Chris Kwiatkowski vs Kevin Ross will be one of the match-ups on Lion Fight Promotion’s “Lion Fight 8” taking place on January 25th, 2013 at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, NV. This will be Lion Fight Promotions first broadcast with AXS TV for the television network’s Friday Night Fights. This will be a big night for the growth of Muay Thai in the United States. Muay Thai will be broadcasted to a much larger audience. If there is any fighter that has paved the way for American Muay Thai it is Kevin Ross. This will be his comeback fight after recuperating from ACL surgery. Now lets get to know Chris, and what this big fight means to him.
1. Tell me about how you got introduced to Muay Thai, and how you met, and began training with Coban “The Cruncher” Lookchaomaesaitong. What attracts you to Muay Thai?
I got introduced to Muay Thai from the NYC Hardcore music scene. I was just out of University, where I was the captain of the track team & held multiple school records, and I needed something physical to whet my competitive appetite. A friend of mine, who was in a hardcore band told me about his bandmate, Gavin Van Vlack, who was teaching some sort of kickboxing. I said “cool” & starting taking it. That kickboxing turned out to be Muay Thai. After Gavin, I trained with Phil Nurse on & off for a bit, then after a few years I met up with Coban. My exgirlfriend, who I originally got into Muay Thai with, was taking classes from him, & she was like “you gotta check this guy out!” I still had no clue about Muay Thai or who Coban was, but stopped by his gym to check it out anyways. Like most Thais I’ve met, Coban is a really good person, & through him I learned the cultural significance of Muay Thai & he built a very solid Muay Thai foundation in me. I was never much of a street fighter when I was a kid, so getting in the ring was a bit of a leap for me. I did it because I trusted Coban & he asked me to compete. I still do his Wai Kru before I fight.
What attracts me to Muay Thai the most is the athletic competition. I’ve always competed & excelled in athletics. I tend to think of myself as a very athletic person. I love how Muay Thai deals with stamina, athleticism, balance, grace, & also incorporates fear into the equation. This is what I think separates it from most other sports. If you drop a pass in football, big deal, you get booed. In Muay Thai, just don’t drop your hands.
2. Chris, you’re going to be fighting on a big show “Lion Fight 8”. This is Lion Fight Promotions first show for AXS TV. How does it feel to be part of a large television broadcast like that?
If feels great to be part of history. This is a huge show & the beginning of primetime nationally televised Muay Thai in America. I am very honored to fight Kevin Ross on such a big stage.
3. What do you think next year is going to look like for Muay Thai with Lion Fight’s new TV Deal, and the promotions in the works of solidifying TV deals as well?
I think Muay Thai keeps getting bigger & better. When I started there were hardly any live shows, & occasionally you’d see Alex Gong fighting on ESPN2 in the middle of the night. It has always been my passion & desire to help build a sport that I love & have gotten so much out of. Without shows to compete in, fighters don’t get fights. When fighters do not have fights, they obviously do not get any better. In the NYC area alone, there are at least 5 regular promotions where if you wanted to, you could get a fight every other week. This increases the talent pool & increases the quality of fighters. TV deals will only increase the exposure, & therefore Muay Thai’s popularity. People will be more willing to go to buy tickets to see live fights, which will increase the promoters wanting to make money promoting events. This will increase the talent pool across the country. It will increase the quality of fighters coming out of the United States. I think what the UFC did with MMA, Lion FIght & other big promotions can do for Muay Thai.
4. I would assume Kevin Ross is going to be your toughest fight to date. What’s your mentality going into this fight facing fighter like Kevin Ross?
Yes, Kevin will be my toughest opponent. He is a great fighter & he has been a great trailblazer in the American Muay Thai scene. I look at fighting Kevin as I do any other fight. I learned a long time ago that the key to Muay Thai is being relaxed. I’ve also fought on some big promotions in Thailand and Belarus, where there was a lot of promotion going into the event. Once you get in the ring, its just like fighting any other fight. You don’t see the cameras, you don’t hear the people, it’ll be just me & Kevin. I do this because I like to fight. It’s gonna be a fun night.
5. As you know, whenever you are in the public eye people are always going to talk and share their opinions. People have been making comments saying that this is a “tune-up” fight for Kevin Ross after recovering from surgery. What do you make of these comments? Does this give you more motivation, or do you tend to not pay attention to people’s comments?
Yeah, I don’t really pay any attention to what people say about me in the press or online. I know Kevin is a great fighter & he’s Lion Fight’s guy. He is one of the fighters that they are building their promotion around. I know I am the underdog. I’m just coming in to rain on the parade.
6. I think it is safe to say that this is the highest profile fight and opponent that you have ever faced. Are you preparing for this fight differently in anyway as far as your mentality, and training?
I’m not really training any differently due to the event’s high profile. I tend to go with what has worked in the past. I like to work strong cardio & I’m sure the game plan will be a little different, because of Kevin Ross’ style. I know Kevin likes his elbows, so I will be working a lot more on the elbows & doing a lot more elbow sparring. I’ve had 2 full rules fights in the past year, so fighting full rules is still very fresh.
7 You are a real estate developer in New York. Does being a fighter at the same time hinder your growth in your real estate career or vice versa. Does being a fighter give you extra confidence to excel in real estate?
I look at it as a ying & a yang. I think they both work together very well to balance me as a person. I think the mental stress involved in Real Estate projects gets resolved from the physical stress of training. I don’t stay up all night thinking about Real Estate, because I am too tired from training. And when I’m at my real estate job, I’m not overly thinking about fighting. It’s a good break. They are two different worlds that work symbiotically well together. At times, I may miss a run or a training session if work is very busy. But sometimes you need to rest. Sabai Sabai.
I think my experience in fighting has translated positively on so many aspects of not only my real estate career but with my life in general. It brings confidence, focus, discipline, drive; all things you need in Real Estate to succeed. All things you need in life to succeed. Also being a professional fighter adds a little bite to your bark on the construction sites. They no longer look at you as just the guy in the suit who walks around the construction site telling people what to do.
8. What can the fans expect from Chris Kwiatkowski on January 25th, 2013 in Las Vegas, NV at “Lion Fight Muay Thai”?
I think this will be a good chance for me to showcase my skills on a huge stage. I look forward to big fights and opportunities like this. You don’t get too many in life, so I like to make them count when I do get them I know Kevin’s style is to be aggressive & come forward. My style is very similar. This should lead to a lot of fire works & a very exciting fight. I plan on bringing my A game & leaving it all in the ring.