Behind The Scenes: Fight Night at Super Muay Thai
The first time I met Paul was the day he landed here in Thailand and walked through the gym. We became acquainted and what not. Then he proceeds to ask me who he’s fighting this weekend!
I’m like, “Bro, its Wednesday, are you seriously trying to fight this weekend? Don’t you want to get some rest, maybe shake off the jet lag?”
Paul was ready to go and I later found out he had already been talking with Matt, the gym owner and promoter for Khongsittha, in hopes for finding a fight. The Paul I’m talking about is Paul “The Reaper” Banasiak and this is how he rolls.
As it turns out, the fight Paul had lined up fell through due to weight. And—we suspect—concern that a last minute replacement would be an opponent nicknamed “The Reaper” from America. “Don’t worry Paul, there are plenty of chances to fight while you’re here,” I said, trying to console this anxious guy.
Soon after, we had another fight lined up for Paul. This time on Super Muay Thai, a new televised Muay Thai Promotion under Buakaw.
For this fight, we filmed the entire experience throughout Paul’s training, the weigh in, fight prep, and actual fight.
Muay Thai Reality | “The Reaper” Paul Banasiak
This video is one of the first installments of a new series called Muay Thai Reality.
Muay Thai Reality aims to focus on a new personality in the Thailand Training Camp each episode. We usually run into one of the biggest names in the sport of Muay Thai, such as Buakaw, Sudsakorn, Kaew Fairtex, or the Shaolin Monk Yi Long.
We filmed this episode in Thailand and when you train in a circle of famous gyms, fight at famous venues, and make cameos on Thai TV, you’re bound to run into famous Muay Thai Fighters.
Paul is 23 years old and had a competitive Muay Thai record of 23-3-1 when this video was filmed. Prior to this fight in Thailand, Paul is a nine-time Muay Thai Champion, two-time Muay Thai World Champion, four-time American Muay Thai National Champion, and 2015 Team USA Muay Thai Member.
I sat down with him ringside to get some insight on his journey into becoming a Muay Thai fighter.
“This is back when Muay Thai wasn’t even cool,” Paul explained. “When the UFC started coming up Muay Thai was brought up with the popularity because the Martial Art was being trained by all the professional MMA guys. I started training in the backyard with my friends and eventually met a trainer who worked under Mark DellaGrotte; this guy showed me the ropes.”
Paul stands 6-foot-4 inches tall and weighs in at 180 lbs (82 KG) for this fight at Super Muay Thai in Bangkok. Usually, Paul walks around at about 185 pounds, so the Thai heat and intense Muay Thai training alone easily helped him shed the weight for this fight.
The concept of this video in particular was to tell the story behind the preparation and actual fight itself. The footage came from following Paul through training camp and backstage as he prepared to go to battle in front of Buakaw, Yi Long, and the thousands of viewers on Thai Television Workpoint Channel.
“My focus is on Buakaw’s Promotion, Super Muay Thai right now. My opponent is apparently a Champion from Spain, I’m coming in as a Champion from America so we’ll see who has worked the hardest here in Thailand for this fight. I’ve been using meal prep and staying properly nourished since I’ve been here. I’m ready, I was ready the week I first landed here in Bangkok but the fight fell through.”
This video series makes me think deeper than competitive Muay Thai.
I believe this whole concept will make Muay Thai more humanized and help the sport relate to broader audiences. Most people only see the finished product when it comes to Fighters and Combat Sports. The parts that remain unseen are the grueling training days, activities outside of the gym, and the personality behind each fighter.
Wouldn’t it make you think twice about a fighter that wins a Muay Thai fight after learning they’ve battled with food poisoning and broken bones in the days leading up to the fight? I know I’d have a deeper respect for that person!
“Muay Thai fits my personality, I have a passion for the sport. I’ve sold most of my possessions, relieved myself of many responsibilities to dedicate myself to the training. To those who are following my journey, ‘Thanks for Watching.'”
In the future, we want to keep the Muay Thai Reality concept going by filming and producing episodes around our Thailand Training Camp.
As you’ll see, many interesting and entertaining people travel across the World to Eat, Sleep, and Breathe Muay Thai with us in Thailand. Seems only fitting that we document the entire experience along with their training, fights, and day-to-day life during the Training Camps. In the past 2 months alone, we trained and traveled around Thailand with Nak Muay from over 12 countries!
If you want to be apart of Muay Thai Reality, checkout the upcoming dates of Thailand Training Camp at www.ThailandTrainingCamp.com and keep an eye out for more episodes to come of Muay Thai Reality.