The long awaited return to Muay Thai action in the UK began this weekend and one of the biggest shows, Combat Fight Series, saw Harrogate’s own Nathaniel Kalogiannidis competing against local favourite Luke Thompson. Both fighters weighed in on Friday at 70kg for Saturday’s five round bout, and there was a fierce staredown at the press conference which left everyone looking forward to a great contest.
A close to capacity crowd of 2000 flocked to the Fairfield Halls in Croydon to see the action, and as Kalogiannidis entered the ring the supporters from Harrogate could easily be heard over the majority routing for the local man.
The bout began with both fighters trying to feel each other out exchanging feints and quick attacks. As they settled in the blows became heavier with some good clinch exchanges.
Into the second round Kalogiannidis upped the pace and began to push Thompson back. Left roundhouse kicks were landing very strongly and seemed to be putting the London fighter off his rhythm, having to defend rather than use his trademark low kick.
The Harrogate fighter, from Kao Loi Gym on Skipton Road, was ahead in the fight but didn’t rest on his laurels and upped the pace yet again in the third landing a head kick, punch, knee combination which sent Thompson to the canvas for an eight count. He made it to his feet before the count was complete and successfully reached the end of the round.
Round four and five saw Thompson try to land a telling blow but he was controlled by Kalogiannidis who continued scoring well at all ranges, seeing out a clear victory on points. In his interview on MMATV afterwards he praised his team at Kao Loi and the support he had received from all those travelling down from Yorkshire.
Pierre Mahon, head coach at Kao Loi, said:
I am very pleased with this performance after such a long time out of the ring. We have been working on lots of new things in the gym and he has implemented them all in a terrific fight against a tough and more experienced opponent. We have another three bouts this year and I can only see him going from strength to strength.