The North East has been on the UK Muay Thai map since the beginning. While some of the old gyms are still furthering the sport and producing talent, the younger upstarts are making waves and creating champions. Here are 6 of the best places to train in the North East today.
Northern Kings, Newcastle
Founded by renowned Geordie fighter, former UK, European and World champion Craig Jose, Northern Kings has been at the forefront of the new wave of Muay Thai in the North East. Craig is a superb coach, passing on his wealth of knowledge, earned on the global fight circuit, to the next generation of fighters. One of those is Juan Cervantes, ranked number 1 in the UK in the Light Cruiserweight division. Juan also coaches, adding his considerable experience to one of the best teams in the North East.
Yodphet Muay Thai, Houghton-le-Spring and Wolsingham
A one-man operation, the eponymous Yodphet Muay Thai is named after the man himself. Yodphet Sriwiang teaches private sessions and small classes the finer points of the art of Muay Thai. Yodphet, a Thai national, racked up 250 fights during his long career. After retiring as a fighter, he coached at Thai Pinyo Gym in Thailand, before making the journey over to England to spread his knowledge further afield. One look at the youth fighters he is producing shows that the future is very bright for Muay Thai in the North East.
Founded by former World Muay Thai Champion Paul Hamilton in the 1998, DBMA has a history of top class coaching. In 2015, the reigns were passed over to Simon Harrison and two-time Muay Thai World Champion Michael Dicks, a well-known face on the North East Muay Thai scene. Michael has continued to grow DBMA’s talent, training the next wave of North Eastern fighters, including Eddie Gill, ranked number 7 in the UK’s competitive Light Heavyweight division.
Team Hanuman, Darlington
Started in 1997 by three-time British Muay Thai Champion Craig Willis, Team Hanuman is a top-tier gym. With a stable of fighters to match their reputation, Hanuman has been a force on the North East Muay Thai scene for over two decades. Expect great training from a highly experienced coach.
Phoenix Thai Boxing, Shildon
Phoenix Thai Boxing, run by Gaz Mcallister five-time British Muay Thai Champion and former UK #1, is one of the top gyms on the UK scene. Gaz’s son, Reese Mcallister, fought some of the best in the world on Yokkao, Victory and GLORY, before retiring from Muay Thai to begin a professional boxing career. Rising talent from Phoenix includes UK number 4 Junior Flyweight Leigh Newton.