11 Mac 2017, ONE Championship: Warrior’s Kingdom will be held in Bangkok. The fight cards feature some of the best MMA talents in Thailand. With 11 Thai fighters in the cards, it’s Thailand vs the rest of Asia. The atmosphere inside Impact Arena will be loud and hot as Thai fight fans are very passionate and they will be fully behind their fighters with deafening cheers.
Amidst this high pressure atmosphere, two warrior from Sabah Malaysia will aim to bring the chill to Bangkok. The two are Kelvin ‘Ice Man’ Ong and Audreylaura ‘ Ice Comet’ Boniface. They are both fighters from Borneo Tribal Squad (BTS).
|Kelvin in ONE’s photoshoot wearing the BTS fight shorts with unique Sabahan native motifs|
This is Kelvin’s debut in ONE Championship and his 2nd pro MMA fight. Kelvin’s pro debut was in Jul 2016 WSOF Global Championship 3, in which he won against Fhilipino Jesdan dela Pena by TKO in 2nd round. ( read about my write up on Kelvin’s debut here )
|Winning his pro debut in WSOF GC 3|
Kelvin has a quiet personality and is a very humble man. But when he steps into the cage, he is ice cold and merciless. To fight in ONE Championship as the biggest MMA promotion in Asia is certainly a dream come true for him. He is very thankful to his coach and mentor AJ ‘Pyro’, himself a ONE Championship fighter.
|Kelvin with BTS fight team lead by AJ Pyro ( R )|
Kelvin never misses training even though he has a very busy schedule working. He helps out in his family business running a stall in the LIDO market in Kota Kinabalu. He stepped into BTS two years ago and Coach AJ notice how hardworking this man is and decided to work closely with him to polish his skills.
“Kelvin has the heart and right attitude, so it’s my job to improve his skills and mold him into a fighting machine”
Kelvin will be facing Sagetdao Petpayathai. This is Sagetdao’s MMA debut but he was household name and a legend in the Muaythai circle in Thailand when he fought actively from 2004-2014, winning numerous titles such as MAX Muaythai, Lumpinee Stadium, Rajdamnern Stadium, WBC World Champion, WPMF World Champion.
At 30 this year he is retired from Muaythai and has been teaching in the EVOLVE MMA gym in Singapore. Sagetdao is well known for his vicious knee and strong clinch and he look to begun his new journey in martial arts through MMA.
Kelvin’s team mate is Ice Comet – Audreylaura Boniface. This is also Audrey’s debut in ONE Championship and her 2nd pro fight. Her debut was in Thailand’s Full Metal Dojo in Jul 2016. Before that Audrey fought in ONE Silat ( with rules similar to MMA ). Read about Audrey’s MMA debut in my previous write up here .
|Audrey en route to winning her ONE Silat match|
Audrey’s involvement in martial arts started when she was in university as she got into Taekwondo, In BTS she has picked up crucial ground game and has won medals in BJJ comp. She has a day job as a doctor in the emergency and trauma department in Queen Elizabeth Hospital Kota Kinabalu
|Dr. Audrey in the house …and the Oval cage!|
Being a doctor has both advantage and disadvantage. The good side is, she understand stress very well and is used to work under pressure and her work trains her to think lightning fast. In the down side, her dedication as a life saver took her time off from training. So whenever she has the time she will put in lots of effort and focus on learning as much as she can from AJ Pyro.
|Audrey with BTS fight team|
She never thought that she will be a pro fighter, and she owes this trust to AJ Pyro. AJ sees the potential in her. As she has the mental strength.
” It’s easy to train the physical skills and conditioning, but mental toughness is something you need to develop mostly on your own, and Audrey already has this in her”
|Audrey with her mentor and coach AJ Pyro Lias Mansor|
Audrey cherish the opportunity, and she has uses her MMA training as a stress reliever from her stressful job. Becoming a fighter certainly gave her a new aim in life as she is able to be role model to other Sabahan female.
Audrey needs all her mental strength she can get as she will be facing Thai’s MMA darling ‘Tiny Doll’ Rika Ishige. This is Rika’s MMA pro debut. She is the girlfriend of Thai MMA superstar Shannon ‘One Shin’ Wiratchai, whom will also be fighting on 11 MAC in the co-main event.
|Shannon and Rika|
|Facing off at the roof top of Banyan Hotel Bangkok|
Rika has background in Taekwondo and Judo. With a doll of a face, she is becoming the media darling of Thai martial arts. The support she will get will definitely be hot and ‘Ice Comet’ will need to cool down the temperature with her calmness and composure.
Among the other fights to watch out for is the Joshua Pacio of the fame Team Lakay of Philipines vs Dejdamrong Sor Amnuaysirichoke (DSA). Joshua is a young fighter at 21 years but posses a 11-1-0 record with all the win by finishes. He is certainly a great straw weight prospect, challenging for the title last year against Yoshitaka Naito. Joshua was dominating for two rounds until in third round a costly mistakes allowed Naito to get his back to sink in a rear naked choke.
Joshua will need all his skills as he faces the ex straw weight champion, Dejdamrong. DSA was the inaugural straw weight champion when he took the title in May 2015. He lost the belt to Naito a year later in a high pressure match as ONE Championship debut in Thailand.
It was a heart broken moment when he had to tap out to Naito’s choke in the fourth round, disappointing the thousand of Thais coming to support him. This is DSA first fight after the loss and he is very determine to win the title back and winning back the hearts of the Thais.
The co main event will see Thai MMA hearthrob Shannon ‘One Shin’ Wiratchai vs Richard Corminal of Philipines. Shannon is one of the first Thai to venture into MMA, mixing his striking skills from Kung Fu with his accomplished Judo skills with plenty of BJJ and wrestling. He is a very exciting fighter to watch with memorable and attention grabbing walk out. He dresses in Pokemon theme in his last win in Kuala Lumpur against Malaysian Peter Davis. Everyone is eager to see his walkout this time in Bangkok.
More importantly from his walk out antics, Shannon is prolific striker and a has a suffocating grappling skills. His fights are exciting to watch in the Oval cage. He has unorthodox striking and will attack from odd angle and unpredictable moves.
Filipino Richard Corminal is base in Kuala Lumpur, fighting out of Muayfit. He holds a record of 4-1-0 and all 4 wins via KO/TKO. Inspired by Manny Pacquiao when he was young he took up boxing and eventually Muaythai and grappling. Leaving Manila to earn a living in Kuala Lumpur, Richard now is a instructor at Muayfit.
Corminal understands very well that he is the underdog. But he is happy that the pressure will be on Shannon due to his fame and the demand of performing in home crowd. Richard aims to keep the fight standing and spoils the party of Shannon.
ONE Championship Warrior Kingdom will be headline by Female Atom weight Champion Angela Lee defending her title. Angela is of mixed Singaporean and Korean heritage and trains at Asia’s premier mixed martial arts gym, Evolve MMA in Singapore.
Lee’s beautiful combination of solid striking and grappling skills has proven to be a potent formula for success as she remains unbeaten in her MMA career. In her last bout, Lee captured the inaugural ONE Women’s Atomweight World Championship with an awe-inspiring victory over Mei
Yamaguchi. Lee will now make the first defense of her title against Jenny Huang.
26-year-old Jenny Huang is a female mixed martial artist representing Chinese Taipei. Unbeaten with a professional MMA record of five wins and no losses, Huang also owns three impressive submission victories. In her most recent bout, Huang electrified the arena by executing an extremely rare submission, the gogoplata, overcoming a spirited performance from the Philippines’ April Osenio. In her next bout, Huang will challenge ONE Women’s Atomweight World Champion Angela Lee for the title.
|photos from : http://www.atimes.com|