For Romie Adanza, a Filipino-American Muay Thai practitioner, his WBC Muay Thai fight on Sunday at the Resorts World Manila will have special meaning. That's because it will be the first time he will be fighting in front of his relatives, including his parents.
"My first time to fight here," said Adanza. "I'm excited, man. I haven't seen a lot of my family in a long time. I don't know, seven or eight years? This is the first time a lot of my family will see me fight. All my fights have been in the US. I want to put on a good show for them."
The 31-year-old Adanza, born to Filipino parents in Houston, Texas, is in town for the eight-fight Muay Thai card being jointly put up by WCK Muay Thai and WBC Muay Thai in an effort to promote the combat sport in the Philippines.
Adanza is considered one of the premier US-based practitioners, and is a former WBC champion. He says he has being practicing Muay Thai for around 10 years now. He first took up boxing before branching out to Muay Thai.
"A friend of mine asked me to go check it out, so I did. I tried it out, I liked it, and that's it. At first, I wanted to start sparring, I wanted to start fighting. Actually I started boxing first. But then I wanted to do kicking, too. I started when I was 18, I got my first fight at 20. It was a boxing match. I didn't start fighting Muay Thai till maybe two or three years after that."
Adanza fought eight times as an amateur boxer, winning five times and losing thrice. In Muay Thai, he says he has had "maybe 40 fights. As an amateur I lost twice and drew twice and as a professional I've lost three times."
Back in the States, he is a member of Team Oyama, a mixed martial arts and fitness club headed by Colin Oyama, where he trains Muay Thai prospects. "I started out as featherweight, then superbantamweight, and now I'm a bantamweight," he said.
"Try it, man. Try it. You're gonna like it," was his message to those who are thinking about taking up Muay Thai.
Adanza's parents and a few other relatives will be flying over from Southern Leyte to watch him fight this Sunday, and the Irvine, California-based fighter is looking forward to the homecoming. "I haven't been back since my lola died about seven years ago. Before that, I lived here about 20 years ago. I went to school here for four years."
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