Muaythai is truly a special sport surrounded by a community of committed athletes, artisans and advocates.  Last night that community converged at the Los Angeles Marriott in Burbank, CA courtesy of Dennis Warner’s WCK Full Rules Muay Thai promotion and Cali Muay Thai Series for an invigorating night of amateur and professional muay thai bouts loaded with style, heart, a little blood and plenty of KOs.  Thank you to all of the fighters who left it all in the ring, the coaches, trainers, doctors, paramedics, ring officials, judges, gyms, training partners, families, friends and fight fans who made Cali 23: The Mega Show an unforgettable night of Muaythai.

The First Bout of the Night

I am a huge fan of both the gyms who represented the night’s initial fighters.  Kim Bui of Muay Thai America Gym won a Unanimous Decision over Natthanicha “Sunny” Kudsanoi of Muay Thai School USA after three exciting rounds.  It was an honor to witness as both fighters produced their fare share of Ooohs and Ooooheeeehs from the packed house.  In this image Kru Dan Mayid gives his fighter Sunny Kudsanoi all that he has as he does day in and day out on either side of the ropes.  I’m always enamored by that which transpires between trainer and fighter during the contest.  It’s undoubtedly an exchange that my camera is always blessed to find.

A Night Packed With KOs

Patrick Guzman of Primal MMA won over Chris Guerra in a stunning first round KKO by shin kick to the head.  The Primal MMA family came out in massive support and albeit the celebration for Patrick’s victory was intense, so too was the concern for Chris Guerra’s well being as paramedics carried him out secured to a stretcher.  We were all happy to soon learn that Guerra recovered fully.

Other KOs included another stunning KKO by ring veteran Adam Rothweiler over a game and aggressive Yumi Horuichi from Japan (Rnd 2); Brandol Mendoza (Sityodtong LA) over Raj Patel (Rnd 3); Niko Ruiz over Ghiath Daker (Rnd 2), Christopher Bonilla over Oscar Moller (Rnd 1).  The Oscar Moller KO was interesting to watch as I’ve witnessed Moller’s previous fights and he’s a fierce combatant with excellent technique and heart.  Bonilla seemingly took advantage of Moller’s low hands and it cost Moller the fight early on.  I for one will be looking to learn more about that one especially from Moller’s side if he’s ever down to share any of the experience in an interview.

Brandol Mendoza and Raj Patel went to war from the first bell.  Everyone was on their feet during that entire contest.  A KO was eminent with the pace and ferocity at which that fight progressed.  Mad respect to both these warriors for their excellent Muaythai and intensity in the ring.  It was truly an honor to witness.

Another one of my favorite fighters April Vergara (Boxing Works, Torrance CA) had her hands full with Ashley Thiner.  This was my first time learning of Thiner but her and April went at it seriously as well.  In this image Boxing Works head coach Bryan Popejoy leads the instruction for Vergara between rounds.  Congrats to April Vergara and the Boxing Works family on her win by Split Decision and mad respect to both these fighters for an unforgettable performance.

It's Not Boxing or MMA - This Is Muay Thai

Since my introduction to Muaythai in 2015, I (among many others) have been a devoted fan of Brian “Bad Boy” Del Rosario (Saekson Muay Thai).  I first saw his opponent Antonio Arango when he fought earlier this year at WCK Ultimate Conquest card in San Diego.  I knew this one was gonna be “a cracker”; and boy was it ever.  These two went for broke but after 5 rounds it was Del Rosario over Arango by Unanimous Decision.

Sovenkasa Som aka: The Prince of Cambodia (Long Beach Khmer Kickboxing & Team Victory Muay Thai) is one of the slickest practitioners of the Art of Eight Limbs you’ll find and has been making a name for himself as well as making his debut recently as a pro.  What I enjoyed the most from Som in this fight against an aggressive and game James Acosta (Systems Training Center) was Som’s composure.  This fight was Acosta’s professional debut so he showed up throwing with bad intentions and connected effectively on Som.  It just wasn’t enough as Som’s movement, positioning, defense and arsenal of strikes won whom some like to call “Baby Buakaw” the W by Majority Decision.

My man Travis Garlits (Muay Thai School USA) ended up in a Split Draw with the young prodigy Gianna Carlo Di Chiara Vasquez.  Gianna was familiar to me when I saw him moving around the ring but I still can’t actually place where I’ve seen him before.  Perhaps I caught him fighting MMA on another occasion?  But, nonetheless, this kid showed up to fight; and if you know anything at all then you know that the D.T.S. behind Travis Garlits’ name stands for Down To Scrap – and scrap they did!  They kept it moving, got a little nasty with it and kept the room on their feet for four non-stop rounds.  Garlits seemed to be a bit in his head and rightfully so as his better half Ms. Ana Flores stood close by as pregnant as she could ever be!  Both Garlits and Som are expecting daddies and there’s a whole world of adoring fans who can’t wait to help them welcome their gifts into this dimension.  A Split Draw.  I mean, can a fight be scored any closer than that?  Great fight boys!

The Stars Were Out Tonight

Muaythai’s best showed up to The Mega Show on both sides of the ropes.  Fight fans were treated to a headline match up between Damien Earley and Josh “El Gato” Aragon (Sityodtong LA).  Nick “The Golden Boy” Chasteen was in his brother’s corner as expected and it’s always great to see my favorite fighters in the house like Chasteen! World Champion fighters were also spotted around including Artem “The Russian Experiment” Sheroshkin, Chidi Njokuani and Chuck Liddell; as well as West Coast Muay Thai founder Galen Okazaki, illustrator and apparel designer Jack Jittsu (Satrawoot); legendary boxing preservationist and fight photographer Marty Rockatansky; and living legend Kru Saekson Janjira.  Mad respect to one and all.

A mad thanks to Richard De La Cruz for his tireless efforts behind the scenes at WCK Full Rules Muay Thai; and The Voice In The Ring Chris Gregory for leading us all through each and every memorable WCK fight night.

Enjoy the full collection of high resolution photographs from this fight and other fights in the Photographs section of this website.