“In boxing you never know who you’re going to face in ring.” Manny Pacquiao
So expectations were high as we attended the ‘Hard Knox Fight Night Round II’ event at Du Forum, organised and presented by Aussie Mat Dryden, Muay Thai coach, founder and owner of Cobra Fitness Gym. We attended the hugely successful inaugural event, the first-ever sanctioned Muay Thai fight night in the capital back in March also held at the Du Forum. I am pleased to report that the professional set-up was replicated again this time with the event centred around the ring, the same suited and booted ring announcer Stuee Kennedy (in Vegas’s Michael ‘Lets get ready to rumble’ Buffer style) and scantily clad ring girls.
The event, sponsored by Tourism Thailand, Hard Knox Fight Gear, Victory Motorcycles, Florida Entertainment and Eclipse Staging Services featured fighters from all around the world and showcased the best of MMA, Boxing, Muay Thai and K1 Kickboxing. Two Hard Knox Middle East Titles were up for grabs in the main event bouts with Strike Force’s Matt McTavish taking on Orono Singchatchawan from Colisium and Cobra Fitness’s own fighter, Adrian Garlonta pitted against Jamshid Givechi from Iran.
The crowd enjoyed the variety of styles on offer with two boxing, one K1, one MMA and three Muay Thai fights taking place throughout the evening. Five fights made up the undercard including boxing, K1 (combination of karate, kung-fu and kick boxing), MMA and Muay Thai bouts interspersed with some vertical dance performances.
Music and smoke machines filled the arena as each fighter made their way to the ring creating a dramatic effect and adding to the hype and anticipation of each event. The eldest, a massive boxing fan and personal trainer at Cobra Fitness, was in his element seated next to the announcer and was the official time-keeper.
Cobra’s Liam Purcell took on Cristian Rodriguez from TCC
Once again, I was amazed at the carnage and sheer ferocity that took place in the ring, especially in the brutal Muay Thai battles. Not being a fight pundit myself, I wasn’t always sure what was going on but judging by the noise the brutality was enjoyed by the enthusiastic and vocal crowd. With the fighters being so evenly matched there wasn’t one knock out in sight so the audience were treated to even more action than expected with contests going down to the wire and the judges decisions crucial.
The first of the two main events was a rematch between Matt McTavish against Orono Singchatcha
The last two fights were lacking the over hyped entrances but this didn’t deter the contenders who arrived in the ring focused and ready to rumble. With the Hard Knox titles up for grabs there was everything to fight for and the McTavish verses Singchatcha bout was a rematch after the Thai fighter took the crown last time. Aussie McTavish was unlucky again this time and the Thai fighter retained his belt.
The main event was Garlonta vs. Givechi
All local support was pinned on Romanian Garlonta, who won his event in the Global Fighting Championship in Dubai last month in a second round TKO. Fighting out of the blue corner, Garlonta’s hopes were dashed as his stocky Iranian opponent took the title after fighting a more technical fight.
Givechi out pointed Garlonta rather than outfighting the strong heavy hitter and the judge’s decision went the way of the more experienced technical fighter. Unfortunately for Dryden, who took to the mic curbing his usual colourful language to thank the sponsors, the three Cobra Fitness fighters were unable to match the success of Milena Martinou who won her bout in the first fight night.
Dryden takes centre stage
Eleven time world Muay Thai champion Nathan ‘Carnage’ Corbett from Australia was the special guest of the evening after spending three days at Cobra delivering specialised training seminars and workshops in an exclusive appearance in the UAE.
Cobra’s Milena Martinou won her bout in the Hard Knox debut Fight Night in March (source:Facebook/MuayThaiAbu Dhabi)
We finished off the night’s entertainment at Rush Nightclub located at the nearby Yas Viceroy Hotel where our Fight Night tickets got us 2-4-1 on selected beverages. It sounded like a great idea at the time but one too many S*x on the Beaches later induced another write off ‘Sofa Saturday’, oops! If you are a boxing fan or just fancy a Vegas type night out keep an eye out for Hard Knox Fight Night Round III. For the latest fight news and to find out more about Dryden, Cobra Fitness and the programme visit their Facebook page here
Cobra Fitness Abu Dhabi located at Al Bandar (source:www.facebook.com/muaythaiabudhabi)
Cobra Fitness Gym is located in the basement of the Al Bandar complex in Raha Beach with a full programme built around MMA with several coaches for each discipline including Muay Thai, Boxing, BJJ, fitness and personal training. Also on offer are vertical flex, yoga, Pilates classes and there’s a fully equipped weights gym and 25 meter lap pool.
Adrian Garlonta defeated Davoud Ojaghi to win via TKO in Round 2 of the first scheduled fight during GFC 4 (source:www.facebook.com/GFCevent)
Unless otherwise stated, all photos on this page © Jo Brett 2014. All rights reserved.