Braveheart – The Sequel??

UK Versus USA  In the City of Tolworth, England    November 28th 1998

The BTBC staged their latest International Thai Boxing extravaganza on 28th November. This time it was the turn of the south of England to be amazed by the quality of both the BTBC fighters and their International opposition as the Council’s British team were pitched in battle against two of the USMTA’s  U.S. Eastern division's strongest fighters.

A display of the National colors, the Stars & Stripes of the USA, The Official flag of the Millennium 2000, displayed for the first time in the UK, The Tri-color of Thailand, and the Union Jack of the United Kingdom.From Left to Right, Kru Vladimir Borodin, USMTA representative and U.S Team coach, with American. fighter Greg Flitsanov,  the Mayor of Kingston, British fighter  Paul Stein, and UK Team coach Arjarn Tony Moore.
Tolworth Leisure Center was the venue for this exciting Programme and guests of honor were the Thai Ambassador’s Charge D’Affaires Mr Insinthorn and the Mayor of Kingston. The capacity crowd were glued to their seats as the show kicked off with a very polished display of Muay Thai techniques from eleven-year olds, Lee Blackwell and Alex Rawlings followed by Senior fighters Johnny Chuicharoen and Carl Johnson. The idea of the display was to give the audience an insight into the techniques, rules and regulations for the Programme to follow.

To open the Programme there was an Amateur Boxing (ABA) match, closely followed by the preliminary Muay Thai bouts, all in the ‘C’ class category, in which all the fighters, although only Novices, performed the Wai Kru/Ram Muay and in which all showed good technical ability.

Next followed one of the highlights of the show, a spectacular display of Fan Daab (Thai sword fighting) by Kru Tony and his student Carl Johnson from the Buddhai Swan Institute U.K. After a short interval, the International Teams were introduced, the USA team led by Coach Vladimir Borodin received a warm welcome from the Tolworth crowd but the biggest round of applause was reserved for the British Team who were led in to a rapturous welcome by team Manager, Tony Moore. Gifts were exchanged between the various dignitaries and the two Team managers and the National Anthems of Thailand, USA and England played. Then came the part of the Programme everybody had been waiting for - on with the two main bouts.

One of the fighters performing the Ram Muay, the  'ritual fighters dance'  performed before each Thai boxing bout.

A stunning right cross punch which caught British fighter Newall, square, knocking him down for the count,

First into the ring was the increasingly popular Andy Newall from the Sitsiam Camp in Manchester who had taken the fight at just ten days notice after the original English boxer had withdrawn due to injury. Andy was coming up two weight divisions for this fight but looked extremely strong and confident as he entered the ring. His opponent from the Borodin Gym in New York was Steve Berk.

The bell rang for the first round and Newall came into the fight using his strong repertoire of Muay Thai techniques, in the first few moments downing Berk with a stunning low kick which swept his opponent to the canvas. This was followed by clinch work and some devastating knees which began to weaken Berk. At the end of the first round it looked as though Newall was too much for Berk but going into round two, Berk began to come back with some good boxing techniques.

Newall countered with his powerful body kicks and then as he attempted a stepping punch Berk unleashed a stunning right cross which caught Newall square, knocking him down for the count. Struggling to his feet, Newall attempted to get back into the fight but the referee stepped in and stopped the contest, declaring Berk the winner by a TKO. One-nil to the USA!

Next came Paul Stein from Sitsiam Aberdeen. Paul has a good reputation around the country, so much so that he finds it increasingly difficult to find opponents. Consequently he is often in demand to represent his country on the BTBC International shows. Paul grows in stature every time he fights but this was the finest match this writer has seen in a very long career of fight watching! Braveheart still lives!

American fighter, Greg Flitsanov forces Paul Stein into the corner with a flurry of punches which gave Paul a cut above an of friends, both fighters, and  American Coach Borodin and Thai Ambassador’s Charge D’Affaires Mr Insinthorn pose for a photograph.

His opponent this time was Greg Flitsanov also from Borodin’s Gym in New York. Greg has a good record with several KO’s to his credit. On paper this looked a good match but the reality far outweighed the possibility. Both fighters went strongly into the match trading kicks and punches evenly throughout round one. In round two the doctor was called, as it became apparent that Stein had acquired a cut above his eye. The doctor allowed the match to continue and Stein came out of the corner as though his life depended on winning the fight!

Now he changed his tactics and used close in fighting, clinching the American and utilizing his knees to great effect. This was the point where Stein seemed to gain the upper hand; with Flitsanov trying to escape the clinch and seeming to be more comfortable using his kicks and punches. Round Two ended and before the next round the doctor once again checked Stein’s cut which had now stopped bleeding. Round three began where two had left off with Stein closing his opponent down and using effective knee strikes. The referee breaking the clinch gave Flitsanov the room he needed.

As Stein closed in again, Flitsanov, suddenly stepped back and unleashed a crushing high kick which landed with an audible thud to Stein’s neck. Down he went, only to stagger to his knees and then to his feet, to continue the bout quickly closing in on his opponent driving in several powerful knees to the body which then saw his opponent down on the canvas. Just like Stein he was up and ready to continue in the blink of an eye. Both fighters showed tremendous courage as the fight came to a climax. With a terrific barrage of techniques from both fighters the final rounds were an awesome spectacle of truly epic proportions. At the bell there could be only one winner - Paul Stein. Brave Heart is alive and well and living in Aberdeen!

To round off the evening’s entertainment, there were several more support bouts and finally the BTBC Midlands Area Light Heavyweight Championship. The British Thai Boxing Council would like to thank the promoter, Master Boonckun of the Jakapong Camp, for all his hard work in bringing the event together also John Tan for all the effort he put in to making this show a huge success.

Other Results:

1. Alex Harman (Kingston ABC) beat Paul Card (Eltham ABC) on points (ABA Boxing)

2. Ahmad Khan (Raja Naresuan, London) bt Simeon Gill (Singnakhorchai, Nottingham) by RSC

3. Andy Howard (Phraya Pichai, Cheltenham) bt Billy Smith (Jakapong, Kingston) by KO

4. Jason Yates (Naresuan, Stockport) bt Jason Purnell (Phraya Pichai, Birmingham) on points

5. Steve Berk (USA) bt Andy Newall (England) by TKO

6. Paul Stein (Scotland) bt Greg Flitsanov (USA) on points

7. BTBC Midlands Title – Mark Firdon (Singnakhonchai) bt Ben Starling (Phraya Pichai, Birmingham) on points.

Footnote: The Thai Ambassador’s Charge D’Affaires was so impressed by the standard of Muay Thai and Krabi Krabong displayed by the BTBC fighters and members that he extended an exclusive invitation to Tony Moore, the BTBC Chairman. Tony was honored to be invited to the private celebration at the Royal Thai Embassy on 4th December, which was held to celebrate the King of Thailand’s birthday. The reception which was given by the Thai Ambassador to London, had an exclusive guest list which included other Ambassadors, members of the Diplomatic Corps, High Ranking Military Officers and Top People in the fields of business and finance.

Copyright 1998 USMTA Inc. All rights reserved. Revised: October 16, 2004.