Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Chris Romulo - A Muay Thai Lifer

Chris Romulo has been training Muay Thai for fifteen years. Being from New York, government policies have kept him from being able to utilize all of the weapons he has been training the fifteen years he has been a Muay Thai practitioner. On May 14th all of that will change as he will fight in the first full rules Muay Thai fight of his career. Romulo will face current WBC Muay Thai Light Heavyweight champion Shawn Yarborough in a fight scheduled for 168lbs.

Much debate has been made about New York Muay Thai, and if it should really be called Muay Thai due to the fact that no elbows are allowed. Talks turned into East vs. West soon enough, and coming from New York to face a fighter in Yarborough who is based in Las Vegas the talks continue to escalate. Despite being seen by many as the New York representative, the pressure that might come with that does nothing for Romulo.

"I understand and recognize that some people might be putting the responsibility of me representing the "NY scene" but I am not letting that thought pressure me in any way." said Romulo. "In a sport that is shadowed, especially in Nevada, by boxing and mixed martial arts, I represent everyone that supports me and all that I have come across in muay Thai, east/west coast and across the board."

Surely Romulo would feel pressure because it is the first full rules Muay Thai fight of his career? Wrong again. To him it is simply an opportunity to be able to show the skills he has been mastering for fifteen years. He's not expecting to simply utilize the one tool that politics have kept him from using, he plans on using all of his skills he has been sharpening through years of training to obtain victory.

"I'm excited to be able to fight Muay Thai the way I have been training since I first got in to the art. It's not really about being able to elbow someone." said Romulo. "For me, it is about being able to use all the tools that I have been taught for 15 years to guide me towards victory."

With no pressure, and despite Yarborough being a highly regarded fighter Romulo feels he wont be stopped. It is his time to put his stamp on the sport, so much that Romulo predicts their fight will be the fight of the night.

"I feel mentally I will have an edge. I feel like nothing can stop me, I've given so much to this sport and it has given back in return so this is another chance to make my mark." said Romulo. "I predict fight of the night."

How is it that despite a series of different factors like East vs. West, representing New York Muay Thai, or utilizing elbows for the first time in a fight  Romulo feels no pressure? It is likely because Romulo simply considers Muay Thai a blessing. He will tell you in his own words that Muay Thai gave him direction in his life. It took getting beat up in a street fight to find Muay Thai, but none the less he found it and it altered his future.

"I love that Muay Thai has given me a direction in my life. If not for Muay Thai I don't believe I would be blessed with all that I have been able to experience. I was a kid with no thoughts or cares of a bright future. All I cared about was hanging out and doing things that would hurt myself, my family, and everyone around me." said Romulo. "Being a Muay Thai fighter has taught me how to deal with people, be a great father to my son, open my own Muay Thai gym, travel to the other side of the world, become a better son, and marry the most beautiful and supportive wife that I didn't know existed. I could write a book on what I love about Muay Thai. I'm not just a Muay Thai fighter, I'm a Muay Thai lifer....all it takes is heart."

Despite all the talk and debate regarding Muay Thai in New York, and East vs. West it is great to see Chris Romulo not getting caught up in it. His focus is not on what people say, but what he needs to do for himself. His goal is simple, go into the fight with Shawn Yarborough and use all of the tools that he has been training for fifteen years to come out victorious. Win or lose Romulo said it himself, he's a "Muay Thai lifer". That type of dedication is the only thing you can really ask from any fighter.

Photo courtesy of Lance Burns at PhotoBurns.com.
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