Richard Walsh – What's on for 2012

Tomas Hron vs Nathan Corbett, round 1 of the MPL

Richard Walsh is one of Australia’s best Muay Thai trainers. He spent a few minutes talking about what 2012 has in store for his most famous charge, Nathan ‘Carnage’ Corbett.

How do you find the Muay Thai Premier League?

It’s a brilliant concept. The MPL is an 8-man tournament, spread over a certain amount of months. That way, fights are guaranteed, you know who your opponent is, and you can try to squeeze another fight in between. It allows the fighters to heal up and perform at their best. All fights are Muay Thai from word go, rather than modified rules.

What is the weight restriction?

 95kg cutoff.

What’s the format?

3X3 minute rounds, for the first fights. The last two are 5X3. They have split the 8 fighters into two pools; pool A and Pool B. At the end, the 2 guys with the highest amount of points from each pool meet in the final.

Is it building Nathan’s profile in any way currently tangible to you?

We joined because they were going to go hard in the US. That way, we could build his US profile. He’s pretty well-known in Europe; he got a good reception when he fought in The Hague for round 3. Originally, there were 2 or 3 shows scheduled in LA. We joined more for that reason.

What was his first opponent like?

Nathan’s first fight was at Long Beach, Los Angeles at the Walter Pyramid against Tomas Hron. He stands about 6’4”; an  ex-K1 fighter. It was stopped in the 1st by TKO. Nathan knocked him down 3 times in the round. He was a good fighter; a big, solid man. Heavy knees. He was too much relying on one shot though, like a lot of heavyweights, while Nathan is hitting them with numbers.

Did his second opponent do any better?

That was in Holland, in The Hague. A Frenchman, Abdarhmane Coulibaly, who’d had over 100 fights. He was a good technician. He stayed for the distance, but Nathan got the decision win.

What’s the format for MPL in 2012?

We’re trying to go to Bangkok in February. We’re waiting for confirmation at the moment.

Does he have other fights/engagements planned?

On April 7, he’s got another fight here on the Gold Coast. Another Frenchman, named Stephane Susperregui.

What are your goals for this year?

Nathan to win the MPL. He’ll probably have 3 or 4 fights this year.

How has Nathan handled the jump to Heavyweight?

Great. I’d like to see him go open. He’s holding 98kg at the moment – he finds it difficult to put on weight. It’s a slow process, and he’s taking his time. He’s moving, and that’s the main thing; he’s not standing and trying to bang like a bouncer out front of a nightclub. I can see him over 100kgs in a few years. He’s moving his feet, body and head. I think he’ll always be the smaller guy. He won’t be able to stand still in front of those giants and hope not to get tagged.

How has Greg Tottman contributed to his current game?

He’s been three years now training with G.T. at HPC (Human Performance Centre) doing strength training, and it’s really paying off.

How would you compare today’s Carnage to ‘Last Man Standing II’, skill and performance-wise?

Very different. LMSII, that was about two years ago, and it was his first dig at heavyweight. Now, he tends to back himself and hit those heavier guys harder.

Have you altered your strategy for his new weight and arsenal of skills?

The focus is on movement, pure and simple. The oldest cliché in boxing is hit and don’t be hit. The most satisfying thing for me as a trainer is that he comes out of fights without a mark on him. The only time you see blood on Nathan Corbett is when he’s cut someone else’s head open.

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