Sports

Former Pride Gym fighter dominant in Muay Thai bout

Former Pride Gym fighter Charles Bissett defeated Tom Gallicchio at the WCK Muay Thai: Hot Summer Fights 2014 at Morongo Casino Resorts in Palm Springs, Calif. on Saturday.

The 28-year-old Bissett dominated the Team Quest fighter throughout, coming away with a unanimous decision over the four-round bout.

Gallicchio is a veteran of 27 fights, with a 19-8-0 record as a Mixed Martial Arts fighter and the current MFC World Lightweight champion.

“He was a tough, tough guy,” said Bissett from his home in Los Angeles. “I figure he was going to be a lot like (Manuel) Morrilla, and he was, but he was a lot different too, a very unorthodox MMA guy.”

Bisset beat Gallicchio’s teammate Morrilla in a split decision back in May, and while Bisset was scheduled to fight another opponent, when he dropped out, Dan Henderson’s Team Quest stepped up and provided Gallicchio as a very worthy substitute.

“They’re great guys, I really like the Team Quest guys, they are nice guys and a lot of fun, but when you fight a Team Quest guy, you know you have a fight on your hands.”

In the opening round, Bissett was cautious, trying to count points by cutting his opponent down with low leg kicks, and deftly avoiding Gallicchio’s devastating counter punches.

“Every time he tried to come at me and throw punches, I’d just use my movement, and he’d be hitting air. Then I’d punch his arms, and I knew he was a puncher too so I started kicking his arms as well. I knew every time I kicked him, it hurt him.”

In the third round Bissett finally broke through and staggered the MMA veteran with a powerful low kick. Bissett moved in for the kill but the New Jersey native refused to go down, blocking a flurry of kicks and punches and surviving to the end of the round.

“He’s a tough, tough guy, because he didn’t go down from it. He was just limping all over the ring, but he stuck it out for all four rounds.”

In the final round, Bissett looked for the KO, stalking his opponent and delivering punishing head kicks and punches to no avail.

“I’ve knocked out a lot of guys with my head kicks, and I drilled him two times in the head and rocked him hard. I tried to finish him, but he’s a crafty guy, who would just grab you and hang on.”

Andrew Hagar, Bissett’s training partner, filled in for coach Anthony Hardock as his corner man, and did an excellent job, making adjustments and adapting to the MMA fighter’s unorthodox style, says Bissett.

The Retallack native has had a very successful Muay Thai career improving his record to 19-4 with the win, and Bissett will look to better that when he faces Jason Rzepka in a rematch on Aug. 16 at Hollywood Park. Bissett beat Rzepka by unanimous decision in their previous meeting on June 21, 2011.

“I feel like with each fight I’m getting a little sharper each time,” he said. “And with Rzepka, I’m not going to say what I’m going to do, but I’m planning on doing something a bit different.”

Bissett started his Muay Thai career when he was 12 at Trail’s Pride Gym under Glen Kalesniko, and now lives and fights out of Los Angeles.

He is also sponsored by Sammy Hagar’s Beach Bar Rum, and has to his credit a National Muay Thai Canadian title, the North American Muay Thai cruiser weight championship, and the World Kickboxing Association’s cruiser weight title, which he won in Medicine Hat in April, 2013 against British and European champion David Wright.

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