Meet the YOKKAO Next Generation fighters: Joe Craven!
Joe craven is a young fighter who recently took the step to move to Leeds to begin training and fighting out of the world famous YOKKAO Training Center Bad Company (Leeds - UK). His stablemates are the likes of YOKKAO World Champions Jordan Watson, Liam Harrison and many more. Bad Company is known for churning out champions with the help of head coaches Richard and Lisa Smith. Joe is spending time there now not only training to become a better fighter but he has also become a coach himself.
Joe Craven became a YOKKAO Next Generation fighter earlier this year and has fought on many of the YOKKAO shows in the UK. His most recent win was against Robbie Collins in October. It was a fantastic show from Craven and Collins did put up a tough fight. Joe spoke out on his fight career so far, how he got into Muay Thai and where he sees his journey developing to over the next few years. YOKKAO will be there to help Joe along the way, giving him a fantastic opportunity to develop and hone his skills both in and out of the ring.
Joe said this: “I started training in Muay Thai when I was four years old. My parents took me along to my local club Calder Thai in Halifax and It just went from there really. I trained at Calder Thai for 11 years also having extra training with Master A in Manchester and having my first fight at 11 years old and going on to have a successful junior career fighting on YOKKAO for the first time at 15 years old. Three years ago, I moved to train and fight out of Bad Company in Leeds and have never looked back. I've since moved to live in Leeds and train, fight and teach at Bad Company.
Muay Thai has been a massive part of my life for as long as I can remember and has given me opportunities I might never have had otherwise. I'm naturally competitive and I love the challenge of the fight. My team mates at Bad Company are some of the best fighters and trainers in the world and I'm lucky to be able to train and spar with them daily. The guys at Bad Co are a big part of my life both in and out of the gym. There's nothing like the feeling of working hard and winning against a good opponent because I know it's an achievement I’ve worked for. Since I started my adult fighting career at 15 I've had 17 fights (15 wins and 2 losses). I won lots of titles as a junior and as an adult I've since won an Italian title in Rome and won the British ISKA fight, full Thai rules early this year against Jack Maguire. I've been lucky and haven't lost a fight now for over two years. There are so many challenges generally in fighting. I think probably one of the biggest apart from the fights themselves is getting your name out there and proving yourself as a good fighter who doesn't back away from hard fights, instead wanting to get out there and fight the good fighters to prove myself. I was lucky to start fighting on the YOKKAO shows at only 15 years old and have been on the shows now three times joining the Next Generation team last year.
Being recognised enough to be asked to fight on such great shows on a regular basis is an accomplishment. I've had so many accomplishments in Muay Thai from my own fights, being picked for the Next Generation team and from watching my own students at the gym and the Bad company kids who I teach winning fights and titles. I haven't lost at all this year so that's always a good start and I'm happy that the wins I've had have all been strong ones. I had good clear wins this year against Jack Maguire, Harry Burton and Robbie Collins who are all very good fighters and a few years older than me and won the fights comfortably. I also spent some time out in Thailand training and took my hardest fight this year out there winning by TKO. I've moved to Leeds this year also which has been great as I'm not having to spend two hours a day travelling and is much easier for training. I'm hoping 2017 will be a busy year for me with fights. I'm keen to continue to improve and prove myself against good fighters under A Class rules.
My coach, Richard Smith, is always keen to get me good fights and he has a couple of things in the pipeline which could turn out to be really good for my future career. There a few people out there I'd like the chance to fight at my weight and would like to make my way into the UK rankings. As for fights I'd like to see there are so many. My team mates Liam Harrison and Jordan Watson obviously will have some exiting fights coming up but I'd also like to see Filip Kulawinski from Bad Co getting more opportunities. Filip's an absolute monster and got to be one of the most avoided fighters I've ever known. I'm just taking every day as it comes now and listening to the advice of Richard Smith and my team at Bad Co. I'll continue to train hard and take the opportunities that come my way. Bad Co as a club have proved themselves by producing top level fighters consistently over many years and I continue to build my reputation as a fighter. Of course, my aim over the next few years is to get to the top in the sport and be achieving in the same way that Liam and Jordan have been achieving over their careers. Fighting on YOKKAO shows and joining the Next Generation team has been great. I've been lucky to have fought on many top shows but having a brand like YOKKAO behind me is fantastic and I hope one day to get onto the YOKKAO Fight Team. I'd like to get out to Thailand again next year and train at the YOKKAO Training Center in Bangkok and maybe get on the some if the other YOKKAO promotions both in the UK and overseas.
YOKKAO are consistently putting on top shows with the best fighters in the world. I think they are playing a major part in moving the sport forward in the publics eyes and putting the sport on the map. Not only are they offering the public the fights they want to see but they are promoting the sport and the fighters in the right way with high quality, well run shows and strong promotional work. The YOKKAO promoters put an enormous amount of work into the UK shows and it would be great to see more promotions following in their footsteps putting on high quality fights whilst also giving the best up and coming fighters an opportunity to showcase their talent. I'd like to say a big thanks of course to the YOKKAO team for their continued support and to the Bossman Richard Smith, Lisa Smith and all my team mates at Bad Company, also a big thanks to my mum and dad who always support me with everything and have committed not only a lot financially but a massive part of their lives supporting me to achieve my goals.”
There is no doubt that Joe Craven is set for a very bright career in fighting. Being only 18 he still has a very long and exciting journey ahead of him. Having already took wins against some very tough opponents this year, 2017 looks like it is going to be another whirlwind for Joe as he begins to push himself to the next level in his career. Joe can be seen here sporting the YOKKAO Fight Team gloves of which can be found in the YOKKAO Shop: www.yokkao.com/shop. If you would like to develop your skillset become fit and look the part then head to the shop and fill your gym bag with the most sought after Muay Thai equipment on the market at the moment.
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