It was a year of highs and a year of lows. The Muay Thai community continued to grow and thrive despite some significant hardships. There were some truly inspirational moments. We wanted to highlight the standouts of 2020.
Pro Muay Thai Fighter: Jalill Barnes
Barnes has shown how important it is coming up the right way. His team at Ronin Training Center brought “Buakieow” through the local scene. Then they moved him to the national tournaments. He snatched up wins at the TBA’s and went on to the USMF. He took a trip to Isaan, performed in South America, and relocated to Thailand. His success has been a long time coming and this year he went undefeated with seven bouts, six wins, and one draw. His bouts weren’t easy as he performed at Lumpinee, Max Muay Thai, and Muay Mun Wan Suk. The Green Lotus is stepping up into the stadiums and we’re sure to see more from him in 2021.
Pro Female: Allycia Rodrigues
Rodrigues came in like an underdog. She faced Stamp Fairtex earlier this year for the coveted ONE Championship belt. The Fairtex star defended her belt against Janet Todd and Alma Juniku. A blow from Rodrigues turned it around. She broke Stamp’s nose and the champion’s legacy. Rodrigues didn’t shy from another big opportunity. She faced the fierce Dangkonfah for the 115lb Thailand belt. The bout had a considerable side bet. While she dropped a close decision her break out performance this year caught attention around the world.
Inspirational Story Of The Year: Jess Ng And Southpaw Stitches
Frustrated with the response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Jess Ng donned her gloves. The NYC native battled for her community. The accomplished seamstress designed breathable masks for essential workers to work in. Her resilience and generosity in a hard time inspirational. Battles in the ring are hard. Conflicts outside the squared circle are even more difficult. Ng and Southpaw Stitches showed consideration and community when it mattered the most.
Development Of The Year: The Brazilian Invasion
The Brazilians stormed the scene in Thailand this year. Rodriguez at ONE. Julio Lobo, Noellison Silva, Luis Cajaiba at the stadiums. Significant performances on the entertainment shows from Barbara Augiiar, Felype Morias, Marianna Scombatti, and others. Phuket Fight Club’s surge of solid performances was a long time coming. The success was built on the hard work and careers of others. Boxers and trainers like Leo Elias, Jose Neto, and Nata Gomez cleared the way for a new wave of Brazilians to hit Thailand’s shores.
International Development: The Rise Of The Internet
COVID-19 flipped the physical sport of Muay Thai on its head. Limitations around the world saw people adapting though. Many of the stadiums in Thailand began streaming online. Televised promotions such as Super Champ and Max Muay Thai had no audience. Gyms had to adapt as well. Zoom classes were all the rage. The sport has seen tremendous growth in online learning platforms. The world of Muay Thai News has grown with the addition of Muay Ying, and Muay Thai Iyarin. Other long lasting resources such as Muay Thai Focus, Muay Thai Results, Siam Fight News, continued to provide. These contributions to the growth of the sport would be impossible without the internet. It has tied people together. It has provided a pivotal infrastructure for a time when physical contact has been limited. This year has made it clear, the future of the sport will be both physical and digital.
-This year, due to limitations on events specifically in the USA, no amateur fighters were selected for awards.
The 2019 Awards:
Pro Male Muay Thai Fighter Of The Year: Ognjen Topic
Pro Female Muay Thai Fighter Of The Year: Janet Todd
Amateur Male Muay Thai Fighter Of The Year: Adam Edgerton
Amateur Female Muay Thai Fighter Of The Year: Tie- Tierra Brandt & Yasmeen Salhani
Outstanding Striker Of the Year: Asa Ten Pow
Inspirational Story Of the Year: 8 Limbs Gym in Philadelphia
Development Of The Year: The USMF
International Development of the Year: The Rise of the Stadiums