S'porean in pro muay thai debut after losing 27kg

Terrence Teo's dedication to his weight-loss battle has taken him into the world of muay thai. Today, he will compete in the Johor Open Pro Muay Thai Championships - his first bout as a professional.
Terrence Teo's dedication to his weight-loss battle has taken him into the world of muay thai. Today, he will compete in the Johor Open Pro Muay Thai Championships - his first bout as a professional.PHOTO COURTESY OF GRACE LOUISE TAN

Six months ago, Terrence Teo weighed 95kg. Now, he tips the scales at 68kg and the battle to lose weight has also taken him to another fight zone - muay thai.

Tomorrow, he will mark his debut in the ring as a professional muay thai fighter - in the 68kg class in the Johor Open Pro Muay Thai Championships in Pasir Gudang.

It is a remarkable journey for the 24-year-old, who had joined Juggernaut Fight Club in May after national service, as part of his bid to shed kilos for health reasons.

"This being my first pro fight, I'm feeling the pressure, but I'm the first Singaporean to compete in this belt and I want to win it for Juggernaut Fight Club and Singapore," said Teo who turned pro only two months ago.

The fighter, who has six wins as an amateur, is up against Malaysia's Hafiz Kuda, 28, who has 30 pro fights in five years.

But Teo remains unfazed: "I may lack experience but I make up for it in technique, as technically, I think I am of his standard, if not better.


Terrence Teo’s dedication to his weight-loss battle has taken him into the world of muay thai. Today, he will compete in the Johor Open Pro Muay Thai Championships – his first bout as a professional. PHOTO COURTESY OF GRACE LOUISE TAN

"In this case, technique versus experience, it's quite a balanced fight, and I would say I have an 80 per cent chance of winning."

His confidence is partially driven by the dedication shown in losing 27kg over the last six months.

After joining Juggernaut, he heard about the Johor event.

"I decided to compete in the 68kg (class) because it is the most realistic target for me," he said, noting that he still weighed 83kg in May.

NOT INTIMIDATED

I may lack experience but I make up for it in technique, as technically, I think I am of his standard, if not better.''

TERRENCE TEO, on his Malaysian opponent Hafiz Kuda

Teo went on a drastic diet to achieve his desired weight. "I eat blandly," he said of the steamed chicken breast, two hard-boiled eggs and plain salad he takes for lunch and dinner.

He trains twice a day, five times a week, doing a variety of strength, cardio and static moves, in addition to 11/2 hours of muay thai.

Teo also has four months of karate under his belt. "Karate is more discipline-oriented, where you train the whole body for full combat fights, but you also train the mind to be more aggressive, which helps when you go into muay thai."

The Johor event, now into its second year, features 78 fighters from Malaysia, Thailand and Singapore.

After his Johor outing, Teo hopes to continue his journey as a pro fighter overseas, eyeing Thailand where "the sport was born".

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 10, 2015, with the headline 'S'porean in pro muay thai debut after losing 27kg'. Print Edition | Subscribe