Warriors Way 24 tonight in Melbourne
The UFC is not the only fight show happening in Melbourne this weekend. Warriors Way 24 takes place tonight at the Shoppingtown Hotel in Doncaster, and hosts the best kickboxers from New Zealand and Australia going head-to-head under Muay Thai rules. The event will be broadcast in a delayed telecast on Fox Sports Australia.
A total of 15 full Thai rules fights will take place this evening. The King and Queen of NZ kickboxing - Sam Hill and Baby Nansen - will both compete on the main and co-main events against tough Aussie competition. The two not only train together but are husband and wife. The NZ vs Aussie fights are given below.
Sam 'the Shank' Hill vs Alexi 'the Great' Petroulias - 66kg
Sam Hill is a demon in the ring, being the former King in the Ring 68kg champion and holding victories over Muay Thai veteran Kayne Conlan and kickboxer Josh Marsters in the same night. He trains at City Kickboxing alongside his wife as well as UFC fighters Dan Hooker, Israel Adesanya, and Brad Riddell. He holds a record of 35-15-2 and is fearless under fire.
Hill has his hands full tonight though, as he faces quickly-rising Aussie Muay Thai phenom Alexi Petroulias. Petroulias is a military veteran and has an impressive resume, having won a host of WBC and WKA Australian titles in a short period of competition. Petroulias has a similar record to Hill, being 31-18-2.
Baby Nansen vs Jacinta Paskalidis - 59kg
Baby 'Pitbull' Nansen has a long list of accomplishments in both boxing and kickboxing, with over 50 fights' experience. Her boxing is a strength, having gone the distance with undefeated Mikaela Mayer on the undercard of the Lomachenko vs Linares fight card in May 2018. She holds four WMC NZ titles and an ISKA South Pacific title.
Jacinta Paskalidis is the daughter of former world champion Evan Paskalidis. She has a wealth of experience for such a young fighter, holding a record of 17-8-0, and has been active, losing a narrow decision to Kim Alino-Baldacchino for the WKBF Australian title in August this year. She will be coming with a vengeance in front of her home crowd.
Joey Baylon vs Gen Hongthong Lek - 59kg
Joey Baylon is the former King in the Ring (KiTR) 62kg Champion, having beaten David Aung, Dayne Williams, and Sone Vannathy in a single night, after coming up short the year when he lost to Alexi Serepisos in the 2015 KiTR final.
Gen Hongthong Lek has almost 200 fights' experience, with a record of 124-63-5. He is one of the twin brothers to found the Hongthong Muay Thai gym in Chiang Mai, Thailand in 2013. Even with Baylon's high-level fight experience, fighting Gen will be a big step up in competition.
Nikora Lee-Kingi vs Kaolanlek - 62kg
Nikora 'the Natural' Lee-Kingi is the reigning 62kg King in the Ring Champion and as a wealth of international fight experience, holding a record of 12-6-0 against high-level competition. His opponent, Kaolanlek, is a late replacement for his original opponent Quan Trinh. Kaolanlek is highly experienced, having had over 175 fights and taking part in a 2-on-1 exhibition bout with Buakaw Banchamek. He is elusive and is known for having good hands. Kaolanlek has been out of the fight game for 8 years and is a pad holder at Mark the Hammer's gym. He could not have chosen a tougher return fight than against the surging young lion; Lee-Kingi.
Dominic Reed vs Anthony Papaz - 60kg
Dominic '108' Reed is also an elite fighter, having faced friend and training partner Nikora Lee-Kingi in the final of the King in the Ring 8-man tournament earlier this year. Reed's record of 17-13-1 does not reflect his sublime kickboxing skills, as he has only lost to elite competition and consistently takes the toughest fights he can get. Reed has slick distance management and an elusive style. He is coming off a masterful unanimous decision victory over previously undefeated Tristan Papadopoulos in September and will look to continue his momentum tonight.
Anthony Papaz has a similar record of 17-15-3. The weigh in photo reveals that Reed will hold a height and reach advantage. Papaz has a Thai style; bouncing on his front foot and advancing. He will need all of his range control skills to deal with the challenge that is '108'