2019 is already upon us with YOKKAO 35 - 36 less than two weeks away to kick off a new year of events. 2018 was filled with highlights from our 3 double events as well as a series of Next Generation and Kids shows. We witnessed many all-out wars in the ring, some devastating knockouts, and the crowning of Manachai as the new WBC world welterweight champion. Here a recap of the top fights from 2018:
YOKKAO 29: Jonathan Haggerty vs Keith McLachlan
This 59kg battle for the top UK ranking went down in a way that no one expected. Both Haggerty and McLachlan wasted little time from the bell and the action escalated quickly. After a evenly-scored round 1, Haggerty strode into the second round like a man on a mission. He proceeded to drop McLachlan just 10 seconds in, with 2 brutal head kicks from which there was no recovery. It was a well-deserving victory with a stunning KO of the night.
YOKKAO 30: Spencer Brown vs Connor McNab
Some matches are renowned for their raw energy and power - this was one of them. Spencer Brown came into the fight looking to for a fast finish and add one to the night list of piling knockouts. He was up against another young fighter, Connor McNab who was making his YOKKAO debut. Spencer dominated the fight with his signature powerful punches but his tough opponent simply refused to go down. The 2 young Scotsmen put up a truly delightful performance that kept the audience at the edge of the seats. Spencer took home a well-deserving win via decision to his fight record while Connor earned a few black eyes to take home from the night.
YOKKAO 31: Niamh Kinehan vs Lucy Lister
Blink and you would have missed it. Up-and-coming female fighter, Niamh Kinehan delivered a stunning high kick to send her opponent, Lucy Lister right onto the canvas. More impressively, the KO came in just 27 seconds of the first round for the fastest finish of the year. The fight was brief but it was a spectacular win that bagged Kineham the Female KO of The Year award at United Kingdom Muay Thai awards 2018. We expect to see more of Kinehan in the coming year.
YOKKAO 32: Jack Kennedy vs Craig Coakley
The much-awaited brawl between Kennedy and Coakley was truly one of the most intense matchups of the year. Coakley went into the game like a hunter looking for the kill while Kennedy kept up his usual steady pace. It was an evenly-matched fight right up until round 3 when Coakley persistent elbow strikes paid off. Kennedy was served with a deep cut above his left eye that left half his face covered in blood. The fight was justifiably put to a stop with the win awarded to Coakley via TKO, making this his third straight KO victory on the promotion.
YOKKAO 32: Rambo Phet Por Tor Aor vs Nathan Bendon
Rambo made a splash with his YOKKAO debut in a highly-anticipated matchup that did not disappoint. The Thai elite fighter found himself up against the UK top seed, Nathan Bendon who stepped up to the challenge with less than a month notice. A heated exchange ensued for the first two rounds with no side getting the upper hand. Rambo put on the pressure to outscore in the third and fourth rounds with big body kicks. Bendon made a brave comeback in round 5 but it all came too late and the win was awarded to Rambo via split decision.
YOKKAO 33: Singdam vs Mathias Jonsson
The Hong Kong main event fight marked Singdam return to the ring after a 5-month break to face a young Mathias Jonsson. The Swedish fighter delivered a jumping knee in round 1 that lightly rocked Singdam and left him with a bleeding lower lip. The multi-time world champion experience showed as he fought back fiercely with strong knees and his signature kicks to reclaim the points over the remaining fight. Singdam marked his return with a well-deserved win via decision for the exhilarating bout - an obvious pick for one of the best fights of 2018.
YOKKAO 34: Manachai vs Julio Lobo
YOKKAO 33 - 34 was an unforgettable night with the highly-anticipated matchup between Manachai and Brazilian fighter Julio Lobo for the WBC Muay Thai World Welterweight title. Manachai had the upper hand in the first 3 rounds, putting on a more composed style than usual. The strategy proved effective against the reach of the taller Lobo. Manachai put on a clinic with a series of takedowns from the clinch, and disarming Lobo powerful punches via his signature low kicks. Even though Lobo picked up the pace and intensity in round 4, Manachai retaliated with careful defense and well-timed counter-offensive. After five full rounds of explosive battle, Manachai was declared the winner via decision, bringing home the belt and cementing his place as one of the top fighters today.