Friday, January 4, 2013

2012 Muay Thai Authority Awards

2012 was another solid year for Muay Thai in North America. With the year complete it’s time for the 2012 Muay Thai Authority Awards. In our effort to continue to push Muay Thai in North America, we have decided to once again recognize the North American Fighter of the Year (male and female), Breakthrough Fighter of the Year, Fight of the Year, Knockout of the Year, Trainer of the Year, and Rookie of the Year.

The criteria for the awards are as follows: Recipients of Fighter of the Year, Breakthrough Fighter of the year, and Rookie of the Year, must be based in North America. To be eligible for Rookie of the Year, the fighter must not have had a pro fight before November 1st, 2011 (the time frame for the award is 14 months). For the Fight of the Year and Knockout of the Year, the fights needed to have taken place on North American soil (a North American fighter scoring a KO in Thailand doesn’t count).

Here are the 2012 Muay Thai Authority Award winners:
2012 Muay Thai Authority North American Male Fighter of the Year: Simon Marcus
Simon Marcus established himself as a North American favorite this year. He went 6-0 on the year and was involved in fights not only in North America, but internationally. Simon’s 2012 campaign started off with a winner take all fight in February at Lion Fight Promotions “Battle in the Desert 5” against Joe Schilling. There was a lot of hype leading up to the fight, which he won by (T)KO. He followed up the victory with a win in Thailand over Kaoklai Kaennorsing for the WMPF Light Heavyweight World Title and then a few weeks later scored two victories in one night at Qianjiang World Muay Thai King Challenge in China. In May he defeated Schilling by Majority Decision in a re-match at Lion Fight Muay Thai 6 and then, after taking a few months off, returned to action in December at Muay Thai In America's “In Honor of the King," scoring a third round knockout over Sadibou Sy to end the year.
2012 Muay Thai Authority North American Female Fighter of the Year: Miriam Nakamoto
Nakamoto fought Muay Thai only twice in 2012, but the fights she was involved in were important for women’s Muay Thai. She wins the award for the second time in three years. In April she defeated Sandra Bastian by (T)KO at Legends Muay Thai Championship in San Francisco to become the first person (male or female) to simultaneously hold a WBC Muay Thai and WMC world title. In August she defeated Julie Kitchen under the WCK Muay Thai banner in what was easily the most anticipated fight in women’s Muay Thai history. Nakamoto walked away with a unanimous decision victory after a grueling five round fight.
2012 Muay Thai Authority North American Breakthrough Fighter of the Year: Tiffany Van Soest
Tiffany Van Soest has made her presence felt in the women’s Muay Thai scene in the last year. Van Soest turned pro in October of 2011 and didn’t look back in 2012. She started the year off by defeating Vivian Leung at Lion Fight Promotions “Battle in the Desert 5” by unanimous decision. She then scored another unanimous decision victory over Heidi Otterbein at Lion Fight Muay Thai 6. In August, Tiffany fought to a controversial draw against Jemyma Betrian under the WCK Muay Thai banner in a fight many thought she won. She ended the year with a big win in October at Lion Fight 7 when she defeated Jeri Sitzes for the WBC Muay Thai 122 lb. International Title.
2012 Muay Thai Authority North American KO of the Year: Eddie Walker
Not many fight fans outside of Georgia were aware of who Eddie Walker was, going into his fight with Joe Schilling at Lion Fight 7; but his come from behind knockout victory over Schilling would make every one aware of the man they call “Showtime.” Walker endured two knockdowns in his fight with Joe Schilling before rallying from behind and connecting with a short right-hand that sent Schilling out cold in the second round. Not only was it a vicious knockout, but a thrilling one that couldn’t have been scripted any better for Hollywood.
2012 Muay Thai Authority North American Fight of the Year: Thanit Watthanaya vs. Andy Howson
You couldn’t find a more exciting fight in 2012 than the scrap that went down between Thanit Watthanaya and Andy Howson at Muay Thai in America's “In Honor of the King” on December 1st. After a close first round, Watthanaya scored a knockdown of Howson in the second round, but Howson would come back to score knockdowns of his own in the third and fourth. In the fifth round it seemed that Howson was getting the better of the exchanges but with a swift right hand from Watthanaya the bout ended. Howson tried to get back to his feet but stumbled before the referee stepped in to stop the fight. You can’t ask for more back and fourth action than what Watthanaya and Howson provided for the fans.
2012 Muay Thai Authority North American Trainer of the Year: Ajahn Suchart Yodkerepauprai
Ajahn Suchart wins the award for the second year in a row. Ajahn Suchart teaches out of Siam No. 1 in Toronto, Canada. In 2011 he made noise with two of North America’s top fighters coming into their own, Matt Embree and Simon Marcus. In 2012 Marcus and Embree continued to help Suchart establish himself as one of the best trainers in the North American Muay Thai scene. Embree and Marcus went a combined 9-1 in 2012. In addition to Marcus and Embree, Ajahn Suchart trains some very talented amateur fighters as well as fighters just starting off their pro careers. It’s not easy to train high caliber fighters; if it was, every gym in North America would have one. Having two active fighters currently who are considered among the best in North America is very impressive.
2012 Muay Thai Authority North American Rookie of the Year: Troy Sheridan
Sheridan went 5-1 in his rookie campaign. He made his pro debut with a (T)KO victory over Anthony Ford at the 2012 Friday Night Fights season opener. The Team Ultimate fighter then followed up his first pro win with a (T)KO victory over Ken Tran in the opening round of the 160lb Journey Fight Series tournament. In September he won the Battle of the Pros 8-man one night tournament, which included victories over Peter Kaljevic, Deshawn Robinson, and Villi Bello. Troy dropped a decision in his last fight of the year against Shane Campbell. Despite the decision loss to Campbell, he showed his true grit and toughness in the five round war.
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