Lion Fight 25: ‘John’ Wayne Parr versus Cosmo Alexandre

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International Kickboxer Magazine, Nov/Dec 2015

‘John’ Wayne Parr is scheduled to take on Cosmo Alexandre at Lion Fight 25 in Las Vegas, Nevada on October 23. Lion Fight is the brain-child of Scott Kemp, an American promoter who cut his teeth in the Las Vegas Leisure industry. A fan of stand- up fighting, Kemp’s vision is to showcase Muay Thai to an American audience to preserve and promote the art so it doesn’t become lost in the churning wake of MMA.

Muay Thai has grown in the last thirty years to become an international phenomenon. The doors were initially forced open by Dutch fighters like Ramon Dekkers and Rob Kaman and through that gap came other internationals, the most significant of whom is Australian, ‘John’ Wayne Parr.

While having proved himself in different leagues of the sport loosely defined as kickboxing Parr is truly a Thai stylist, forging his indisputable reputation with a series of successes in Thailand.

He was twice crowned WMC champion at Lumpini Stadium, the spiritual home of Muay Thai, as well as winning the coveted S1 tournament crown in Bangkok in 2004.

Parr has promoted Muay Thai through ongoing success that has come courtesy of a highly exciting, confrontational fighting style. He is also an excellent example of the Western approach as defined by the Dutch in Thailand; a great technical vocabulary of which boxing is the centerpiece.

That boxing skill has been defined in its own right over Parr’s boxing career with a total of 13 fights for 10 wins, with all of those wins coming by way of knockout.

Cosmo Alexandre is a Brazilian native who has also fought under different rules around the world but like Parr, the true platform for his style is Muay Thai. He, too, has entered and won the eight-man S1 tournament in Thailand.

Alexandre, one of the tallest men in his division, claims approximately half Parr’s fights, but boasts a similar win-to-loss ratio, as well as an outstanding MMA record of five and one. He is now a resident of Florida, training out of the famous ‘Blackzilians’ gym.

Parr and Alexandre meet for the third time on October 23. Both fighters have won an engagement each, so their third meeting will give the opportunity for them to bring their considerable skills and experience to bear on an opponent that they know far better than most fighters ever do. They do so to contest the currently vacant world title in the Lion Fight organization.

Pride, of course, will also be a factor.

Both fighters spoke to JARROD BOYLE to make sure that everyone is up to speed.

john-wayne-parr

How is your body, Wayne?

The last six weeks I’ve been doing pads morning and night with a friend of mine from New Zealand, Kevin Dick. He came to Australia for a while [some years ago], holding pads for me for twelve to eighteen months.

He’s really good. I told him I was fighting in the US, and because he’s getting married on December the fifth, his fiancée said he should go on one last adventure with me, then go home and get married.

My body feels perfect; I feel like I’m twenty-five still. I do the same amount of running, I’m hitting as hard, and I’m sparring with Jake Lund and Elliott Compton – they come down [to Boonchu] once a week.

How’s the electrified spider web?

I feel like it’s never going to leave me. Every once in a while, I touch my face or take a drink of cold water and it sparks up again. Life has to go on.

You’re going back to fighting with ten ounce gloves for the first time in five months. Do you think it’s going to be difficult to transition back from CMT? How is, if at all, the training different for each?

There shouldn’t be any dramas at all. I train in gloves every day; it’s like putting on undies. I like to joke that I can use chopsticks wearing them. My training for each is exactly the same: Muay Thai and K1, cage; it’s all the same. Get fit, be aggressive, try and hurt people.

How did the Lion Fight opportunity come about?

I met Scott Kent when I did a seminar at Randy Couture’s gym two or three years ago. He came to meet me. He got some photos, and said he wanted me on his show. It’s been in the back of my mind since.

I’ve seen how successful Caley Reece and Michael ‘Thomahawk’ Thompson have been on the promotion [in terms of] raising their profile. I haven’t fought overseas in a while, so I sent him an email asking, ‘Who is current champ at seventy-six kilos?’

It turns out that the title is vacant. Cosmo is nearby in Florida – nice and handy – so it made sense to fight him for the current title.

How do you recollect your first fight with Cosmo?

I thought I fought very well. Upstairs, downstairs; using angles, not getting trapped – using the ring to stay out of range. I believe I won almost every round. I captured the WMC world title that night in 2007.

What about the second?

That was a year later. An eight-man tournament. I fought Jason Scerri for my first fight. I tore three inches of muscle from the bone. It didn’t break the skin; you couldn’t tell looking at it, but it felt like I’d broke my shin.

I’d blocked on a funny angle. [Afterwards] I went to the change room and put my leg in a bucket of ice for an hour.

My second fight was Cosmo. I checked a leg kick halfway through the first round and it felt like I’d broken it. The crowd started screaming; I felt I had an obligation to continue.

I tried to chase him on one leg, and the [next] kick landed on the same spot again. I turned to the ref and said, ‘I think I’m done – I think my shin is broken.’ It was a few months of recovery.

What’s your game plan for the third?

I’ll be super-aggressive. If I let him dictate the fight, then I’m at his mercy. I’m shorter, but I need to push him onto the back foot so he can’t set up his jumping knees or hard elbows. He’s about four inches taller than me. He’s one of the tallest blokes I’ve fought.

He fought just last weekend at seventy-one kilos; this one is at seventy-six. He put a message on Facebook thanking me for the higher weight class. I can’t cut twelve to fourteen kilos [before a fight] anymore.

The doctor told me I was doing irreversible damage to my liver and I was taking years of my life every time I did it. Besides, you’re not enjoying training with no energy and constantly thinking about what you’re putting into my mouth.

What’s your opinion of Cosmo as a fighter?

Very talented. He’s done exceptionally well; he’s a household name around the world. A win over him should help lift me up into the top five again, I believe.

Will you see Joe Rogan when you’re in Vegas?

My fight is in Temecula, near San Diego. Joe Rogan doesn’t live far away. I’m not sure if he will go, though. If the opportunity to go on his podcast pops up again, I’m definitely not going to say no.

Last time I was on, at the end of the podcast he said, “Let’s do this again, man.” So, I hope that invitation is still open.

Do you like Vegas? What’s it like to stay there? Will the kids and missus go with you?

Ha ha, yes. I love Vegas. It was where I met Angie thirteen years ago, training at Master Toddy’s gym. The kids love going back because they get to visit the American relations. It’s also going to be Halloween, so they’re already planning their costumes.

Will you be training over there, or is it all here in Brisbane before flying over?

The plan is to fly out a week before to acclimatize to the different time zone. I’ll do a few days training and then punch on on the twenty-third of October.

The plan is to stay a week after the event, travelling around America doing some seminars. I am lucky to have a good profile over there, so I’ll make more money through seminars than the actual fight.

Is Kevin Dick is running your corner?

Yes. I’ll also have my American homie, Melchor Menor, who I used to work with in San Diego helping me. He has a very successful gym there where I will be training in the lead up.

How many seminars are you doing? Can you tell me a bit about them?

I took a big pay cut for the opportunity to fight on Lion Fight. The whole world is watching who’s on the card. It’s live on AXS cable TV with Michael Schiavello doing commentary and it’s a great way for me to lift my profile in the States.

If things go well and I get the win, I hope it will open more doors with future seminars and sponsors. Who knows, if the fighting doesn’t work out maybe I can start my rap career!

What else is on the horizon?

CMT is on December the fifth. I’m fighting an American, Cyrus Washington. It’s two very important fights back-to-back. He has a very good record; seventy-six wins, twenty-seven losses and three draws.

He’s got forty-nine KOs and is the WKA World Champ, the WKBF World champ and was twice the Lethwei (bare-knuckle) champion in 2010 and 2014.

I hope to promote CMT while in the states so I can take advantage of the live stream. Fighting Cyrus, I hope that will also attract an American audience.

I want to win both the Lion Fight title and put on an exciting fight for CMT to show America – and the world – [that] I’m still a contender. My legacy is all I have. I will do everything I can to ensure it is never forgotten.

The event will be broadcast around the world and available via Pay-Per-View in Australia courtesy of FightLiveTV.

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