Wednesday October 28, 2009
Kickboxer bounces back with victory over Australian No. 1
By NG WEI LOON
MALAYSIAN Tigers’ Mohd Ali Yaakub registered a significant breakthrough at the Supremacy Part Eight in Perth, Australia, recently.
Even the five previous defeats against foreign challengers from Australia, Britain, Russia and Thailand in a higher weight category failed to deter the 23-year-old kickboxer from bouncing back strongly to edge Australian number one Chris “Tiger” White in the 57kg bout.
It was also sweet victory for Ali as he avenged his teammate Mohd Muinuddin Khadir’s (King of Sharks) earlier defeat against the local favourite.
White almost knocked out the heavier Muinuddin featuring in the 63kg section on that occasion.
Ali, who weighs only 54kg, said he was confident going into the ring because his 34-year-old trainer Rung Makate from Thailand took on White twice in his competitive career before going into coaching.
“I had a solid build up with the exposure to gauge my strength against stiffer opponents. I have gained valuable experience losing to them,” he said.
Intense: Ali concentrates as he tries to land a kick on his coach.
The aggressive White came out charging at Ali to flex his command in the opening round. After an impressive start, he slowed down and opted for a more cautious approach.
“We knew that he was fast. He tried coming in close and combining his shots in the first round.
“In the next round, he was running around the ring evading the assaults. Although Rung did not accompany me for the outing, he told me to take it easy and conserve my energy in the first two rounds before going all out to produce a strong finish in the last three rounds,” Ali said.
In the encounter that went the full distance of five rounds of three minutes each, Ali won the judges’ approval with his clear domination.
World Muay Thai Council (WMC) vice-president Stephen Fox, who witnessed Ali in action, praised him for applying a smart strategy to emerge as the clear winner in three of the five rounds.
“Ali is a complete exponent with sound techniques and skills to approach the fight with plenty of variation. He took his opportunities well on the counter attack. He was not afraid in moving forward to create the opening.
“When the fight was at its peak in the fourth round, White found it hard to cope with Ali’s pace,” Fox said.
In the penultimate round, the highly rated Malaysian contender troubled his opponent, connecting a forceful blow with his elbow on White’s right eye.
“I wanted to strike him in the centre of his forehead. But, it was enough to disrupt his focus and momentum in staying in contention,” said Ali.
Currently, Ali is going through the paces under Rung to prepare for his next assignment at the International Federation of Muay Thai Amateur (IFMA) World Championships in Bangkok at the end of November.
In addition, he will be having a crack at securing the WMC Inter-Continental belt when he takes on the European champion at Singapore on Dec 12.
Ali will be out to make amends after his setback in the opening bout at the world amateur meet last year.
“He is one of the top exponents in his category (51 to 54kg). But, he needs to maintain his high work rate going through the training sessions twice-a-day, six-days-a-week.
Besides the three sparring sessions in a week, Ali’s physical regime includes a 10km run every day and sprinting drills to increase his endurance and speed respectively.