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The Cellar Team Competes at the 2021 TBA Muay Thai World Expo

Last weekend, the Cellar Gym’s Muay Thai team traveled to Des Moines, IA to compete in this year’s TBA Muay Thai World Expo, an exciting four-day tournament that brought together over 1,000 Muay Thai competitors from across the United States! Following the cancellation of 2020’s TBA tournament due to COVID, the Cellar was thrilled to bring nine fighters to TBA this year to compete for a belt. The Cellar went 9-8 on the weekend and brought home one belt, won by Travis Engstrom in the Senior Class C Super Middleweight division!

Travis Engstrom

Travis Engstrom made his Muay Thai debut in the finals on Sunday! He displayed excellent technique, a high pace, and great sportsmanship to win all three rounds and take home the Senior Class C Super Middleweight championship belt. Congratulations, Travis!

Cody Johnson

Cody fought his way through a loaded Class B Light Middleweight division. Cody fought twice on Friday, showing tremendous ring control, aggression, and pressure to score unanimous decision wins in both fights and advance to the semifinals on Saturday.

After winning another great battle in the semifinals, he advanced to the finals on Sunday. Although he gave everything he had for three rounds, he dropped the decision against a very tough opponent. Cody went 3-1 on the weekend and notched some excellent wins on his record. We are so proud of him!

Marty Voves

Marty scored a huge win in the Friday quarterfinals using strong knees, great elbows, and a dominant clinch. In the Saturday semifinals, he got caught in the first round, battled back to win the second round, and stayed strong through the third round. Although we thought he did enough the win the fight, the judges’ close decision went to his opponent. Great work, Marty!

December Htoo

December Htoo had a fantastic performance against a very tough fighter in the Friday quarterfinals. After losing the first round, he made great adjustments and came from behind to win the second and third rounds.

Unfortunately, December badly injured his foot in that fight, and he came up against a fresh and very tough opponent in the Saturday semifinals. December lost the first round, won the second on one of the scorecards, then broke his opponent physically and mentally in the third. It wasn’t enough to win the split decision, but December’s heart and mindset are second to none. He’s an inspiration to anyone at ringside!

Paul Smallwood

Paul made his Muay Thai debut on Thursday evening in an absolutely packed Class C Light Middleweight division. He scored a victory in a wild battle, using non-stop pressure and a great cardio to get the win against a very tough opponent.

Paul won an exciting first round TKO in the Friday quarterfinals. In the Saturday semifinals, he faced a dominant clinch fighter and wasn’t able to to utilize his superior boxing skills; he lost by unanimous decision. Paul went 2-1 on the weekend and gained some great experience in the ring!

Nick Jackson

Nick started our weekend off with a great win on Thursday evening in a stacked Class C Light Cruiserweight division. He landed some beautiful kicks and controlled the clinch to pick up the judges’ decision.

Although Nick was scheduled to fight in the Friday quarterfinals, his opponent had to pull out due to injury and Nick advanced by default to the semifinals. On Saturday, Nick lost his first round, won the second round, but couldn’t maintain his clinch enough in the third; he lost by split decision. We look forward to seeing Nick back in action soon!

Eh Kuh Htoo

Eh Kuh Htoo lost a back and forth war on Friday in the Class C Lightweight division. It was dead even going into the third round and Eh Kuh gave it his all. We thought he won the final round, but the decision went the other way. Great lessons will be learned from this bout and Eh Kuh will be back even stronger. We’re so proud of you Eh Kuh, great job!

Michael Franz

Michael showed real heart against a very tough pressure fighter on Friday in the Class B Super Welterweight division. The style of fight made it hard for Michael to execute his game plan, but he still had a few tricks up his sleeve! Michael landed a thumping spinning elbow in the second to steal the round and even up the scorecards. He finished the fight strong, but lost the judges’ decision. Great work, Michael!

Cesar Pacheco

Cesar fought a fantastic debut fight on Friday in the Class C Flyweight division! Although he came up short on the judges’ decision, we witnessed his transformation near the end of the second round. As his opponent brought constant pressure, Cesar began to land cracking low kicks and beautiful knees in the clinch. He continued to score effectively in the final round and the fighting ranges his opponent controlled initially became zones his opponent avoided. Amazing work, Cesar! We can’t wait to see you back in the ring!

We are so proud of the Cellar team, how hard they worked in the ring over the weekend, and how they each carried themselves with respect and sportsmanship outside of the ring. A HUGE congrats goes to Travis on his huge championship win, and we also congratulate Cody, Marty, December, Paul, Nick, Eh Kuh, Michael, and Cesar on their victories inside and outside of the ring. We look forward to seeing every single one of these fighters back in action very soon!

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