Peoria native Josh Brackett recently returned from the 2013 Thai Boxing Association (TBA) Muay Thai Classic with the Men’s (Class C) Middleweight Title. The Muay Thai Classic, in it’s 8th year, was held 27-30 June in Des Moines, Iowa. Over 600 amateur fighters from the US, Canada and Mexico registered for this year’s tournament, with close to 400 fights being managed over the course of the weekend. Each fight was 3 x 2 minute rounds, with the winner advancing to the next round. Josh was in a 14-man bracket, and fought four times over the course of three days. Despite his opponents’ increasing skill each match, Josh won all four of his fights, two by way of TKO (technical knockout) in the second round. Both TKO fights ended with a knee to his opponents’ ribs. His final fight, against a much taller opponent, lasted all three rounds. Despite his opponent’s attempt to keep Josh at bay with a right cross, Josh’s traditional Muay Thai stance and technically proficiency kneeing his opponent (via a technique called ‘clinch’ where fighters grasp their opponent’s head and throw knees at the torso and legs) allowed him to easily win the judge’s decision and the championship.
Training for 6 years, under Kru (‘Teacher’ in Thai) Ryan Blackorby at the Peoria Athletic Club (PAC), Josh has been dedicated to the sport both as a fighter and teacher. “I had the best training partners and coaches from the PAC Muay Thai program—they helped me win this belt. I trained very hard for the [2013 TBA] Muay Thai Classic, to see what I could accomplish. It is a tremendous honor to come home with the men’s middleweight title,” said Brackett.
“Josh is an incredibly talented athlete who is extremely dedicated to Muay Thai,” remarked Coach Blackorby, “He has an unbelievable work ethic and commitment to continuously improving his technique and proficiency. He has a long and promising career ahead of him.”
Three other fighters from PAC fought in the Muay Thai Classic: Kwadwo Anakwa (Men’s Class B, Welterweight), Joe Whalen (Men’s Class C , Light Welterweight), and Bruce Do (Men’s Class A, Super Lightweight) all from Peoria. All fighters had excellent performances at this year’s TBAs. This was a result of attending an intensive training camp which included pad work, sparring, conditioning and nutrition. PAC Muay Thai Coaches Ryan Blackorby and Alexandra Brackett (Josh’s wife) warmed up the fighters before their matches, as well as supported the fighters as cornermen. Josh’s title marks the 34th amateur champion Ryan Blackorby has produced in the past 18 years. Blackorby also coaches several professional Muay Thai and MMA in Central IL such as Kenny Robertson (UFC), Dan Hornbuckle (Bellator), Jeremy Harmmison (Muay Thai).