Muay Thai fighter Jonathan Aiulu photographed at Corporate Box gym in Bundamba.
Muay Thai fighter Jonathan Aiulu photographed at Corporate Box gym in Bundamba.

Hearts on show as Rambo wins crowd

MUAY THAI: Ipswich fighter Jonathan Aiulu had an MRI on Monday to determine the severity of a knee injury sustained in the second round of his fight against Thai master Sydney-based Thai Petcheawan.

Aiulu was setting the pace at a heaving Eatons Hill Hotel and looked in control when he twisted his knee 30 seconds into the round and it buckled awkwardly.

He got straight up and tried to continue but immediately collapsed.

With a raucous crowd willing him to his feet, he again rose and took up the fight on one foot but was visibly struggling.

His corner threw in the towel about 30 seconds later as the Thai looked to capitalise and attacked the injured knee repeatedly with a series of vicious kicks.

A dejected Aiulu said he could feel friends and family urging him on but his team had made the right decision.

He said it had been building to be a high quality bout prior to the setback and he wished he could have provided home fans who turned up en-masse the spectacle they craved.

“I’m really gutted,” he said.

“It started off pretty good. You walked out and all eyes were right on you. I had a lot of support and everyone was cheering, so it is disappointing I couldn’t give them a full fight.”

The Brassall-based fighter said Petcheawan moved well and his experience was evident as he remained calm throughout but he felt he had his measure.

“He wasn’t forcing anything,” he said.

“He was just building up - traditional Thai style.

“But I felt like I was doing well and momentum was on my side. I had landed a couple of good shots and body kicks in the first round. He was on the backfoot playing defence.”

Aiulu said it was hoped the MRI would reveal the injury was not too serious and his manager was already trying to organise a rematch for early next year. He will allow time for his knee to recover before getting back into training at Corporate Box Ipswich.

Should the injury hinder his ability to return to Muay Thai, he will consider pursuing boxing.

Promoters Rogue Muay Thai were reportedly thrilled with the turnout to the Australia vs the World showcase.

It was not a great night for the Aussie competitors who emerged winless but a sensational atmosphere was generated by a bumper audience which savoured several entertaining fights and tag team matches.

Among the highlights was Aiulu’s Thai coach known only as Rambo answering a call-up after a late withdrawal and stepping into the ring in one of the tag team championship bouts.

Rambo’s partner was swiftly knocked out inside the first minute and he was given the option to fight on or withdraw.

There was only ever one choice for Rambo who battled on, surviving the rest of an exciting five minute round.

“He showed a lot of heart,” Aiulu said.

“He won the crowd over.”

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