?
(WP) It went great. I was extremely pleased that I finally had the opportunity to show my skills in front of my friends, family and all the people who support me.
My fight went extremely well. I won a unanimous decision. I fought Chris Kading. It went a full 5 round distance. Chris was a tough opponent who came to win.
(TFL) So what got you started in all this Muay Thai business?
(WP) My whole life I’ve been a huge fan of martial arts and boxing. It wasn’t till I was in my twenties when I watched a Muay Thai fight. After that I knew that was definitely something I wanted to do. Then once I started training I was hooked.
(TFL) Now, I heard through “The Face book” that you recently brought home a Title, tell us about the fight and your opponent?
(WP) Ya, I won the Western Canadian light middle weight title against an extremely tough Dwain Soon.
I knew I was going to have a very tough fight.
I ended up winning the fight by knockout in the second round.
(TFL) Tell us about your next upcoming fight, your opponent, and any history about him?
(WP) I am very excited about my next fight on the StriKing card.
My opponent is Billy Clark. It was kind of funny the night I found out about the fight. Billy added me as a friend on Facebook and I wondered why he added me. Then about an hour later I got a message from Ty asking me if I’d fight Billy.
As for Billy I think he’s a very tough fighter, he has an impressive record and fight history. I am really looking forward to putting on a great show.
(TFL) And this is with “StriKing” in Oklahoma right?
(WP) Yes, it’s looks to be an exciting card very well run.
(TFL) Tell us a little about your home life, and what keeps your fighting?
(WP) My home life keeps me pretty busy. Between Char (my wife) and I, we have 6 kids.
My kids are getting into Muay Thai and are interested in fighting. My oldest son Justyn will be fighting this June in the TBA tournament.
I work full time as a heavy truck painter.
We also own our gym Pride Muay Thai. Which we try to run very close like family. We also treat it like a fight gym so essentially if you’re always training that means you’re always ready to fight.
(TFL) Wow, sounds like you have a pretty full life. Awesome, thank you so much Wayne for taking time out of your day, I know you’ve got a lot of training on your plate right now.
(WP) Thank you. It was a huge honor to talk to you and my pleasure.
I just wanted to add a big thank you to all my training partners, my coaches and my wife/head coach Charleen who continues to push me day in and day out. With out them, my fights would not be possible.
The Pride MT family
(TFL) I want to introduce you to a former opponent, formidable foe, and toughest dude I every fought, Adam Edgerton. Thanks for being with us Adam. Now, last time we saw each other, was at the TBA. You’ve fought a number of times since then… tell us how it’s been going?
(AE) It’s been going great. I have had a lot of good fights and I learned a lot from them. I fought in the US Nationals, and I won that. And, I just recently fought at the WKA North American Tournament within all 3 divisions, so I got my money’s worth for sure. I was able to fight against a lot of talented fighters and got to walk away with a title and much more experience.
(TFL) Wow congratulations, achievement unlocked! (Laughs). You’re accomplishing a lot. What do you do for a living, if you don’t mind me asking?
(AE) I work at Cross Country Distributing and I deliver building materials and I recently started teaching a beginner class at Real Fighters Gym, so I stay pretty busy.
(TFL) I bet you do, having a full time job and being a full time fighter. Your definitely what I would like to call a hard working fighter, how many fights have you fought?
(AE) I have had 20 fights and my goal is to reach 30 by the end of the year.
(TFL) That’s pretty amazing; I don’t think people understand how much Muay Thai boxers fight. Tell us a little about your history, and how you came to be a Muay Thai boxer?
(AE) I actually had no idea what Muay Thai was until 3 years ago. My cousin asked me to attend a bag class at his old gym that he used to fight for and I went just for something to do. I got there and Eric Haycraft was out of town, so Lindsey Haycraft was actually running the gym that day. I was able to work out with her and I was completely blown away with how in shape everyone was and I was getting beat up by everyone lol. I remember after that class I came back each day and Eric had to take Lindsey to Holland for a fight and they invited me to come along. I got to train at Fred Royers gym in Arnhem for a month and a half. I remember that’s where I fell in love with the sport and it was such a life changing experience for me training with all those great fighters. I was at a different event every other day and met so many fighters, so when I returned I entered the TBA for the first year and that’s how it all started.
(TFL) Sounds like you’re a pedigree, what titles do you currently hold?
(AE) I’m The 2011 TBA B class tournament champion, US National champion, and the 2012 WKA North American champion.
(TFL) Nice! Tell us about your next upcoming fight, your opponent, and any history about him?
(AE) My next fight is against D.J Miller for the USMTA Title. I actually got the chance to train with D.J a couple years ago and I have been able to watch him fight quite a few times so we know each other. He is also a TBA and WKA tournament champion so this upcoming fight should be a great one for sure and I’m very excited for it.
(TFL) And this is with “StriKing” in Oklahoma right?
(AE)Yea I will be fighting on the StriKing show in Muskogee, Oklahoma. I’m really excited to work with StriKing and looking forward to putting on a good show.
(TFL) Tell us a little about your home life, and what keeps your fighting?
(AE) I have a simple home life I workout at the gym 7 days a week and put all my energy into that so when I get home I’m really pretty chilled out. I just want to watch a good movie or the latest fights or play a good video game (Laughs).
I think a lot of what keeps me fighting is the people I surround myself with. I have an awesome girlfriend that supports and motivates me; I have my family back in Idaho that calls all the time to get filled in on upcoming fights. Real Fighters Gym also, which since my family is so far away, has become my family and they motivate me daily to get better and push myself. Especially Aaron Lehenbauer and Lindsey Haycraft – those two have been there a lot for me it doesn’t matter if they just got done fighting the day before or they’re sick I can count on them to show up and keep me going, but I think the most important aspect is my Trainer he is always talking to me about upcoming fights and long term plans and it’s those dreams and long term goals that keep me fighting.
(TFL) And last but not least, what are your goals you’d like to accomplish?
(AE) My dream is to get to fight the top fighters in the world. I don’t just want to fight in the states I want to be able to travel the world fighting. I want to be one of the top fighters to come out of the states and like every fighter I want to be remembered.
(TFL) Those are some great dreams Adam. You’re a great guy, and a talented fighter. We wish you all the best and Chok dee! (good luck).
Thank you so much Adam, for taking time out of your day to talk to us.