Michael Mananquil (World Team USA) Returns to the Ring July 7th, taking on Luis Bio in Port Hueneme, CA
Next Month, WCK Promotions brings Muay Thai to Port Hueneme,CA. The long anticipated return of Michael Mananquil fighting out of World Team USA, against Mexican champion Luis Bio. Mananquil’s last fight was at the beginning of last year at “Battle in the Desert 1″ defeating Malaipet Sasiprapa by a unanimous decision. He has had a long layoff since then having a baby with his wife.
I saw Mananquil’s first fight with Malaipet at Quite Canon in Montebello, CA. & I thought the decision could have gone either way. Michael Mananquil’s stomach was all cut up at the end of the fight. It looked like a bear ran its claw right across his stomach.
Both Michael & Ky Hollenbeck were training for that fight at the Gym I was training at, Muay Thai Academy North Hollywood, CA. Keep in mind, when I say I’m training their too I don’t mean that I am an aspiring fighter. I train for my own pleasure, to feel good, and spar. Myself and the rest of the class were very impressed with Mananquil’s athleticism while he was training.
Not only does he have this fight next month scheduled with Luis Bio, but he is also scheduled to appear August 18th, 2012 in Pomona, CA at “Muay Thai World Stand Off” against Rung Reung Chai. Ky Hollenbeck is scheduled as well to face Aegpracha “Hitman” Meenayotin.
Total Muay Thai: The last time you had a professional fight was at “Battle in the Desert 1″ against Malaipet right? Why the long lay off?
Michael Mananquil: Yes it’s been quite sometime since my last fight. Within that year I got married and had my baby girl. It was a good choice.
Total Muay Thai: How long have you been fighting professionally & what have been your most memorable fights?
Michael Mananquil: I’ve been training for 15 years and have been professional for about 13 years. To me, 100% of my fights are memorable. Some notables that had good hype and energy around the time we competed were verses opponents such as Armando Ramos, Danny Steele, Ajarn Suchart, Rakarma Young, Malaipet and Sudsakorn Sor Klinmee. But hype isn’t the only thing that makes fights memorable to me. My 3rd fight I fought one of Maurice Smith’s student Tristan Witt. He gave me a heck of a time all fight until I was able to pull off a standing 8 on him and turn the tides. Also my 11th fight versus Shane Campbell who gave me my very first lose in the first round via cut stoppage keeps me humble. It’s the tough fights that etch in their life lesson.
Michael Mananquil: I do know and am familiar with Luis Bio. His team and mine have traveled and fought side by
side overseas. You do gain a good sense of camaraderie in those moments. We enjoyed each others company and assisted each other throughout our venture. As a fighter he is very good. He is smart, well-rounded and has a good team to see to his training. I respect his abilities.
Total Muay Thai: You were recently in Sweden with your team-mate Ky Hollenbeck. What was that experience like being there? What was the highlight of the trip?
Michael Mananquil: Sweden is a beautiful country. It is well maintained and all the countrymen were very kind and wiling to exchange conversation. Being out there amongst the Glory fighters was quite and experience. Even thought I was amongst the top fighters in the 70kg division, though interaction you realize they are very much human like you and I. Size wise they are not giants and our goals are similar. I enjoyed the company of Glory competitors. I’m looking forward to seeing Ky perform in the upcoming tournament.
Total Muay Thai: Are there any international fighters in your weight division that you’d like to fight in the near future?
Michael Mananquil: There are quite a few international fighters that I’d like to fight with. As others would feel the same, I would always like to fight the best. In the 67/70gk Muay Thai class, there are just to many to name. If I know who they are, I’m sure you guys at Total Muay Thai could name them as well.
Total Muay Thai: Are there any up & coming fighters we should look out for coming out of World Team USA?
Michael Mananquil: Seriously, yes. Ajarn Sam just has a way of turning normal kids into spectacular fighters. As for the ones who stick around, they excel. Our amateur World Champion Tj Arcangel is a perfect example. He’s my version3.0. He’ll be fighting on the same card on this upcoming fight. Keep an eye out for him.
Total Muay Thai: What is your most effective Muay Thai weapon?
Michael Mananquil: My motivation. It’s my greatest strength and my greatest weakness. When it’s there I can out train and out work many men. When it isn’t, I can be left in the dust.
Total Muay Thai: Have you done any training in Thailand?
Michael Mananquil: I have been to Thailand twice but I have never trained in Thailand.
Total Muay Thai: What does it take to become a great champion?
Michael Mananquil: I know I am a “champion” but a great one, I’m miles off from falling into that category. I think there are many components that fall into being a great champion. The controlled variables such as your trainer, teammates, training regimens, nutrition and lifestyle. Then the uncontrolled variables such as promotion, media outreach, and all around public appeal. Some fighters are the elite of the elite but are so busy being that way that they care not for all the public relations. Then you have your fighters who talk the talk more so then walk and are making quite the hefty paycheck. So to be a “great champion” you need to have a have all those working for you. Then once all that is in place you need to make an impact on the world through your beliefs. In my eyes that’s what makes one a “great champion”. Mohammad Ali is a “great champion”. He fought and beat most men that stood before him. The world recognized him and his abilities. And finally, he stood for his beliefs no matter the outcome when the draft came around.
Total Muay Thai: I know when i spar it really hurts when I bang shins with another fighter. I’d rather get punched in the face then check a leg kick. Since you have been fighting for a while, does it still really hurt checking a leg kick or have your shins grown accustomed to it?
Michael Mananquil: I think I’m more accustomed to the pain then ones who have never experienced it before. Whit that being said it still hurts especially if you do not put your work in the conditioning. If you take a few weeks off from pounding the bags the human body regenerates and all the nerves you’ve numbed previously spark up again. All goes back to the, keep it sharp or it will dull saying.
Total Muay Thai: I have seen some Muay Thai promotions recently where the Wai Kru was cut out before the match. How important is to keep the traditions of Muay Thai intact such as performing the Wai Kru?
Michael Mananquil: Tradition in all things in pretty essential. Without it you’ll have people creating all sorts of things with their new ideas and it could very well lead to chaos or something completely astray from truth. I’m not saying new ideas should never be implemented but rather tradition should always be considered. This is America so many Americans could care not to see the Wai Kru. That’s up to them because it is not part of their tradition. But if they do see it, it should be recognized for what it is, a tradition.
Total Muay Thai: Is there anybody you’d like to thank?
Michael Mananquil: God for allowing me to simple be, my families, my teammates, Ajarn Sam and the martial arts community.
Thanks Total Muay Thai for taking the time out for me.