UPDATE – RESULTS AT BOTTOM OF POST!
During these past Olympic Games, one of the most talked about stories in the media was the success of the U.S. women’s teams compared to the lackluster performance of the men. More often than not, the women of the U.S. national team raised their gold medals high while the men had to make due with silver, bronze, or nothing at all. In almost every sport besides basketball, the U.S. women’s teams prevailed yet the men floundered. The U.S. women’s relay team set a new world record. The U.S Women’s soccer team? Gold. The U.S. Women’s water polo team? Gold. Beach Volleyball? Gold. Gymnastics team finals? Gold. And where were the men’s teams in all of this? In every one of the aforementioned sports, they didn’t even make the podium.
Female athletes everywhere have made a statement that anything a man can do, they can do just as well. And let it be known that combat sports are no exception. Using the past Olympic games as an example once again, while the U.S. men’s boxing team failed to advance past the round of 16, the U.S.A’s Clarissa Shields won gold in a sport that had no Olympic women’s division until these games. In Judo, none of the U.S.A.’s men got better than bronze while American Kayla Harrison not only became the first American woman to achieve Olympic Judo gold, she was the first American to ever attain Olympic Judo gold…period.
While Muay Thai and MMA are not yet either mainstream or Olympic sports, the female contingent within these sports has also made an impressive push towards being recognized and considered on par with their male counterparts. This weekend the America’s west coast hosts not one but two important Muay Thai events: Push Kick Promotions “World Stand Off: Thailand vs. America” and WCK Muay Thai’s “Champion of Champions”. Unfortunately, because no human being I have ever met can simultaneously be at two places at once, many Muay Thai fans will have to choose one event over the other as both event’s are taking place at the exact same time.
However, I have to say that even though I am excited to see Push Kick Promotions “World Stand Off” which will feature bouts such as Ognjen Topic vs. Neungsiam, Lerdsila vs. Matt Embree, and Ky Hollenbeck vs. Malaipet Sasiprapa, I would be lying if I said that the fight that most intrigues and interests me is NOT Miriam Nakamoto and Julie Kitchen’s bout at WCK Muay Thai’s “Champion of Champions”. Every one of the male bouts I mentioned previously are absolutely fantastic but in terms of what they mean for Muay Thai worldwide, none of the male bouts are as important as Nakamoto vs. Kitchen. Julie Kitchen has long been considered one of, if not the best current female Muay Thai fighters in the world as she is a 14-time World Champion but Miriam Nakamoto is an absolute bulldozer that currently enjoys not only a 14-0 professional record but also currently holds both the WMC and WBC World Titles. Miriam has also won a WPMO/WPMF World Title at the Queen’s Cup in Thailand as well as a gold medal at the IFMA World Championships.
In terms of styles, this is the bout to watch. Julie Kitchen will come into this bout with 50+ fights and in terms of experience holds the advantage over the American. But while I feel that Kitchen’s technique is cleaner, Nakamoto’s strength and aggression will definitely give Kitchen all she can handle. It truly is a marquee match up that contains much of the tension and drama one would associate with the Heavyweight Boxing Championship of the world. On the one hand we have Julie Kitchen, the affable, sweet, and respectful champion and on the other hand we have the brooding and aggressive Miriam Nakamoto who seems to come into every fight with a chip on her shoulder.
It’s an Ali vs. Foreman “Rumble in the Jungle” scenario for the modern Muay Thai era. However, instead of two men exchanging punches for 12 rounds; two women that are the absolute best at their craft, will be exchanging elbows, knees, punches, and kicks for 5 rounds. It won’t even matter who wins at the end of the night (well…it will for the ladies in the ring) because when the final bell rings, not only will fans know who the world’s best female Muay Thai fighter truly is, they will also have seen irrefutable proof that the ladies can definitely throw down and that “hitting like a girl” can and will no longer be a phrase used to describe weakness.
Miriam Nakamoto def. Julie Kitchen by Unanimous Decision
Dave Nielsen def. Ryan Madigan by KO in Rd. 2
Lena Ovchynnikova def. Kealani Vanderleest by Unanimous Decision
Jemyma Betrian and Tiffany Van Soest fight to a Majority Draw
Mike Lemaire def. Miguel Cosio by TKO in Rd. 2
Artem Sharoshkin def. Chris Culley by KO in Rd. 2
Chris Culley def. Raul Rodriguez by Split Decision
Artem Sharoshkin def. Joe Davidson by Unanimous Decision
Andrew Gabriel def. Andre Alvarado by Unanimous Decision
Gabriella Carrillo def. Marie Choi by Unanimous Decision
Dave Pacheco def. Ernie Gutierrez by Unanimous Decision