Teo knocks out veteran Malaysian in first fight

Terrence Teo and his coach Arvind Lalwani after winning his first professional muay thai championship. He says his good technique makes up for a lack of experience.
Terrence Teo and his coach Arvind Lalwani after winning his first professional muay thai championship. He says his good technique makes up for a lack of experience.PHOTO COURTESY OF SIMREN PANOO

He was up against an experienced fighter, and even suffered a popped shoulder in his opening round.

Yet, Singaporean muay thai exponent Terrence Teo remained unfazed by the daunting prospect, and duly scored an upset knockout win over Malaysia's Hafiz Kuda in his first professional bout at the Johor Open Pro Muay Thai Championships in Pasir Gudang yesterday.

Going up against an opponent who has already 30 pro fights in five years, Teo recalled: "I told myself that a fight is never over until the last bell is rung. I also told myself that a one-handed man can still win the fight."

So he decided to let it all out in the second round, using a flurry of powerful kicks to knock his opponent over before going in for the kill with a forceful upper-cut, resulting in a knockout.

"I saw some swelling in (Hafiz's) leg and I heard my coach screaming at me to attack it, so I kicked and saw some wobbling, and I went all out," he said.

The victory marked a remarkable journey for the 24-year-old Teo, who had joined Juggernaut Fight Club in May after national service, and dropped from 95kg to 68kg for health reasons.

Said his coach Arvind Lalwani: "He kept his composure and did not let the pressure get to him and that was what led him to the win."

His opponent's over-confidence also played a key part as Lalwani said: "Hafiz (Kuda) was a little overconfident, thinking he had plenty of experience."

When it comes to experience versus technique, Teo places more emphasis on the latter.

He said that technique is more important "and I have high confidence in my technique and it showed today".

While winning a championship belt in his first pro fight is a "sweet feeling", Teo does not intend to let success get to his head.

He wants to keep on training, even when there are no competitions in the near future.

"You never know when the next opportunity will come and I just want to always be prepared and ready to fight at my fitness level," noted Teo.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on October 11, 2015, with the headline 'Teo knocks out veteran Malaysian in first fight'. Print Edition | Subscribe