Tankō Muay Thai League: A Flick Through The Fight Card - Tankō Events - The UK's Premier Combat Sports Promotion

Tankō Muay Thai League: A Flick Through The Fight Card

10th February 2017

There’s a Muay Thai melting pot bubbling away inside Victoria Warehouse, with matchmaker Ricky Sewell and the Tanko team set to lift the lid on Sunday afternoon.

The first ever Tanko Muay Thai League is almost upon us, and will treat the crowd to an intoxicating medley of different fighters competing across a dozen contests. Nine extraordinary A Class bouts are scheduled for the occasion, with superstars Michael Wakeling, Marco Pique and Liam Harrison all strapping on their fight mitts to take part. Tickets for one of the biggest Muay Thai events to hit Manchester in many a year have been snapped up at a dizzying rate, with hundreds swarming to the Trafford area to bear witness to the action on 12th February.

Here, we take a closer look at each of the twelve TML fights in detail before the event begins. Matchmaker Ricky Sewell and the Tanko team weigh in with their verdict too, giving you some insight as to what you can expect when you turn up for the show.

Michael Wakeling vs Marco Pique

75KG – International A Class

Mere weeks ago, the prospect of Michael Wakeling and Marco Pique sharing a ring would have sent shivers down the average Muay Thai fan’s spine. Now it’s a reality.

One of the very best that Britain has ever seen battles an all-time kickboxing great in the Tanko Muay Thai League headliner on Sunday and it’s guaranteed to be an utterly gripping affair.

Pique has more than a century of fights under his belt, having headlined stages all over the world in a professional career spanning 16 years. Despite his Surinamese roots, he considers Holland his spiritual home and continues to represent Team Sniper from The Hague. A sticky 2016 briefly gave rise to rumours that Pique could be ready to shut the curtains on his kickboxing career, but he proceeded to promptly quash the gossip by putting Wakeling in his sniper crosshairs for TML’s marquee fight.

There have also been whispers about Wakeling’s future in the sport, with the Kent-based athlete having been absent from competitive action for more than 12 months. The reality is much simpler than many were assuming. Having won 30 of his 32 contests to date, Wakeling has simply been waiting for the right match-up to come along – a fight that would push the boundaries and present him with a whole new kind of challenge. Now he’s found it.

All the ingredients are here for an explosive headline contest, and both these stars will arrive at Victoria Warehouse ready to put on a show. We’d tell you to expect a fight to remember, but you already knew that, didn’t you?

The TML Team Verdict:

“This fight will be action-packed from the word go. With more than a hundred fights shared between these titans, it will be a matter of pride with neither of the boys taking a step back.”

Liam Harrison vs Jesus Romero

67KG – International A Class

Why settle for one British legend on the card when you can have two?

Liam Harrison continues to reassert his reputation as a homemade hero, and is widely regarded as our nation’s best performing fighter of the past decade. A winner of multiple world titles (2 of which came as recently as 2016), Bad Company Gym’s best-known disciple is rapidly approaching the hundred-fight mark and will be looking to bounce back at TML following a defeat to French superstar Fabio Pinca in October 2016.

Despite Harrison’s fearsome fight record, Jesus Romero will come at him. There’s little doubting that. The Spaniard is a forward-thinking, forward-moving fighter and will strike Leeds’ most beloved nakmuay from all angles in a bid to bag an arena-stunning victory. Harrison will need to think and act smart in order to clock his first win of 2017.

This one comes complete with a big red warning sticker for audiences – with some crunching strikes guaranteed to reverberate around the arena. Once that first bell has rung for TML’s penultimate contest, get ready to hold onto something.

The TML Team Verdict:

Liam will need to pull all his tricks out the bag if he is to stop Jesus from coming forward. Jesus has been through some tough wars in his career and has undoubtedly taken some of the hardest shots out there and prevailed. Let’s hope Liam’s fitness/cardio is up for the challenge as Jesus will make him work extremely hard.

Macauley Coyle vs Mondo Woodcock

A Class – 57KG

Neck and neck in the Featherweight rankings table, Macauley Coyle and Mondo Woodcock will be up close and personal with one another in the flesh come Sunday.

Scotsman Woodcock walks into this bout brimming with confidence, but he’ll have to be in tip-top condition to get one over his Warwick based opponent at the debut TML. Coyle missed a huge chunk of 2015 but has returned a better competitor than ever, defying the odds to topple Norway’s number one back in March 2016 in an all-out war.

Do we have a dark horse contender for fight of the night here?

The TML Team Verdict:

Mondo is an active fighter, spending lots of time in the gym even when he hasn’t got a fight. But will his timing and fitness be impeccable enough to test Macauley’s strength and speed? This fight will very likely end in a stoppage – but the question is to who? You will need to be there to find out.

Dakota Ditcheva vs Kat Paton

A Class – 52.5KG

Dakota Ditcheva has been treading unfamiliar territory these past few months. Up until October 2016, the Tanko teen had been writing her own incredible story with a relentless rise through the rankings, attracting staggering media attention and acclaim in the process.

But suddenly, after arranging the biggest fight of her career (a clash with Amy Pirnie on YOKKAO 20), something happened that wasn’t in the script. Ditcheva got injured. Badly. A bout of rotten luck had abruptly stalled her momentum and the youngster was left facing an arduous uphill task for complete recovery.

At Tanko Muay Thai League, Ditcheva finally makes her long-awaited reappearance in the ring. Kat Paton stands in the opposite corner and will see this as a sublime opportunity to claim a memorable victory over the girl who’s been the hero of the combat sports headlines throughout 2016.

Can Ditcheva bounce back from injury to prolong her undefeated record? Or will Paton spoil the comeback party?

The TML Team Verdict:

Dakota will be keen to assert her position in the Thai scene as she hasn’t made an appearance in almost over a year. Kat will be wanting to prove herself against her as she will be the underdog.

We’re predicting a cagey start, with Dakota taking the centre of the ring, but her lack of fight action in recent months may see her adopt a different style. This is where Kat may have to take advantage.

Josh Turbill vs Artur Saładiak

A Class – 70KG

There’s one distinguishing characteristic that bunches all the best Muay Thai athletes together: mental strength. You can have arms like Zeus and the kick of a kangaroo, but without toughness up top, true greatness forever remains out of reach.

Both Josh Turbill and Artur Saladiak have shown time and time again they have the mind-set needed to survive on the pro circuit. All Powers Gym product Turbill stunned fans by courageously stepping in to fight Reece McAllister in 2015, and Saladiak admirably fought for his country as a UK representative in the Thai Fight London showdown between Britain and Thailand last year.

It’s difficult to know which combatant will see their arm raised at Victoria Warehouse on Sunday. What we can be sure of, however, is that this will be one of the most hard-fought, passionate displays of the afternoon.

The TML Team Verdict:

This fight is between two martial artists that share a very similar style. Both start composed and technical, but end up being tempted into an all-out war. Expect a generous amount of knees and elbows to be thrown between the 3rd to 5th rounds. Could possibly turn out to be ‘fight of the year’.

Jersey Pinto vs Karl James Upton

A Class – 74KG

Jersey Pinto has produced some sterling performances during his short Muay Thai career so far, emerging from every contest with credit; win, lose or draw. Under the guidance of the Kiatphontip Gym team, he’s rocketed up to third in the British Super Middleweight rankings, and will aim to continue his climb to the crest by claiming another victory at Victoria Warehouse.

Karl Upton is the man in his way – a formidable fighter from 2 Brothers Gym who is sure to give Pinto a real test when the pair touch gloves on Sunday. Both competitors suffered setbacks at the back end of 2016 and are in search of a galvanising win at TML that can springboard them to success this year.

The TML Team Verdict:

We’re predicting a slow start, with both fighters testing each other’s reactions. Both are very skilled and great all round. The corners’ instructions could make the difference in this one.

Jacob Smith vs Kierren Parker

A Class – 57KG

Whilst many people spent 2016 busy discussing and disputing the upheaval that beset the world, Jacob Smith was out having the best year of his life. The youngster roared his way up from the youth circuit to ruthlessly collect a number of combat sports accolades, and by the time the 12 months were up, he sat 8th in the British Featherweight rankings as a UKMF English and Golden Belt British champion.

It’s a dangerous move to bet against a fighter in such form, but Kierren Parker won’t be willing to simply stand back and admire Smith’s rise to the summit. The Double K Gym competitor is an equally precocious competitor, and has his own collection of fine victories worth remembering, not least the impressive scalp of UK #4 Louis Green last time out.

The TML Team Verdict:

Jacob Smith has an unlimited tank of fitness and since his loss to Macauley Coyle he has vastly improved all round. Kierren is the underdog coming into this fight, but is also underrated. He may be young, but he’s been involved in the sport since being a youngster. Both fighters are fit, sharp and pack very hard hits. We imagine this will be a tit for tat fight.

Jonno Chipchase vs Savvas Michael

A Class – 61KG

A decorated athlete with ITBF Championship and Topking WPMF European titles to his name, Jonno Chipchase’s combat sports career has been awash with fine achievements. Having tackled Thai legends like Konkeanlek Sitpholek, Oron Deachkalon Sumalee, and Rung Kharnpan during his time in the ring, the MFA Manchester fighter faces another respected athlete at the maiden TML: Savvas Michael from Lumpinee Gym in Limassol.

Michael bleeds Muay Thai and comes into this contest with every chance of walking away with something if he’s on his game. It’s going to be captivating watching this one pan out. Expect some big hits right from Round One.

The TML Team Verdict:

Jonno’s been around the circuit for a long time and has mixed it up with some the best out there. He has been inactive for 2 years, but he assures us he has trained harder than ever before to prove to everyone he’s still got it. He’ll need to bring his A-game as he will be taking on a Cypriot sensation in Savvas, who has been back and forth to Thailand training and competing.

We expect Jonno to be the stronger of the two controlling the centre of the ring, but Savvas will need to be extra focused and smart to nullify his opponent’s strength.

Isaac Taylor vs Callum McGowan

A Class – 59KG

Can anybody halt Isaac Taylor right now? The youngster has racked up nine wins from nine fights during his career so far, and will aim to move his win streak into double figures when he meets Callum McGowan on Sunday in a rude introduction to A Class Muay Thai.

McGowan is ready to move things up a notch and take his career to the next level after winning four of his last five contests, and this is sure to be an invigorating battle between two of Britain’s brightest young talents.

The TML Team Verdict:

McGowan will be the underdog in this contest. However, the fighter with the most to prove is usually the most dangerous. McGowan will be looking to take the fight to Isaac and add the first loss to Isaac’s record.

The result will come down to whether Isaac can continue to control his opponents and cruise to another victory or whether McGowan is hungry enough to take control.

Darius Palma vs Dylan Hardy

B Class – 57KG

One of two B Class bouts taking place at the first ever Tanko Muay Thai League, Darius Palma and Dylan Hardy is a contest that’s too close to call on paper. Both youngsters have an insatiable appetite for Muay Thai and have been competing regularly wherever possible in a bid to further their careers. The matches are only going to get bigger for these two as time goes on, and a win here could prove to be a giant stepping stone to move further up future fight cards.

The TML Team Verdict:

Both fighters are young and very talented and will work hard to prove themselves on such a big platform. Expect this to be fast paced from the sound of the first bell.

Harry Burton vs Glyn Blackburn

B Class – 69KG

Glyn Blackburn is back on a Tanko show, having played his part in an entertaining tussle with Robbie Collin at The Tanko Main Event in May 2016. He came up short that day and he’ll be eager to show the Manchester crowd he’s made of sterner stuff when he clashes with Harry Burton in what is sure to be a brutal B Class contest.

Burton is at an exciting stage in his career, having recently made a switch to Lisa Howarth’s Northern Spirit Gym. The former ISKA Lightweight champion looks certain to develop whilst training at the Sale-based workout centre and he’ll be hungry to claim a win in his new corner colours at TML.

The TML Team Verdict:

Glyn has been training with former multiple world champion Andy Thrasher, so no doubt will have improved and tightened up his whole game. Harry Burton is also a great all round fighter and will have improved under the careful guidance of Lisa Howarth. This will be a very technical bout showcasing some amazing Muay Thai. It’ll be interesting to see how far they have evolved under their new instructors.

Rajan Swali vs TJ Everett

C Class – 49KG

Labelled a “Muay Thai guru trapped in a young man’s body”, Rajan Swali is a fighter with so much intelligence and athletic talent that it’s almost intimidating. A star at youth level, he was widely tipped to shake foundations of the higher circuit when he decided the time was right to step up and the teenager obliged with style. Fighting out of Pra Chao Suua gym under Tanko fighter Dean James and Gurtake Swali, Swali’s career blossomed in 2016 as many had anticipated. He will be looking to start a brand new year in much the same vein with a victory over TJ Everett at Victoria Warehouse on 12th February.

Hailing from Griphouse gym in Scotland, Everett was prepped and ready to stop Swali in his tracks last year until their contest was cancelled and now will have another opportunity to rob the Tanko youngster of his unspoiled fight record in this rescheduled bout.

Opening fights don’t come much more exciting than this.

The TML Team Verdict:

Gutted when this didn’t go ahead last year. Rajan has had a few C class fights now and technically sharp and fast showing characteristics of the Pra Chao Suua style. TJ is smart and will apply the pressure to make Rajan work. Two fantastic up and coming stars paving the way for the next generation of Muay Thai.

The People’s Verdict

There are still a handful of tickets left for the massive Tanko Muay Thai League, so if this mouth-watering fight card is tempting you, all you need to do is head over to Skiddle to pick one up. You won’t regret it. After all, what could be more fulfilling and thrilling than a Muay Thai Sunday with a fight card of this calibre?

A small number of tickets will be available on the door. These will be charged at an extra £10 on top of the advertised prices. Book online as soon as possible to get your TML pass at the lowest possible price!