Kruchain vs Kelly to Headline Turf Wars 8

A mouth-watering Muay Thai clash between Thailand's Kruchain and New Zealand's Jeffrey Kelly looks set to headline this weekend's Turf Wars 8 card.

The 15-bout card takes place this Saturday, 19 October, inside Urban Sport gym on Auckland's North Shore.

Kurchain, who lives in Wellington but is originally from Buriram, Thailand, began his Muay Thai training aged 6. A year later, he participated in his first bout, and since then has gone on to compete in over 500 contests.

"I have had many fights in Thailand. I have fought a lot of my friends in the sport. Muay Thai is a very well respected sport, you go in the ring and fight hard, but when you are out of the ring, we all have huge amounts of respect for each other, egos are left in the ring. "Kruchain said, speaking to Newsie.

"I love fighting in Thailand, some nights you would have more than one fight. It is our life in Thailand; it's our country's sports. Everyone loves Muay Thai in Thailand."

Since arriving in New Zealand five years ago to teach Muay Thai, the veteran athlete, who is now a NZ resident, has been impressed by the level of talent existing within the local scene.

"NZ Muay Thai is good but different to Thailand. In Thailand, Muay Thai is your income, so you train, sleep, train, sleep a few times a day and run in the morning and night. In NZ, people have other jobs outside of Muay Thai," he explained.

"They can train morning or night but can't train all day every day as we do in Thailand, most people have other work commitments. I feel NZ fighters have more power when they are punching. In Thailand, it is more about kicking because you get good points."

Kruchain has won all three of his NZ bouts, and while he knows little about the man he will face off against on Saturday night, he is excited about returning to the ring and showcasing his skills.

"I don't know much about Jeffrey. I don't really study my opponents. I don't think too much about my fights; I love fighting so we [will] go into the ring and have some fun."

While Kruchain may not know a lot about Kelly, one person who does is event promoter Greg Nesbit, and he is a huge fan of the Strike Force trained fighter.

"He's a guy who puts it on the line; he is an exciting fighter. I love watching him fight. He is a bit of a matrix, a bit of a brawl till you fall, he has some beautiful hands, some great movement he is an outstanding fighter." Nesbit said.

Nesbit expects Saturday's main event, which will be fought under full Muay Thai rules, to be the perfect culmination to a night of explosive stand up battles featuring some of New Zealand's top strikers.

"It's going to be elbows and knees, and it's going to be spectacular," Nesbit added.

While there will be plenty of attention paid to the Kruchain-Kelly fight, according to Nesbit, the evening's three co-main events are all are worthy of being headline contests.

The night's penultimate matchup sees Maui Muay Thai's Ricky Esilva taking on ETK's Fou Ah-lam in a bout that should have no shortage of action.

"As soon as I saw him [Esilva] fight at 92 kg, I was like wow, this guy is a fighter I would want to watch, he has brutal power," Nesbit said.

"These two [fighters] will literally lock horns so that it will be an exquisite fight."

The other bouts rounding off the main card are Urban Sport Gym's Thomas Maguren vs. Platinum Muay Thai's Quinton Jones and Kruchain Muay Thai's Ajay-Al Saeed vs. Wimbledon Muay Thai's Ale Taumalolo.

The show is expected to sell-out, but there will be a limited number of tickets for sale at the door. The location of the event is 60-62 Mokoia Rd, Birkenhead, Auckland.

The event will also be live-streamed for free at https://www.corvusdigital.co.nz/turfwars/

Written by Michael Clifton

Michael Clifton is an experienced combat sports journalist who has written for a variety of publications. His interest in all manner of combat sports has led to him working closely with organisations such as ONE Championship and promoters across New Zealand.