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First Strike 2004 - Martial Arts tournament   (May 19, 2004)



Alain, Lamma's Muay Thai Heavyweight World Champion was fighting in a local tournament in Queen Elizabeth Stadium, co-organised by Lamma's Island Gym. Several temporary (Nathan Corbett) and permanent Lammaites were on stage and in the audience watching this first Muay Thai tournament in HK since 1984. Let's quote verbatim from the brochure handed out to tournament visitors, full of noble sentiments; some of them could even be described as unintentionally ironic:


HK Boxing Assoc. - Vision Statement:

Thai-style boxing, or Muay Thai, a sport now revered world-wide, as the most efficient, artistic and exciting spectator sport and combat discipline, first took root in Hong Kong in 1965. It was growing by enviable proportions, but due to rather complex reasons - both cultural and socio-political - a dark age set in at the end of 1984, when ineffectual rules enforcing safety measures were imposed by the then British colonial administration on all free-fight or kickboxing contests.

Now, twenty years hence, Muay Thai and ring sports are ready to make a comeback.

The Hong Kong Boxing Association proudly presents The First Strike 2004 marking the beginning of a new era, free from the constraints of back water policies.

Our objective is to revitalize this great sport of our time, and to give our real stars a fighting chance.

The event is produced by our association, in co-operation with our co-presenters Khunchieng MuayThai Society and Fightin' Fit Gym. The name Khunchieng needs little amplification for the countless local fighing talents it has produced over the last twenty years. Our friend Fightin' Fit is a world-class combat studio headed by Shihan Pierre M. Ingrassia, 6th Dan hard-style Karate and Kickboxing champion, who shares the same vision with our chairman, Mr Alex Tsui: Hong Kong has all the attributes to be the martial arts capital of the world - but only if we act in concert and with dignity.

To begin with, all persons in the fight game must conduct themselves with self-discipline and honour, so as to establish public credibility, which will, in time, foster a good culture we strongly propose that the diehard values below be recognized by all of us in the community.

  • The ring belongs to true warriors.

  • Fighting is a game of honour - let no one betray that noble faith.

  • Olympic spirit: the better man must be adjudged the winner, but whoever fights with heart is to be hailed a hero.


See several SCMP stories about this tournament and its aftermath.

From the brochure's Chinese-only fighter bios (translated by our Official Court Translator, Samson the Naughty Tai Peng-uin). Very informative, but try to be patient with all the hype and political incorrectness:

Alain N'Galani ­ "Hong Kong's Ghostly Beast":

Without doubt, Alain N'Galani is a natural-born fighter.

Alain's skin is as black as the darkness of the night. At 1.79m and over 98kg, his muscular body is as solid as steel and his limbs are just as strong. He also moves just as quickly and mystically as the black panther. Since settling in Hong Kong, he's been going under the nickname of "Hong Kong's Ghostly Beast".

Originally born in Cameroon, Alain grew up with a keen passion for the art of fighting and Kung Fu. A 6-time African Champion in Freestyle Fighting, his expertise led to his employment with the rebel army led by General Gaile of the Ivory Coast. When the General came into power in 2001, Alain became the Ivory Coast President's bodyguard.

However, when the General was overthrown from his presidency by internationally backed political force and subsequently murdered, Alain found himself in exile, while his personal safety wasn't guaranteed any more.

He fled the dark land of Africa for France, then Asia, particularly Thailand, before finally settling in Hong Kong.

N'Galani, aged 28, has won all except 3 of his 27 fights. At a recent competition in Southern Thailand, he KOed all three of his opponents within the first 2 rounds.

After settling in Hong Kong, he was trained by renowned German kickboxing coach, Pierre Ingrassia, who also offered Alain a job at the Fightin' Fit Centre.

Although his daily needs are met, Alain the fighter belongs to the ring, where he can freely showcase his fighting talents. In Hong Kong, however, the task is harder than one would imagine. For starters, it is not easy to find another fighter his size! Following Pierre's efforts, Hong Kong's Number 1 trainer Son Ching extended his helping hand to sort that out by connecting with other fighters and kickboxers on the Mainland. Until now, Alain has already fought beautifully for several times. He has beaten the Guangdong Heavyweight Boxing Champion Ma Sum and conquered the Japanese Judo Champion. At the beginning of this year, Alain won the title as the "South China King of Combat". As for his aspiring goal, it is to win the K-1 Combat Championship in Tokyo, Japan, the highest honour at the combat and fight scene around the world.

Today, China will send Fujian fighting expert, Zhang Qing Jun, named "Tiger of Jiang Xu", to compete with Alain. This will be a fight between the tiger of Southern China and the African panther.

Nathan “Carnage” Corbett - temporary Lammaite while he was preparing for this tournament:

Other than France and Germany, the new forces of global combat fighting are Russia and Australia. The standards of fighters are rising and their competitive style rivals that of renowned Thai fighters.

Amongst the top Australian athletes is World Muay Thai Committee (WMC) Medium to Heavyweight Champion, Nathan Corbett - nicknamed “Carnage” for his ferocious style of fighting.

Nathan, aged 25, measures 1.83cm in height and 80kg in weight. He first began training in practical-style Karate with a German-based Karate Champion, and then trained with the current Thai S-1 “Prince’s Cup” Championship series, a fellow-Australian nicknamed “Cowboy”.

Since he began training with “Cowboy”, he had only lost 1 of his 25 fights. Nathan currently holds these titles:

  1. 1997, 1998, 1999: Australian Karate Champion of Full Contact Karate

  2. 2000, 2001, 2002: Australian Champion of Medium Weight Muay Thai Boxing and Australian Champion of Medium-Heavyweight Muay Thai Boxing

  3. 2004: WMC Medium-Heavyweight Champion

To describe Nathan’s style of fighting, the most appropriate word is “horrifying”. His attacked are fierce and powerful. For opponents who lack preparation and concentration, it is like they’re stepping on their journey of death…

Nathan’s nickname as “Carnage” came about in 2003, when he beat his opponent, the Canadian World Champion, Brown, by inflicting maximum damage with just one punch that is as quick as a lightning flash…

Fortune Chan -
Official Court Poet of

Drunken tears, sad and lonesome,
Missing the scent of the big boy's sweat.
Defending violence from a mid-west eyrie,
Visions of a place you just can’t forget.

Between the legs, dream of violence,
Men in shorts, muscles tight.
Long-lost Lamma, distant dreaming.
Oh, once more the sweat-drenched fight!

(click to enlarge)


Hong Kong's "The Panther", "Wolf Hunter" & "Goddess Victoria" pose with Nathan "Carnage" Corbett, from Australia. Photo by Martin Chan, SCMP

Queen Elizabeth Stadium heating up

Ring & ringside judges

Dramatic opening ceremony

Mandatory lion dance

Pierre & Alex Tsui in the limelight

Trophies awaiting the winners

Alain with panther mask doing the splits

The skimpily dressed number girls announcing the rounds

Too fast & furious for my camera: HK's "Goddess Victoria" vs. Thailand's "Wildcat". HK won.

"The Apeman" vs. "Iron Fists of Fujian"


Iron Fists clutching the trophy

1st intermission: RICE!

Singing one song only

zooming in...

zooming in on Lammaite Angela!

Breakdance intermission

More breakdancing

Mohammad "The Knee Assassin" Magomedov (Russia)

High-flying kick from Nathan "Carnage" Corbett

Nathan taking a little break

and now a little one-legged dancing

Who kicked first?

Nathan's the winner!

One more trophy for the world champion

Alain vs. "The Tiger of Jiang Xu" Zhang Qing Jun (Fujian)

Warming up...

Alain making a great start

All the number girls announcing round 4

Taking good care of Alain

Defending himself in a corner

Getting tired...

Getting his second wind, fighting back!

Dropping to his knees, Alain can't go on any longer...

The Tiger defeats the Panther

Totally exhausted

The new Muay Thai Heavyweight Champion of China. Alain remains World Champion.

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