Two Malaysian fighters set to pick up a spot on The Contender Asia
By NG WEI LOON
THE Malaysian Tigers captain Bernard “Headhunter” Radin is hopeful that one of his team mates will be joining him to feature in the second season of The Contender Asia.
Two other exponents – Mohd Muinuddin Khadir and Faizal Ramli – from the camp based at the World Muay Thai (WMC) Malaysia Gym in Kelana Jaya will be vying for the final slot to appear in the reality show at the Malaysia Super Eight Fights scheduled at Sultan Mohammed IV Stadium in Kota Baru, Kelantan, on April 24.
However, the 37-year-old Bernard said it was hard to predict the eventual outcome as the eight competitors in the fray would be engaging in closely contested bouts.
“We expect that one of them will advance to the final for a shot to earn a place in the show.
“Having earned my place at the King’s Cup meet in Bangkok, Thailand, in December, I am glad that two Malaysians have been given the opportunity to showcase our potential to a wider audience.
“It is a stepping stone for the martial art to move forward in the country. We have a pool of talented young fighters, who compete for a living.
“We need to groom and direct them towards the correct direction,” he added.
Eight competitors are in the fray to secure a berth in the reality show. The other six contenders are Tengku Shahrizal of the Royal Malaysian Police Force (PDRM); Hashim Ramli of Kelab Kayu Kelat Terengganu; Khoo Meng Yang (“Red Dragon”) from TNT Kickboxing Malaysia; Boxxwar-riors Gym duo of Abdul Alif Mohd Zulkifli and Wes Jaya; and Muhammad Azwan Zamri representing M150 Kota Bharu.
World Muay Thai Council (WMC) Malaysia representative Muhd Shahnaz Azmi said they would reveal the draw starting from the quarter-finals knockout stage on the eve of the competition.
For the upcoming assignment, the Malaysian Tigers opted to field Muinuddin when Mohd Hamdan Mokhtar was forced to pull out due to a knee injury.
Based on his hard work throughout the team’s three-month stint at the Lamai Gym in Koh Samui, Thailand, the 22-year-old Muinuddin, also known as the King of Sharks, is rated as the fittest in the squad comprising 13 trainees aged between 17 and 37.
“Earlier, we did not name him because he only weighed in at 59kg. But, he has gained muscle mass and increased his weight by another six kilogrammes over the past three months.
“He always puts in extra effort. Even the trainers had to step in to slow down his training.
“We felt that he is a suitable choice for the challenge because he is a determined fighter who will go the full distance,” Bernard said.
The 20-year-old Faizal is stepping into the ring to protect his unbeaten run of 37 bouts thus far.
During his first overseas training stint in Thailand recently, he chalked up three victories defeating two Thais and a German opponent as well as picking up an Inter-Continental belt in the 70kg section.
“My preparation has been very thorough and I have also brushed up on techniques while training in Thailand.
“Our daily training regime includes a 12km run in the morning followed by another five kilometres in the evening.
“Now, it is about going out there to give my best,” said Faizal, who also hopes to earn a national call up for the biennial SEA Games in Laos at the end of the year.
Following the outing in Kelantan, the Malaysian Tigers will compete at the Asian Martial Arts Games in Bangkok, Thailand (April 25-May 3) and Arafura Games in Darwin, Australia (May 9-17).