Muay Thai Grand Prix returned to the O2 Indigo on April 1, 2017, in London for their seventh event, MTGP 7, with six title fights on the main card.
Championship performances by Peters and Barlow
Charlie Peters successfully defended his MTGP welterweight title against Theo Michailidis from Greece with a fourth round stoppage. The fight could’ve ended towards the end of the third round but Michailidis survived the count after being dropped in the corner under pressure from Peters. However, in the fourth
The fight could’ve ended towards the end of the third round but Michailidis survived the count after being dropped in the corner under pressure from Peters. However, in the fourth round, the pressure would get too much for the Michailidis and Pavlos Kaponis who, was cornering him would wave the towel for the referee to stop the fight.
Iman Barlow was too strong in the end for Therese Gunnarsson and although the stoppage came late in the fifth round for “Pretty Killer”, on this occasion, she made sure nothing was left for the judges between them in what was a rematch, following Barlow’s decision victory against Gunnarsson in March 2015.
Despite the outcome, the rematch wasn’t a one-sided affair and both ladies performed well, especially in the face kicking/teeping department. However, Iman finally captured the MTGP women’s bantamweight title after the disappointment of Funda Diken not turning up at, MTGP 6 due to last minute visa problems, allegedly.
Future stars of UK Muay Thai collide
Luciano Mendola was back to winning ways, causing an upset of the night with, a good performance and split decision win against Evan Jays for, the vacant junior bantamweight ISKA European title.
Although some might say it was close and others might strongly disagree, both young fighters are two to watch out for and have the ingredients to go on and achieve even bigger and better things under the guidance of their respective coaches, Christian Knowles and Kieran Keddle. No doubt both Mendola and Jays will meet again in the near future and a healthy rivalry could well develop between them in years to come.
Controversial decisions strike again
A couple of controversial decisions of the night involved the outcomes of Michael Pham vs. Shane O’Neil for the vacant ISKA European welterweight title and Bart Tweed vs. Reiya.
Pham was left looking the more damaged fighter, needing eight stitches to a very bad cut to his face (but was in good spirits afterwards). However, the majority of the spectators were in disagreement at how the decision wasn’t awarded to O’Neil.
Whereas the look of disgust on Reiya’s face (and his corner team) when the majority decision for Tweed was announced, epitomised the general resentment towards the official announcement by the audience.
Tweed had been more dominant in the first two rounds but as the fight progressed, Reiya’s momentum grew as he increasingly pushed the fight more and landed plenty of clean strikes. A close fight indeed and a fine example of why the role of officials in scoring Muay Thai fights, isn’t an easy job by any stretch.
Two to watch out for this year
Ryan Li and Nicolas Medes are two fighters to watch out for this year from their emphatic victories at MTGP 7.
Li’s technically strong yet Muay Thai savagery against Leon James was one hell of a performance on the night. Despite great efforts by James, Li was overwhelming him as the each round went by in securing the decision.
Nicolas Medes had too much height and reach for Jesus Arias to cope with but Medes’s knees and elbows were something else too (not just his man mountain of a frame and presence at 76kg in the ring). By the second round, it was simply too much for Arias who was completely outclassed before, the referee waived off the fight after counting to seven after Medes had sent him to the canvas.
Muay Thai Grand Prix 7 – Results:
59kg MTGP world championship defence:
Jose Varela def. Rung Kharnphan via unanimous decision
53.5kg MTFP world championship, title fight:
Iman Barlow def. Therese Gunnarsson via TKO (rd 5)
66.7kg MTGP world championship defence:
Charlie Peters def. Theo Michailidis via TKO (rd 4)
63kg ISKA European title fight:
Carlton Lieu def. Julian Ariza via unanimous decision
52.5kg ISKA European title fight:
Luciano Mendola def. Evan Jays via split decision
67kg ISKA European title fight:
Michael Pham def. Shane O’Neill via unanimous decision
Paul Barber def. Alex Dass via KO (rd 1)
Bart Tweed def. Reiya via majority decision
Ryan Li def. Leon Jason via unanimous decision
Nicolas Mendes def. Jesus Arias via KO (rd 2)
James Toomey def. Daniel Terry via unanimous decision
Jenna Ross def. Kelly Haynes via unanimous decision
Phil Casper def. Fabio Agius via unanimous decision