For whom the Bell tolls: Ashton makes Muay Thai breakthrough
Ashton Bell, the footballer turned Thai boxer, battled his way to glory in Des Moines, Iowa, at the weekend.
The Fight City Muay Thai fighter reeled off three successive wins, the first of his fledgeling career, to claim the novice division title at the Thai Boxing Association Tournament of Champions held at the Holiday Inn Des Moines.
He took only 35 seconds to beat TBA champion Travis Engstrom, of The Cellar Gym in Minnesota, with a head kick in his opening match last Friday.
Bell then encountered more resistance on the way to securing a unanimous points win the next day against Engstrom’s gym-mate, Tou Thor, to advance to the championship match.
With glory on the line, the 27-year-old once again proved equal to the task as he beat Yaseen Rahman, of Milton Muay Thai Academy in Ontario, via a first-round knockout.
“I won by KO from punches in just under a minute of the first round,” an elated Bell told The Royal Gazette.
The Robin Hood defender, who also attended Richmond International Academic & Soccer Academy in Leeds, England, improved his record to 3-1 with two knockouts and has also moved up to the next division.
“I will be moving to the B Class division for my next Muay Thai bout,” he said.
Bell endured a baptism of fire in June after losing his debut match via a split decision against Devante Taylor at the TBA Classic-Muay Thai World Expo, also held in Des Moines.
The disappointment inspired the fighter to work even harder at perfecting his craft.
“After that loss I went back to training almost immediately with coach Chuck Morgan and the whole Fight City team,” he said. “I knew I wanted to perform better and keep working towards becoming a better Muay Thai fighter.”
Bell is relatively new to the sport having begun training in October 2019 at Fight City Muay Thai under Morgan, who is also a World Thai Boxing Association B Class champion.
He added: “I want to thank my coaches at Fight City, my main training partner, Tyler Kerr, Team Rego, Team Bascome and Team Showtime for working my boxing this summer, as well as my family, friends and supporters, who have allowed me to chase this dream.”
Bell is looking forward to showcasing his talents in Bermuda at the rescheduled Epic Entertainment fight card.
“I am scheduled to fight Cole Durham on the local boxing show that has been rescheduled to January 29,” he said.
“I look forward to showcasing my skills on island and introducing our local community to the great art of Muay Thai.”