Leo ‘Amendoim’ Monteiros Talks with the Science
Recently I had the pleasure of talking with Leo Monteiros on the wings of his recent Z-1 World title win. Leo ‘Amendoim’ Monteiros is a Brazillian professional Muay Thai boxer who has trained and lived in Thailand since 2007. Leo has since fought an extremely busy schedule internationally in Thailand and in Malaysia and recently won the Z-1 World Muay Thai championship at 63.5 KG against Abbas Ahmadi a former World Professional MuayThai Federation champion at the Z-1 Muay Thai series final of March 2010.
Leo’s title wins include:
TM Z1 World Champion 2010
Queens Cup Winner 2009
Kings Cup Winner 2008
WMC M.A.D Champion 2008
Chaweng Stadium Champion 2008
Sao Paulo State Champion 2006
How did you get your start in Muay Thai?
My Brazilian coach and now MMA fighter, Eduardo Pamplona is responsible for my start. We first trained capoeira together and then he started to teach Muay Thai.
I tried one class, had fun and after this I changed all of my life to be a fighter.
What made you decide to further your Muay Thai training in Thailand?
Training in Thailand is a dream for Brazilians because it’s too far and nobody used to live and train here. We always used to watch the fights and one day I asked Cosmo Alexandre if he wants to try to live there for 6 months. He said ok, our girlfriends said ok too, and we packed everything and came. But 6 months in Thailand for me wasn’t enough and I’m still here since 2007.
What are some of the differences in training in Thailand has made for you?
In Brazil there’s only a few gyms where you can train Muay Thai like you can in Thailand. All the gyms in Brazil offer are kickboxing classes. You can learn how to kick and fight but you cannot learn Muay Thai.
Clinch, elbows, and knees are the Thai secret. I came to Thailand with 10 K-1 rules fights. I had to learn everything again: how to kick, how to punch, control my balance, and clinch. For sure, I’m a differnt and better fighter and I need to give thanks to Thailand for all the changes in my game.
What is your total fight record right now?
Now I have 48 fights, 32 wins, 16 Ko and 1 draw.
Is Muay Thai your full time job?
Who has been your toughest opponent so far?
This fighter was in Brazil and his name is Anderson Coelho. I was a beginner, maybe it was my 5th fight and the guy was not that good but he had a lot more experience than me. I was a new name to fighting, with a good style and people want to test me. I liked to watch Muay Thai fights, and preferred to kick. My coach used to tell me to improve my hands but I refused because I liked to kick. Than this guy came at me punching and punching for 3 rounds non-stop and gave me a hell of fight. I couldn’t find the distance for kicking and lost my concentration because my main weapon (at that time) wasn’t working. I lost on points after 3 rounds and had 2 days of a headache and a black eye but learned to listen to my coach. It was good for me.
Can you tell me about your nick name ‘Amendoim’? In Portugese this translates to ‘peanut’. How did you get this nickname?
When I started to train capoeira I was chubby, bald and black. Then the master told me: This kid looks like a peanut: black and round. And that was it. Then my Muay Thai coach in Brazil came from the same capoeira club… no escape.
I’ve noticed all the fights I have seen you participate in have been full rules with elbows. Do you prefer this style to modified rules without elbows?
I prefer full Thai rules and 80% of my fights are under those rules but K-1 or European rules pay a lot better. One day I will need to put on some weight, fight without elbows, and make real money.
If you could get a rematch with any past opponent who would it be and why?
There’s one guy in Brazil that talks too much after a win in a split decision. But nowadays a fight against him will not help me in anyway. I don’t want to rematch anybody but I will only if I have to.
What country would you like most to fight in next?
I love to fight in Thailand. The crowd is awesome: every single jab thrown and they scream with their souls. I love it! After Thailand, it’s Malaysia for sure. They respect me a lot and I always put on good fights there. And I also got two belts there. It’s my lucky place.
Brazil is known for having many good Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) fighters is there many good Muay Thai fighters in Brazil?
Muay Thai fighters are few because we don’t have competitions under full Thai rules (only K-1 rules). And when somebody start to gets good he switches to MMA to get better money.
Are there any upcoming nak muays in Brazil we should look for?
The only way to become a real fighter is to come to Thailand and start fighting here.
Now there’s 2 young boys living in Malaysia. Thiago Teixeira is about 70kg with very strong hands and Igor Pedote is a technical fighter but needs to be more aggressive and strong. There’s also another boy but he lives in Brazil called Yugo Ohye. You’re gonna hear about him this year.
Where do you train in Thailand?
I train in Bangkok at Kiatpetch.
What is the most important thing for a beginner in Muay Thai to learn?
What do you think is the best attribute for a Muay Thai boxer? Speed or strength?
Doesn’t matter if you’re quick and strong if you don’t have a brain. A good head is for thinking not for being punished.
Do you prefer the single fight or the tournament to compete in?
Single fights with 5 rounds. I don’t have experience for fight tournaments and 3 rounds fights.
What other sports do you like besides Muay Thai?
In Thailand, any. In Brazil I used to surf, motocross, climbing, yoga and capoeira. But here, I spend all my free time to rest and recharge my batteries.
Any final words for your fans?
Thanks again Leo!