Another Take On Productions event has come and gone, and my wallet, my voice, and my brain are still recovering from what was an action packed weekend in Atlantic City. “Battle at Bally’s II” was nothing short of spectacular as all fighters, both amateur and pro, put it all on the line and showcased that the level of Muay Thai in America continues to rise. In all honesty, every single fight had something worthy of highlighting, however in order to not make this recap too long I will focus on the fights that stood out the most. It is worth noting that the 4 ladies fights of the night showcased that the women can definitely put on a show. Two of the evening’s female bouts, Christina Peteraf vs. Jennie Nedell and Kate Allen vs. Melissa LaTerra, showcased vicious knees from the clinch, one which ended in KO. Coincidentally, both of the victors in the aforementioned fights, Kate Allen and Christina Peteraf, hail from Philadelphia’s Cool Hearts Muay Thai, home of professional east coast Muay Thai standout Justin Greskiewicz. The ladies of the colorful Philadelphia gym whose official motto states “We Fight Sexy”, definitely showcased some sexy Muay Thai technique and even sexier knee strikes.In addition to those two ladies fights, New Jersey’s Prairie Rugilo of Girl Fight MMA once again brought her very vocal and supportive fan base to their feet as she battled it out with a very game Kylie Knoll en route to a split decision win. Going into round three it was anybodies fight but Prairie landed a series of flush spinning back fists on the taller Kylie Knoll that wowed all of those in attendance and most definitely swayed the judges decision in her favor. New York’s Jessica Ng and Virginia’s Melanie Odria both put on very solid, skillfull, and technical performances in their 105 lbs. bout. In the end Sitan Gym’s Jessica Ng would win by unanimous decision but the fight was much closer than the decision illustrates. Melanie scored with very nice strikes of her own and dumped Jessica Ng to the canvas on a couple of occassions but perhaps Odria’s shorter stature was to her detriment as she was sometimes unable to find her range when trying for low kicks and body kicks against the slightly taller Ng. Both of these pint sized ladies showed a composure and elegance in the ring that made them look far more experienced than their young amateur records exhibited. In the end, I still contend that Muay Thai is a discipline that unlike MMA does not necessarily always need to show brute strength or aggression to impress. It is a technical stand up art that when executed correctly makes its practitioners look not only skilled and deadly, but elegant. When women fight Muay Thai, their natural gracefulness allows for even more appreciation of this skillful, elegant, and deadly art. The ladies definitely shined at Take On’s “Battle at Bally’s II”.
In addition to the skillful displays of Muay thai, “Battle at Bally’s II” was also full of devastating knockouts as all of the evening’s Full Thai Rules bouts, including the three pro bouts, ended with stoppages. In the first full Thai rules bout of the evening Chris Mauceri and Spencer Grekoski started their 5 round title bout guns blazing with Grekoski scoring early with beautiful teep kicks as Chris Mauceri looked to score with his crisp boxing. It was an even fight moving into the second round but soon enough Mauceri began to open up with elbows and put Grekoski in danger. A few upward elbows at close range were the beginning of the end for Grekoski as Mauceri gained confidence and unleashed a combination of punches and elbows that ended with a spinning back elbow that put down Grekoski for good. It was a highlight reel knockout for the talented Mauceri who earned the Take On 145 lb. title in impressive fashion.The other full Thai rules bout of the evening was an exciting match up between New York’s Freddie Cheung and New Jersey’s Scott Krampetz. As the bout began it was anyone’s guess as to who would take this one, as both fighters came from reputable gyms (Sitan Gym New York and Catone’s MMA respectively) and came into the fight in tremendous shape. Both fighters scored early on with solid leg kicks, body kicks, and knees from the clinch. But In Round 2, Freddie found his mark with his knees and didn’t let up. In the final exchange of the bout, Freddie landed a devastating knee to Krampetz’ body that had the New Jersey based fighter reeling in pain. Krampetz couldn’t answer the count and Freddie Cheung moved to a record of 5 wins and 1 loss.
In the first pro bout of the evening, New York’s Andy Singh made quick work of Anthony Demaio when he put together a beautiful combination that began with a flying knee to Demaio’s chin before unleashing a barrage of 4 successive hooks that put Demaio down for good. The fight began slow and technical with both fighters looking solid but Singh looked to finish early in Round 1 and got exactly that. One of the most impressive KO’s in a night full of impressive KO’s!
The second pro bout of the evening went much like the first as the young and relatively unknown Deshawn Robinson also made it a short night, knocking out the veteran Sean Hinds with a vicious straight cross at 2:40 of Round 1. This bout was a rematch of the two fighter’s previous meeting at Madison Square Garden back in March of 2012. In their previous bout both fighters fought to a somewhat controversial majority draw. As the fight began Hind’s facial expression demonstrated that he was all business. Deshawn Robinson was up to the task however and similar to their bout in March, Robinson relied on his crisp and powerful boxing. From the beginning of the bout, every one of Robinson’s punches contained nothing but pure venom. In one exchange where Robinson’s combination landed flush, Hinds expression immediately changed from staunch determination to one of subtle worry. His guard stayed high no doubt worried about Deshawn Robinson’s punching power. He would not have time to readjust however as Robinson landed the powerful straight cross that would end the bout early. Deshawn Robinson came from virtually no where, replacing an injured Anthony Ford in his previous bout with Sean Hinds and surprising all those in attendance with a solid performance. With his decisive win over Sean Hinds at “Battle at Bally’s II”, the once homeless Robinson who credits Muay Thai for turning his life around is truly destined for success if he continues to turn in these impressive performances.The main event of the evening saw Jay Matias face off with an outmatched Douglas Ahammer. I have to reiterate that in my opinion, Jay Matias is one of the top professional prospects in the country. Along with fighters like Ognjen Topic (whom Matias lost to recently), Justin Greskiewicz, Brett Hlavacek, Alex Berrios, Marcus Fisher, Rami Ibrahim, Liam Tarrant, and Omar Ahmed, I consider Matias to be in a group of top class professional Muay Thai talent coming out of the east coast. With that said from the onset of Matias’ bout vs Douglas Ahammer at “Battle at Bally’s II” it was clear that Matias was the superior fighter. Matias is pretty soft spoken outside of the ring but inside the ring he is nothing but business, bringing a laser like focus to each one of his bouts that is both impressive and intimidating. Both fighters weighed close to their 132 contracted weight but when the fight began it was clear that Ahammer is not a fighter who cuts weight as Matias clearly was the larger and stronger fighter. From Round 1 it looked like Jay Matias had no problem with what Ahammer was offering. Firing off and landing some very nice body kicks and punch combinations, it was clear Matias was pacing himself for a 5 round bout. As Round 2 opened up so did Matias’ game. He unleashed a few more solid striking combinations, hard kicks, and elbows all while stalking down his opponent. Towards the middle of Round 2, referee Coban Lookchaomaesaitong seemed to have seen something he didn’t like and called an end to the bout. While I do feel the stoppage was premature, I feel that Coban (who is a legendary Muay Thai fighter and experienced ref), like many others in attendance, felt that Matias was vastly superior to Ahammer and stepped in to help Ahammer avoid a potential injury.
With this win Matias gets back on track after dropping his previous 2 bouts.
As many of you may have heard by now, Take On Productions recently struck a deal with Muay Thai equipment manufacturer and promotion, Yokkao Boxing. Yokkao Boxing’s Stefania Picelli was in attendance to take a look at the evening’s action. Yokkao Boxing will be sponsoring Take On Productions next trip to Madison Square Garden on November 10th. However, last night after a night of impressive performances Ms. Picelli announced that Yokkao Boxing will use the Madison Square Garden event as an opportunity to scout American talent for upcoming Yokkao shows that will take place all around Europe. So with that said ladies and gentleman, be sure to clear your schedules and stay tuned for where you can get some tickets because on November 10th the fighters will no doubt come out, not only determined to win, but also determined to impress Ms. Picelli and Yokkao Boxing in order to hopefully secure future opportunities in Muay Thai.
Below are the full results from “Battle at Bally’s II”:
Mike Gianone def. Joshua Aliaga by Decision
Christina Peteraf def. Jennie Nedell by Decision
Ramon Maldonado def. Jordan Mamroud by Decision
Kate Allen def. Melissa Laterra by TKO at 1:09 of Rd. 1 (Knees)
Ariel Abreu def. Paul Miller by Decision
Jessica Ng def. Melanie Odria by Decision
Joe Bastone def. James Gregory by TKO at 0:42 of Rd. 1 (Punches)
Prairie Rugilo def. Kylie Noll by Split Decision (29-28, 29-28, 28-29)
Henry Lee def. Jessie Jiminez by TKO at 0:53 of Round 2 (Punches)
Freddie Cheung def. Scott Krampetz by KO at 1:11 of Round 2 (Knees)
Chris Mauceri def. Spencer Greokoski by KO at 0:50 of Round 2 (Spinning Elbow)
Andy Singh def. Anthony Demaio by KO at 2:29 of Round 2 (Left Hook)
Deshawn Robinson def. Sean Hinds by KO at 2:40 of Round 1 (Punches)
Jay Matias def. Doug Ahammer by TKO at 1:04 of Round 2 (Referee Stoppage)