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Muay Thai debut goes down a storm

Groundbreaking event: Chris Jenkins, left, of Tampa Muay Thai, organiser Amber Simons and Deondre Morris, of Bermuda Thai Boxing Academy, were part of a successful first Muay Thai competition in Bermuda at the Berkeley Institute at the weekend

Bermuda had its first ever Muay Thai event, with athletes from both local clubs and visiting fighters from Canada and the United States stepping into the ring at Berkeley Institute.

Not only was the event historic for Bermuda, it was also a first for many of the spectators, having never seen the sport live before. The crowd was more than ready for the fights to begin when Kallan Simons of Bermuda Killer Bees and Luis Zepida, of Sparatan Stike Academy, Toronto, faced off. Both fighters gave an excellent showcase with Kallan delivering a slew of knees and fiery jabs, ending the fight by technical knockout in the second round.

Fight two was the war of females. It was a tough bout featuring Answer Outerbridge, of Bermuda Killer Bees, and Canadian Gillian Flynn, who won the decision after delivering what seemed like endless knees bringing her to victory.

Fight three was between Antwan Edwards, of Bermuda Killer Bees, and the visiting Abdullah, where the brawling Abdullah landed explosive shots and multiple throws, which helped to give him the win.

Coach Jay Astwood and his student, seven year-old Noah Nasir, gave the spectators an eye-catching pad work demonstration showcasing an example of Bermuda’s youth development and growth within the Muay Thai community. Mike Walsh and Astwood, who filled in for Mike’s opponent who did not make the trip, gave the crowd an electrifying exhibition fight. Then it was time for the main event, Deondre Morris, of the Bermuda Thai Boxing Academy, and Chris Jenkins, of Tampa Muay Thai.

The two made their way to ring and the battle began with three rounds, no headgear, knees to the head and all kinds of elbows allowed. You felt the excitement and anxiousness in the air as the lack of protective gear indicated their advanced skill level.

Both fighters were feeling each other out in round one delivering explosive exchanges of legs kicks and combinations. Jenkins controlled the fight in the second round with clinches and phenomenal solid slap knees, where both fighters almost came out of the ring.

In round three Morris dominated with control in the clinch executing powerful step knees allowing Morris release a furry of elbows to the head to win the round ending in a draw.

It proved a brilliant fight bringing spectators to their feet, cheering and shouting.

The event ended with hugs, bows, and respect with all the fighters, coaching crew and promoters, a demonstration of true competitive spirit and mutual respect.