Two of Minnesota’s top Muay Thai fighters headline a stacked 17 fight show this Saturday night at the Canterbury Park Expo Center in Shakopee, MN. Both Kaitlin Young and Troy Jones Jr. of The Academy compete in professional main event bouts against world-class opponents. Young will defend her championship title against 23-year-old Martyna Krol while Jones faces Kingston, Jamaica’s Kit Ruddock. Driller Promotions presents Mecca XII with the action set to begin this Saturday afternoon at 3 pm.
Kaitlin Young is one of the most accomplished Muay Thai fighters in Minnesota. She represents the WAKO USA kickboxing team and is currently the Muay Thai light welterweight world champion. Young admits that a great deal of her life is consumed by combat sports in one way or another. Along with training camp and preparing for this fight, Young is the head matchmaker for the rest of the fights taking place this Saturday. Outside of the brutal blows she delivers in the ring however, young says that she has a serious soft spot for dogs and she volunteers with Protecting Paws Animal Rescue.
Like young, Krol is consumed by fighting, but with a soft side for animals. Krol estimates that she has had 30-31 Muay Thai fights despite being barely into her 20’s. Born in Starachowice, Poland, Krol is a former jockey who says she still has a passion for horses to this day. She had her first and only amateur fight back when she studied in South Korea and credits her father, who was a boxer, as inspiration for getting into fighting. While on vacation for school in South Korea, Krol went to Thailand where she trained at a small gym for fun. The leisurely gym visit would lead to huge fights for Krol all over the world.
“I wasn’t considering fighting or anything like that. I just wanted to get to know the culture. Around two weeks into my training, the trainer asked me to fight, and I did. I won and in that moment I just decided that I’m going to go back to South Korea, get my university refund, pack my bags and move to Thailand to train and fight. And that’s exactly what I did. I think I now have around 30 or 31 pro fights.”
Martyna says that she grew tired of being in Thailand so she moved to Perth, Austrailia shortly after her fight against Caley Reece in 2015. After a short two month stay in Australia, Krol was contacted by her manager in Thailand and asked if she wanted to fight Tiffany Van Soest at Lion Fight in California. She agreed of course.
“I wasn’t going to stay in the US for long” said Krol. “But then I met my loving husband Josh and oh, it was an instant crush (laughing)! He has always been supportive of me. He was a good catch in every way! I live in Atlanta, Georgia and train at Bangkok Boxing”
The highly anticipated showdown between the two skilled Muay Thai fighters was actually supposed to take place last year according to Young. When Krol was unable to fight, Young took on and defeated Djamara Vers of the Netherlands.
I believe she was in the process of a visa transition and was concerned about the legality of making money in the US at the time” said Young. “She is in the clear now so fortunately we were able to rebook the fight. The fight with Djamara was a good one for me. Ryan and I had watched video on her and came up with some ideas that we thought would shut her strengths down. Sometimes when you get in the ring with someone, you need to adjust those ideas because they aren’t working quite the way you’d hoped. This fight was not that way and the game plan worked even better than expected. I also think age and experience came into play because she is very young, 18 or 19. We had a similar number of overall fights, but the significant power increase that comes in your early 30s is a real thing. Djamara is a promising athlete and has a good future ahead of her. I’m looking forward to watching her career.”
With optimal time to prepare for the fight, both Martyna Krol and Kaitlin Young will be ready to produce fireworks for what should be another packed Driller Muay Thai show. When asked for training camp details, Krol simply replied that we will have to wait until after the fight. Young described her training camp as being one of the most difficult and uncomfortable camps to date.
“Kronphet Phetrachapat is in town training me for this one, and for that I am so thankful” said young. “Prior to his arrival, I was able to get some good work in with Alfonso Vazquez over at Uppercut to help develop my boxing in addition to plugging away with Ryan and the team at The Academy. I have no doubt I’m fully prepared, though the process has not been an easy one. I had more time off than I have had in a long time between fights, so it hurts a bit to get back into peak condition.”
(Kaitlin Young shares her thoughts on Martyna Krol, what fans can expect, and closing thoughts)
“It is always a chess match. Her style is typically that of a clinch fighter and with her being so tall, 5’11” or so, it creates both strengths and weaknesses. She has had a lot of fights in Thailand and on a big stage, so I expect her to be very composed. She is the sort of fighter who can still go hard, if not harder, in the 5th round. I plan to win this fight but can tell you that it will take a significant amount of pressure to do so. The fans can expect some good technical violence and a high paced fight. If this fight goes the full five rounds, there will be no slowing down.”
“First, I’d like to thank all of the local fans, media, family, friends and obviously our teammates at the Academy for the support in these shows. It’s been so much fun to fight for the enthusiastic crowd and the Driller Muay Thai events! Thanks to Jeremy Bjornberg and the rest of the staff for giving us a stage. Thank you to my sponsors Menacing Valor, Cardinal Carpet Care, Zebra Athletics, Mr. Mouthguard, MMA Roadhog, and Cold Steel Knives.”
(Martyna Krol shares her thoughts on Kaitlin Young, what fans can expect, and closing words)
“I know that Kaitlin is a very skilled and strong fighter. This is the first time I’m going to be fighting at this weight class, so it’s going to be a good challenge for me. I love to challenge myself. I always accepted to fight the best fighters because I don’t want easy fights. I can’t improve from easy fights. What do I expect from fight night? Well I plan to win (laughing)! So that’s the plan.”
“I would like to thank the majority of the Bangkok Boxing team and my husband for giving their 100%, supporting me and helping me prepare for this fight. Also I would like to thank all the people that are cheering for me to win this fight. Your support is always appreciated.”
The Academy’s Troy Jones Jr. of Brooklyn Park, MN is widely regarded as being one of the top Muay Thai/Kickboxers not only in Minnesota but across the nation. Jones Jr. also represents the WAKO USA kickboxing team and picked up a huge win in March with Glory Kickboxing. Jones defeated Paul “The Reaper” Banasiak (5-3) in that fight. Many are predicting fight of the night when he meets Kit Ruddock.
Owner of Jax Sports Fitness, Kit Ruddock grew up in Kingston, Jamaica and now resides in Florida. Combat sports run in his family as his cousin is former heavyweight boxing contender Donovan “Razor” Ruddock. He has a mechanical engineering background in college and transferred when he was a senior to finish up in exercise science because he knew where his true passion was. That is when Ruddock says that he began to pursue a career in fighting. He also wrestled in high school and college which lent itself to Brazilian jiu-jitsu. He took a few MMA fights but says his true love is 100% striking.
“When I was a kid, my mom placed me in boxing classes but to be honest, I was too soft and would dodge training on sparring days. I loved the art and shadow boxing though. Fast forwardto now, I have had a lot of ebbs and flows in my journey but my idea of a fight is challenging myself to which Troy Jones seems like a formidable opponent.
To be honest I don’t know much about Troy Jones Jr. I try to focus on what makes me better as a martial artist and not my opponent. I’ve heard threats and promises on his part about me but this fight is not about him to me. It’s about completing myself as a martial artist.
I don’t know what I’m going to do. I don’t know how I’m going to fight. I do know I’m very calculating and adapting so expect to be entertained. I wish my opponent the best and I know he will bring his A game. I want everyone to come out and support their local fighter. We fighters draw on the energy of the crowd so the more people that are there the more exiting the fight tends to be. See you guys soon.”
Mecca XII Shakopee, MN Canterbury Park Expo Center Muay Thai
Doors open at 2:30 pm with the action set to begin at 3 pm at the Canterbury Expo Center at Canterbury Park in Shakopee, MN. Tickets are $35 for general and $60 for VIP. They will be available at www.cagetix.com and at the door..
Kaitlin Young (11-1) Academy vs Martyna Krol (30-14) Bangkok Boxing 140# C
Troy Jones Jr (6-1) Academy vs Kit Ruddock (1-0) Jacksonville Muay Thai 170* C
Ryan Sternberg (16-13) Cellar vs Omar Lee (12-1) Jacksonville Muay Thai 147# C
Dylan Murphy (11-4-2) Spartan vs Termestress Street (13-1) No Joke MA 178# C
Tremayne Williams (5-4) Academy vs Steve Bass (8-8) (4-2mma) Podany’s 155#S
Joe Wawryzniecki (4-3) Academy vs Jamie Naasz (3-2-1)(4-2mma) Fargo BJJ 159# S
Nate Kosberg (2-5) Academy vs Kwadwo Anakwa (5-9) Peoria Muay Thai 137# S
Jesse Poolaw (3-2) (3-0box) Academy vs Shane Watson (5-6) Nak Muay Gym 159#S
Karter Holthousen (6-1 )(4-1mma) Spartan vs Nam Ho (13-8) Maximus Muay Thai 147# S
Corey Friedrich (0-1) Academy vs Bas Choudhury (0-1) Fight Prime 142#S
Chris Amundson (1-2) Spartan vs Harrison Ofori (2-1) Next Level 147#S
Eli Banks (0-0) Warman Muay Thai vs Brody Martin (1-0) McCunes MA 150# S
Sandy Xiong (0-1-1) Academy vs Jennifer Brudwick (0-2) Fargo BJJ 115# S
Michael Fisch (1-0) vs Ben Richardson (0-1) Fight Prime 155#S
Joashi Yang 125 (0-0) Spartan vs Loca Herr (1-1) Next Level 125#S
Haylee Donnelson (0-0-1) Academy vs Medora Witwer (2-1) Cellar 165# S