My understanding is that K-1’s ratings are down and there is growing interest in full rules Muay Thai in Japan. Muay Loak is one of the largest muay thai promotions in the country and I was fortunate enough to conduct an interview with Mr. Imai, the promoter.
Many thanks to Takashi Ma for interpreting and Rong of Tard Pandin Gym for holding the camera and making us laugh…
LDF: Most Western people know about K-1, how is your promotion different?
Mr. Imai: Show (K-1) and real (Muay Loak). The concept is to use all of the weapons to beat the opponent.
LDF: Can you explain the structure of Muay Loak – the different stages of the competition?
Mr. Imai: Yod Muay Champions Cup 2010 main event is four Thai fighters Thai promoters decided are the best in Thailand. It is a tournament. Under 51 kg and under 60 kg. It is different than last year. Last year, there were top fighters, Yodsanklai, Kem, Sanchai, Bovvy, Nong O, but their opponents were Japanese and it was only for one fight. This year, there are two semi-finals. On January 17, Kunsuk, who is Lumpinee champion right now fought Pornsawan, former Lumpinee and ranked WBC, number six or seven and Singdam fought Nong O. Singdam was 2005 MVP Thailand. And Nong O was 2002 MVP.
The winners from January go to the next stage in August. There will be fights in April. The winners will go to the next stage in August. These fighters will fight each other in August.
LDF: Who won in January?
Mr. Imai: The main card, Nong O won by decision. And Kunsuk won by decision.
LDF: How many fighters will be fighting? I understand there will be Western and Japanese fighters as well….
Mr. Imai: In April, we will have another tryout. We want whoever wants to fight in the promotions. We will try to arrange as many fights as possible. And the MVPs will go to the bigger fights in April and August. In January 2011, we will have another fight – the best of the best. It is undecided but it’s possible that the January fight will be Western and Japanese fighters against the top of Thailand. But we are not sure.
LDF: What is your hope for the future?
Mr. Imai: Muay Loak means world fight of muay thai. I want not only fighters from Japan. I also want Western fighters. I want Muay Loak to grow. In Europe. In the United States. In Asia. If they can agree with what are we are doing, everyone can do it.
More about Laura
I’m a Canadian who decided to quit my job, sell most of what I own, pack a suitcase, and skip continents to pursue a martial art I’m not particularly efficient in. A minimalist. A modern nomad. A kid who just likes having a good time.
My attraction to muay thai is that it’s an art with no wasted motion. It has been the greatest vehicle for my continual education. It’s incredibly challenging to me – both the physical and the mental game. The latter probably more so than the former.
Currently I’m in Bangkok training muay thai fulltime. The plan is to be here for a few years, but realistically, I have no idea where this path is leading, or what the timeline is. I like change and pushing my comfort zone. A lot. Nevertheless, muay thai will be the constant among the variables.
Be prepared for updates, rambling, video content and anything I’ve learned that I think may of use to you.
This hasn’t been easy, but so far, its been a pretty sick ride.