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Tiffany Van Soest and Lion Fight's Crumbling Walls of Perception

  • Published in Muay Thai

If you were to observe Lion Fight Promotions from the outside, it would look like a healthy promotion that’s on the up-and-up. Lion Fight airs on AXS TV, has aired some tremendous fights over that span of time including some of the biggest names in American muay thai as well as big, international names. Over the last few months they’ve picked up even more steam when UFC and comedy personality Joe Rogan started to get excited about Lion Fight and talking about it on the Joe Rogan Experience.

Suddenly Lion Fight went from this thing that hardcore fight fans maybe kinda sorta knew about to the mecca of “high level striking” in the United States. That’s the kind of pull and influence someone like Rogan has. While I can’t fault him for his own tastes and opinions, nor the pull that he has with a good portion of social media fight fans, the hyperbole has been palpable since then, leaving Lion Fight in the position of untouchable darling of the fight scene.

Cracks started to form on the veneer of Lion Fight in January, though, when word broke that the United States Muay Thai Association, the organization that had provided oversight for a total of three Lion Fight events, declared itself “done” with Lion Fight. The claim? Lack of payment as well as cooperation from the promotion. Lion Fight was quick to declare that the switch to IKF for Lion Fight 27 was decided in advance, but the story sort of tapered off into the ether as stories like this tend to do for promotions that aren’t huge and in the national spotlight.

Word was after the event that there were some outstanding payment issues that were bound to surface, only it took nearly two months for anything to bubble up and pour into the public eye. In a now-redacted tweet and corresponding Instagram post from newly-crowned champion Tiffany Van Soest, she claimed to still be owed money for her Lion Fight 27 performance, which the company hadn’t made good on. So she was auctioning off her Lion Fight championship for $500 to pay some bills -- or so was the implication -- and people seemed shocked. The USMTA/IKF bait-and-switch was quick and happened without much visibility, but non-payment for one of their world champions? That was something that would catch some eyes. And it did.

Along with the recent, quiet departure of longtime posterboy for the promotion in Kevin Ross, things might seem a bit off within the realm of Lion Fight. Joe Schilling has gone on record publicly talking down the home of some of his most notable fights before he signed with GLORY and Bellator, going as far as to dub the promotion “Lion Fart” and within some of the more hardcore muay thai circles there are a lot of “I told you so’s” floating around. Needless to say, while the promotion might be picking up steam and exposure, with that exposure has come an increased focus on every aspect of the promotion. There has been talk of a “uniform deal” that sounds a lot like UFC and Reebok’s much-maligned deal, but there have only been whispers of complaints thus far.

Van Soest’s decision to come forward and call out the promotion was a power play, if anything. A fan-backed GoFundMe was launched almost immediately and far surpassed the goal of $500, with many within the community quick to rally behind her to help cover any costs she needed help with an wanted her to keep the belt. Van Soest is a popular fighter who by all reports seems to be done with Lion Fight and should be heading off to greener pastures in the near future, so there shouldn’t be any doubts as to if she’ll be fighting again any time soon thanks to how marketable she is. If she needed to borrow some money she clearly could have, although that isn’t the point. The point here is that the only way that she saw that money was by going public and taking scrapes at Lion Fight’s public perception, which at this point is one of their most treasured assets.

It worked.

This afternoon they were quick to offer up an official statement claiming that there was an issue when the check was deposited, but that they have wired her the money this afternoon to clear up any sort of outstanding payment. But, the issue here feels more complicated than that. Lion Fight owed Van Soest money and the only way for Van Soest and her team to see that money was to make a statement on social media. The IKF, who sanctioned the event after USMTA dropped off, even has rules in place that are meant to avoid situations like this:

Promoter is required to pay to the IKF Representative or Associate directly after the event weigh-ins and before the Official event Rules meeting in CASH or CERTIFIED Checks ALL PRO Fighter Purses made out to each PRO Fighter.

The Official IKF Event representative shall hold all fight purses and distribute them to all pro fighters AFTER the event.

Lion Fight is, for many young fighters and fans, something to aspire to, the place where muay thai fighters in the United States can strive to fight and earn their fame in. Legends and heroes like Kevin Ross, Tiffany Van Soest, Joe Schilling, John Wayne Parr, Cris Cyborg Santos, Malaipet, Cosmo Alexandre, Artem Levin, Simon Marcus and many more have fought within Lion Fight’s ring and while there have been more options for those inclined towards kickboxing, the same can’t be said for muay thai. Lion Fight is pretty much the only game in town on a quasi-national level when it comes to clinching, elbows and knees, utilizing the full thai rules and this is a major blow to that perception that they are the best stand up striking organization in America.

For now they still are, the only problem is that not all fighters have the same sort of voice or platforms available to them like Van Soest does. For the good of the sport here's to hoping that stuff like this doesn't pop up again any time soon, or if it does that it's taken care of behind closed doors, not in the public view.

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Kevin Ross Talks About Lion Fight 9 With LiverKick

  • Published in Interviews

Kevin Ross (C) Galen OkazakiThe ability to overcome adversity is what can make or break a fighter and take them from being just a fighter to a legend. In the case of American Muay Thai fighter Kevin Ross, the adversity has never been his skill, abilities or drive, but instead an ACL injury that he suffered last year. He spent months rehabbing it after surgery and everything was built up for his comeback fight this January at Lion Fight 8. We spoke with Kevin back then about his comeback trail as well as the details of what he goes through in his personal life, what actually makes Kevin Ross tick and we were all treated to seeing Kevin’s successful comeback against Chris Kwiatowski.

It was the first step of many for Ross after coming back from an injury that would have stopped most fighters in the prime of their career and this Friday, live on AXS TV, Ross looks to once again enter the ring and take on a very game opponent in the UK’s Bernie Mendietta. Part of his last fight was not knowing exactly what Chris would bring to the table, and in the case of Mendietta he expects the same.

“I think that I know less about him than I did Chris,” he joked. “I’ve just really seen clips at this point, where with Chris I had at least seen a full fight or two. I know that he’s a tough guy, though, I know that he likes to brawl, so I know what I’m in for.”

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Jorina Baars Dethrones Cris Cyborg at Lion Fight 4

  • Published in Americas

Cyborg

My god, this fight was just insanity. Cris Cyborg came into this fight as the favorite due to her MMA career, but Kickboxing fans knows who Jorina Baars is and knew that she'd cause some serious problems for Cyborg. Referee Tony Weeks had a hard time following the action and missed at least two knockdowns that should have been scored for Baars, one in round one, another in round four.

Baars

That being said, Baars dropped Cyborg in round one with a huge head kick after a push kick should have been considered a down. Jorina Baars put on the fight of her life, though. The spinning back kick that put Cyborg down in round five secured the fight for Baars in a fight that we were all fearing hearing the scorecards. Incredible fight and, c'mon, let's be honest here, this just makes Cris Cyborg vs. Ronda Rousey hype seem like a distant memory now.

Baars

GIFs are from ZProphet.

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A Conversation with Lion Fight 8's Kevin Ross on the Comeback Trail

  • Published in Interviews

Ross (C) Can't Stop Crazy / Galen Okazaki

If you follow Muay Thai in America, you know the name Kevin Ross. Hell, if you follow Muay Thai in general, you know Kevin Ross. Ross is one of the few American fighters over the past few years to really move outside of his comfort zone and go to Thailand and fight some of the best in the world. He has long been considered one of the best Thai fighters to come out of the US by fans and is set to make his return to the ring this Saturday night at Lion Fight 8 live on AXS TV.

Kevin is coming off of a pretty bad ACL injury that required surgery and months of rehabilitation that left him out of action for all of 2012, but that all ends this Saturday night as he squares off against Chris Kwiatkowski. LiverKick's Dave Walsh caught up with Kevin to discuss this fight, his rehabilitation and a whole lot more.

LK: So obviously it has been a while since you’ve fought, what have you missed the most when it comes to fighting?

KR: I mean, I’ve missed it all. Right after surgery I was in there on one leg punching the bag. I couldn’t stay away, man, I’d start getting depressed, like this is what I love to do, you know? Like the number one passion in my life and to be away from it for any period of time is just impossible. Especially the fighting. The fighting is like the peak of the sport, you know, with what I love to do it is the very top of that. To be away for as long as I have been, it’s been really hard. Even if it’s a month or two, I want to be in the ring. It’s been what, 15 months? It’s been rough.

LK: The ACL injury that you are recovering from could mean the end of a career for some fighters, but you seem to be healing up pretty well from it. What kind of obstacles did you have to overcome to heal up from the injury and the surgery?

KR: There’s a list! In the beginning one of the biggest hurdles I had to overcome was there was all of this scar tissue in my knee. We couldn’t get to the actual rehabilitation until they could get all of that broken up so I could bend my knee back all the way. The first few weeks were some of the most painful things I’ve had to go through in my life, I was like punching holes in the wall, man. Every time I went in there to rehab they had to break up the scar tissue and like smash my leg back down trying to get it to bed all of the way back. That was one of the hardest things. You know, not knowing if I was going to be able to make it back.

There were some days when I really was like, “I don’t know if I can do this anymore.” I knew that I could walk right now, but didn’t know if I could make it back. As soon as I was able to start training again I would look at all of the videos of my training that I did for my old fights, and was like damn dude, I don’t know if I can do that again. While I’m happy to be healthy and all of that, at the same time you realize how hard the sport is. You forget all of the stuff that you have to do. The ups and downs and stuff, you get kind of mixed feelings about it, but they are all temporary things. This is what I love to do and that is what got me through.

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An argument for why now is the best time ever to be a kickboxing fan

  • Published in Kickboxing

As usual, I began my weekly prep of the Warman Kickfighting podcast show by writing out my notes. I watched the Thai stadium muay thai fights for critical breakdown. Then I rewatched fights from the Glory 28 participants before this weekends event. As I watched them, I realize that I had just done this for a Glory card two weeks ago. Then it hit me that there seems to be multiple major cards every week. From Enfusion having their most successful card, to Lion Fight having another stoppage filled event, every weekend has been full of fights. In the next two months we have Yokkao, Bellator's kickboxing league, Holland's World Fighting League, and another Glory card. I have been a kickboxing fan for a long time. I cannot remember a better time to be a kickboxing fan, and yet we may be held back from enjoying it by our oldest fan base.

BLESSED AND CURSED BY OUR HISTORY

In the 90s, when K-1 emerged muay thai and kickboxing didn't just have several events. They dominated the martial arts sporting combat culture. UFC at that time was considered street fighting. The term mixed martial artist was not in use. A skilled martial artist tested themselves in kickboxing or muay thai. They had the K-1 World Grand Prix, which put the value of state and country driven world titles and put the athletes to the test in a tournament field of the best. Names like Aerts, Hoost, Bernardo, Hug, and Lebanner emerge as consistent victors and major international stars. But just as important as the star, the major K-1 tournament produced a holy place. Everyone wanted to one day fight in Japan, where there was borderline idol worship of elite combatants. 

Along with this came the advancement of technology. Computers went from novelty to mandatory in homes across the world. With this brought the emergence of fight forums, where people from all around the world would weigh in on the events of their region, stars to look out for, and of course, long breakdowns of the major K-1 fight cards. European based Super League got some attention, but clearly, the leagues of note were K-1’s Heavyweight and 70kg Max divisions. 

Flash Forward to 2011. K-1, due to multiple reasons, ran into financial trouble. They began to do less and less shows and eventually had to cancel their World Cup. They had no K-1 WGP that year. Interests down, the emergence of mixed martial arts and the UFC as the new leader in the culture of combat sports, and many proclaimed the end of kickboxing. 

THE TURN

Then, the Glory group attempted to buy K-1. They decided against it after seeing the mess of contracts and debt they would be absorbing. But, rich people play the game of business best, and they were able to purchase Simon Rutz's It’s Showtime management team. Rutz had almost every major European K-1 star under his roster and they were pulled from K-1 and began fighting in Glory on a regular basis. 

K-1 was also hit with a fantastic turn for the best. The K-1 Global Holdings Ltd. attempted to recreate the old flame of K-1s greatness. A failed attempt of an event in USA and a K-1 World Grand Prix that did not have the best fighters in the world ruined the brand more than helped it. The group that took over at the end of the K-1 Global run decided to focus on smaller weights and remain in the Asian Market of which they had great history. 

In the last two years both companies have overcome rocky starts and have begun to have consistent success. Glory had the early mistake. A failed PPV event and the longest fight card ever on NYE did not push the brand. However, they signed major US television deals with Spike and now ESPN, something K-1 never accomplished. Just as important as being seen is creating stars. Nieky Holzken and Rico Verhoeven are Glory brand created stars. Sure a young Holzken fought in K-1 and lost to superstar Buakaw. That drained down version wasn't his best showing, though. Holzken, now fighting at 77kgs, is considered the must see guy in the sport. His combinations, body shots, knockout power, and fight flow are amazing. Verhoeven went from journeyman heavyweight with no punching pop, to the unchallenged best in the world and the KO power to match his awesome technique. 

Improved K-1 too had some failure. A K-1 Max GP that ended in scandal as one of the fighters(Two time champ Buakaw) said that he was warned of foul play in the judges and refused to fight the extra round of a K-1 MAX FINAL MATCH. Since then they have focused on weight classes that have elite Japanese athletes. K-1 had their most success with Masato, a young, exciting fighter who the girls loved and had the skill to beat the elite. As many of Japan's elite combat sport athletes are shorter, focusing on weight classes like 65kgs, 60kgs, and now 55kgs has produced several athletes from Japan that create Japanese television interests. Masaaki Noiri, brothers Koya and Hirotaka Urabe, Japanese adopted Kimura "Phillip" Minoru and 55kg stud Takeru are their homegrown stars. K-1 puts on five solid shows a year and though they don't have the production value of events past, the crowd and ring action are excellent every card. 

With the success of these two super powers, we have solid paychecks from China. Kunlun is hard to follow because it has a lot of fights, but not a lot of narrative. However they have put together some fantastic 4 man tournaments and super fights on their cards. Kunlun is also not exclusive, meaning that K-1 and Glory athletes are able to pick up a fight here and there and grab good paydays, as long as it doesn't conflict with their major promotions events. 

As for women, this is also the best time to be in the sport. When I first fell in love with kickboxing and Muay Thai it was a three woman list at most. Names like Rijker, De Randamie, Kitchen, Rivera-Parr, and Elmont were amazing competitors, but got very little recognition. Thanks to Enfusion, Kunlun and now Bellator's kickboxing league. There aren't just good paydays out there. There are great exposure opportunities as well. Iman Barlow was the first woman pushed by Enfusion and after a reality show victory, they began pushing Anissa Meksen as well. Denise Keilholtz is an Enfusion champion who will now be fighting for Bellator's kickboxing company as well. Lion Fight was birthed on champions like American Tiffany van Soest. We are truly in a different age. Despite this, older fans are still missing the above improvements and continuing to think kickboxing remains in a down period.

CHANGING MINDS

The struggle with noticing the improvement is the old guard of kickboxing fans that misunderstood success in the kickboxing prime of 1994-2003. They judge today's athletes with old expectations. They recognize kickboxing as K-1, the way people recognize MMA as UFC. With no heavyweights winning tournaments in Japan once a year, they assume the sport is down.

They also struggled to grasp the movement of technology. I think a major reason why older fans feel the sport is dead is because it lived on fight forums. As "Lord Gaul" I was a 1000+ post man on several sites. We would talk about every punch in every fight for months before and after. With that being absent, people see the sport as dead. 

What those fans have missed in these two examples is that K-1 was only good for the heavyweights and Max weight guys. Dimitri Shukuta and Joeri Mes were the elite 77kg fighters of their era. But they had no home. The moment Super League went away they were forced to look for single fights. Mes at the end of his career was able to lean down and take a few K-1 fights. But for the majority of those in-between the weight classes, this was a loss. Guys like Kamel Jamel, Anuwat, Liam Harrison were too small, and guys like Clifton Brown and Nathan Corbett were stuck in the middle. Imagine if they had a middleweight K-1 belt to battle for. Tyrone Spong moving up the weight classes would have gotten even more attention if he won the K-1 belt at every single weight on his way up to heavyweight. We are in a special time when the most prominent company has a home for the majority of the world's weight classes.

The technology evolved for the best. YouTube was pretty new when I got into kickboxing and it was actually looked down upon in kickboxing communities. People wanted links to download for their hard drives. Sendspace and Megaupload where the acceptable modes of sharing and those that didn't share were called "leechers." We are 10plus years past that now. YouTube is the heavyweight champ in the video world. Not only can you find most videos there, but the major promotions upload content for you to watch, as advertising money can be made with viewership. So of course the number of visitors to the fight forums would go down once access to the videos got easier. Twitter is another addition. We use to post and then press reload to see other peoples post. It is far easier posting on the ever scrolling wall of twitter. You can now watch a stream of the event on your computer and tweet on your phone...or vice versa. 

Now I am not saying this changes cover everything we had in the prime years. I personally dreamed of the Japanese crowd when I pursued a kickboxing career. The K-1 tournament was indeed a special event exclusive to kickboxing, with its awesome white belt and massive trophy prize. Also all the cultural challenged aren't gone. Now stand up fighters see kickboxing and Muay Thai as something they do in preparation for MMA careers. However I can't help but be excited for the next generation of kickboxers. Enfusion and Glory do ten plus shows a year. K-1 and Yokkao do five plus, and Kunlun does fifteen plus. There are more opportunities to fight in front of large audiences, have access to more television and online stream exposure, make better paydays, and they can pursue kickboxing combat sports careers with more opportunities to compete than ever before. 

 

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Bud Light Presents Lion Fight 22 Scheduled for May 22nd

  • Published in Muay Thai

Lion Fight 21 may be next Friday, featuring Kevin Ross vs. Tetsuya Yamato in a rematch, but that doesn't mean that we can't plan for the future. They've announced that Bud Light Presents Lion Fight 22 will be going down on May 22. The event will happen at Sunset Station Casino in Las Vegas on Friday, May 22nd. The main event is going to be a big one in Khem Sitsongpeenong vs. Jo Nattuwat for the World Super Welterweight Champinoship.

Also featured will be Tiffany Van Soest vs. Bernise Alldis in the co-main event. Jason Andrada and Anthony Castrejon are set to square off in a 122lbs bought, Gaston Bolanos and Damien Early will clash in a Welterweight bout and Tom Morales faces Brian Del Rosario in another Welterweight bout.

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Cris 'Cyborg' Justino vs. Martina Jindrova Added to Lion Fight 11 Card

  • Published in Muay Thai

Lion Fight

Lion Fight 11 on September 20th has already been shaping up to be a pretty incredible card, featuring Kevin Ross vs. Tetsuya Yamato and Nampon vs. Cosmo Alexandre, but now a third big fight has been added by the way of former Strikeforce champion and current Invicta FC champion Cristiane "Cyborg" Justino (formerly Santos). Cyborg is perhaps best known for her run in Strikeforce which included wins over Marloes Coenen as well as Gina Carano. She is just coming off of a win over Coenen at Invicta FC and it was announced today that she will return to Muay Thai under the Lion Fight banner on September 20th against Martina Jindrova of Holland.

Jindrova fights out of Brutal Gym in Holland with a record of 17-5 and looks forward to making her Lion Fight debut against a star like Cris Cyborg.

“I know Cyborg is a huge MMA star and this is a big challenge for me to fight an opponent like her,” said Jindrova. “She is very strong with hard punches, kicks and knees. But this is not an MMA, this is Muay Thai and she will be fighting me against my rules. I’m very proud to be on this historic Lion Fight 11 card and am ready to make a great knockout win for the fans.”

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Lion Fight 18 Results and Highlights

  • Published in Americas

Lion Fight 18 went down tonight in a night featuring Yodsanklai dominating yet again to secure his Lion Fight Middleweight Championship and move on to defend it another day. We apologize for the lack of live results but I recently switched cable providers and lo-and-behold, no AXS TV. Bummer. Anyway, here are the quick and dirty results from AXS TV along with video highlights. Lion Fight 19 takes place on November 21st at Foxwoods in Connecticut.

Yodsanklai Fairtex (R2 - TKO) Salah Khalifa 
Jason Andrada (R5 - Dec.) Stan Mancebo 
Nick Chasteen (R5 - Dec.) Jose Palacios 
Chris Culley (R5 - Dec.) Brian Del Rosario
Damien Earley (R2 - DQ) Eddie Abasolo 

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Lion Fight 11 on September 20th in Las Vegas

  • Published in Muay Thai

Lion fight

After this weekend's Lion Fight 10 event in Las Vegas Lion Fight is not going to make us wait that long for the next big Lion Fight event, as the next one is coming up quite soon, September 20th to be exact. Lion Fight 11 is set to go down on the 20th and will be at the Fremont Experience in Las Vegas, which is a big, open mall that happens to have an area for performances, the Third Street Stage. Tickets to the event will be handled by the neighboring hotel, The D.

As for the fights that are lined up, there isn't much official yet, but what has been announced is pretty exciting. The main event is to feature former Rajadamnern Stadium Welterweight Champion Nampon PK Muay Thai against a yet-to-be-named opponent, but getting Nampon aboard is pretty cool for Lion Fight. The co-main is a pretty big deal as Tetsuya Yamato will once again fight in the United States against American standout Kevin Ross. Ross is coming off of a loss to Matt Embree at Lion Fight 10, which will make the showdown between Yamato and Ross all the more interesting.

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Eddie Walker: The Working Man Heading Into GLORY 5 London

  • Published in Interviews

Eddie Walker (C) Ben Classen/GLORYEddie Walker is a name that has been popping up more and more over the past few years, first in relation with K-1’s resurgence here in the United States, which equated to nothing but false starts for him. Finally Eddie Walker got his shot at the big time when Lion Fight called him up and offered him the fight with Joe Schilling. Schilling is one of the bigger names here in the United States muay thai scene and it was a fight that Walker had been looking to take for a while. The talk was that Eddie was out of his league, that he didn’t stand a chance, and it was no doubt a rough fight for him, until he knocked Joe out.

That set the scene for Walker signing with Glory and appearing in one of their Road to GLORY USA events, fighting in a one-night tournament with himself and Mike Lemaire as the big names. It was fate that evening as Walker cruised through the first few rounds of the tournament before the big main event between Lemaire and Walker went down, a tough fight between two of the better fighters at 187lbs in America with Lemaire walking away with the victory but Walker impressing Glory officials. It turns out that Steve Wakeling didn’t have an opponent for GLORY 5 London after Schilling and Marcus fell through, so he gladly accepted.

“I’m glad to be involved with Glory,” he stated while walking home from his day job as a manager at a recycling plant. “I guess that I impressed Cor and them with my last fight, so they offered me this fight and I was glad to take it.”

Walker divides his time between two careers and a family life, something that not many fighters have to do anymore, but Kickboxing and Muay Thai don’t pay like MMA does, which leaves him working a fulltime job, the same job that he has worked at for 13 years now. His schedule is grueling, to say the least, with him waking up at 4am each day to get in an early morning workout before he heads to work, gets out of work at 3pm and heads home to take care of his kids before his wife comes home. Then after his wife comes home it is straight to the gym where Walker works on honing his skills and preparing for his next fight before it is back home for dinner and rest before starting it all over again.

“It’s exhausting,” he laughed after explaining his day-to-day. “Muay Thai and Kickboxing just don’t pay enough for me to do this full time. MMA might pay that much, but I just don’t have the time to dedicate to the training to feel prepared for MMA right now. So yeah, for now I’m sticking with the job.”

If he were younger and had less responsibilities he might be able to do more in the way of training, but with a family to support he knows that he has to take the hard road. It doesn’t stop him from noticing how younger guys don’t understand what they have, though. “Man, I see these 19, 20 year old kids and they don’t work a fulltime job, they don’t have a family and they half-ass it in the gym. They show up for their fights and they are all out of shape and they look terrible. You gotta put in the work to be a fighter and most aren’t willing to do that.”

Walker's Knockout WallsFamily plays an important role in Walker’s life, as much as he loves fighting and would love to do it fulltime, he understands how important they are and that they come first for him. His wife, Ashley, plays a vital role in his fighting career as well. “My wife is a graphic designer,” he explained. “So she had this idea to take some photos from all of my knockouts and blow them up and hang them up around the house. So I have these ‘Knockout Walls’ all around, it’s kind of cool. She does a lot for me, my marketing and PR, she designed my website, too.”

When asked if he’d like to add Wakeling to his wall, he seemed happy at that prospect. “Oh absolutely, that would be great. Steve’s a great guy, though. I have nothing bad to say about him. I know that there is some promotional video floating around of me saying that I’m gonna knock him out and all of that, but I don’t like trash talk. This is a professional sport and I’m not here to do that crap.”

I was quick to point out that his previous opponent, Joe Schilling, is well known for his trash talk, which seemed like a sore subject for him, as was a rematch. “You know, I respect the guy. The way that fight even started was on Facebook. I made a post asking if I should watch the fight between Marcus and Schilling, two guys that I wanted to fight, or the fight between Tate and Sahak, two guys that I’m friends with. Well, Joe and I were Facebook friends at the time and he made a comment telling me to keep dreaming and whatever. So, you know [Andrew] Tate, right? Well, he and Joe went at it on there and it turned into this big thing.

Eddie Walker/Joe Schilling (C) Scott Hirano/MuayThaiAuthority.com“I just don’t like that trash talk stuff, we’re not in middle school anymore. We are professional fighters in a professional sport, there is no room for that. I found out that he had talked some trash on my wife as well, which you just don’t do. You don’t do that. I didn’t find that out until after the fight, either. I don’t want her to have to deal with that.”

So Walker goes into his fight with Steve Wakeling with a lot of respect for him and his skills as well as everyone else on the card. “Man, so many guys are fighting that I’m not sure that I’ll even show up on anyone’s radar for this fight. Even when I fought Schilling it was an arena full of Schilling fans or people asking me if I was the guy that was fighting Schilling. There are a ton of names on this card, I’ll just get lost in it,” he joked after I ran through the list of names on the card.

Even with his busy schedule, though, he still tries to make time for having some fun, or else he might go crazy from stress. The other day he posted a photo of him holding the new God of War game for PS3, which he laughed about. “That is my game, man. I don’t play a lot of games or anything, in fact, the last game that I played was the last God of War. But man, that is my game, I love them. I had to pick it up right away. Even then, I only got to play for like an hour last night after the kids went to bed, when my wife was just staring at me I knew that I had to stop.”

So while Eddie Walker might not have finished God of War: Ascension before his fight with Steve Wakeling at GLORY 5 London, let’s hope that he has the time after the fight to just sit back and relax for a while. On March 23rd Eddie Walker will meet Steve Wakeling in London on a stacked card headlined by Remy Bonjasky vs. Tyrone Spong.

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