The Coming Storm: Frank Giorgi

International Kickboxer Magazine, March/April 2012

2011 was an enormous year for Frank Giorgi. He’s come storming into the forefront of Australian Muay Thai and made a significant impact on the world stage.

“I’m happy with some stuff, fights against certain people. I’ve fought a number of  internationals now, and better Thais. My goal was K1 but that’s gone, so I’m hoping for some overseas fights this year. I hope things go well and I can start making some  money!”

In the vacuum left by the dissolution of K1, a number of promotions have emerged to take up the slack. One of the biggest is an organisation called Thai Fight. It seems like something we should have been watching years ago; a tournament style Grand Prix run out of Thailand, fought under full Thai rules.

“It’s similar to the K1,” says Frank. “It’s less about the gamblers, and more about the sport. It’s still full Thai, but it’s three by three minute rounds, like K1 was. It makes for a faster contest, without that initial feeling-out period at the start. The audience is mainly Thais; people who aren’t up on how it’s scored, but are looking for action. There are sixteen fighters, but it isn’t a tournament like K1, where the winner has three fights in the one night. This way, you fight and then get a month or so to heal up. [Thai Fight] are building up a network internationally. Where K1 was really about the heavys, Thai Fight has two divisions; 67 kilos and Junior Middleweight, which is the division I’m in. But I have heard a whisper about a heavyweight division on the way.”

Frank found considerable success as being a part of Thai Fight, in addition to being exposed to a very large audience.

“My first fight was against a South African named Vuiyisile Colossa. He was ranked number 2 in the world by the WBC. I was asked to participate in Thai Fight a few weeks after I had fought Nonsai on Evolution. I’d thought I would have a few months off! Not making excuses, but I wasn’t in the best shape I could have been. I won the first two rounds. He came back in 3rd, but I won by decision.” Frank’s second fight saw him facing off against the Spanish fighter, Abraham Roqueni, who is soon to fight Giorgio Petrosyan.

“He’s definitely a big hitter, but more in a K1, European style. He’s knocked out Andy Souwer. In the first round, I felt like my eye wasn’t in, and I got caught in the second with punches and an elbow, which cut me. I came back at end of second, though. In round 3, I almost had him. I cut him in round 1 and then cut him over the opposite eye in the second. He was in trouble by the end of the third and I won by decision.” Frank’s gutsy win set him up to face off against Buakaw in the final.

“The final was held outside the King’s Palace in front of 10,000 people. [Thai Fight has] organised big sponsors, especially in Asia. Because it’s run more for the community and the good of the sport, there’s wasn’t any door fee.” The community turn-out was enormous. The stage show and pyrotechnics were first-rate, and ran like the Buakaw Show, co-starring Frank Giorgi.

“I fought lighter than usual, which was a bit of a struggle. He’s really fast; he has great eyes. He’s also had 411 fights, and I felt them! I’d been told that I was going to have to KO him to win, and as a result, I fought his fight. I kept trying to nail him with single shots. He used his experience to keep me away and just do enough to win. I was a bit disappointed I didn’t give what I really had. That’s the thing; if you go for the KO, you’ll never get it. I’d love to fight him again. I have fought more aggressive, harder-hitting Thais, but Buakaw had experience and speed.”

This was all a welcome antidote after Frank’s experience on The Challenger, where it wasn’t simply the rigors of competition he had to contend with. “It was hard to get enough time on the pads, and it was like they were making a movie. Instead of having a number of camera crews, they only had one. As a result, we spent a lot of time sitting around, waiting for them. Then, once we stared training, there weren’t enough trainers to go around.” This was significant for Frank because it was first time he had fought away from his trainer, Arslan Magamedov. “Cedric and Nugget are good trainers, but they had the rest of the cast to work with. No-one looks after you like your own trainer.”

Frank also had the added difficulty of a conflict of styles. “It was tough because for the last six months, I’ve really been working on that K1 style of fighting.” Personality conflicts, which make for good television, also detracted from his time on the show. “With me, what you see is what you get. Lots of the guys were playing the game, picking and choosing who they fought. Lots of them had already fought each other, too, in various 8-man tournaments. I was trying to find my spot.”

By the end, Frank was disappointed in both his own performance and the show itself. “I fought Marco Pique early on and lost on points, so I didn’t qualify. The guy I knocked out here in Australia was the eventual winner.”  The format itself proved difficult to Frank, because of its very nature; “It’s hard to become friends with people and then get in [the ring] and smash them.”

By the end of 2011, Frank was in need of a well-deserved rest. “In the Semi-finals of Thai Fight, I was cut for the first time. I ended up getting 10 stitches above my right eye. It was in a bad spot, on the eyebrow. I had a few other little injuries. Over Christmas is a good time to have a rest and spend some time on the beach!”

2012 is shaping up to a big year, and will hopefully bring Frank the opportunity to challenge for the position of world number one. “I’ve gone from ranked number ten by the WBC to number two. I’m happy with that. I’m scheduled to fight for a WKN world title later in the year, and I’m also hoping to come down to Melbourne and fight there, to build my reputation.

“Maybe I’ll fight Steve Moxon. To become number one, I’ll take on anyone who is in the way. I’d prefer to fight 5X3 minutes under full Thai rules, but I will take on whoever I have to if it is gong to get me overseas. I’d love to fight for a WBC world title, or a WMC world title. I’m getting heavier as I get older as well, so I’d like to take on the best K1 fighters under those rules, particularly Petrosyan and Souwer.”

Not only is Frank growing in size, but also in reputation. Fights against people like Buakaw ultimately develop him to fulfil the promise his talent has suggested. Let’s hope that with the right opportunities – and sponsorship – Frank gets the fights he needs and we get the fights we want to see.

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