By Brian Woodman Jr.
(September 15 -- Mashantucket, CT)
The Las Vegas-based promotion Lion Fight presented its 46th Muay Thai event on Saturday Foxwoods Resort Casino hosted the event, which featured three amateur bouts on the preliminary card and five professional bouts on the main card -- all the professional bouts ended in knockouts.
The preliminary card included the organization’s first amateur title bout -- a five-round super welterweight fight on the prelim card that ended between Shaun Shubert of Holbrook, Massachusetts and Jurrell Laronal of Boston. Shubert won by split decision (the scores were 48-47 and 49-46 in favor of Shubert with the other judge scoring it 48-47 for Laronal).
The headlining event on the main card was a cruiserweight fight between Steve Walker (6-0), Lion Fight’s North American Continental belt holder for that class, and Kristaps Zile (27-12) of Riga, Latvia. The bout ended with Walker, who fights out of Boston, securing the win by knockout at 2:10 in the fourth round.
Although it was not a title fight, Lion Fight spokespersons hailed the presence of an international competitor as a step up for Walker.
Walker stalked Zile and generally dominated the striking exchanges The referred stopped the fight during the third round when the Latvian fighter sustained a kick to the groin.
Walker picked up the pace during the third round, attempting a spinning back fist at one point. He punched Zile in the chin and prompted a referee count during the fourth round, later landing a high kick to the face ended the fight.
The main card opened with lightweight bout between Mike Tirana (5-1) of Worcester, Massachusetts and Alexis Chavarria (1-2-1) of Houston, Texas. Triana, who generally dominated the fight, secured a win by TKO at 2:22 in in the fourth round.
The Massachusetts fighter knocked Chavarria down once in the first round and once in the fourth, promoting counts from the referee. Triana pummeled a visibly dazed Chavarria with a punching combination later in the fourth round and the referee waved the fight off.
Maryland-based fighter Keeman Diop (2-0) fought a strangely reserved fight during his middleweight bout against a dancing, bobbing Hero Vincent (0-1). Diop dropped North Carolina-based fighter Vincent to the canvas with a high side kick to the face that ended that fight at about 1:20 in the third round.
Earlier in the round, the referee warned Vincent after he struck Diop in the cup. Diop caught a kick from Vincent during the first round and knocked him down with a punch, but the latter recovered before the referee could count him out.
The next fight was a fast-paced super lightweight fight between Yeison Berdugo (3-2) of Providence, Rhode Island and Fernando Perez (1-3) of Haverhill, Massachusetts. Perez’s mouth guard appeared to fly out of his mouth during the second round, although the fight continued. Berdugo knocked Perez down during the fourth round -- although Perez recovered from the count, he fell again due to leg injuries sustained from kicks and the fight ended at 1:00 in the round by TKO.
The final bout prior to the main event was a super lightweight battle between Bolivian fighter Marcos Vasquez (6-2) and Carlos Lopez (6-3). The latter, who fights out of Virginia, appeared more dominant during the striking exchanges and seemed to prefer kicks -- he knocked Vasquez down with a high side kick during the third round. But Vasquez ended the fight in the fourth round with a high side kick to Lopez’s face that brought him to his knees and prompted a referee stoppage at :33 seconds. Officials declared Vasquez the winner by TKO while physicians examined Lopez, who was clearly in pain.
Amateur fighters Curt Benoit and Will Escoto, both from Massachusetts, opened the preliminary card with a heavyweight bout. Benoit won by unanimous decision.
Michael Colon of New Britain defeated Mathias Ekstrand of Hartford by unanimous decision in the middleweight bout that followed. Two judges scored it 30-27 and the third scored it 30-26.