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6 and 0 Joe!

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Though the March 9th event was held in our most intimate venue, the main event was relevant on national level for fans of the sport of Muay Thai. The ongoing debate of whether or not East Coast practitioners of Muay Thai could compete with their West Coast counter parts was on display for those fortunate enough to get a ticket to the event as well as those that logged on to the newly introduced live event blog on fridaynightfights.com

After completing an impressive amateur career with a perfect 10-0 record……after compiling a perfect 5-0 record as a pro (all by way of knock out), Joe Valtellini, made some noise on a national level when he stopped the veteran, Shawn Yarborough in the first round of their scheduled 5 round main event.

As one of the most prominent fighters in the region, Valtellini was eager to make a mark for himself  on anational level. The continual criticism of the East Coast’s ability to compete with the West’s from West Coast based fighters and fans, was answered. Not by a blog or through an interview, but in the ring, at 2:46 of the first round of the evening’s main event to be precise.

Yarborough, normally a light heavy weight, struggled to make the contracted weight of 169, tipping the scales at 173lbs while Valtellini easily made the weight (which was several pounds above his normal fight weight). In addition to the height and weight advantage, Yarborough also brought a great deal of experience (13-4) into the ring as well as a reputation as hard puncher that could give as well as he could get. Valtellini seemed to thrive on the challenge and brought his relentless aggression to a level not yet seen before.

Taking full advantage of the opportunity to show the West Coast and the world what he was capable of, Valtellini pressed the action from the start.  In the first few seconds of the opening round, a straight right from Valtellini sent Yarborough to the canvas. Yarborough, though hurt, made his best effort to match Joe’s advance and landed a few shots during what seemed to be a continual exchange throughout the fight, however by the middle of the round, Yarborough began to show signs that he was losing the war of attrition and with 30 seconds remaining in the round, a devastating combination from Valtellini sent Yarborough to the canvas with referee Chris Wagner counting him out. Final result: Valtellini, KO1 (2:46).

Both fighters demonstrated great sportsmanship before and after the match. Yarborough, though disappointed with the outcome, was appreciative of the opportunity to compete and Valtellini thanked his opponent over the PA system during his in post-fight interview with Kevin Lillis.

“Joe embodies the spirit of our staff’s commitment to providing fight fans with the best talent and most entertaining bouts possible” said FNFMT President, Justin Blair. “Joe also personifies the respect for the sport and appreciation for the support from our fans that makes up the core values of the entire FNFMT team” Blair continued.

In addition to those at the event, the event also marked the launching of the Friday Night Fights Muay Thai live blog.  FNFMT commentators, Liam Tarrant and Kevin Lillis changed gears, from talking, to typing. Both Tarrant and Lillis shared their thoughts in real time as part of a larger test integrating a live blog on fridaynightfights.com with other elements of production for future events. “We knew that this match was of interest to the Muay Thai community on a national level and so it made sense to make the Yarborough / Valtellini match our first live blog.” said FNFMT Media Director, Lance Burns.  The live blog was part of the new website launched just 10 days prior to the March 9th event.

Now that he’s gotten past Yarborough, Valtellini hasn’t specified who he would like to compete against next although, one thing he’s made clear is, that he wants to compete against the best out there, regardless of where they are from.

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