True North Fights & Muaythai Ontario Make History In Timmins
By Ryan McKinnon
Saturday September 23rd, 2017
True North Fights played host to an historic evening of fast-paced and intense amateur Muaythai action on Saturday. Matt Poulin, owner of TMAC (Total Martial Arts Center) organized a great event and fight card that will be talked about by everyone who attended for a very long time. This inaugural Muaythai event certainly set the bar high for future events in northern Ontario, and gave fans a good look at how much Ontario Muaythai is growing in the right direction.
A big thanks to Muaythai Ontario (www.muaythaiontario.org) True North Fights (www.truenorthfights.ca) and Matt Poulin (www.totalmartialartscenter.com) for making this historic night of fights an event to behold.
All photos are courtesy of True North Fights, and can be found on their Facebook Page here https://www.facebook.com/TNFights/
Due to participating in this event in an official capacity with Muaythai Ontario, only the facts of each fight will be discussed, and not my opinion on scoring or others judge’s scoring of the rounds.
Fight Breakdown – Open Class Action
Bout #10 Jessie Cronier (Troop MMA/TMAC 15-6-0, 20 Exh) vs Stefan Dronjak (MAS Thaiboxing 9-2-0, 3 Exh, 2-0 Boxing)
The co-main event lived up to all the hype surrounding it. From the moment Jessie Cronier was introduced to his fans, the hometown crowd raised the decibel level inside the venue to that of a rock concert. The cheering and chants of ‘Jessie!” continued through Dronjak’s Wai Kru, and maintained strength throughout the entire fight. It was a memorable experience that would be hard to duplicate in any venue.
Cronier is a strong and experienced athlete who has attained title belts with CASK, TBA, and the WKF. Fighting for Troop MMA, he entered the bout with a 15-6 record, 0-1 in MTO events.
Stefan is a high level fighter from MAS Thai Boxing in Cambridge. He has experience in boxing and came into the bout against Cronier with a 9-2 record, 1-0 with MTO. Stefan is very skilled with a toolbox full of tricks. He seemed totally unfazed stepping into hostile territory amongst hundreds of Cronier supporters. He looked supremely confident as he stared across the ring at his worthy opponent moments before they went to war.
The action began immediately with Cronier and Dronjak exchanging blows. Stefan demonstrated great head movement and footwork as his hands immediately began to find their mark. Cronier had a lot of success with his hand combinations also. His left hook was sharp, and was able to land it in doubles. Cronier has a great Muay Thai IQ. If a technique lands, he’ll use it again immediately.
There were two big moments in round 1. The first one occurred when Cronier tagged Dronjak with a big shot on his chin, and Stefan literally shrugged it off with a smile, tapping his chin with his glove, letting Cronier and the fans know what he’s made of. Cronier replied with the same gesture, then the pair went right back to their exchanges.
The second big moment (and this was an unfortunate theme throughout the fight), was a low blow in the clinch by Dronjak that dropped Cronier. After he took time to recover, he engaged Dronjak with intensity to close out the first round.
Round 2 picked up right where round 1 ended. Both men are picking each other apart with strikes, and getting busy in the clinch. It was near the end of round 2 when you could visibly see Jessie slowing down his pace. It could have been from cumulative damage from a couple of low blows that he suffered, and/or the overall damage and body shots he absorbed in the clinch from Stefan.
By round 3, Cronier was slightly slower than Dronjak, but gave everything he had to win the judges’ favour. The fans in attendance roared aloud for Jessie, giving all of their energy to him in support of their local hero. It seemed to have helped Cronier, who managed to fight back in short but effective bursts. However, Stefan was able to sweep Cronier a few times in the round on the sweat-covered mat, and stayed in Jessie’s face, perhaps thinking that he might break under his pressure. This was not the case. Cronier refused to go down, demonstrating the heart of a true nak muay. The fight between these two men will be talked about for a very long time.
This fight also won Fight Of The Night honours
Bout #11 Terry Lemaire (TMAC 2-2-0, 4 Exh, 8-4 MMA, 0-2 Pro MMA) vs Kyle Vivian (0-0-0, 7 Exh, 0-8 Pro MMA, 1-0 Amateur MMA)
The final fight of the evening capped the event perfectly. Terry ‘Goodtime’ Lemaire received as much warmth from the crowd as Cronier. After a co-main event like the one that preceded the main event, fans still had enough air in their lungs to give love support to another local hero.
Lemaire is a 2016 WKF champion like his teammate Nathan Boulet. He came into this fight hungry to give his local supporters a real showing of his talents against the short and stocky Kyle Vivian of the Orillia Fight Team. Vivian is no stranger to competition. He has fought in multiple disciplines, mostly MMA, and came to the fight with intentions to silence the Timmins crowd.
Round 1 wasn’t nearly as intense as Cronier/Dronjak’s had been. Lemaire managed to keep distance from Vivian since he was the taller fighter. A low blow from Lemaire took some air out of the round, and Vivian. Kyle took his time regaining his energy, and then reengaged Lemaire. The round was stopped a second time to fix Vivian’s elbow pad which had managed to almost turn itself inside out. By the end of the round, it was Lemaire who had the lead over Vivian.
Round 2 was when it all came together for Lemaire. After working various angles of attack both in and outside the clinch, Lemaire saw an opening for his left hook that connected cleanly with Vivian’s jaw, sending him backward toward his own corner. Vivian did manage to rise for the 8 count, but referee Darryl Marin chose not to continue the bout.
Referee stops contest in Round 2 for the winner Terry Lemaire of Total Martial Arts Center http://www.totalmartialartscenter.com/. Visit the Orillia Fight Team page of Facebook.
Congrats to Terry Lemaire for winning Performance Of The Night Honours alongside Brenda Vargas.
Thank you to all of the fighters, coaches, volunteers, and supporters of this inaugural show. It was a tremendous hit with the fans. Events like these are what will continue to grow this beautiful sport, and build a rich talent pool of athletes to draw from for international competition in years to come.
Please have a listen to Episode 27 of The Bloody Ballet Podcast, airing Friday September 29, to catch up on all of the other action from True North Fights.