Category Archives: Martial Arts including Muay Thai

Muay Thai Stadium Tunisian whirlwind Fadi Khaled wallops Nueamek Sityaymeaw

We saw the Tunisian whirlwind  Fadi Khaled, put on one of the most exciting Muay Thai performances ever, from ringside, at Pattaya  Max Muay Thai Stadium.

Tunisian whirlwind Fadi Khaled
The Intensity of Tunisian whirlwind Fadi Khaled

An hour later, I would be videoing the unforgettable Jonathan Lecat Dorian Price double knockout, a fight that’s destined to become one of the most memorable classics of all time.

So one would expect the preliminary bout between Fadi Khaled and Nueamek Sityaymeaw to fade away into the obscure dustbins of ring forgetathons. How could I even think about putting the two videos up side by side on you tube? Am I out of my mind?

I’ve thought about that before.  Many times.   I am out of my mind.  No, I’m not.  Although both Khaled and Nueamek have far less than perfect records as Muay Thai boxers, this was in its own right a classic fight.

Tunisian whirlwind Fadi Khaled
The scorecards for both fighters show a mixed record. This does not take away the fact that here, in this fight, the  Tunisian whirlwind Fadi Khaled proves that he’s a force to be reckoned with

I had never seen either boxer fight before.  But here I’m coining a new nickname, a moniker that should live on as the Tunisian whirlwind Fadi Khaled to extol the Tunisian whirlwind as a fighting man’s fighter.   And because I think Fadi  embodies even more than what Muay Thai boxing is all about.  For me Fadi represents the true spirit of mano a mano fighting the same way Harry Greb did nearly 100 years ago.

Harry Greb the Pittsburgh Whirlwind

Enshrined for nearly a century as the Pittsburgh whirlwind in boxing legend, Harry Greb was perhaps the greatest middleweight of all time.   This is saying a lot due to  so many outstanding Middleweights who one could easily call, the greatest Middleweight in the history of the ring.  Men like Sugar Ray Robinson, Sugar Ray Leonard, and the most devastating Middleweight puncher of all time,  Gennadi Golovkin. And yet there’s not a single film of Harry Greb’s epic fights. He once beat the unbeatable future Heavy weight champion, Gene Tunney in a historic bloodbath that began a series of epic encounters between the two finest boxing tacticians the ring had ever seen.

But Greb was a true Middleweight, whose normal weight stood at around 160 pounds. Whereas Tunney wound up as the undefeated heavyweight champion of the world at 190.  As for Jack Dempsey who was quite possibly the hardest puncher of all time, some have said that Tunney could never beat the Manassas Mauler in his prime. Others have claimed that Tunney was so good that Jack Dempsey could never have beat him.

We will never know the answer of whether a much younger Jack Dempsey could have defeated Tunney or not. It is well known, however, that Greb totally dominated Dempsey as Dempsey’s sparring partner. Even though Dempsey outweighed the five foot eight Greb by 30 pounds, several times the pair almost met in the ring.

Jack Dempsey and Harry Greb
Jack Dempsey on the left with Harry Greb to his right. Greb defeating Dempsey, one of the most feriocious punchers of all time? You kidding? NOPE

Greb would wind up fighting 298 professional fights, yet not one of them survives today on video.

Gene Tunney fighting Harry Greb
Harry Greb won his first fight with Gene Tunney in a blood bath. Greb was about the only man to ever defeat Tunney who later beat Jack Dempsey for the world Heavyweight title and then defeated Dempsey in the rematch. Some say in his prime Dempsey would have won while others claim Dempsey could never have beat Tunney whose ring generalship was without parallel for his time. In many ways Tunney was like Andre Ward the current Light Heavyweight champion who hardly ever makes a mistake. But as the bloody matches with Harry Greb proved, Tunney could be a brawler when he wanted to be.

A Boxing Legend for all time

Greb remains today as one of boxing legend’s most unforgettable mystery men of all time. His untimely death at 32 on the operating table when he failed to wake up from the anesthetic hasn’t hurt his enigmatic image. But although the movie cameras never captured him in a real fight, there still exists at least one video of him training.

Back to the Tunisian whirlwind Fadi Khaled

Which bring us to Fadi Khaled. Here you see him in training in Thailand.

At 140 pounds Khaled punches and kicks above his weight.  But unlike Harry Greb, we  have Khaled actually fighting in the ring.

The Tunisian whirlwind Fadi Khaled is all over his opponent

In this bout against Nueamek Sityaymeaw the Tunisian whirlwind Fadi Khaled demonstrates a full range of devastating martial arts weapons, including a full array of powerful kicks along with the punching power of a light heavy weight. Keep in mind that this little guy weighs just 140 pounds while light heavyweights are between 168 and 175 pounds. Notice too, how he flings his entire torso into the body of his opponent.

Big Daddy sitting next to me, put it this way, “I really don’t like the looks of him, but you gotta give him credit. He’s a very good fighter.”

I’ll give him more than that. This Tunisian whirlwind Fadi Khaled represents what true fighting is all about. I’m sure Harry Greb would concur.

If you are interested in learning more about Harry Greb check this out.

Jonathan Lecat Dorian Price double knockout one in a million fight

Big Daddy and I are ringside for the epic Jonathan Lecat Dorian Price double knockout at the Pattaya Max Muay Thai stadium when the unfathomable happens.

English ring announcers during the Dorian Price double knockout
The Fight Ssport television channel is viewed world wide.  Considering that many of the Muay Thai (Thai boxing) events come out of Thailand, most of the audience is Thai while the  ring announcer  is speaking Thai, to a primary Thai audience. The two Englishman in this picture are doing the international voice broadcasts in English.

Both of us being American, we favor the American fighter, Dorian Price over the Frenchman.  My pal, Big Daddy, who had once been a professional wrestler on international t.v.  wasn’t missing a moment of this unforgettable classic.  Whereas I was missing just about everything. I was too overwhelmed with shooting the video with my Nikon D750  trying to get everything just right.  I had the perfect lens for this event.

The Jonathan Lecat Dorian Price double knockout makes international headlines

This fight, this stadium, this one of a kind epic, is big stuff.  It just made U.S. Today.  And to think that I only have to drive 20 minutes on my motorcycle to cover these great fights.  Ironically, I just bought a new lens for my Nikon D750, a Nikon 2.8 24-70 mm that costs as much as my latest motorcycle.  The pictures this lens and camera can get are unworldly.  They are that good.  And the primary reason for getting it was to get an edge covering these fights.   Two weeks later, a one in a million chance occurs–the Jonathan Lecat Dorian Price double knockout

Dorian Price double knockout
This picture from “Pattaya Today” shows how the double knockout occurred. Jonathan Lecat is actually dominating the fight when (in my opinion and Big Daddy’s) Dorian Price got lucky. Lecat’s elbow is driving right into Dorian’s face with sufficient force to knock him down. Simultaneously Dorian delivers a hard right to the Frenchman’s head which knocks him down for about 30 seconds. This is a once in a lifetime shot.  Unbelievable, but if you don’t believe it, take a look at my slow motion video on you tube.

I was so involved with my camera work that I didn’t even know that Lecat was winning until the Dorian Price double knockout occurred.

But shooting video, especially in low light, is extremely challenging. For days on end I’ve been practicing, and I have yet to get the results I think I should be getting.  But tonight I think I hit the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.  But I still never got to see the fight until I started editing my video.  I was that preoccupied.  As far as I had been concerned I had videoed the two fighters tripping each other up.  Then both had gone down together in a heap with neither fighter taking a major punch.  I take picture taking and doing video that seriously.  And since Dorian Price ended up winning I had thought him to be the dominant fighter.  Only later while editing my video, did I realize that Jonathon Lecat had been beating the hell out of Dorian when the once in a million double knockdown occurred.  A hundred years from now, this fight will be forever immortalized as the Jonathan Lecat Dorian Price double knockout.

I had seen the two fighters go down.  About 30 seconds later, the American was able to rise to his feet while the Frenchman remained comatose, dead to the world. “In all my years following wrestling and boxing I’ve never seen this before,” Big Daddy, screamed at me.  “I have never ever seen a double knockdown.”

Big Daddy was an international televised professional wrestler

Well, Big Daddy might have been one of the Assassins appearing on television as a professional wrestler, but I had always been a boxer. And I didn’t have the slightest idea of what Big Daddy meant by a double knockout. The concept was impossible for me to grasp. The whole idea of Muhammed Ali and George Foreman knocking each other out in a single second or two was unimaginable.  But here it was, the Jonathan Lecat Dorian Price double knockout preserved for eternity in my  video.

While I was a wanna be college boxing idol

And although I never fought professionally, I had been in more fights than I could count while growing up. Although I had been in several street fights as an adult, I wasn’t really into street fights. But I sure loved putting the gloves on to box strictly for fun. Boxing was my sport.  Always had been and always will.  In my fifties I kept a platform bag setup and heavy bag in my private gym that I had created from a one car garage.  In college I was the best boxer in my dormitory which selected me to fight the best boxer from another dormitory. That wasn’t much of a fight. The gloves were huge and well padded so neither of us were very successful at getting through the other boxer’s guard.  But it wasn’t long after that that I had a very short lived time of glory.

Jack Corbett, promising university Middleweight makes the front page of the Chicago Tribune

I was in the dormitory study room, when a couple of my dorm mates brought in a copy of the Chicago tribune. There I was on the front sports page of the Chicago Tribune. The newspaper had devoted an entire paragraph about me, extolling me as an exciting middleweight boxer from Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisconsin.  “This would be one of the most exciting Golden Gloves tournaments in Chicago’s History”,  the Tribune had printed. And it was because of exciting young boxers like me, a college boy, who’d soon be fighting in a sport that was devoid of College men.

But it was all a big joke–on me

I was foolish enough to go along with it all.  Most of the guys in my dorm got very excited about one of their own fighting for the glory of Lawrence University in the Chicago Golden Gloves. Suddenly there was a lot of talk about hiring a tour bus to take everyone down to Chicago to watch me tantalize the Chicago crowds with my blazing speed.   It turned out that one of the Freshmen in my class, Scott Lewis, had gotten an application for the Golden Gloves and had signed me up as a joke.

I would have done it. And my classmates were just crazy enough to get up enough money for a tour bus. Then one of the Lawrence wrestlers got a hold of me in the gym while I was suiting up for a Cross Country team practice run.

Jerry Nightingale star Lawrence University wrestler saves me from myself

I still remember exactly how he was looking at me and his exact position as he sat in front of me explaining the facts of life.  Jerry Nightingale was a black guy from Chicago.  I think he was a welterweight, weighing in at 145 pounds or so, which was about 15 pounds less than me.  Jerry was extremely quick and if I remember him right, he had always won most of his matches.  Not only was Jerry a very good wrestler, he was also the epitome of cool.

They are going to kill you in Chicago if you compete in the Golden Gloves

“You go down to Chicago and they are going to kill you,” Jerry warned.

“Why do you think that?” I asked. “I’m fast. And I’ve got an excellent punch. I think I have a very good chance of winning the first round or two in the elimination.”

“These guys in the Golden Gloves are from the ghetto. They’re poor. Most of them are uneducated. The only way out for many of them is fighting.  You can get seriously hurt if you go in the ring with them,” Jerry advised me.

Jerry Nightingale becomes my Guardian Angel

I sure as hell respected Jerry Nightingale.  He was a fine athlete.  He had a good head on his shoulders and he was a good guy.  Although I really enjoyed boxing, and thought I was faster than nearly everyone else, the prospect of meeting up with even faster guys who would relish cutting my face to ribbons sure wasn’t appealing. I immediately banished the thought of tour buses and being the school idol out of my game plan.

For me, boxing is still the king of all sports

Now I’m an old guy, even though I’m running 12 kilometers in the sweltering heat along Pattaya Beach. I can do it, but I’m all used up by the time I finish. But God, I sure love boxing. Even if I’m not doing it anymore. I’m an avid fan of guys like Andre Ward, Sergei Kovalev, and Gennadi Golotkin. I can hardly wait for the Andre Ward Kovalev rematch. I’ve got a few Russian friends now, not to mention a few other Russians I don’t know who I run into at the Centara Hotel physical fitness center. Russians take exercise seriously. Or at least a sizeable percentage of them do. That’s why the Soviet Union usually won more gold medals than the U.S. did in the Olympic.

It wasn’t just that those Communists herded their best athletes in like cattle in modern gulag training camps where they fed them steroids every day. Russians are tough and they pride themselves on their athletic ability. I think they always were this way, and one of the reasons they could defeat the U.S. in the Olympics is back in the bad old days of the U.S.S.R. there were more Soviets than Americans to choose from to field all those Olympic teams. Since the breakup of the U.S.S.R. Russia now has a population of only 140 million compared to 325 million Americans. But I do like having the Russians around because then I’m around people who take fitness as seriously as I do.

Big Daddy and I are still fighters in our hearts

So here we are, Big Daddy and I, alone among all our friends who really enjoy fighting. We are at the right spot at the right time to experience first hand that one in a million fight when both boxers go down for the count. in this Jonathan Lecat Dorian Price double knockout classic for the ages.  We have already seen another top notch fight between the Tunisian Fadi Khaled and Nueamek Sitjaymeaw of Thailand. This will be my next video on you tube. What’s terrific about living here in Thailand is I get to experience first hand what’s being shown on the Fight Channel on international television. My condo’s only 20 minutes from the new Pattaya Max stadium. A lot of the Muay Thai top events come out of Bangkok, but I’ve just learned that the Pattaya Max Muay Thai stadium is handling just as many top ranked fights. This stadium has a seating capacity of nearly 3000. The men sitting directly in front of us are doing the international English broadcasts that are seen worldwide.

But back to the Jonathan Lecat Dorian Price double knockout. Dorian Price won this one.  But when they meet again, I’m betting on the Frenchman.  It promises to be a great fight.  But it’s going to take years for anything to measure up to this Jonathan Lechat Dorian Price double knockout classic.

Nikon D750 Thai boxing video

Nikon D750 Thai boxing
You can’t beat a good SLR for capturing the action. Carrying all that extra weight around can really be worth it if it’s quality you are after

I shot this Nikon D750 Thai boxing video at the Max Muay Thai Stadium Pattaya using a Nikon 28 by 70 2.8 lens.  This is the same lens I used shooting digital stills of strippers and feature entertainers with a Nikon D-1 X.

Nikon D750 Thai boxing
Nikon D750 Thai boxing I shot a sequence of these shots using burst mode You can’t do this with a smart phone.

The Nikon D750 has awesome video potential

Weighing in at a full 2.2 pounds on that professional Nikon SLR with a powerful flash–this was a lot of weight to be carrying around on one’s neck all night long.  So I understand how the Nikon 28 by 70 2.8 lens earned its nickname, “The Beast”.   The lens was also very expensive.  But I noticed that this lens almost produced a three dimensional effect that lesser lenses were incapable of achieving.

My new Nikon D750 camera is an awesome piece of equipment.  Its resolution is four times greater than my old Nikon D1x.  Although it can function as a point and shoot, it has so many features that it would take me a lifetime to master them.   My main problem was that I could never shoot decent video with it.   Yet this camera had outstanding video capabilities according to all the photography reviews I had read.  I just couldn’t get it to change its focus when I went from short range to long range subjects.  But my little Panasonic LX-7 with its superb Leica lens came through every time.

But so far shooting video with it has ended in abject failure

All my video experiments with the Nikon D750 wound up in failure.  Then I found a one and a half minute video on you tube that pointed out a very important step I had never taken.  Suddenly all my focusing problems seemed to go away.  And tonight I was going with Big Daddy to the Max Muay Thai Pattaya Stadium.   There would be sufficient light at the stadium for accurate focusing of the camera.  While in the ring there would be a lot of fast moving action to challenge the camera’s focusing ability in video mode.

The Nikon D750 Thai boxing video vindicates the camera’s potential

For the first time my Nikon D750’s video performed up to expectations.  The Thai boxers were all over the ring, moving from its opposite side to only a few feet away from me.  Big Daddy and I had first row seats.  Being so close to the fighters did pose two challenges, however.  There was a post right in front of me, which would obscure my subjects from my camera whenever they moved behind it.   The second challenge was the ring’s ropes.  I’m sure that my camera was constantly focusing on the ropes instead of the fighters.   I could at least edit out those portions of the video that had the two fighters going at each other behind the post.  But there was no way getting around having to shoot between the ropes that formed the perimeter of the ring.    The camera would often tend to focus on the nearest object.

Overall, I think the results were outstanding.  The twin stereo speakers in the Nikon D750 reproduces very strong audio bass.  I think that the series of 20 odd digital stills at the end of the video show that there is really nothing like a good SLR camera when it comes to zeroing in on the action.  Nikon D750 Thai boxing