Oh, the weather outside was frightful,
But the fights were so delightful.
Muay Thai Ontario continues to grow,
What a show, what a show, what a show!

By Ryan McKinnon

With Christmas season upon us, this is a time of year that is characteristically
marked by last minute shopping and excessive eating. The stress that comes with the
holidays weighs heavily at this time. There are less hours of daylight. The weather gets
cold and biting. And we remember that we still have 4 more months of this crap. But all
of that seemed to fade out of mind as fighters representing roughly 20 Muay Thai gyms
raised the temperature inside Woodbine Racetrack to a degree that helped many of us
forget it was a wet, cold night outside.

Destiny Fights promoted a successful third show. A few injuries leading to the
event required the promoters to shuffle the fight card bringing the total number of fights
to 13. Perhaps one of the most highly anticipated fights of the night was between
Diamond Muay Thai standout Matthew Blackadder and the extremely impressive Andy
Tran from Southside. An upper body injury to Blackadder meant that Ryan Dunphy of
Legends MMA who was originally paired up with Brian Singson of Southside, would step
in to battle Tran for the title. Tran capped the evening off by beating Dunphy handily to
capture the belt, which led to an impressive 3-0 night for Southside, one of the top Muay
Thai schools in the city.

Fight of the Night honours might have to go to Keegan Millar (Redemption) and
Joshua Bell (Dogg Pound) who basically would have chased each other all over the
casino floor had it not been for the ropes keeping them in the ring. Fans were on their
feet cheering for both Nak Muays right from the opening bell. After 3 rounds of intense
Muay Thai, the judges ruled the contest a draw, which didnʼt seem to upset the crowd or
either fighter. After bringing that kind of entertainment to Woodbine, both fighters
certainly earned themselves the admiration of old fans, and attracted the attention of
new ones.

A rematch between Kevon Singh of Lanna MMA and Zack Connolly (Pound 4
Pound) went down to decide a potential #1 contender spot at 122lbs. Connolly asserted
his aggressiveness early in round 1 by attacking Kevon with everything in his arsenal.
Kevon weathered the barrage of strikes and began countering later in the round. It was
Singhʼs clinch work and knees in rounds 2 and 3 that helped him secure a split decision
win. In his first time fighting 3 minute rounds, Kevon showed composure and
conditioning while employing his biggest strength against an apparent weakness in
Connollyʼs game.

If there was an award to give out for heart, it would certainly go to Marcia Shiota
of Diamond Muay Thai. In the first and second rounds of her fight against multiple time
US tournament champion Suzanne Carte, Shiotaʼs contacts came out, meaning the
2016 Canadian National Silver medalist was basically fighting with vision loss. Shiota
demonstrated pure heart and determination to finish the fight. It was a tough decision
loss for Shiota who will undoubtedly return to action in 2017.

We mainly reserve time for family during this season, which was especially felt
Saturday night as the Ontario Muay Thai family gathered under the bright lights at
Woodbine Racetrack to show love support for fighters from all over the province. The
sportsmanship between fighters and camps was very palpable. Destiny Fights did a
great job by ending the MTO 2016 calendar. It is great to see a high level of Muay Thai
promoting going on in the province. 2017 is already shaping up to be a highly promising
year for the sport in Ontario.

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