Victorian muay thai fans are in for an entertaining night of fights this weekend as Warriors Way returns with a headline bout featuring newly crowned Australian champion River Daz, and a lightweight tournament between four of Victoria’s best fighters.
The King Reigns Supreme
Always a crowd favourite at Warriors Way, Daz will be looking to continue his undefeated fight career and solidify his standing as one of the best fighters in Australia right now when he takes on the formidable Western Australian Ben Cant over five rounds of full muay thai rules.
Daz returns to the ring after a month off following his incredible victory at Rebellion Muay Thai 20 in August where he won the World Muay Thai Council (WMC) Professional Australian title. Putting in a dominant display against the Queensland champion Andy Juniku, Daz won the fight via TKO in the second round, claiming the 23rd win of his fight career. In what has been a busy year of fighting Daz will be looking to cap it off with another victory and further extend his unbeaten record.
Looking to deliver the Australian champion’s first loss of his career will be the skilled Ben Cant who trains out of Riddlers Gym under the tutelage of Australian muay thai icon Darren ‘Riddler’ Reece. Having made the move to Riddler’s gym a little over a year ago, Cant now finds himself training alongside some of Australia’s strongest fighters including Lloyd Dean, George Mann, Tyler Hardcastle, Barrie Oliver and Amanda Thompson. Cant, a southpaw with vicious leg kicks, last fought in June on Epic Muay Thai 19 where he beat Thai fighter Teerawat Hoysung via TKO in the second round.
The Battle for Lightweight Supremacy
Carrying on from the action-packed 4-man lightweight tournament at Warriors Way 21, promoter Mark ‘The Hammer’ Castagnini has again chosen to focus on the lightweights, assembling one of the strongest lineups possible, albeit without the division’s reigning king River Daz, who took out the last tournament. Pitted against each other on the night will be Indigo Boyd, Ramesh Habib, Quan Trinh and Albert Xavier.
With many of the fighters having previously fought each other on separate occasions, the chances of a feeling out period early on will be slim and the action should be fast and furious from the opening bell. Having to fight twice in one night will test each fighter who has to balance the desire to stay fresh for a possible final while wanting to put their opponents away as quickly as possible.
On paper, the tournament favourite will be the skilled Ramesh Habib who is coming off a comprehensive win at Rebellion Muay Thai 20 in August against Queensland prospect Brandon Spain. Habib posses the perfect build for muay thai with his long legs and incredible reach, able to keep his opponents at a distance while he continually wears them down with pinpoint accurate push kicks. Habib has fought some of the best fighters in Australia at 63kg and deserves his position as one of the top fighters in the division.
While Habib will command the favourite’s position on the night, Indigo Boyd proved back in April that he is a fighter not to be underestimated after reaching the last tournament final with a TKO victory over Habib. Cutting him with a textbook spinning elbow, Boyd went on to lose a tough battle against Daz but stood tall having gone into the final with a broken arm, an injury that occurred in the first fight. Now fully recovered and training like a man on a mission, Boyd will be looking to surprise many on the night and go one step further this time by securing the 4-man crown.
The ‘Timorese Assasin’ Albert Xavier returns after a six-month layoff to join the lineup where he will offer all three of his opponents a tough fight as looks to use his well-rounded set of skills to take out the title. His last bout was in March at Roots Muay Thai 6 where he lost a close fight to Sulaiman Hashemi over three rounds. With a fight record littered with battles against some of Victoria’s best, Xavier will enter the tournament with a high level of confidence and also the ability to take it out with a solid performance on the night.
The dark horse of the tournament will be fast-rising prospect Quan Trinh who will come into the tournament as the underdog. Training alongside some of Australia’s best in Alexi Petroulias, Alex Ilijoski and Chris Nguyen, Trinh will be incredibly well prepared to face any of his three prospective opponents on the night. His position amongst the lineup has been solidified with a great run of results including a win against tough Western Australian Leo Nguyen back at Rebellion Muay Thai 20 in August, where he walked away with a close points decision. Clearly on a roll in the division, Trinh has more than earned his opportunity to scrap with the state’s best.
Victorian Prospects Looking to Shine
In one of the main feature bouts of the night, Melbourne’s Corey Barrett will take on Thai fighter Nattakit Pakkawan who is currently based out of the SRG Thai Boxing Gym in Sydney. Barrett returns to Warriors Way looking to continue a strong run of results in the second half of 2018. Having spent time this year living and training out of Rawai Muaythai in Thailand, and winning two fights via stoppage whilst there, Barrett continues to improve with each and every fight. His last outing was against one of Victoria’s best welterweights, Liam Wright, who he bested over three rounds with a majority decision victory.
A last-minute addition to the card, talented Queenslander Jada Ketley will be travelling down to Melbourne to take on the tough Victorian Tamika DeCesare in what will be an entertaining bout between two skilled fighters who will be eager for the win. Ketley has only recently arrived back in Australia following an extended training stint in Johannesburg, South Africa, while DeCesare will be raring to go after her last opponent at Roots Muay Thai in August had to withdraw due to injury.
The stacked 13-fight card will take place this Saturday, at the home of Warriors Way, the Doncaster Shopping Town Hotel, and will be the promotion’s final event of the year.
- Lightweight 4-Man Eliminator:
- Ramesh Habib
- Indigo Boyd
- Quan Trinh
- Albert Xavier
- Lightweight Tournament Final
- River Daz vs Ben Cant
- Corey Barrett vs Nattakit Pakkawan (THA)
- Dean Vujic vs Ross Clark
- Jada Ketley vs Tamika DeCesare
- Kyle Leung vs Mason Lawson
- Talia Pranskunas vs Jenny Ngo
- Lightweight Tournament Semi-Final #2
- Lightweight Tournament Semi-Final #1
- Iwan Jones vs Van Phan
- Kore Ormsby vs Matthew Wilson
- Cristian D’Alberto vs Braden Tsam
- Georgia Verry vs Diana Wong