Journey Fight Night Featuring Sugar Cane Coke Chunhawat
By Mike LNg
Journey Fight Night is an 8-man full rules Muay Thai tournament set to happen in Calgary, Canada under Trevor Smandych’s watchful eye as a new promoter. Trevor Smandych is a former protegé of Mike Miles’ gym also of Calgary. Trevor is now in his own gym and is launching his own promotion. I am impressed with the ambitiousness of this event and how far reaching Trevor seems to be into United States’ talent pool. The 140-pound tournament will feature notable Untied States competitors including Coke Chunhawat, Kevin Ross, Mark DeLuca, and Justin Greskiewitz.
Representing the Canadian competitors so far are Matt Embree, Nate Smandych, Josh Palmer, and Parwez Ghulam. Matt Embree comes out of Toronto, Ontario and Siam No.1 gym but has spent a good portion of his time fighting and training in Thailand. Ghulam trains under now in Calgary Shane Campbell who is one of the star students of Alin Halmagean’s Iron Tiger Muay Thai of Toronto.
“Sugar Cane” Coke Chunhawat will be making a swift return to the ring after a second round stoppage of Scott Leffler in Primm, Nevada on 12 February 2011 at the Lion Fight Promotion. Notably Matt Embree is also on the card who Coke defeated in September to capture the WBC Muay Thai National title. Kevin Ross another former rival of Coke, defeated Coke in the Northern California promotion War of the Heroes. Coke brings significantly more experience as a fighter than his competitors but reportedly takes this event very seriously and has begun training very hard.
Kevin Ross is also returning to action quickly after fighting Thailand’s Sittisak Por Sirichai which he lost by split decision. Prior to that bout Ross tallied a unanimous decision win in a match against USA based Thai fighter Malaipet. Interesting note here, both Ross and Chunhawat have both stated they would like an opportunity to fight against one another and perhaps both will get their wish in this coming event.
The schedule begins with March 5th, 2011 beginning the quarter final fights, in June 11th, 2011 the semi-finals begin, and in October 29th, 2011 the finals will commence. I like the intial looks of this. And hopefully this will be the beginning of a circuit of competition that will become very busy between the United States and Canada.
Though this is a World Muay Thai Council (WMC) sanctioned event, international sanction politics aside: these are meaningful fights and it seems Trevor Smandych has recognized the value of this and has in essence pieced together a card featuring the best 140lbs Muay Thai fighters all of North America has offered. Glad to see that the matchmaking in this event recognizes that the fights bring value to the sanction and not the opposite.
Ticket purchasing and information is available at www.ticketpro.ca
Update Kevin Ross will not be participating due to injuries suffered from Ross’ bout with Sittisak Por Sirichai at Lion Fight