What a year 2019 was for JMT and I know that it was just the start of fantastic things to come in 2020.
We started the year off with a trip to Boston in the middle of a Blizzard for Austin to fight and beat one of the top amateurs in the country.
Once the snow cleared it was back to Jax Muay Thai to get ready for our big visit by 8 x World Champion and Muay Thai legend Liam Harrison. The Seminar was a huge success and we learned some fun new tricks and made new friends.
Then we headed off to Washington DC with Landon, Austin and Hilly. Landon got another KO win, Austin beat 2 strong opponents to win his first WBC belt, but Hilly’s pants really stole the show.
Once Austin had firmly established himself as a strong contender to represent Team USA at IFMA World Championships in Bangkok, it was Omar’s turn to get in some high level fights. Despite struggling with some major injuries we flew up to New York for one of the best promotions in the country – Friday Night Fights and The Battle of the Omar’s!
Unfortunately, we didn’t get the win but we got what we wanted, which was 5 good rounds of high level Muay Thai against a very experienced opponent in Omar Estevez.
While in NYC we got to catch up with Liam Harrison again and I got some work in with his cousin, 6 x Wold Champion, Andy Howson. Plus, we got the phone call we’d been waiting for, Austin had made Team USA for World Championships!
After NYC it was back to Jax for our own Amateur Fight Night Jax Muay Thai Fights VI. It was a great night of amateur action and it felt good to know we’re helping to grow the sport here in Florida.
Even though all our fighters at JMT are getting better and better, we needed help to get the guys ready to compete against the very best in the world. So, we brought Liam and Andy’s teammate, Joe Craven – British number one, from Bad Company Gym Leeds over to stay with us for two weeks. Joe was fantastic, and really helped both Omar and Austin understand what it takes to compete at the top level in Muay Thai. He was also a very popular coach and was inundated with Private sessions.
While Austin and Omar headed off to Thailand to finish up training camp, I headed to Des Moines with Landon, Diesel and Tyerese for the TBA Classic North American Championships. We had some good wins and many lessons learned competing against the best amateurs in North America. Plus, I got to catch up with my fellow Khanomtom coaches from Tampa Muay Thai and Koh Muay Thai.
Austin and Omar had been training at Petchyindee but we decided to finish training camp at our friend Attachai’s Gym where we knew we would get amazing coaching and there wouldn’t be many other IFMA competitors.
9 years after last training with him in Florida, it was cool to catch up with Kru Ray’s good friend and teacher Kru Aey Sakeddao.
Kru Attachai was in California visiting Kru Ray,. So, another legend of the sport, The Emperor, Namsaknoi was running his gym. It was incredible to learn from one of the greatest of all time with a record of 290 fights and only 15 losses!
Despite the focus being on Omar and Austin I couldn’t go to Thailand without a trip to Sitsongpeenong to pay respect to and train with Ajarn Monlit.
Before we knew it, training was over and it was time to get to downtown Bangkok for the start of IFMA World Championships.
With well over 100 countries participating, and many of the top professional fighters in the world, we could see why IFMA World Championships are referred to as the Olympics of Muay Thai
One of the best things about IFMA was getting to see old friends like Aziz and Sittichai, and Ajarn Suchart,with our new friend ,and Canadian Coach, Jeff Harrison.
I’d met his son before but I finally got to meet Golden Era legend – Sangtennoi ‘The Deadly Kisser’. And, it was great tp catch up with the man who inspired me to start this crazy journey in Muay Thai 30 years ago, fellow Willie Toweel Boxer, and now honorary USVI Team Member — Paulo Tocha
Austin and Omar both won their first fights with strong performances that made us all very proud. They unfortunately lost their second fights against opponents with way more experience. Now we know what it takes to win gold at IFMA and I’m sure we can do it. next time
While we were in Bangkok, Landon was busy winning his first belt back in Florida.
After an amazing few weeks in Bangkok it was back to Jax.
Kru Doug at our Sister School – North Florida Muay Thai was hosting Kru Airr from Vegas so Landon, Zach and myself took a day trip to learn from one of the most experienced coaches in the US., plus he’s a child hood friend of Ajarn Monlit!
After starting 2019 by hosting Muay Thai legend, Liam Harrison, we got to finish the year hosting another legend – Mr Knock – Thepnimit Sitmonchai for a seminar and 2 days of incredible training.
We also managed to squeeze one last JMT Fight Night in and went 5 for 5 to finish the year strong. what a year!