Lion Fight 7 is most likely going to go down as the event that featured “the right cross heard around the world”. Now that the smoke has cleared after last week’s event and fans have finally wrapped their heads around what happened during the event’s marquee bout, it’s as good a time as any to talk about what we can take away from what was yet another fantastic card put together by Lion Fight Promotions.
Walker vs Schilling: The Aftermath
Going in to the main event of Lion Fight 7, pretty much everyone in the so-called “Muay Thai Media”, as well as those in the American Muay Thai community as a whole, had Eddie “Showtime” Walker as a huge underdog versus Joe Schilling. After interviewing and getting to know Eddie for our “America At A Glance” article before his fight, I can’t say I wasn’t pulling for Eddie to score an upset. But wanting Eddie to score an upset and thinking he would actually do it are two completely different things.
Joe Schilling is an extremely dangerous fighter. He is the type of fighter that comes into a fight not only determined and 100% confident in his abilities, but is also always looking to win in devastating fashion. Coming off a a pair of exciting match ups with Simon Marcus and a victory over Karapet Karapetyan in Bangkok for the WBC Light Heavyweight Title, Joe Schilling was looking even hungrier and more determined to make Walker just another name on his list of downed opponents.As the fight began, Schilling, who many times comes out more than willing to throw hands, decided instead to begin peppering away at Walker with some very vicious and effective low kicks. It was a different approach for Schilling but further testament to how he consistently improves and grows in each aspect of the fight game from bout to bout.
Schilling was dominant in Round 1, using his kicks to keep Walker from offering any sort of offense. Towards the latter part of the round, Joe was able to close the distance and unleash a quick right elbow that floored the Atlanta-based Walker. Like so many of Schilling’s previous fights, it seemed like Joe had his opponent figured out and was close to yet another quick and brutal stoppage win.
In Round 2, the fight offered up more of the same as Schilling, who was already growing in confidence from the first round, once again began walking Eddie Walker down and scoring with leg kicks and body kicks at will. Another quick elbow from Schilling would not only drop Walker but open up a cut on Walker’s forehead. For me, Schilling fans, and probably even some Walker fans, it looked as if Schilling was en route to another devastating win. Backing Walker into the ropes, Schilling threw a combination of punches and knees at the retreating Walker and perhaps being a bit over zealous, dropped his hands just enough for Walker to counter with a stiff right cross. It was the last right cross Eddie Walker would ever need to throw that night as Schilling dropped to the canvas and was visibly out cold. There was a collective gasp from all of those in attendance as the man that was winning the fight decisively had just been knocked out by a retreating but evidently still dangerous Eddie Walker.
In the aftermath of the fight there has been talk from the fan base of both fighters regarding the outcome of the fight. Some have called it a lucky shot, while others attest to the fact that a come from behind knockout of that caliber requires more than luck. What Muay Thai fans have to take away from this fight was that it was a fantastic, dramatic, and exciting fight featuring two AMERICAN Muay Thai fighters that represent America’s growing talent in the sport of Muay Thai.
Although Joe Schilling walked away with a loss this past weekend, he was without a doubt dominating the fight in impressive fashion, showcasing a calculated and well thought out plan of attack that had Walker confused and on the defensive for most of the fight. Schilling was also able to land two vicious and well placed elbows that had Walker on the verge of getting stopped himself. It was a great performance by Schilling and one that should not derail any talk of him being one of, if not the best, Light Heavyweight nakmuay in America.
Eddie Walker and his fans will without a doubt be ecstatic that Walker was able to come back from being knocked down and out pointed during two rounds, only to score a resounding knockout win over one of the most dangerous fighters in American Muay Thai. While most fighters who face Schilling panic when he begins to find his rhythm and begins to look for the finish, Eddie was able to stay composed enough to find a split second mistake and land a knockout blow.
It must be noted that Walker packs some serious dynamite in his hands. While Simon Marcus was able to land 2 solid blows on a dazed Schilling, the Los Angeles based fighter was never out cold. Eddie Walker, on the other hand, landed one right cross that was not only devastating but decisive.
So what’s next for these two American Muay Thai standouts? Well for Joe Schilling it’s really just about dusting himself off and jumping back into the fray. Losses in Muay Thai happen all the time, the best in the sport have all lost at some point in their careers and regardless I feel that this loss doesn’t really take Schilling away from being mentioned in potential match ups with Artem Levin, Steven Wakeling, Artem Vakhitov, Dimtry Shakuta, etc. As Eddie Walker and Schilling’s fans have already stated, Schilling is feeling pretty pissed about this loss right now and will most likely come back stronger and hungrier than ever. It’s a momentary setback.
For Eddie Walker, the win over Schilling serves as a springboard to bigger and better match ups and opportunities against the best the world has to offer. No stranger to the Kickboxing circuit, Eddie was eyeing a potential jump to the now revamped and reborn K-1 organization. His experience competing at Enfusion alongside other international kickboxing standouts should also line him up to have a few other very nice opportunities for some K-1 rules kickboxing matches in the near future.
Tiffany Van Soest has achieved a lot in her burgeoning young career as a Muay Thai fighter. With only 5 professional Muay Thai fights to her name, Tiffany has already been in the ring with the likes of Lena Ovchynnikova, Vivian Leung, Heidi Otterbein, Jemyma Betrian, and Jeri Sitzes. And probably the craziest thing about her stepping into the ring with such top female Muay Thai names at the beginning of her pro career is the fact that she has yet to be defeated.
With a record of 4 wins, 0 losses, and 1 draw, the closest Van Soest has come to a loss was a controversial draw with female Dutch kickboxing standout Jemyma Betrian, a fight many thought Van Soest should have won.
Coming into Lion Fight 7, many Muay Thai enthusiasts felt Tiffany would be facing the biggest test of her career in the hard hitting Jeri Sitzes. Once again, Tiffany would emerge from the fight with her hand held high but this time her victory came with an added bonus, a shiny gold and green WBC Bantamweight International Title. The fight, while not the firecracker of a fight many were expecting, was a technical battle where the superior kicker in Van Soest methodically picked apart a gun shy Sitzes en route to a clear unanimous decision victory.
Van Soest is the next big thing in female Muay Thai and is definitely going to be a force to be reckoned with for years to come. As for opponents for Tiffany in the near future, a rematch with Jemyma Betrian would definitely get many people’s attention and 14x World Champion Julie Kitchen has stated that she would like to see Van Soest face off with her own young protege, talented multiple UK champion Lucy Payne.
The East Coast makes a statement
I had seen Andy Singh fight many times before and I knew he was destined for great things but I wasn’t expecting the stellar performance he put on at Lion Fight 7 when he faced off with Las Vegas’ Anthony Castrejon. For 5 rounds, the visibly undersized Andy Singh bullied and battered Castrejon with teep kicks to the face that landed at will and solid boxing combinations that had the Las Vegas based Castrejon unable to find an answer to Singh’s onslaught. It was a very impressive and exciting performance from Andy Singh who represents Pinpoint Muaythai in Lynbrook, New York.
While the Muay Thai scene on the west coast of the U.S. has enjoyed much exposure and coverage, the east coast has sometimes been the butt of a few jokes by some on the left coast. Meanwhile, the east coast has quietly and steadily begun to show that it too has some very talented nakmuays in its midst. With fighters such as Andy Singh, Ognjen Topic, Jay Matias, Brett Hlavacek, Justin Greskiewicz, and many others at the helm, the east coast based fighters are letting the rest of the country know that they too want to see their names in lights.
“Bazooka Joe” shows grit in decision loss to Gregory Choplin
Joseph “Bazooka Joe” Valtellini from Canada came into his bout with Gregory Choplin at Lion Fight 7 on a 6 fight win streak. All 6 of his bouts had ended by way of stoppage. With knockout power in his hands and leg kicks that cripple, Valtellini would face the toughest test of his career when he faced off with the vastly more experienced Gregory Choplin of France. When the bell rang Valtellini got to work quick firing away with leg kicks and boxing but Choplin got to work as well with well timed body kicks and knees. Choplin’s experience and technique becoming apparent, he was able to close the distance and land a series of nasty elbows that left Vatellini’s face swollen and bruised.
Throughout their 5 round battle Choplin used his elbows and knees to stifle Vatellini and cause visible damage to the young Canadian. However, Valtellini showed grit and a will to win by pushing on and continuously showcasing moments of powerful punch and kick combinations that made the experienced Choplin wary of engaging in full. “Bazooka Joe” stayed true to his name during Round 2 of the bout as he landed a solid and powerful combination that wobbled the experienced Frenchman. Choplin however, smartly clinched up with Valtellini in order to not allow him to capitalize on the damage.
It was a technical but exciting back and forth battle between, as the commentators put it, a fighter representing “desire”, and the other representing “experience”. Even though Choplin walked away with the decisive win, his opponent Joseph Valtellini should walk away with his head held high as he put on a great performance against one of Europe’s top Muay Thai practitioners.
In conclusion, it was a great night of fights at Lion Fight 7 and an evening full of drama, action, excitement, and heartbreak. But regardless of the outcome of the fights, every fighter, win or lose, made the show a success. Some fighters took home a win and while others took home a lesson that will without a doubt prepare them for the next time they step foot in the ring.
Eddie Walker def. Joe Schilling by KO at 2:13 of Rd. 2
Gregory Choplin def. Joseph Valtellini by Unanimous Decision
Tiffany Van Soest def. Jeri Sitzes by Unanimous Decision
Andy Singh def. Anthony Castrejon by Unanimous Decision
Coke Chunhawat def. Adiran Morilla by KO (Knees to Body) at 2:24 of Rd. 4
Jason Andrada def. Victor Perez by Unanimous Decision
Miranda Cayabyab and Genesis Bravo fight to a Majority Draw
Josh Shepard def. Jose Hernandez by Split Decision
Jonathan Parsons def. Niko Ruiz by Split Decision
Steve Ault def. Mike Gordon by Split Decision