Jessica Ng of Forest Hills defeated former North American Muay Thai champion Rhea Fontanilla to capture the New York State Amateur Muay Thai championship.
Ng got the best of Fontanilla in three two-minute rounds at the 7 Train Theater in Jackson Heights on Friday, December 16, to earn the previously vacant title.
“She had really strong hands,” said Ng of Fontanilla, who flew from the West Coast for the bout. “A right had to the side of my temple left my head pretty bruised.”
Muay Thai differs from kickboxing in that Muay Thai fighters grapple more, or “clinch,” which means fighters tie up their opponent and try to elbow or knee them, as well as throw them to the ground.
“Muay Thai is about doing as much damage as possible,” said Ng. “But she [Fontanilla] was in more of a kickboxing style and it was really hard to catch her.”
Ng, who grew up in Corona and attended St. Adalbert Elementary School in Elmhurst, eventually prevailed, earning the state amateur title.
This was Ng’s sixth official fight, and said it is hard finding suitable matches in her weight class. The bout against Fontanilla was fought in the 102-pound weight class, and both fighters weighed in at just around 101.5 pounds the day before the match.
However, most female Muay Thai fighters weigh between 115 and 120 pounds, which means they would have to drop weight and Ng would have to gain weight to make a fight possible.
Ng trains at Sitan Gym on Steinway Street in Astoria, and gives credit to her trainer, Aziz Nabih, for sticking by her, despite the current lack of competitive opportunities.
“He really tries to get my name out there for more fights,” she said. Ng hopes to get back in the ring sometime in March in a bout at The Beacon Theatre in Manhattan.
The fight on December 16 was promoted by Take On Professional & Amateur Muay Thai, which is run by Eddie Cuello.