Thursday, September 8, 2011

Valtellini vs. Berrios: Collision Course

Muay Thai in North America continues to grow and there are a variety of talented fighters that will help put North America on the international map. Two of those fighters happen to be on a collision course with one another. Canada's Joseph Valtellini and Florida's Alex Berrios will stand across the ring from one another at Friday Night Fights' September 23rd event in New York. Both fighters are highly skilled and their potential is through the roof, but one will be knocked down a peg while the other will continue his rise up the ladder.

Both fighters are dedicated to their craft and both have the capability to finish the fight at any moment. Who will end up coming out on top? That is the million dollar question. Valtellini is a very explosive fighter that has not let a single one of his pro fights go the distance, he has ended all four by (T)KO. Berrios is also very capable of ending a fight early, but his pace is more methodical, as he picks you apart making you feel foolish for stepping in the ring with him before he finishes the fight.

Berrios has dealt with explosive and aggressive fighters before and doesn't feel it will present a problem for him. A perfect example is Anthony Nieves from Georgia, a fighter who, like Valtellini, pushes the pace and is explosive. Berrios was able to manipulate the fight and not allow Nieves to fight his normal type of fight, using his technical prowess to score, which allowed him to take home a unanimous decision win over Nieves.

"I also have fought many aggressive, in your face fighters, so it's not new territory," said Berrios. "Even an aggressive fighter can be manipulated to conform to a strategy, but that may be too subtle for most of the audience."

Despite being known for his explosiveness, Valtellini has great technique, but he would rather finish a fight rather than risk leaving the result to the hands of the judges. He feels that his technique mixed with his explosiveness is what makes him such a dangerous fighter.

"I train for all my fights the same way and that is to finish the fight. I have seen too many fighters leave it to the judges and not get the call they were looking for," said Valtellini. "In order to finish a fight, you need to have your timing, technique, and power working perfectly together."

Both fighters were at Friday Night Fights July event "8-to-1", Berrios because he was fighting Rigel Balsamico and Valtellini because he was cornering his team mate Troy Sheridan. Valtellini recalls sizing up Berrios, because he knew he could be a potential opponent; however, he didn't expect to be facing him so soon. Despite being at the event, Valtellini was not able to watch Berrios' dispatch of Balsamico in spectacular fashion, as he was back stage with his fighter. For Berrios, the fight is a bit of a change from the norm as he on most occasions is the smaller fighter in the ring. This time around he will be the taller and likely heavier fighter of the two come fight time. Usually fighting at 175 lbs or higher, Berrios is now dropping to 165 lbs to meet with Valtellini.

Both fighters are dedicated, Valtellini training out of Team Ultimate with Kru Paul Minhas and Berrios training out of Khanomtom Muay Thai (Tampa Muay Thai) with Kru Ray Cole. Hard work is probably an understatement when referring to Valtellini and Berrios as they prepare for the bout. This in purposes of helping build North American Muay Thai is one of the bigger fights that we can have. Two highly touted prospects with nothing but a bright future ahead for both fighters; however, one of these roads to the top is about to hit a slight detour.
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