Yo, I’m still reeling from this past weekends WCK muay thai fights at the Bicycle Casino in Bell Gardens, CA. Get settled in cuz this will likely be an epic post!

I went into the night excited for the rematch between Ana Flores and Colleen Duffy as well as Natalie Morgan’s pro debut.  Little did I know that the night would far surpass my own humble expectations and include encounters with more than a few muay thai greats like Kevin Ross, Gaston Belaños, Ky Hollenbeck, Ariana ‘Pink Lady’ Gomez, April Vergara and Brian Del Rosario.   First, a head nod and thank you to Dustin Pagliughi, Dennis Warner and the entire team at #WCK for organizing such a well oiled event!  I wore the promoter hat myself for a number of years during my journey so I can appreciate proper event programming and execution.  With that said the best way to share the event with you here is to take you through it chronologically, just as I experienced it.

UPON ARRIVAL

the first indication that this was gonna be an epic night was the venue.  The Bicycle Casino was an easy drive from West LA and a pleasure to visit.  From the valet parking, to the gambling areas and staff everything was well managed and running smooth.  There was no underlying feeling of stress or madness that can comw with a disorganized or mismanaged organization.  After will call I enterrd the event center where I promptly ran into The Pink Lady herself Ariana Gomez who wasn’t shy about posing for a picture!  The ring was immaculate and well lit for the television cameras.  Great, my camera will love that light just as much!  I rolled out with just one camera body on this night but did have two lenses, including a recently acquired 40mm f/2.8  pancake lens which I was confident would be my go to option on this night; and it was!

I was surprised to see Natalie “Ladykillface” Morgan in the seating area as I thought she was fighting tonight in her pro debut. But in true champion form she confirmed that she was not fighting tonight and buttoned that announcement with a shrug and a smile.  She was chilling with Galen Okazaki founder of  West Coast Muay  This guy is obviously Cali area muay thai royalty and I see him everywhere I show my face.  I’m a proud owner of two of their tee shirt products and they’ve just released this Satra line.  Not sure yet what Satrawoot means, but I enjoy learning about the plethora of custom and culture around the centuries old Art of 8 Limbs.

PRE-FIGHT WARM-UPS

The fighters at #WCK #Cali16 were provided two prep areas denoted by Red or Blue, which was kinda cool.  I’m such a newbie to muay thai and to the world that almost everything blows my mind LOL!  Being as this was a followup to #Cali14 back in March, it was cool to see lots of faces that I was already familiar with.  Evan Boulton, Lorenzo Orozco Jr, Alyshia “Code Red” Madison, you know, I gotta say, it’s always something special to watch #CodeRedMadison and her trainer Steven Frye prep and work together.  I remember his voice bellowing out over the crowd at #Cali14 when Alyshia Madison fought Crystal Lagunes… “ai’ght Red… let’s go Red… time to go Red…”  It was a privilege and honor to witness them preparing for this fight tonight.  Kru Rob of Team Victory Muay Thai was constantly wrapping hands and every diligent in his care and support of his fighters.  He too is someone that seems to basically be in everyone’s corner at one point or another.  He’s a super devoted muay thai advocate.  I look forward to experiencing their energy and spirit at Team Victory as soon as I’m training again!

THE FIGHTS

Man, all of the fights were excellent!  I mean every bout was exciting, all of the fighters brought it and the outcomes were surprising and electrifying!  I was super stoked for both Lorenzo Orozco, Jr and Alyshia ‘Code Red’ Madison on their wins.  Madison fought Vanessa Gonzalez Leon who is simply a powerhouse!  I watched her prep and she’s like a tiger; just raging and focused.  But Alyshia Madison was patient and her technique was really on par.  It was a great fight and thank you to both of those warriors for their inspiring performances.  I was completely gitty at the sight of one of my very favorite muay thai fighters Kevin Ross in the prep area with Eddie Abasolo who was punching a tennis ball tied to his head.  As soon as I saw #Dasoulassassin in Abasolo’s corner I knew that Eddie Abasolo was going to be some kind of special.  He fought crowd favorite Josh Aragon (El Gato) for the WBC Middleweight Title so that was destined to be a good one for sure!  By the time the fight actually went down though, Eddie Abasolo’s corner was full to the brim with a posse of North America’s baddest muay thai fighters.  Ky Hollenbeck, Gaston Belaños, Kevin Ross and Artem Sharoshkin all in his corner at the same time.  Shit I was like a fucking teenager jumping around taking shots of them all and fist-bumping like I knew them or something.  Ha!  They were probably like, who the fuck is this dude?  But, that’s another reason I love Muay Thai so much; because even the baddest mother fuckers on the planet aren’t too cool to say what up?!?!.  That’s real!

Let’s see what else…I could go on about the fights on this night. I mean, there were ten bouts that night so if I were to write about them all it’d be a fucking novel.  But I can’t end this post without talking a little about the vendetta bout between Colleen Duffy and Ana Flores.  Ah buddy, these two!  When they get at it it’s always real!  I was there for their #Cali14 fight which left Colleen Duffy a bloody mess as Ana Flores took the W via Unanimous Decision. This fight was also high paced and vicious.  Colleen kept the cuts to a minimum but did take home some purple quads courtesy of Ana Flores’ low leg kicks.

Okay, I gotta wrap this thing up!  Don’t forget to jump over to the PHOTOGRAPHS SECTION OF THIS SITE to see some great images from the fights; and be sure to check out the Mansilla vs Gogo fight.  That was also epic in it’s action, energy and technique.  My time in the ring is eminent; but at present I’m nursing some injuries away and it sucks not training.  I’ll be sure to jump into that topic in one of the podcasts.  Yes that’s right I said Podcast!  I’ll be launching a monthly podcast series just as soon as I can figure out the whole hardware/software/technical side of it all; which I’m close to nailing down actually!

Enjoy the complete Cali 16: Heavy Hitters 2 photo sets HERE and please do comment and share.  Live well, laugh often, love much!  Sawadee!

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