Another fight has been announced: Steven Long will fight against Luke Imeson at YOKKAO 15. Both of them are seasoned fighters in their own right and have fought some of the biggest names in the UK. Steven Long is currently ranked 3 in the YOKKAO UK ranking, while Luke Imeson will be a new entry according with the YOKKAO Ranking regulations. These two going head to head is going to be a brilliant fight so I was keen to get a feel for how they were feeling and what they are doing to prepare for each other come 10th October at YOKKAO 15! Muay Thai fans… Steven Long and Luke Imeson:
Dom: Who helps you both mentally and physically prepare for a fight?
Steven: I’ve been lucky enough to train under many great trainers in my time here and sometimes in Thailand and try to take as much as possible away from each and every one of them , currently I’ve been training under Craig Willis for about three years now and Jompop Kiatphontip and his team for a long time now who prepare me as best they can, I also now train with a personal trainer, Jamie taylor who physically prepares me to the best I have ever been or felt
Luke: My team everyone at the YOKKAO Training Centre Bad Company, Richard Smith, Lisa Houghton-Smith and all the fighters help me prepare both physically and mentally. I also do strength and conditioning with Steven Campbell and Rob Milner who have both helped me get stronger and fitter for my last few fights than I've ever been before.
Dom: What makes this fight different from other bouts you have had?
Steven: Every fight you have is different and is a new tough challenge outside and inside the ring with all sorts of obstacles that occur but at the end of the day this is YOKKAO and for me the biggest stage this country has seen and as always an honour to get to put on a great show for everyone.
Luke: The biggest difference is that it's on the World Stage with some of the best fighters in the world. It gives me a chance to show more people that maybe haven't seen me fight before or perhaps haven't heard of me what I’m about and capable of. Steven Long has fought some of the best fighters in the country so beating him will move me onto the next level of my career. I've already started to gain a reputation for being in exciting fights so hopefully this fight will gain me more exposure.
Dom: Why do you keep coming back to fighting?
Steven: I get asked this question a lot and to be honest there is only one simple answer and that is because I love everything about it inside and out, from training to pushing yourself to the limits to constantly testing yourself, the fight is the end product of all the hard work and determination you have put in and its simple for me once I stop enjoying it that’s when I stop fighting.
Luke: I like to test my skills against the best fighters and to test myself physically and mentally. I love the glory when your hand is raised at the end of the fight.
Dom: Where do you pull your inspiration/motivation from?
Steven: From the rocky films haha only joking, no really I get my motivation from my love of the sport and wanting to constantly better myself, and inspiration is from my trainers past and present and previous and current fighters who I listen to and take as much as possible from there experiences and knowledge of the game and of course watching my favourite fighters.
Luke: Wanting to be the best I can be for myself and my family motivates me. But having some of the best fighters in the world to train with and as role models in the gym inspires me to try and achieve what they have.
Dom: When you are in the ring and all the preparation is done, what sort of challenges do you have to overcome to make sure you get the win?
Steven: First of all is not falling over the ropes when climbing in lol then its all about for me just following the game plan as best you can and listening to your corner as everyone knows how quick a fight can change , every fight is different which makes it so exciting for everyone.
Luke: The biggest challenge is mentally moving forward and fighting on when your hurt and tired. I’d say only 30% of fighting is physical it's no good being fit and strong if you're gonna dive on the floor and give in as soon as your hurt.
Dom: YOKKAO is great exposure for you as a fighter, how does that make you feel?
Steven: When I first started I did so to loose weight and get fit, never had any intention of fighting now 22 fights later I am fighting on the best and biggest show this country has ever seen alongside some of the worlds best Muay Thai fighters and its an absolute dream come true and a huge honour every time
Luke: I’m very grateful to be fighting on a show as big as this with some of the biggest names in the sport. It's without a doubt the biggest lineup in UK history and I'm excited to be a part of it.
Dom: Do you have anything to say to your upcoming opponent?
Steven: As always every fight now at this level is going to be tough test and Luke is no different, he’s a top lad and a great fighter, coming out of one of the best gyms in the country who produce champion after champion so this will be another great fight that I’m sure we are both preparing best as we can to put on a great show for you all, may the best lad win and hope you all enjoy it.
Luke: Let's give the fans an exciting fight! Some serious knowledge dropped there by Steven Long and Luke Imeson. This is another bout that is going to go down in Muay Thai history. It means a lot for both of these fighters so I can imagine that some serious training is going on in their gyms. I did a training session with Steven, you can find out what happened during it right here: