Weekends are NOT days off- the busy weekend of 8/14&15
At Stay Fly Muay Thai, we are open 7 days a week. While not everyone trains every day of the week, there are people training at our facility every day. At Stay Fly Muay Thai, it's important for us to be there for our students and fighters when they can train and put time in to honing their skills. If that means not having a day that our doors are closed, so be it.
No one in the United States makes their living from solely being a Muay Thai Fighter. People have jobs, lives, responsibilities, families. It's our task to prepare fighters around all sorts of obstacles to be prepared to fight. It's incredibly difficult at times, but we all have 24 hours in a day. If you want it bad enough, you'll find a way to make it happen.
Last weekend, 8/14 & 8/15, was one of the busiest weekends in our history at Stay Fly Muay Thai. Friday night, I, Justin "the Purple People Eater" Greskiewicz would be the main event at Friday Night Fights in NYC as i would defend my national WBC title against Joe Sampieri of Renzo Gracie NYC. I was successful in this title defense, knocking my opponent out in the 3rd round of the fight with a counter right hand followed by a barrage of strikes.
Joe Sampieri is a class act, and the Stay Fly Muay Thai team has a ton of respect for him. He's been a huge part of the East Coast Muay Thai scene and he is an amazing fighter and an incredible dude. Thanks so much to Joe and his team for the opportunity and for being awesome competitors.
After the fight, we headed back to the hotel, gathered our stuff, and checked out. We headed back to Philly and got to sleep around 5:00 am.
Class started as usual at 10:00 am on Saturday, and went on as scheduled through fighters training at 3:00pm. Then, we headed up to Howell, NJ for the Trinity Kickboxing Championships where we were scheduled for Roosevelt, Kenny, and Joe to fight. However, Roosevelt's fight, was now cancelled.
(As I was told, the night before, at their weigh-in, Roosevelt was looking like he may step on the scale just above his allowed limit. As a gentleman competitor, he approached his opponent and told him that his weight may be slightly off. His opponent acknowledged and told him that he likely too would be above the limit. As the official weigh-in began, Roosevelt's opponent approached him, saying that he would rather not fight, that he had a difficult training camp with obstacles beyond his control, and asked that they instead look to compete at a later date. Roosevelt was confused and disappointed, but he also knew that he hadn't shown up on weight either. He agreed. The fight was off.)
On the drive to the event, I received a call from Nick Lembo, head of the New Jersey State Athletic Control Board informing me that one of the referee's had car trouble and wouldn't make it, and he asked, as I am a head referee in New Jersey, if I would be able to step up to the task. Being a maniac, I agreed.
I showed up, turned my Joe "Jose Pistola" Logan tee shirt inside out, and began doing a rules meeting for each of the fights I was to referee. I stepped in as a ref for the first few fights.
I had just enough time to head to the back, wrap both of my fighters' hands and get them ready to fight.
First up was Kenny, fighting for the full rules A class amateur Trinity title belt against Mo Saidi. Kenny had fought him twice before, with the two going 1-1. This, however, was not Kenny's night. He had a difficult time keeping his range and didn't get much off in the 5 rounds of the fight. It was a sloppy, muscly fight with both fighters often ending up in a clinch where little or no effective knees or repositioning took place. The aggressor was clearly Mo, and Kenny struggled to find a place to fall into rhythm. After 5 frustrating rounds, we left the ring without the belt we came for.
Though we were disappointed in his performance, we are proud of Kenny, especially for the resolve he has shown since the fight. Kenny has been training nearly every day since his fight, with focused eyes and incredible determination. We're all confident that in a few months, we will have forgotten the frustration of this fight.
Lastly, we had our favorite heart attack inducing fighter, Joe "Jose Pistola" Logan as the main event against Joe "Hong Thong" Rachata. Rachata is a Thai, a veteran of hundreds of fights. Both fighters stepped up on 10 days notice when the event's original headlining fight fell through due to injury. We were all excited for this fight. That night, however, we were told it would be a 3 round fight instead of 5, so we knew we had to come out hard.
As the fight started, we started a bit slower than we would have liked, but faster than Joe's normal slow first round. First round was clearly the Thai's. He looked good. His timing and poise were incredible. But Joe marched in and brought it to him. The second round, you could see a clear turn happening. It was a very close round, with the Thai starting strong and Joe pushing the pace later. I thought we had it. The third round, Joe started by making a point. He fired everything, looking great. The Thai looked to slow considerably as he grew tired. It was clearly the second round, being super close, that would decide the fight. The first judge saw it a draw 29-29, and the other two judges saw it a 29-28, 2 rounds to 1 for the Thai. I was of course disappointed, as we always fight to win, but honestly, I couldn't have been more proud of Joe's performance. He looked great. He's a real killer. I'm proud to have him on the team.
So we went out, celebrated by eating pancakes and milkshakes and burgers at the diner before heading back to Philly. We got back around 3am and finally got to bed.
What a wild weekend. I knocked out my opponent to defend my WBC title. I got home at 5am to teach at 10am on Saturday. I refereed the first 7 fights that night. Lastly, we had an amateur title fight and a professional main event fight compete against a Thai with hundreds of fights.
I was back to teaching at 11am on Sunday and I lived to tell the tale.
For any of you who missed this weekend's events, be bummed. You missed some epic stuff. Let it be a lesson to never miss another Stay Fly Muay Thai event ever again.