Luis Bio Talks to the Science
By Mike LNg
Luis Bio has been steadily getting recognition in the United States and in Mexico for his fighting prowess in Muay Thai. From a steady stream of fights internationally in China, Mexico and the United States, Luis’ career in the science of 8 limbs is very much in an upward trajectory. Luis splits time between Mexico and the United States to train at San Diego, California’s Boxing Club with Caine Gayle where he refines his Muay Thai technique. “El Shogun” as Luis is sometimes known has in the past captured the ITBO Mexican National Muay Thai Champion and IKKC Western Middleweight Champion. Recently, Luis also added some more ring fight gold in the form of the WBC Muay Thai national title of Mexico. Luis Bio ended the fight with a 1 round stoppage of his opponent Alejandro Nunez to become the WBC Muay Thai national champion of Mexico during the WBC’s 48th Convention held in Cancun, Mexico.
Q: How did you get started in Muay Thai and where did you first start training?
A: I first started with kickboxing at Jose Guardado’s gym in Ensenada, Mexico. My older brother got me into it since he had been training for a couple of weeks and every day he would try to convince me to check the gym out, and so he did – but honestly I tried it so he would stop being so annoying!
Mexico is not known for producing many Thaiboxers. How is the state of Muay Thai over there?
There doesn’t seem to be much authentic Muay Thai in Mexico. There are some guys that have travelled to Thailand and trained for a week and now they think they deserved to be called “Kru” but they have never competed seriously. And then there are those that learn through youtube. There is lots of boxing gyms and now MMA gyms so there is a lot of potential. I hope with WBC Muay Thai creating the national committee here in Mexico we can increase the level of training and competition.
I understand you train in the United States also. How did you come by this training arrangement?
Well, one day I ran into Dennis Leung, my actual manager,in Mexico and we started training together for a year or so until he felt I couldn’t learn more from him. So he brought me over to The Boxing Club in San Diego, CA where Melchor Menor was the head Muay Thai instructor. Dennis had trained under Melchor for a couple of years after he left Fairtex in San Fransisco, and so I became part of “Team M”. Two years ago I started training with Caine Gayle who was originally one of Mel’s students and for the past 5 years I’ve been driving 150 miles every weekend to train in the US.
What would you like to see change in Mexico to make the sport of Muay Thai grow over there?
Now with the WBC brand behind Muay Thai, I hope that it can help create a bigger market with sponsored events and fighters. Fighters usually only stay in their region because there is not enough money to fly fighters out and pay their purse, hotel, etc. Fighters end up getting offered the equivalent to US$90-$160 to fight in their hometown. With better money, fighters can actually focus more on training and competing, creating a better show and generating more popularity.
You recently won the Mexico championship for WBC Muay Thai. Has this helped raise your profile in Mexico?
Yes it has, there aren’t many WBC Muay Thai champions in my country and only maybe one or two others fight or have fought internationally. Winning the WBC Muay Thai national championship has definitely put me on the map because it is something fighters want and now they have to fight me to get it.
There seems to be some gradual growth of Muay Thai in the western hemisphere. How do you feel the level of the United States and Mexico is in Muay Thai compared to the rest of the world?
I think there are some really good fighters in the U.S. Unfortunately, because of the high cost of living, Muay Thai fighters are part time fighters with a full time job. That limits the level of training a fighter can have. Muay Thai in areas like Thailand, Japan, Europe, and Australia create more high quality fighters because there is a market for it.
How has your experience been fighting abroad now in China?
My last few fights have been in China and it has been awesome. It is the birth place of martial arts. The people there enjoy and understand martial arts. The promoters Tony Chen and Dennis Warner really have something going there. We are well taken care of, we get paid, and the events are very, very well produced. The only negative is that they don’t like full Muay Thai rules so it limits your weapons. The refereeing and judging there is also questionable.
How would you compare American audiences to Chinese ones?
The Chinese audience is very passionate and respectful. As I mentioned, the people there have a background and history of martial arts where as in America that is not always the case. I remember at an event in the US where my team mate, Artem Sharoskin, fought and people were yelling racial slurs at him, that was sad. On the positive side, Americans tell you how they feel so they won’t be shy to give you positive feedback also.
Do you prefer Wu Lin Feng rules or Muay Thai rules?
Muay Thai, definitely.
What so far has been your toughest fight?
I fought Ryuji Goto from Japan when I first turned pro.
Is there any opponents you would like most to rematch with?
Yes, I would like to rematch Xu Yan with Muay Thai rules. He broke my nose in the first round in China and I ended up losing by split decision.
Have you trained in Thailand yet? And if not would you like to?
I was at Sityodtong in Pattaya a couple of years ago and trained with Nuengpichit,a 2x Lumpinee Champ, he is awesome! Training in Thailand is only good if you know someone or are someone, otherwise – it’s a basic 1-2 kick combination all day long.
Growing in the sport who were some of your earliest heroes in Muay Thai?
Yoddecha Sityodtong, Ramon Dekkers, Samart Payakaroon.
Whats your favorite technique to use in Muay Thai?
I like the long knee.
Now that you’ve won the WBC national championship in Mexico what other goals would you like to achieve in Muay Thai?
The goal now is to get a shot at an International WBC Muay Thai title. And I would also like to fight for the WBC Muay Thai Mexican National title at 154 lbs.
You are quite tall for a middleweight fighter. Would you eventually gain weight and go into a larger weight class?
Actually I feel much better fighting at 154 lbs., so I think I’ll move down a weight class next year. My pro debut was at 168 lbs. and I felt very slow and weak, going up would not be a possibility for now.
Who far has been your toughest opponent and why?
Ryuji Goto. We fought on the Titans 3rd event in Japan and John Wayne Parr (JWP) was also on that card. I remember when JWP found out I was fighting Goto, he said was “Ooh, he’s a very tough guy! Don’t expect him to go down!!” and he was right. Goto would just keep coming at me! If I only knew then what I know now I would have been able to deal with him.
Leading up to a fight how does your diet and exercise regimen change?
It changes drastically, my strength and conditioning coach in Mexico writes down a nutrition plan every time I have a fight coming up, and I go from eating two or three big meals a day (since my daily schedule is very busy), to 6 balanced meals + supplements. And no more tacos…that’s what I hate the most!
What other activities do you enjoy outside of Muay Thai?
Sleeping!! I’m an Industrial Engineer and Business Analyst that works 10-11 hours a day at a manufacturing plant (Navico) in Mexico, and if you add 2-3 hours of training every day you’ll find that by the time I get home I’m completely drained. Any time I have a chance to take a nap or simply rest I go for it!
Do you have any messages for new and old fans?
I would like to thank all the people that have supported me and this sport, my coaches, promoters Dennis Warner and Tony Chen and my manager Dennis Leung.And to all the latino fans, muchas gracias por su apoyo! Saludos!
Much thanks to Luis Bio and Dennis Leung for helping to make this interview possible.