Tonight was another big night for Muay Thai with Lion Fight 17 going down in Connecticut for the second time. This being Lion Fight's second outing to the East Coast they delivered big yet again with yet another solid fight card that proved to be action-packed. Pedro Gonzalez started the card off with a bang by stopping Tim Amorim in round four, while Victor Saravia followed up with a R4 KO of his own. Carlos Lopez took the action to the tough Rami Ibraham, Brett Hlvacek got an upset win over Washington all on the undercard. The two main fights of the night saw Jo Nattawut upset Cosmo Alexandre and Malaipet be Malaipet against Justin Greskiewicz.
Malaipet Sasiprapa (R5 - UD) Justin Greskiewicz
Jo Nattawut (R5 - SD) Cosmo Alexandre
Brett Hlavacek (R5 - MD) Cyrus Washington
Carlos Lopez (R5 - UD) Rami Ibraham
Victor Saravia (R4 - KO) Andy Singh
Pedro Gonzalez (R4 - TKO) Tim Amorim
Saturday at the SuperKombat World Grand Prix in Constanta Catalin Morosanu looks to enter the ring for the third time this year, but only his second time in the ring in his home of Romania. For Catalin Morosanu, he’s proven to be a viable personality in the Romanian mainstream and will always draw eyes for SuperKombat throughout Europe, but this fight is important for him. Morosanu is perhaps best known for his wild, brawling style that he has claimed to be modeled after early Bob Sapp, but that wild, brawling style has gotten him into trouble throughout his career.
It’s hard not to imagine being distracted with the kind of schedule that Catalin Morosanu keeps up. Kickboxing will always be his home, but his work in politics takes up time, including an election this year. To top that off he’s a television personality and even markets his own brand of wine to Romanian fans. He still finds time to fight, though, and while he’s known for his brawling style, it would be crass to say that he’s just a brawler. Morosanu has evolved over the years and proved that with his wins over Stefan Leko, Anderson Silva and Paul Slowinski.
Since 2013 Morosanu has gone 3-3, batting .500 after going on an epic win-streak, which has led to some questioning his commitment to the sport and to growing, but if you look back at those losses they were all incredibly close. The fight with Ben Edwards was one of the more entertaining slugfests of the past few years at Heavyweight, even, with many seeing the fight going either way. The recent loss to Tomas Hron was a minor setback, for sure, but that is why his fight this weekend against Giannis Stoforidis is so important.
The Greek Stoforidis has had an equally interesting 2013 and 2014, with him making a big impression during the SuperKombat Tryouts in Greece, then putting on an amazing show in the SuperKombat New Heroes event in Croatia. When given a chance at a SuperKombat World Grand Prix tournament he made it to the finals in a qualifier, losing a tough fight to another young, rising star in D’Angelo Marshall. With Stofodiris it’s hard to forget that he’s only 25 and his career on the big stage is just beginning.
For Stoforidis, the fight with Morosanu is his biggest to date yet and his chance to make a huge impression on Romanian fans and hand Morosanu his first loss on Romanian soil since he fought Errol Zimmerman in Bucharest in 2010. A win over Morosanu would not only get his young career back on track, but would turn him into a superstar in Romania. Many have looked at Stoforidis as one of SuperKombat’s next big breakout stars, already gaining popularity in his home of Greece, but this would only make it all happen a lot quicker.
For Morosanu a win over Stoforidis would send the fans home happy in Romania, also proving that Morosanu is still focused on being one of the best in the world at kickboxing. Morosanu has always been knocking at the door of being considered one of the best Heavyweights and scoring a win over Stoforidis gets his name back into the discussion and opens up doors for fights with bigger names down the road.
In my estimation the pressure is on Morosanu for this fight, with him fighting in Romania and being a national hero and all. There are a lot of expectations for him to not only win, but to do so in entertaining fashion. I think that Morosanu might get the job done here, but I don’t envy him right now, that’s for sure.
8/1/14, Mashantucket Reservation, CT - The night before a fight can be a weird time for a fighter. Some go into seclusion, turning off their phones and locking themselves in a room. Some go out to a big dinner with the team or friends and family. Some just eat, watch movies, visualize and pass out, or try to. I was lucky enough to catch Justin Greskiewicz, the Purple People Eater, the night before the biggest match-up of his professional Muay Thai career, Malaipet Sasiprapa in the Lion Fight 17 show at Foxwoods Casino in Connecticut.
Not wanting to take up too much of his time, especially while he was eating, we shared a quick six questions, and then I let him get back to it:
Okay, the weigh-ins over, the hard work is done, time to eat rest, relax and get ready to have some fun tomorrow... if you have the time it'd be great if you can answer these any way you see fit.
The Arbiter: What makes tomorrow's match-up different or more challenging than previous fight? Do you think it's your toughest?
Justin Greskiewicz: This fight is definitely going to be tough. He keeps talking about how hard he trained and that we're gonna see the old Malaipet again. That will make my victory that much sweeter. This will be one of my toughest fights to date for sure.
T.A.: What are some challenges that you faced in training and teaching/running Stay Fly at the same time?
JG: Training hard for a fight is difficult with my own business to run. I'm pretty much the Lone Ranger running stuff there. Also, I don't really have a coach, but lots of people have helped me out along the way for this fight and so many people have stepped up so I could train hard.
T.A.: How has your training differed from prior fights? Any new wrinkles?
JG: I trained hard for this fight. My last 2 fights I had a tough time finding training, but I still did very well. For this fight, I had the help I needed to get ready to do it.
T.A.: What are the weaknesses in your opponent’s game that you think you can exploit?
JG: Malaipet's biggest weakness has been his conditioning, recently. I think I can exploit that if I really push the pace of the fight. Also, his boxing is not really great, he looks for one big shot at a time, and I'll be looking to take advantage of that.
T.A.: Which part of your game or personality would you say is your most reliable or central to victory tomorrow?
JG: My biggest ally in this fight is my will to win. A win here at Lion Fight would be great for my career, especially against one of the best in the game. I want it bad, and tomorrow I'm gonna take it.
T.A.: And lastly, are there any special combos or techniques we should watch for? Old favorites, new experimental stuff?
J.G.: I will be looking to mix it up a lot in there tomorrow. You might see a fancy technique or two thrown in, which isn't normally the style that I fight. It should be exciting.
T.A.: Thanks for your time brother, I'll let you get back to your visualizations or Tekken or watching Dolomite, whatever your routine is.
J.G.: Ha-ha! Thanks still stuffing my face…
T.A.: Enjoy, asta manana!
J.G.: Werd up!
T.A.: Thanks again for taking time to answer even a couple if these. Best of health and luck tomorrow, CHOK DEE, BROTHER!!!!
Justin will be fighting Thai Champion Malaipet Sasiprapa tonight as the main event of Lion Fight 17 from the Fox Theater at Foxwoods Casino and Resort tonight. If you can’t be there live you can catch it on AXS TV, starting at 7:00pm.