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Strike’s March 11th, USMTA Muay Thai Championship Challenger Series Held at Combined Martial Arts, Steinway Street,  Long Island City NY,  Brought back the long awaited promotions  of Strike-Zone.


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                                                                                                    By Terri Cotta

If you thought that Strike was gone, forget about it.  There back and what can       I say, the event was very good, and I mean very good. Hats off to Strike –Zone and to promoter Alex Yus. Once again, a class event, with excellent bouts. The audience loved it the fighters loved it the coaches loved it and they’ll be back for more… Several times I had heard mentioned that they were glad to have Strikes promotions back. Fighters were getting stale and other events did not have the same care about the coaches, fighters etc., as did the USMTA and the AMTJRA. For those not  in the  loop the USMTA “United States Muay Thai Association”  is one, if  not the most recognized  American Muay Thai ruling body for the  sport In the USA today. The AMTJRA “American Muay Thai Judge & Referee Association” is a ‘sister’ branch of the USMTA and the second J&R association in the world to Thailand. Now that’s a coup for the USA.

Alex Yus Promoter  of  Strike-Zone events


I digress…So let me get back to the story….


The start of the USMTA’s Challenger Series came in full bloom. The event held in at Combined Martial Arts in Long Island City and played to a “full house”, which even had people stood out side trying to look through the windows for the whole event.  Kru Luis Maisonet Jr. representing Maisonets Muay Thai Camp was in the house. Kru Luis and the Maisonet Camp have   been extremely busy of the past few months, Maisonet fighters have been competing in many events throughout the New York cities and surrounding boroughs.

Kru Nestor Marte from Ultimate Muay Thai Gym was also in the house, as we as Sensei Wolf of Wolf’s Tae Kwon Do Academy.  Sensei Wolf has quite a few good Muay Thai fighters. Also in the house were  Zarko’s Gym,  Professional Bars Boxing Club,  Real Fighting Gym,  new  to the events LVIRK Training Center from PA and  of course Strike Zone,

The one problem of the night was that of the Official Medic/ Ring doc could not arrive in time due to a serious prior emergency call. It’s A ‘Must Do’ for the fighters to take the standard medicals (strictly enforced by the USMTA) No Medical, No Fight… this caused a delay in the timing which was running smoothly up until then. But the back-up medic Charlene Perno stood in with her equipment and took all the fighters through their medicals. 

Judges for the night were veterans Enos Mckoy and Igor Gakh… new comer Mike Corleone, and Sr. AMTRA Officer Monique Negron. Referee of the night was Joe Bekker who did a pretty incredible  job for his first Championship event such as this. On hand was veteran Referee  Bakary Susoha, who stepped into later in the evening to  give Joe a break. In the House was the big dog himself Arjarn Clint Heyliger President of the USMTA who came to lend his expertise and persona as well as to welcome everyone to the start of the Challenger Series. Arjarn Heyliger a veteran of Muay Thai for more than 20 years is as passionate about the sport today as he was twenty years ago.

Another newcomer to the events in New York was Licensing Officer Wendy Diamond who sat in to watch and review the event.  Special cut man of the night was Steve Cats of Combined Martial Arts, whose expertise was acknowledged. Time Keeper and Bell-lady for the night was the lovely Stephaie Blanco.


OK, let’s begin the review of the night’s fights…..

 Bout 1.) The night began with an exhibition bout between Nathaniel Fernando of Zarko’s Academy in the blue Corner, who competed against Alfanso Yanez of Art Studio in the red corner. The young fighters showed some surprisingly good technique and style bringing to bare on each other a flurry of kicks, punches and clinches.  The night began to look promising. Nathaniel and Alfanso took a nice round of applause from the audience who began to warm up from the exhibition bout.





Bout 2. An excellent exhibition  bout with Blue corner Alex Madison  of Wolf’s Tae kwon do  against  Tri-State Champion Jeremy “Primo” Bellrose  Maisonet’s Muay Thai. Jeremy pulled in at short notice, was a gentleman to the end. Young Alex Madison was superb… He bobbed and weaved, kicked and punched. Alex and Jeremy tango’ed together in good clinches and both fighters tasted the canvas more than once. A good fight and good applause from the audience.

Bout 3.  This  bout pitted 180 Lb. Damian Kolano  Wolf’s  Tae Kwon do against  Jenya Koroshlov  from Real Fighting Gym.  Both  fighter’s started  off in good techniques and footwork,  but it became  clear in the 2nd and 3rd round  that Damian was not  comfortable as Jenya  began to push the advantage. Both fighters had fought well. Damian, admitted that he just was not  himself  that night,  but plans to be  mentally ready and  able  next time. Jenya Koroshlov from Real Fighting Gym took the decision of the bout




Bout 4 between 155 Lb Josh Zepnicci 25 yrs old of Ultimate Gym, coached by Kru Nestor Marte competed against 155 Lb fighter Ruslan Bukharin, 20 yrs old from Art Studio New York.  This  bout was  a  nice  clean  bout  no  messing around type of fight and  both  fighters showing great  Muay Thai skill and techniques. They boxed, teeped, kicked and clinched there way around the ring. The end result was a win for Josh Zepnicci of Ultimate Gym who pipped Ruslan for the bout.

Bout 5 This Exhibition bout between 200lb Zadie Morris from Ultimate Muay Thai Gym and Oleg Zerekeko of Art Studio was another great bout. It  looked  less  like an exhibition  and more  like  a  full  fledged  battle as  both  fighters  kept the  pressure on each other,  making referee Joe Bekker work for his  money. Both fighters showed good Thai techniques (a credit to their Kru’s), and responded well to the ref’s commands.  A good bout for both fighters and a nice response from the audience.



Bout 6 was between 115lb Constantine Koshalashvilly 15 years old of Professional Bars Boxing club and Strike-Zone’s very own 15 yrs old, 118 LbTuran Hasano v Strike Zone. Beginning with an excellent display of the Ram Muay by Turan Hasanov, who got the audience on its feet with applause for the display of the art. An excellent fight from the beginning well fought and good techniques were in use. Both fighters put up a good display of skill and techniques which aroused the audience to spontaneous bouts of applause. In the end it was Turan Hasanov who came out on top with a win for Strike.

Bout 7 was an exhibition  bout  between  Vladislav Robinovsky  of Professional Bars boxing  Club and  Champion Miguel Rivera of Maisonet’s Muay Thai. A great display of Muay Thai in this bout. Miguel is well known in the NY Muay Thai field. Vladislav Robinovsky gave his best in a great display of his skills complemented with much appreciation from the audience



 Bout 8  In the 8th and  much anticipated bout of the  night was  between the two Heavyweight warriors Alan Murtal from Zarko Academy of  NY who battled  it out with  (Mr. T look-alike) Al Kareem Ali from LVIRK Training Center  PA. A great fight right from the get go.  When Heavyweights who come out swinging really turn the audience on is a plus, and both fighters did not waste anytime but clashed like mighty minatours, with powerful leg kicks, and tremendous punches.  It was a very close call until the final round when Kareem landed the punch of the night, a powerful punch which rocked Alan’s head and sent him crashing to the canvas with a knockout. One look by the referee and the fight was rightly stopped. An excellent fight.   The outcome made the audience really ecstatic.  The Ref, and medics were right there and his decisions were pretty good for his first attempt. A good win by Kareem with a KO. 


 Bout 9 (The Main Event) In the 9th and final bout, of the night 25 Yrs. Old Moe Coujak 155 Lb from Ultimate Gym New York’ competed against Nevada’s 160 Lb Mark “The Hyena” Beecher 30 Yrs. Mark a Maisonets Muay Thai student for 2 ½ years before moving to Las Vegas, Won the USMTA Inter-State Semi Pro Championship, Junior Middleweight Division belt.  The bout was excellent, between New York and Nevada with Mark “The Hyena” Beecher winning by decision. But was very close it could  have  gone either way, but the  Judges I believe  made the  right choice, Nevada won  because  he had  more experience and skill but the  NY fight put up a great show and was a credit to his camp.   He accepted the defeat with happiness and was quite pleased with himself that he got as close to  winning as  he did.   His coach Nestor Marte was reserved but not really upset and accepted the results with grace. A credit to him. 



All fighters and coaches were happy with the outcome win or loose, which is really good.  All in All, it was an excellent night; the promoter will need a bigger place next time.  The event got great reviews from the audience, even had promoters come up and asks the USMTA to sanction their events in New York and New Jersey.  They said they were really impressed with the way the event was run and the AMTJRA officials..

The  next event to the series is  May 13th 2006,  so if your interested  then contact Strike-Zone  and prepare for fights,  because places are  going fast.

                                                               This is Terri Cotta signing off…


Copyright © 2006 USMTA Inc.  All rights reserved: June 04, 2006