Teo bags 3rd muay thai belt after a year as pro

Terrence Teo, with coach Arvind Lalwani, beat his highly fancied Malaysian opponent in Johor in a unanimous five-round decision.
Terrence Teo, with coach Arvind Lalwani, beat his highly fancied Malaysian opponent in Johor in a unanimous five-round decision.PHOTO COURTESY OF JUGGERNAUT FIGHT CLUB

A year into his professional career, and muay thai exponent Terrence Teo has already captured his third title. He emerged triumphant at the Johor Open Pro Muay Thai Championships last Saturday.

The 25-year-old Singaporean defeated local hope Aiman (who goes by one name in fight circles) via a unanimous five-round decision in the 73kg division at the Educity Sport Complex in Nusajaya in front of about 1,000 spectators.

Teo said: "Going up against Aiman was like going up against a tank. This was definitely one of the most challenging fights in my career. I went in with a plan, stuck to it and I'm glad that everything worked out in the end."

His strategy was to use his longer reach (Teo is 1.85m, Aiman is 1.72m) to frustrate the Malaysian and low kicks to keep his opponent at bay during the first three rounds, before going on the offensive in the closing two rounds.

Teo began his martial arts training in 2011, but injured his shoulder two years later, piling on the kilograms and tipping the scales at 95kg.

Incredibly, he managed to lose 26kg after he joined the Juggernaut Fight Club in May last year upon completing national service.

Within a few months, he made a winning start on his pro debut at the Johor Open in the 69kg class against Malaysian veteran Hafiz Kuda, and added another title in June's Singapore Fighting Championships (SFC).

While he started as an underdog against Aiman - a veteran of more than 100 fights and winner of 10 championship belts - his coach Arvind Lalwani, founder of Juggernaut Fight Club and SFC president, was unconcerned.

He said: "None of us were worried for Terrence as we knew he would give his all. He trains very hard and I'm sure this opportunity will spur him on to fight even harder as a professional fighter for more title belts on the international stage."

It was a sentiment Teo shared. He said: "I am glad I get to go home with this title under my belt and I look forward to more fights over the next few months."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 11, 2016, with the headline 'Teo bags 3rd muay thai belt after a year as pro'. Print Edition | Subscribe