Bang Tao Muay Thai only officially opened last week but the camp has already welcomed its first celebrity guest. Anton Oliver, former captain of the New Zealand rugby team, is working on his BJJ in Phuket.
The 46 year old made 59 appearances for the All Blacks between 1996 and 2007. He is ‘hooked’ on BJJ according to his coach:
Bang Tao Muay Thai had its grand opening last weekend. There were two seminars set up specially to make the occasion with ONE Championship featherweight kickboxing king Superbon Banchamek and UFC 145lbs king Alex Volkanovski sharing their knowledge.
Several of the fighters from Tiger Muay Thai appear to have moved to the newly opened camp. Trainers George Hickman and Frank Hickman left to set up their own gym.
Among the fighters to have come with them are Topnoi, Loma Lookboonmee and Shannon Wiratchai. All three were being put through their paces during the grand opening:
Yesterday Loma posted a photo of herself with fellow UFC star Weili Zhang. The camp might have been officially open for less than a week but it already appears to be attracting some of the biggest names in the sport.
Zhang has a bout booked at UFC 275. She will be rematching Joanna Jedrzejczyk at the Singapore Indoor Stadium and it looks like the former strawweight champion will be preparing for that fight in Phuket.
Hitting the headlines
Tiger Muay Thai has become a familiar destination for the UFC embedded crew and the USADA testers. With the likes of Volkanovski, Petr Yan and Khamzat Chimaev spending time training there there are plenty of people in the MMA business travelling back and forth between the US and Phuket.
Bang Tao Muay Thai is brand new. But the people behind it have a reputation that has been forged over the course of the last few years and it already looks like a gym that is well on the way to establishing itself on the global MMA map.