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Three title fights highlight Muay Thai event at Foxwoods
Jo Nattawut and Hasan Toy at Lion Fight 33
Jo Nattawut throws a kick at Hasan Toy on Nov. 18.
Photos by Nicola Faraone and John Fulcher
By Brian Woodman Jr.

(Editorial note: all professional bouts have five three-minute rounds and all amateur bouts have three two-minute rounds.)

   “Smokin’” Jo Nattawut (59-6-2) successfully defended his super welterweight championship belt against Hasan Toy (19-9) during Lion Fight 33 on November 18 at Foxwoods Resort and Casino. Nattawut, who trains at Bangkok Fitness in Atlanta, won the main event by unanimous decision -- each judge awarded him a win by 50-45 following the main event.
   Toy, who trains at Gym International in Amsterdam, landed some shots but received repeated kicks to both sides of his body from Nattawut. The champion kicked Toy’s legs out from under him toward the end of the fifth round.
   Antonina Shevchenko (38-1) of Lima, Peru retained the women’s lightweight championship belt during her bout with Ilona Wijmans (45-6-1) during the co-main event. Shevchenko, who trains at Tiger Muay Thai Phuket and recently signed a five-fight extension of her contract with Lion Fight, won by unanimous decision.
   She clearly dominated Wijmans, who trains out of Gym Hoofddorp in Rotterdam, for the entire fight -- she caught her kicks and threw her to the mat several times during the bout. Wijmans attempted to clinch several times with Shevchenko but was bleeding from her face by the end of the fight.
   The first title fight on the main card was a bout between Regian Eersel (40-4) of Plymouth, Massachusetts and Jake Purdy (27-7-1) of Exeter, Devon England. Eersel, who trains out of the Sityodtong Gym, earned the only win by finish that evening -- he knocked out Purdy, who trains at FSC Muay Thai, with a flying knee to the chin and secured a victory by TKO at 2:41 in the second round. This earned Eersel (who is remembered for knocking out Nattawut during Lion Fight 29 on May 27 at Foxwoods) the vacant super middleweight title.
   Eersel, who made his entrance to the ring wearing an odd mask, knocked Purdy down three times during the fight with punching combinations before that flying knee landed, requiring the referee to count up to eight each time before the fight continued. 
   During the fight, Eersel nearly fell out of the ring twice -- once during the clinch and once after throwing a flying knee.

Regian Eersel's memorable entrance at Lion Fight 33 in CT
Regian Eersel makes a memorable entrance at Lion Fight 33.
Photos by Nicola Faraone and John Fulcher
   Andres Juedi (3-1) of Sityodtong Boston and P.J. Sweda (2-1) of Rami Elite went back and forth during the middleweight bout that opened the main card. Juedi seemed confident and even mocking during some of the fight, slipping and dodging many of Sweda’s punches and elbows -- he even shook his head after shaking off a series of kicks (including a flying kick) from Sweda. But despite Juedi’s effective defense and punching (two judges awarded him the final round), Sweda won by split decision.
   Yeison Berdugo (2-2) of Sparta Muay Thai in Providence, Rhode Island earned a unanimous decision during the next fight -- a lightweight bout with Anthony Carparo (0-1) of Kernsburg, New Jersey, who trains at The Institute. The fight opened with both fighters exchanging several lower leg kicks. But Berdugo clearly dominated the fight despite some spirited exchanges of blows, at one point briefly unloading on Carparo with punches before landing a flying knee to his chin.
   Chip Moraza-Pollard (1-0), who also trains at Sityodtong, earned a split decision victory during a cruiserweight bout with Brett Hlavacek (2-1) of New York City’s The Wat. Moraza-Pollard fought conservatively during the first round, gently prodding Hlavacek with his gloves, but they were exchanging spinning elbows and fighting at a quick pace by the fifth round.

Yeison Berdugo and Anthony Carparo at Lion Fight 33
Yeison Berdugo, left, and Anthony Carparo prepare to exchange blows at Foxwoods.
Photos by Nicola Faraone and John Fulcher
The amateur results are as follows:

Ava Scheininger defeated Rola Idris during a super bantamweight bout by unanimous decision.

Niko Qijazo defeated Slawek Gubermat during a super welterweight bout by unanimous decision.

J. Luck Henry defeated Chris Cunningham during a light heavyweight bout by unanimous decision.

Nick Lopez defeated Hussein Elsadeck during a middleweight bout by split decision.

Julian Nyguen defeated Oliver Jimenez during a welterweight bout by unanimous decision.

Flavio Brita defeated Josh Ford during a cruiserweight bout by unanimous decision.