Muay Thai artists go in for the knock-out

Scarborough native uses training and cool nerves to take out opponent

A Scarborough fighter’s promise of a knockout performance was fulfilled recently at the fifth Battle in the Desert competition.

The competition’s main event, between Scarborough native Markus Simon and American fighter Joe Schilling, generated a lot of buzz on the Internet last month. This is because Simon challenged his opponent to an “all-or-nothing” Muay Thai match. Simon won by a TKO (technical knockout) against Schilling, making his efforts and training worthwhile.

“He likes to talk a lot before his opponents, but most of his opponents don’t say anything,” Simon says. “He’s not so good. I am gonna expose him in the fight.”

Simon, 25, displayed confidence in his abilities prior to the fight in Las Vegas as a result of his extensive experience in the sport. He trains twice a day, seven days a week, with his coach Suchrt Yodkerepauprai, 52, and World Muay Thai Council (WMC) champion Matt Embree, 23.

Yodkerepauprai has been a practitioner of Muay Thai since he was eight years old.

He began teaching Muay Thai after moving to Toronto from Thailand.

When Simon walked into the Siam No. 1 Muay Thai gym, Yodkerepauprai says he was impressed by Simon’s skills and began training him.

“I saw him fight a few fights at first. So then he came back to train. It was the end of 2006 where he started to become serious about it,” Yodkerepauprai says.

Yodkerepauprai was a landscaper before becoming the owner of two Siam No. 1 Muay Thai gyms, which are located in Woodbridge and Toronto. He even taught his co-workers Muay Thai during breaks at work and he continues to pass on his legacy to his students at the gym.

“I used to train them twice a day, but now I have kids so I expect them to be responsible for their training. When I arrive at the gym, they are at 110 per cent performance,” he says.

Simon is in a good environment for his training. His coach demands that his fighters be in a good state of mind when practicing and fighting.

“I prepare my philosophy to prepare the fighters 110 per cent,” Yodkerepauprai says.

Embree helps Simon get ready for his competitions by keeping a close eye on how his competition is performing.

“We are always talking about the fights,” he says. “We study religiously every single fight we have. We go over our strategy with each other.”

Simon’s game plan is to relax and be in the moment throughout the fight. Ultimately, he relies on his technique and knowledge to come out on top.

“When I throw my weapons in the ring it’s not just to hurt the person, but you want to land correctly and you tend to knock them out,” Simon says.