Frank Giorgi – Streetfighter!
International Kickboxer Magazine, Vol. 19, no.3
“When I fight, I don’t look at it as a sport – I fight with intent and anger. Like a streetfight.” Watching footage of Giorgi on the internet is about as much convincing as any Australian fight fan needs. Frank’s intensity has brought him great success; he has had 43 fights for 37 wins, with 25 of them coming by way of KO. “I am a stonemason by trade; I have always had to work to be able to train and fight. Stonemasonry is hard work, but I never resented it. I looked at it as part of training.” Indeed, working with stone seems to have put the stone in Giorgi’s hands.
“I was conceived in Italyand born in Adelaide,” Frank says. “I think my parents liked the weather, so they settled there.” Frank was introduced to fighting sports by his uncle, Frank Mesiti. “When I was twelve or thirteen, he took me into a boxing gym inSouthport. I didn’t stick at it, though – I was too young, and didn’t have the dedication.”
Muay Thai didn’t really appear on young Frank’s radar until his family moved again, this time to the Gold Coast. “Growing up on the Gold Coast, Muay Thai was the thing.” Initially, Frank began training in boxing with coaches Brian Anyos and Peter Kent, at Matrix Gym. “I had a couple of fights in amateur boxing, and then my trainer went away, so I switched to Muay Thai.” Frank had his first fight after six months’ training. “They wanted me to fight straight away,” Frank remembers. “I was a bit of a naughty boy, and training became an outlet. I lost my first fight, but I fought well. I used to get nervous before my fights. I used to sit around after getting there and having my hands wrapped, and just burned through my fitness with nervous energy. When it came time to fight, I was exhausted. I used to do alright, though – I pretty much got by on my heart. I used to get so nervous before my fights,” Frank confides, “I didn’t want to do it.”
Frank’s twelfth fight was his first professional one – on Paul Demicoli’s Eruption promotion. “I fought one of Nugget’s boys, Ben NTG. It was the first time I fought relaxed, and in the Thai style. I cut him; I think he ended up having 12 or 13 stitches.”
Frank made his first pilgrimage to Thailand in 2005 and stayed for three months. “I went with my good friend, Mark Staiti.” [Staiti is currently ranked eighth in International Kickboxer’s welterweight rankings.] “I’ve been back [to Thailand] every year since. One thing I try to do every year is fight good Thais. That’s the peak – fighting the Thais at their own sport. The ‘King’s Birthday’ celebrations have a great atmosphere; 10,000 people. A huge crowd cheering.”
In 2006, Giorgi was training at Ray Matsumura’s now-defunct Five Rings gym, alongside Nathan Corbett and his trainer, Richard Walsh. “Nathan’s a great training partner,” says Frank, “We used to do a lot of our training together – sprintwork and plyometrics. You know with Nathan that he’s always going to put in. It makes him a great motivator.” It was about this time that Matsumura bought Ramazan Ramazanov and his trainer, Arslan Magamedov, out to Australia. After a period of upheaval, Frank found himself training with Magamedov.
“I first saw Arslan at the K1 Auckland when I went over to New Zealand with Matt Samoa. I really looked up to him as a fighter – I can tell you, I’m glad he’s not still fighting at middleweight!
“You go through hard times as a fighter, but he tells stories about how, back inRussia, he would go to the fridge before training and open it and there would be nothing there. He says to me, ‘You still have your dreams, and you still have your chance.’ He’s one of my best friends, and I practically see him every day. He trains me until I puke! With his eyes and experience, I think I have the edge over most fighters. He’s really taken me to the next level.”
Not surprisingly, sparring has been a bit difficult for Frank to come by.
“Before the last Preacher fight, I sparred twice. Normally, I’ll spar with Mark Staiti and Luke Garnell (Matrix). Sometimes Danny Derdowski, and Arslan, too. That’s hard work – our work rate and intensity is more like fighting!”
“My attitude is that life is a fight. I always wanted a lot and I understand that if I want it, I’ll have to go get it. The last few years have been pretty hard. I work so I can fight, but my parents have supported me to help me get to the next level. They have been really generous – their attitude is, ‘Do what you can – help when you can.” Frank continues to work at two jobs while he pursues his career in Muay Thai.“My dream is to get sponsored. I’d love to have to have the income to really live and breathe it. That’s the thing about fighting; it’s a selfish sport. A lot of people miss out and get hurt on the way.”
As far as career highlights are concerned, Frank rates beating Tum Marsui ahead of most of his achievements. It was a hard fight, but he stopped Marsui in the third round. “I also fought at Om Noi stadium as part of an elimination tournament for the Shell Belt, which I won.” Other than that, he mentions his recent defeat of Bruce ‘Preacher’ McPhee. “The second time I fought Bruce was with a busted rib for the WMC Intercontinental title. I tried to cut him, but I just couldn’t do it. Because of the injury, I was down to about 40%. I always fight on front foot, but due to lack of fitness, I had to back off. Still, I managed to win four out of five rounds.
“Hopefully, my real career highlights will be coming up this year. With a bit of luck, I’ll go to The Contender: Asia. There’s also talk of me fighting on the K1 Stockholm. I’m now managed by a friend of Arslan’s in Europe.”
Frank is a man very strongly connected to his family and friends, and his two sons, Sebastian and Frankie, figure frequently throughout the conversation. He also mentions his friend, Tar. “I got my mongkon from him. All the time we were training, we were focused on how I would fight Preacher. He always believed in me. I bought him out to Australia five or six times and he always lived at my house. We were so close, he even spoke Italian. Imagine that; a Thai, living in Australia, speaking Italian!” Unfortunately, Tar died in a traffic accident inThailand last year. “I know he’s always looking down on me when I fight; he’s always with me. If I can say one thing, I’d really like to say, ‘Rest in Peace, little brother.”
Frank Giorgi is one of the rising stars of Australian Muay Thai and after Wayne Parr leaves the building, may be the man to inherit his mantle. Let’s hope that his hard work, natural gifts and dedication find the support they need.