Tommy “The Machine Gunn” Wright is a professional Muay Thai fighter from Papamoa in Tauranga, NZ, with a fight record of 26 wins, 10 losses and 1 draw over 37 fights.
He is the Head Coach for Evolution Muay Thai, and a sponsored fighter for Thailand’s Powerhouse Phuket Gym, training under coaches James Healen, Eddie Farrel, Brook Farrel and Jack Powerhouse.
He took time out to talk to NZ Fighter about how he got into combat sport, his training and his thoughts on the sport in NZ.
Gunn has been NZ Muay Thai champion 4 times as well as Australian K1 champion, and it all started for him at a very young age.
“Mum was teaching me to walk dad was teaching me to punch 😂”
At 12, Gunn had his first fight on Carl Crowleys “Mortal Combat” show.
“At the time my older brother was training hard and taking me to the gym but overall it was the desire to be like my dad, Garry Wright, and fight.”
Gunn won his K1 title in 2014, while he was travelling between Australia,Thailand and Middle East, before moving to train at Powerhouse gym full time a few years later .
“I had just moved to the Gold Coast to train with one of my idals John Wayne Parr .. That was the first fight I had for the Boonchu gym in a 4 man competition, which I was lucky enough to win... but been my first fight for my idol, and I’d been more worried about letting him down than the actual fight, there was no way I was leaving without it.”
Talking about training at PowerHouse Phuket, Gunn says it was the perfect gym for him, and explains,
“Powerhouse Phuket had the ultimate family vibe about it which is something that has always kept me involved in the sport. The quality of training and training partners were like something I had never experienced in my life. I was always being pushed to my limits physically and mentally!! My time at Powerhouse is something I will never forget.”
The most rewarding part about being a fighter for Gunn is the celebration at the end of a hard fought war.
“The emotions coming from your team in the corner you can feel it before they even get to you, it's really rewarding doing your team proud.”
Gunn returned to NZ, in August 2020, after suffering an injury that occurred during his time off training.
“Covid had hit Thailand pretty hard so we were taking a bit of time off from training and enjoying living in Thailand.. I had gone to a pool party at friends house, I jumped from a high ledge into the pool hitting the bottom fracturing my s1 l5 and rupturing my L4.. this injury led me to have pretty major spin surgery to save the nerves controlling my right leg. Whether or not I’ll ever be 100% is one thing, but I can punch and kick still and that's all that matters... I don't think I would've ever come home if that injury didn't happen .
He goes on to talk about the blessings in disguise that followed his ill timed injury, like connecting with family and establishing Evolution Muay Thai Gym.
“I loved my life of travel but something happen for a reason ... been home iv been able to meet and build a bond with my 4 year old nephew, who I had never met and also after been single for so many years, Iv met a beautiful partner and been able to have the time to start my little gym and start passing on my knowledge.”
When asked about his thoughts on combat sport in NZ currently, Gunn believes we all need to start embracing how much talent there is in the NZ fight scene.
“ I know its talked about and known.. but there aren't enough platforms supporting this talent. Not enough people putting their hands up to sponsor these kids coming through and there's barely any shows providing our talent with pay days for hard fought fights.. we need to establish a way to provide these kids with the funding or paydays to keep them inside the gym more frequently fueled by the right supplements.
In short, I think New Zealand has the best fighters and coaches in the world; they just don't have the support required yet to maintain it at a professional level.”
Gunn elaborates further, and sheds light on events, like Urban Sports Gyms Apex Muay Thai Warrior series, as a way forward for fighters, despite the current lack of a unified governing body for the sport.
“I also feel we are losing the muaythai scene to not having an overall unification of a sanctioning body. We have so many belts that just anyone can fight for.
I miss the days of when the champ was actually the champ, cos he beat everybody. I hold a lot of hope of this slowly changing through the likes of Greg Nesbit and his promotion Apex!!! Where he has gathered the actual best of their chosen weight categories and they have to fight through an elimination process to be crowned the best !!!
I'm also excited with the likes of the WBC slowly starting to make some noise in the New Zealand scene this is a real title that really stands for something around the world.”
On what the sport will be like in 5 years, Gunn says
“I can't even begin to imagine every new generation coming through is surpassing the generation before them hands down. It's gonna be a crazy time to be watching fights 💪💪”
Gunn is in Auckland on March 27, at Warriors Way Advanced Clinic for (Full Muay Thai), a limited capacity clinic which focuses on becoming comfortable working off your left side to immobilise your opponents power side, and delivering advanced Muay Thai feint and set up techniques to level up fight IQ,
Catch Gunn at the clinic which starts at 10am at 62 Mokoia Road, Birkenhead in Auckland (Urban Sport Gym), and to train with Gunn follow @Evolution_MuayThai on Instagram, and to keep up with his combat sport ventures, follow Gunn @tommy_powerhouse.
For our NZF fans, if you want to take it to another level, and attend Gunns Advanced Muay Thai Clinic, NZ Fighter has a special 20% discount code for the seminar; follow the link below to find tickets, and use the code: NZFIGHTER at checkout.