April 3rd was one of the most glorious occasions in the history of muaythai for so many reasons. His Majesty the King donated the Royal Trophy in his own name towards the ultimate fighter for this event, and it was a truly incredible event ceremony.
The opening began with a traditional drum celebration, followed by a Royal Parade by Royal Cadets, walking in His Majesty’s trophy. In the middle of this stunning visual ensemble, Uzbekistan’s songbird, Sevara Nazarkhan, stepped onto the stage and performed the enchanting “Song For Muaythai ”, the official song of the campaign. The entire audience was enthralled, and the thundering applause which greeted the performance filled the stadium. The Deputy Prime Minister presided over the opening ceremony. Hosts Sonia Couling and Matthew Deane welcomed everyone to the event and then the four chosen fighters stepped onstage: Vuyisile Colossa from South Africa, “Saiyok” Sakda Neanhom from Thailand, Ilya Grad from Israel and Jordan Watson from England.
In honour of His Majesty, all four fighters performed the wai kru together, and then it was show time. The first fight saw Thailand VS South Africa and it was all out war, perhaps the highest fight of both fighters’ careers. Colossa went charging and Saiyok fought the fight of his life. After a point decision, Saiyok was declared he first finalist. Next it was Israel VS England: Ilya and Jordan, two boys who knew each other well from “The Challenger Muaythai,” both fighters putting up a great performance. In the end, it was Jordan who took the point decision.
At last, the stage was set for the final: Saiyok, Thailand’s hero against the European Champion, Jordan Watson. What a fight it was. Five rounds of world-class muaythai which left no-one in the audience sitting. It was pure give and take by two of the best middle weights. In a very close decision, the fight went to Saiyok, the new pride of the Kingdom. Saiyok won the prestigious trophy and Jordan Watson earned the respect of the entire kingdom by going toe to toe with his fearsome opponent from the first to the last second of this spectacular fight. When Saiyok went to pick up His Majesty’s trophy, confetti rained down and cheers became roars. The VIP guests had fallen in love with muaythai for the respect, honour and sportsmanship portrayed.
Well done to the organizers of the event, the World Muaythai Council, the Amateur Muaythai Association of Thailand under Royal Patronage, and the International Federation of Muaythai Amateur, for one of the most celebrated and spectacular sporting events staged.