Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Rules allow for plenty of elbow room on this fight card

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FULL-RULES Muay Thai kickboxing -- complete with roundhouse kicks, spinning backfist punches, knee bombs and flying elbows -- is coming to CFC 7 on Sept. 10 at the Winnipeg Convention Centre.

Professional Muay Thai kickboxing will be the main event, featuring 'Dangerous' Dave Zuniga and Cyrus Washington of Detroit in a five-round fight where elbows will be allowed for the first time in a match sanctioned by the Manitoba Boxing Commission.

"We're very excited about it, full-rules Muay Thai, so this is huge," said Giuseppe DeNatale, the CFC 7 president and a former World Muay Thai Kickboxing champion. "We are co-sanctioning the kickboxing with the IKF (International Kickboxing Federation) and this is the first time here for full-rules Muay Thai, which means you can throw elbows in the fight. With Dave Zuniga as the main event, the crowd is going to be in for a huge, huge treat."

Muay Thai is a combat sport with origins in Thailand dating back to 1650. A style of kickboxing, Muay Thai is known as "the science of eight limbs" which refers to eight points of contact as striking is done with feet, hands, knees and elbows.

Elbows will also be allowed in the mixed martial arts bouts on the card for the first time, though some spectators may have thought elbows were part of previous MMA bouts in Manitoba.

"It's difficult to tell the difference between a forearm and an elbow (in the heat of a bout)," said Joel Fingard, the Manitoba Boxing Commission executive director.

"We belong to the Association of Boxing Commissions (ABC) of North America so we are supposed to be following the Unified Rules. Now we are following them to the full extent."

The Unified Rules of MMA were adopted in Manitoba in 2006 but with the modification of no elbows. Though it has been common for commissions in various provinces to make their own modifications, that's changing across North America with the rapid growth of MMA.

"If a fighter wins or loses, it's got to be by the same rule set wherever that fight goes," Fingard said. "This will be better for our Manitoba fighters, who often fight in different jurisdictions (where elbows are allowed). Using elbows isn't any more dangerous than getting punched. Kicks are more dangerous."

That is certainly true in Muay Thai where the roundhouse kick is one of the most powerful moves in combat sports.

"We haven't had many Muay Thai fights in Manitoba lately so it's nice to see they're reviving it," Fingard said.

ashley.prest@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition August 19, 2011 C3

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