With the sound of shin-cracking kicks, jaw-numbing punches and gut-wrenching knees, Muay Thai kickboxing is not a sport for the faint of heart, as Saturday's Battle for the Belts at the Stampede Corral undoubtedly proved. The 13-fight card, presented by Mike Miles Productions, was the first in the Extreme Fighting Championship series, filmed for TSN. With athletes travelling from the Phillipines, Australia, the U.S. and the U.K., the evening proved to be a true display of blood, sweat and tears.
In the last fight of his eight-year career, Calgary's Jason "the raptor" Jillain thwarted his Australian opponent with a barrage of spinning elbows, taking him down for the eight count three times before knocking him out in the third round.
"For the years and dedication, I thank Mr. Jillain," said trainer Acharn Mike Miles. "It has been a great ride. [He] should retire proud."
Perhaps the most awe-inspiring bout pitted Calgary's Shelly Evans against 19 year old Cherry Ballatong of the Phillipines. At 42, Evans is no stranger to the ring. However, three months after giving birth, many were surprised to see her back in action.
"Having the baby was the easy part," said Evans. "I haven't sparred in over a year, so getting back in the ring was hard."
Evans won the match by unanimous decision.
The evening also saw local favourite Trevor "TNT" Smandych fight one of the toughest battles of his impressive career. Smandych, who defeated Australia's Kurt "Killer" Finlayson, will be appearing in the Calgary's C-Max Tournament in February, in which he will fight for $10,000 in prize money.
The next Mike Miles fight card is scheduled for Nov. 23 at the Palace Night Club.