Follow the journey of the 16 Challengers through each episode of The Challenger Muaythai!!
Vuvisile Colossa vs Michael Chase Corley
Cedric Muller vs Fadi Merza
Antoine Pinto vs Ilya Grad
Pidsanu Kunchat 'Mardsua' vs Rhyse Saliba
Mohd Faizal Bin Ramli vs Jesse Lacombe
Jason Woodham vs Mostafa Abdollahi
Jordan Watson vs Cyrus Washington
Mohd Faizal Bin Ramli vs Antoine Pinto
Jordan Watson vs Cedric Muller
Mostafa Abdollahi vs Marco Pique
Antoine Pinto vs Pidsanu Kunchat 'Mardsua'
Challenger Muaythai Final
Challenger Muaythai has become the Number 1 show on the AXN network
Challenger Muaythai has become the Number 1 show on the AXN network breaking all records of any other hit show in the same timeslot.
The concept of bringing the hopes, dreams and sacrifices of 16 elite muaythai fighters together with one of the most outstanding personalities in muaythai, as the host and mentor, two of the world’s best muaythai trainers and one of Asia’s best known TV celebrities has paid off. The Challenger Muaythai has blown away the competition.
Every Thursday night, prime time, audiences are glued to their seats to find out what the weapon of the week will be, who will square off in the biggest fight of their career and whose dreams will be shattered as they have to leave the Challenger house.
Sweat, blood and adrenaline pump through AXN in 'The Challenger Muaythai'.
Things are about to get bloody exciting on AXN. The network is bringing the heat of the fight back to TV screens with a brand new series The Challenger Muaythai, and in high definition no less! Whether for glory or gain, 16 world-class fighters will fight it out to win the ultimate title of Muaythai World Champion and the grand prize of US$100,000!
From Malaysia, Thailand to Israel and South Africa, the motley crew of fighters trail blaze an impressive track record both in their countries and in the international arena, with numerous championship titles under their belts. With ages ranging from 18 to 35, the calibre of fighters is certainly unparalleled. Some have started their training since the tender age of seven, while others have fought The Contender Asia champion Yodsanklai and even won. With intimidating monikers like 'The Cheetah', 'The Sniper' and 'Black Dynamite', it is clear that the boys are not in town to play. With such high stakes, each and every fighter will not go down without a fight!
Each week, the fighters will be subjected to a rigorous bout of training from their two trainers Hanarong and Nugget, revolving around the 'weapon of the week'. These include spiritual ideals such as respect and fearlessness, as well as focusing on each component of their body, their natural weapon in the context of Muaythai.
Birthdate: 16 / 02 / 1991
Weight: 67 kg
Fights: 133 | Wins: 101 | Loss: 31 | KO: 67 | Draw: 2
- 2011 WMC I-1 Grand Prix, Hong Kong
Tall, dark, and handsome, Antoine is truly a ladies' man, and is bound to be a favourite amongst female fans. At only 20 years old, Antoine holds a remarkable fight record of only 23 per cent losses in over 130 fights.Combining exceptional skill and experience beyond his years, Antoine has made a name for himself as a prodigy in Muaythai. Through the years, Antoine has also managed to acquire his fight name, "Dek Shlam", which is Thai for "Kid Shark" as his fighting style and force bear great resemblance to that of the shark, not to mention his ability to destroy and 'devour' his opponents.
It doesn't end there. Antoine hails from a family of athletes including his younger brother and father, who have won multiple titles in a wide range of sports. With the history of sporting excellence in his family, it is no surprise that Antoine's father and younger brother are his inspiration. And despite all the success he has had, Antoine remains humble. When it comes to his fighting career, he explains, "I keep standing up for the honor of all the people who have helped me get to where I am, because without them, I would not exist. I wasn't born a champion, it took many grueling hours and hard work."
As a result of his flourishing achievements leading up to The Challenger Muaythai, Antoine has won for himself a new name, "The Phenom". This name should warn those who come head-to-head with this 20-year-old French-Thai shark, that it will be unwise to judge this book by its cover, and to remind them of his outstanding natural ability and skills.
Birthdate: 13 / 09 / 1975
Weight: 71 kg
Fights: 120 | Wins: 90 | Loss: 25 | KO: 20 | Draw: 5
- Intercontinental Champion WMC
- Winner / Qualifier WMC International Challenger Qualifier
One of two French fighters in The Challenger Muaythai, Cedric has been the head and heart of his family from a young age, growing up in a ghetto with his mother and little sister. His father had abandoned them and left his mother to work frequent long hours, and to take care of the children. The tough living conditions gave rise to Cedric's passion for martial arts and self-defense. He commented, "Growing up, I was not confident because I felt like I had to support the weight of my family. I was always afraid that something would happen to them but I wouldn't be strong enough to save them".Cedric, also known as "The Underground Samurai", then learnt to control and respect the power of his body through Muaythai. Cedric lives up to his fight name and embodies the philosophies of a Samurai, especially discipline and respect for self and others, a mantra which he strictly adheres to. Never one to turn down a challenge, Cedric believes it is every man for himself, and the hardest path in life will bring you the greatest glory!
With that, the French fighter, whose greatest love are his two children, keeps an aggressive attitude and a very competitive spirit. Cedric is also defiant, his pride will not allow others to joke about him. Keep your eye out for Cedric, who might end up in a clash of cultures with the other fighters, especially the British competitors with their deprecating humour!
When Cedric is not fighting, he enjoys rapping and recording songs.
Birthdate: 10 / 28 / 1983
Weight: 76 kg
Fights: 64 | Wins: 47 | Loss: 17 | KO: 5 | Draw: 0
- Myanmar 2010 Bareknuckle Champion
If you have never watched the movie Black Dynamite, you don't have to. Meet American fighter, Cyrus Washington who bears many similarities to the protagonist in Black Dynamite and has adopted the show's name as his fight name. It is difficult to differentiate Cyrus from the character and you can see for yourself in the coming weeks!Coming from a Christian family, Cyrus is one of the most religious fighters in The Challenger Muaythai. He draws inspiration from his mother who single-handedly brought up three children, and maintained her faith in her religion no matter how hard things got. It is his mother's religious upbringing that Cyrus constantly thanks Jesus Christ for being his savior. Even though Cyrus is a devout Christian, he respects all other religions. He said, "I respect all religions. I feel that we are worshipping the same God in our separate ways".
Although religious, Cyrus is a tough character who is ready to take down anyone who is unlucky enough to be in the ring with him. His belief comes from the Latin phrase "Sic vis pacem para bellum" which means "If you wish for peace, prepare for war". His brutal and blunt advice to all who wish to succeed in the ring is, "You have to have the heart and attitude to fight. You have to be ready to die while being willing to kill".
Birthdate: 08 / 03 / 1978
Weight: 72 kg
Fights: 149 | Wins: 122 | Loss: 25 | KO: ? | Draw: 3
- WMC European Champion
Fadi's story is one of the most heart-wrenching in The Challenger Muaythai. At the tender age of 12, Fadi lost his father. As the youngest child of the family, it was much more difficult for him to adapt to his new life, especially as he was very close to his father. As a teenager, he felt he was alone, so much so that it forced him to become incredibly self reliant. It was then that he realized that it is every man for himself, and his inner strength and interest in martial arts flourished.Fadi is one of two fighters who are part-time models, but do not let his tanned body, chiseled abs and suave ways fool you. Fadi is an absolute beast in the ring and has a reputation for being ruthless and imposing, earning him the well-deserved nickname of "The Beast".
Fadi, originally from Austria, has developed a deep and enduring love for Muaythai. He believes strongly that Muaythai is not just a sport, but an essential part of his character and attitude. He also stated, "It's an aggressive sport just as it is tough, but it is also one of the fairest and most disciplined sports in the world".
Fadi is one to watch as he has faced many fighters and his competitive spirit is firmly in place, as Fadi would say, "I'm in it to win!".
"The Italian Stallion"
Birthdate: 22 / 10 / 1981
Weight: 72.5 kg
Fights: 45 | Wins: 39 | Loss: 6 | KO:26 | Draw: 0
- WMC Australian Champion
- Shell National Thai Champion
- Intercontinental Champion
Frank Sebastian Giorgi is an Italian born fighter who was raised in Australia. From a traditional Catholic Italian home, his hardworking parents instilled in him the belief that a man is bound by the honour of his words and actions. The Italian fighter is a father and claims his children bring him "the simplest pleasures in life". Ruthless inside the ring, he said, "In the ring, I have no remorse, empathy or sympathy for my opponents." He adheres to The Challenger Muaythai's trainer, Nugget McNaught's belief of needing heart and drive to do whatever it takes to win.Nicknamed the "The Italian Stallion", Frank has a need for speed, with a passion for fast cars and motorcycles as he hungers for "the thrill and excitement". A lover of the adrenaline rush, he also has sky-diving and traveling around the world on his list of things to do before he dies. His love for extreme sports and adventures has left Frank with broken knuckles, wrists and arm, as well as injuries throughout his body.
Regardless of the injuries, he does not plan to stop pursuing his Muaythai dreams and said, "It's a journey of self-discovery to face and overcome fears to test and push myself to new limits. If you do not live for something, you will die for nothing. Win or lose, I have not and will never give up. - If I give my everything, I would have done myself proud."
Birthdate: 22 / 06 / 1987
Weight: 75 kg
Fights: 37 | Wins: 28 | Loss: 9 | KO: 14 | Draw: 0
- Israeli Champion
- Baltic Champion
- Bronze Medal - LFMA World Championships
- Asia Champion 2010
- Qualifier Sport Accord Combat Games
Ilya, along with Fadi, is a part-time model , and he is also the tallest fighter. A fan of Greek mythology, Ilya got his fight name "Achilles" for his good looks and humble, warrior-esque attitude. Ilya explained, "I like the name, not only because I am a fan of Greek mythology, but because it is not pretentious or showy but has deep meaning and is timeless. It recalls a powerful legacy".Ilya often stresses the importance of having heart, being humble and treating people with respect. Ilya has a jovial attitude to life, and like many of the other fighters, likes to crack a few jokes. Ilya joked, "The hardest fight in my career must be with my ex-girlfriend, I've learned that gorgeous women can be a big disappointment." He added "I have honestly had many hard fights during my 8 years career so far and you get experience from it." Ilya likes to be the underdog during a fight and his ideal opponent is someone stronger or more recognized than him. One of Ilya's goals this season is to gain respect as a fighter, especially from his peers and family. Muaythai had led him off this self-destructive path when he got mixed up with drugs, alcohol, and bar fights in Jerusalem.
With the fight motto "Fight hard or go home" and a fear of losing, Ilya looks like he will fight till he drops.
"The Handsome Hero"
Birthdate: 29 / 02 / 1984
Weight: 72 kg
Fights: 61 | Wins: 39 | Loss: 22 | KO: 25 | Draw: 0
- WMC MAD Super 4 Champion, South Thailand
Jason, born and bred in the United Kingdom traces his lineage across Burma, England and Spain. He promises to put on an incredible show and bring some of the best comic relief to reality television. Jason has done it before in his fantastic fight against Michael Wakeling, so much so it was voted as the Best Fight in the UK in 2005!Brought up by a "good old English father" as Jason put it, he has dry English humour. He also has a fear of insects which existed few and far between in the UK, but which he has seen much more of since he moved to the tropics! Jason stumbled across Muaythai at the age of 15 and moved to Thailand in November 2009 to get local experience in his training. Through the years, he also adopted the fight name "Handsome Hero".
Jason is an amicable and approachable person, but that is to the contrary when he is in the ring. He said, "If you are not here to put up a good fight then you can back off! It's all about speed, power, timing, balance and most importantly heart." Jason also subscribes to the motto of "better to have tried and failed, than not live life at all".
Jesse Miles Lacombe
Birthdate: 03 / 05 / 1983
Weight: 75 kg
Fights: 40 | Wins: 36 | Loss: 3 | KO: 20 | Draw: 1
- Bronze Medal - Sport Accord Combat Games
- Winner - Open Chinese Campionship
- WMC Canadian Champion
Canadian fighter Jesse Miles defies most boxer stereotypes. He comes across as completely genuine, sincere, frank, and above all, real. As a result, he''s very likable and will undoubtedly be a fan favourite time and again. Jesse is truly original and you will never find another like him.As one of the most genuine, focused and down-to-earth fighters in The Challenger Muaythai, he is also incredibly intelligent and boasts vocabulary that can put the other fighters to shame.
Jesse, also known as 'Smiles'' because of his friendly demeanor, seems like he has the ability to go far in the competition. Not only is Jesse the best fighter in Canada, he also understands and has a real passion for Muaythai. He commented, "Excellence lies in consistency. Top fighters have to maintain a high level of training and fighting for a long period of time. This can be difficult as your body becomes tired and sore, but more importantly your mind can grow tired as well. A top fighter must be able to bring hunger and passion to his training and fights and maintain the desire over years and years".
Birthdate: 04 / 12 / 1987
Weight: 71 kg
Fights: 38 | Wins: 35 | Loss: 3 | KO: 15 | Draw: 0
- WMC Super 8 Qualifying Champion
- WMC British Champion
- Ranked World Top 10
His boyish good looks may fool you, but Jordan is the best pound-for-pound fighter in England at the moment. He has fought some of the most feared fighters in the world, and has come out on top. Jordan is a British lad and should rightly be called "Jordan The Joker" for his never-ending jokes and self deprecating humour. However, Jordan does live up to his name "Quadzilla" with his powerful legs forming a pair of deadly weapons to be feared!Behind his friendly and comical demeanor, Jordan was brought up amidst rowdy hooligans on the streets of Leeds, which gave him his tough and fearless attitude. However, he is sensible and appreciates everything that have helped bring him to where he is - from his trainer to his family, and girlfriend whom he credits as his "rock".
The fighter that is Jordan with his "never give up" attitude now, is far from the time when he worked at a deli and let himself go and "got very fat". Jordan admitted, "I was never really good at anything else. I became a plumber but began to flood homes all the time. I am scared of plumbing for that reason. Muaythai is the only thing I have really excelled at and have not fallen asleep whilst doing".
Birthdate: 09 / 01 / 1980
Weight: 72 kg
Fights: 80 | Wins: 65 | Loss: 15 | KO: 25 | Draw: 0
- WMC Dutch Champion
Originally from Suriname, Marco has made a real name for himself in the Netherlands. He is considered one of the most respected fighters in Europe at the moment, and found glory with K1 Max. Marco is one of the most feared fighters in The Challenger Muaythai, with many competitors citing him as the toughest in the competition.Marco, who is a father of two, tells us that despite all his success, he is a quiet, shy, calm and friendly person, with a deep respect for all the Muaythai fighters whom he has crossed paths with. He is from a religious, tight-knitted family and he is first and foremost a family man. His two children are most important in his life. Marco is vicious inside the ring and compares his fighting style to that of The Contender Asia winner, Yodsanklai.
Marco goes by the name "The Sniper", because he is ruthlessly accurate in the ring. Marco's devastating elbow and knee techniques will enable him to defeat his opponents.
Birthdate: 23 / 11 / 1982
Weight: 72.5 kg
Fights: 80 | Wins: 65 | Loss: 15 | KO: 25 | Draw: 0
- Asian Indoor Games Champion 2007
- WMC Prince's Cup Muaythai Thailand Champion 2005
- WMC Best of Best Muaythai Champion 2007
- Quater finalist Sport Accord Combat Games
Mostafa Abdollahi from Iran, also known as "Persian Mos", started out in Taekwondo before moving to kickboxing and then Muaythai which he has pursued for the last six years. The 28-year-old fighter did not get his fight name from his homeland but rather, from Japan when he was fighting there. He said, "When I went to Japan, everyone called me Mos as they couldn't say 'Mostafa'! They would refer to Iran as Persia so after a few fights in Japan, that was what they called me! Persian Mos."The Iranian stated "I do not have a fight motto but when I get into the ring, I remind myself of all the training and that I am ready to show my skills. Apart from that, I lead my life with 'good thoughts, good words, good deeds' in mind." His current idol is Thai fighter Saiyok who trains at his gym and is a great yet humble fighter.
Birthdate: 10 / 05 / 1986
Weight: 72.5 kg
Fights: 136 | Wins: 90 | Loss: 40 | KO: 27 | Draw: 6
- WMC Kings Cup
- WMC I1 Macau
- Thai Southern Champion
- WMC Asia Champion
- Top 10 Qualifier - Sport Accord Combat Games
Often only going by his real name, Thai fighter Pidsanu Kunchat, is better known as 'Mardsua', a name synonymous with "great" and "champion" because of his achievements. It also means "tiger" in Thai, a highly respected animal. Mardsua earned his name by demonstrating strength and courage through his fights. He also made a name for himself by defeating top Australian fighter John Wayne Parr, and lost very narrowly to Yodsanklai.Mardsua has been fighting in Thailand since he was seven. As his country's national sport, he grew up watching Muaythai and a career in the sport was inevitable for the 24-year-old He said, "Muaythai is my sport, my hobby and my job. In Thailand, there are not many choices. You either work in the rice farms or you fight, and I chose fighting!"
Enthusiastic about his sport, Buddhism and his country's culture, Mardsua believes the Thai people are superior in the sport. Mardsua is also against aggressive personalities and stated, "my pet peeves are aggressive people who speak too much, shout and belittle others. Needless aggression is a sign of weakness and of not being in control."
Michael Chase Corley
Birthdate: 07 / 12 / 1984
Weight: 72 kg
Fights: 35 | Wins: 27 | Loss: 6 | KO: 11 | Draw: 2
- Quater finalist - WMC International Challenger Qualifier
- Open Chinese All Style Champion
Meet Michael Chase Corley, the crazy Texan who claims to have more heart than all the fighters in the house this season. Don't believe it? Well, don't tell him that. One of the 26-year-old's pet peeves is people who do not think his fighting is up to par because he is American, as well as those who think he does not look like a fighter.The fighter acquired the name "Cool Hand" from the movie 'Cool Hand Luke', which refers to the fact that what looks innocuous can often be deadly. Michael's boyish appearance gives him the element of surprise in his fights. Basically, when it comes to the Cool Hand Corley, he may look unassuming but there's more than meets the eye and that's exactly what he's out to prove this season on The Challenger Muaythai.
To Michael, Muaythai means respect for his coaches, family, training partners and opponent. He also believes in pushing himself and fighting every fight like it is his last because he never knows when it might be the end. "I always give it my all. When I walk away from fighting, I want to say that in my last fight I left it all on the line."
Mohd Faizal Bin Ramli
Birthdate: 24 / 10 / 1989
Weight: 69 kg
Fights: 38 | Wins: 35 | Loss: 0 | KO: 0 | Draw: 3
- Gold Medalist - IFMA Arafura Amateur Championship, Australia
- WMC Malaysia Champion - IFMA
- WMC World Championships
- Winner / Qualifier Malaysia Championship WMC
- Winner / Qualifier Asian Challenger Championships
Meet our hometown hero from Malaysia, Mohd Faisal Bin Ramli, also known as "Golden Elbow". Faisal came from a relatively less privileged background growing up in a village with a religious family with ten other siblings!What might be surprising to some is that Faisal is by nature a peace-loving person. He dislikes fights without reason and is a gregarious social butterfly who desires a life surrounded by friends and loved ones.
Faisal began his path in fighting at the young age of 12 and went on to become a full-time Muaythai fighter when he turned 18. Coming from a religious family, Faisal always prays before a fight and makes it as a priority along with hours of tough work and training. His "train hard and play smart" mentality paid off when he won a gold medal in the Arafura Games in Australia.
Birthdate: 06 / 07 / 1992
Weight: 73 kg
Fights: 21 | Wins: 16 | Loss: 4 | KO: 0 | Draw: 1
- International Youth Champion
At age 18, Rhyse is the baby of the competition. This might also be why he is named after the small, unassuming but toxic creature found in Central and South America, the Poison Dart Frog. To Rhyse, Muaythai is not just about power but also technique and skill. The wiser-than-his-years prodigy knows the importance of respect towards his experienced opponents, and is all prepared to observe and learn to gain an advantage. With an impressive fight record for his age, Rhyse battled his way to a spot in The Challenger Muaythai, which he believes to be a stepping stone for him. "This is a huge opportunity to show the world what I can do and what level I'm at. I'm hoping it points me in the right direction to becoming a better fighter and person. This is an experience I will carry with me for the rest of my life."
Putting aside his other passions (such as playing guitar) in order to pursue Muaythai professionally, the outgoing Rhyse will definitely stir up some drama as he proclaims that "those closest to me say I push people as far as I possibly can".
Nationality: South African
Birthdate: 28 / 06 / 1982
Weight: 73 kg
Fights: 40 | Wins: 28 | Loss: 12 | KO: 14 | Draw: 0
- South African Thai-boxing Middle Weight Champion
- Runner Up - Macau Kings Cup World Qualifier
- Winner Open African Grand Prix (Beating Contender Champion Yodsenklai)
- Finalist WMC Kings Cup Thailand
Vuyisile has the greatest zest for life yet, as a fighter who has a lot to say and will not stop until he is heard. With big dreams and the determination to get there, it is hard not to have admiration for the South African fighter, who now resides in Hong Kong after making the life-changing decision to pursue Muaythai.Vuyisile fought The Contender Asia Champion Yodsanklai as many as four times and finally beat him in 2010, proving that he has what it takes to beat the world's top fighters. When asked how he beat Yodsanklai, the fighter also known as The "Jagluiperd" (which means 'The Cheetah' in Afrikaans) explains that he is the epitome of everything that a Cheetah embodies. From their inimitable speed to their cool, calm and patient nature, he knows exactly when to strike the opponent at the perfect opportunity.
The South African who compares himself to Ernesto Hoost, Dutch former Kickboxer and four-time K-1 Welterweight Champion, looks like he will forge fresh new rivalries as the one the other fighters are watching out for this season!
The Schedule - AXN
The Challenger Muaythai is shown on AXN, Prime Time, every Thursday!
To find out the schedule for your region go to AXN