WCK Muay Thai delivers yet another exciting night at the Pala Casino

Saturday evening at the Pala Casino, Spa and Resort’s Event Center, the latest Dennis Warner, In Sync Productions WCK MuayThai event took place and as always it didn’t take long before the fighters had the fans on the edge of their seats.


In Bout #1, a warm-up bout, heavyweights Joshua Rittenbury and Paul Girothspent three rounds pummeling each other. After all the striking and high knee kicks, Rittenbury was declared the winner.

Both Joshua Rittenbury (R) the eventual winner of Bout #1 and his opponent Paul Giroth await the judges’ decision. Photo: Jim Wyatt

In Round #1 it was Claudia Vidaurri (R) landing the majority of blows. Photo: Jim Wyatt

Bout #2 Next, came one of the highly anticipated bouts, the bout between the veteran Claudia Vidaurri of East LA and Kristina Alvarez of Escondido. The high-spirited and often boisterous, capacity crowd clearly favored Vidaurri. After all, she was much shorter and since Alvarez had that height advantage she was penciled in as the bully.

Vidaurri took round one by demonstrating that she had the superior striking skills. More than once, the over eager Alvarez walked right into punches and got caught with some dandy, counter left hooks.

Going into Round #2, Kristina had more confidence, especially with her kicks. Photo: Jim Wyatt

Kristina Alvarez is all smiles after learning of her victory. Photo: Jim Wyatt

After being schooled in Round one, Alvarez knew exactly what she needed to do and did it. Her powerful kicking started to have more bite and her punches started to land in bunches. Close as it was, it appeared Alvarez took Round #2. So that meant Round #3 would be the decider.

Happiness reigns as the Black House Team Nogueira celebrates Kristina Alvarez’s victory. (L to R) Coach Alex Palma, Kristina Alvarez and her sparring mate, Tiffany Van Soest. Photo: Jim Wyatt

After Alvarez began the third round with some good combinations and much harder kicks, it appeared Vidaurri had gone into a shell, not rope a dope, but close to it. With her economy of punches, it was clear Alvarez had taken control of the fight. Despite the haranguing from her corner and pleas from supporters in the crowd, Vidaurri finished the bout as if she had been told to throw the fight.

Bout #3 between Jack Thames (R) and Joe Davidson (L) became quite bloody after Davidson sustained a nasty cut in the center of his forehead.

Bout #3 featured two powerful middleweights. In the red corner, the always exciting Jack Thames, who never fails to make the flashiest of entrances, beats his chest, does a back flip and then sneers at his opponent. In the blue corner was the mild-mannered Joe Davidson, a much more low-keyed challenger.

Round #1 was actioned packed with the simultaneous kicks landing both on their keisters. Overall, it was Davidson who took Round #1 by landing the cleaner shots and especially this one kick to Thames head that had the crowd buzzing, “Wow!”

Round #2, Thames came right back with a fury and even added some new wrinkles, a backward flip, an incredible show of offensive. Then one of his flying elbows opened a cut on Davidson’s forehead. The referee stopped the action to have the ring physician have a look. Ignoring the cut, Davidson finished the round like a true a gladiator.

When the bell sounding to begin Round #3, you could see the intent in Davidson’s eyes, I didn’t go through all those many hours of training to lose. And so, there was no let up, just an endless array of punches and kicks. Like after any marathon, it appeared Davidson had crossed the finish line ahead of Thames by landing more of the telling blows.

The possibility of a comeback became more of a reality after Jack Thames went down in the third round. Photo: Jim Wyatt

With Davidson taking Round #3, that meant Thames needed to win Round #4 decisively. Right up until the final 15 seconds of Round #4, the winner of the round and possibly the bout was still in doubt. Then, in those final 15 seconds, Davidson had Thames against the ropes and started unleashing a barrage of punches that had KO written all over them. As the bell sounded to end the fight, Thames, still on his feet but a bit groggy, walked across the ring to his corner, knowing he had just lost the match.

The winner of Bout #4 Julian Lugo (R) has his arm raised in victory by referee George Valdez after his big win over Mike Ryan (L).

Bout #4 featured Mike Ryan going up against Julian Lugo. In this one, Lugo was all business and Ryan never even got started. After Ryan’s leg was injured in Round #1, the referee quickly stopped the bout.



Bout #5 ended early after Luis Bio’s knee kick TKO’ed Ken Finister.

Bout #5 was another middleweight clash featuring Luis Bio going up against Ken Finister. In Round #1 it was as if Bio was daring Finister to use his high kicks, because each time he did, Bio would grab his leg, tilt him off balance, then unleash a solid one, two combination of solid blows to his head.

Then in Round #2, Bio landed a nice kick followed by a back elbow that had Finister down and in trouble. As a result, the referee stepped in and issued Finister an eight count. After the count, Bio was right back pummeling Finister and landing more high kicks. This one had him go down for good.

Bio, the current WBC Muay Thai Mexico national middleweight champ, ended up with the second round KO victory.

Luis Bio is joined by his support team. Photo: Jim Wyatt

After clobbering his opponent, Dave Nielsen (L) is shown walking away as the referee begins his count over the fallen Jason Rzepka (R). Photo: Jim Wyatt











Bout #6 featured Dave Nielsen and Jason Rzepka, both making their pro debuts. This was another of the bouts the locals were looking forward to seeing.

Rzepka, with his serious look and menacing tattoos, appeared fearsome, foreboding. While his opponent, Nielsen, a 37 year old gym owner from Pacific Beach, did not. On Nielsen’s walk to the ring, he looked focused but hardly the intimidating type, more like a boy scout who helps little old ladies cross the street at a busy intersection.

This straight right by Dave Nielsen (R) was one of the many telling blows.

After his win, Dave Nielsen is surrounded by his support staff which included his wife, Gina. Photo: Jim Wyatt

In Round #1, Nielsen was masterful. His stronger punches and kicks were right on the mark.  His calculating nonchalance was a definite puzzle that Rzepka couldn’t figure out.

In Round #2, Nielsen’s approach and economy of effort made you feel like he might be giving the round away. Then all of a sudden in the closing minute, he poured it on. After knocking Rzepka off his feet, he ended the round with an imposing flurry of punches.

As they began Round #3, there was a striking difference between Nielsen and Rzepka. While there was not a mark on Nielsen, Rzepka’s right leg was beet red from Nielsen’s kicks. It wasn’t long before Nielsen scored a second knockdown. Then, going for broke, Rzepka grabbed Nielsen’s leg as he was kicking. Big mistake. After he did, Nielsen landed three solid punches to his head.

Following that salvo, someone yelled, “Come on! Let’s end it!” For whatever reason, Nielsen did not heed the loudmouth and the bout ended a short time later with the unanimous decision never in doubt.

Bout of the night had to be this clash between Romie Adanza (R) and Shuichi Wentz (L).

Bout #7 between Romie Adanza and Shuichi Wentz of Japan was supposed to be for Adanza’s WBC MuayThai International Flyweight Championship but at the last minute that changed and the bout was switched to a non-title fight. Regardless, this bout turned out to be the Fight of the Night.

Adanza, who had recently posted back-to-back wins, a KO of Thanit “Boom” Whattanaya followed by a decisive win over Huang Hai Gong, was thought to be the favorite andpressed the action from the outset. The pace at which these two gents fought  was mind boggling.

After their battle royale, Romie Adanza (L) and Shuichi Wentz (R) graciously pose for a photo together. Photo: Jim Wyatt

Round #1 went to Adanza after he deftly countered, landing three left uppercuts and two solid overhand rights. Both fighters were landing clean shots, but Adanza was landing the harder ones.

In Round two and three, Adanza changed things up and drove home those left hooks to Wentz’s midsection and started kneeing Wentz in his thighs. With the punishment continuing and repeated blows to the head, you had to wonder if Wentz was indestructible.

To everyone’s amazement, Wentz came out strong in Round #4 and appeared more confident as he attempted to taking over the fight; especially after Adamie was knocked off his feet.

Their nonstop exchanges continued right up until the very end. Even though Adanza had the huge fan base and secured the victory, the standing ovation at the end was for both fighters.

Sean McCully (bottom) was getting the worst of it from Daniel Mancha (top) in this MMA match which was fought in Bout #8. Photo: Jim Wyatt

Bout #8 was more like an intermission. The bout featured a WBC sanctioned MMA match between Sean McCully of LA Boxing in Costa Mesa going up against Daniel Mancha of Team Diamond. After all the excitement in the earlier matches, this hugging match turned out to be a bit of turn off. After an early stoppage, the submission victory went to Mancha.   

Bout #9 featured Fernando Gonzales (L) having his arm raised in victory by referee Jose Cobian, after defeating Cowboy Harris (R). Photo: Jim Wyatt

Bout #9 featured MMA fighter Fernando Gonzalez of Team Quest returning to Muay Thai action after suffering that loss to the former Kickboxing World Champion Denis Grachev back on October 3, 2010. This time out Gonzalez was facing Heath “Cowboy” Harris, another former champion, for the WBC Muay Thai USA national cruiserweight title.

From the first round on, Gonzalez seemed to have all the confidence in the world as he kept the taller Harris at bay by landing his kicks and punches squarely. After a series of blows, Harris appeared to be hurt. In an attempt to defend himself while pinned against the ropes, Harris got hit by punch and kick combination. After ending up in the clinches, Gonzalez forced Harris’ head down and was able to land multiple knees to his head. Harris went down to one knee, remained down, until the ref had completed his 10 count.

In Bout #10, the reigning champion, Craig Buchanon (L) made quick work of the challenger, James Martinez.

In Bout #10, the show’s main event, the current WBC Muay Thai USA middleweight national champion Craig Buchanan had little problem defeating James Martinez. The bout didn’t even get out of the first round. Buchanan landed the sharper and heavier blows from the outset.

After his big win over James Martinez, Craig Buchanon (c) poses for a photo with his support group. Photo: J. Wyatt

After getting Martinez in a neutral corner, he landed a hard push kick to his diaphragm that caused Martinez to turn his back on Buchanan. After seeing that Martinez was hurt and unable to protect himself, the referee called an end to the bout with 12 seconds left in the opening stanza.

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