Expect old school rivalries to surface when Ian Percival takes on Charles Worrell in the Battle In Paradise 7 International Muay Thai Championship this Saturday at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre.
It will be a head-to-head clash of the best of Combermere against the best Harrison College has to offer.
Percival, 40, a graduate of Combermere (1984-1990) has been a student of Muay Thai and boxing for the past six years having picked up these disciplines whilst studying in the United States. Percival received his boxing training from former WBC heavyweight champion Pinklon Thomas, and his Muay Thai training from Paul Marfort and Dave Gomez out of Florida along with Saeksan Janjira of Thailand, now residing in Texas. He has also attended seminars hosted by Grandmaster Surachai Sirisute, president of the Thai Boxing Association of the USA.
The 6ft 2in Percival, who currently coaches at the Kore Muay Thai Gym, said he got into Thai boxing because accumulative injuries participating in other sports such as basketball prevented him from continued participation in team sports.
“I’m an adventure junkie. I can’t sit still, and Muay Thai was just about the only sport that I could physically still compete in,” he said.
Harrisonian Worrell (1993-2000) has been studying Muay Thai for the past four years at Umaa Kai Muay with trainer Khun Khru and Wayne Quintyne, a certified full instructor with the Thai Boxing Association of the USA and former national kickboxing champion. Worrell, 33, an avid fitness enthusiast, has been weight-training since the age of thirteen and was attracted to the athleticism of Muay Thai fighters. “I wanted to challenge my body in new ways and Muay Thai seemed to offer such a challenge,” the 6ft 3in Worrell said.
Both athletes are chasing an elusive win having represented Barbados at Battle in Paradise 5 where they lost to Canadian opponents. Percival, the more mature of the two athletes, has the greater ring experience and will certainly seek to utilize his ring smarts to full advantage. Worrell on the other hand is visibly the more conditioned athlete. But certainly looks can be deceiving.
Muay Thai is as much a sport of tactics and indomitable spirit as it is of strength and skill. Indeed, it is very much a game of chess with each athlete weighing carefully what his strategy for victory needs to be at every step of the battle. This contest may prove to be the ideal proving ground to settle once and for all the aged argument of which school produces the most well rounded individuals. And even if it doesn’t, it’s certainly going to be entertaining watching them try.
Muay Thai, a form of kickboxing and the national sport of Thailand, is one of the most popular forms of full contact martial sports in the world. It has pretty much become a household name since becoming popularized by actor Tony Jaa in such films and and Ong BakTom Yun Goong.
More recently, with the rise in fame of such events as the Ultimate Fighting Championship, K-1 World Grand Prix, Glory, Lion FightsMax Muay Thai, this martial discipline has achieved worldwide acclaim and is recognized as one of the most devastating striking arts. Muay Thai, or Thai boxing as it is also called, is known as the art of eight weapons and utilizes the fists, feet, elbows and knees to strike and subdue and opponent.