Big payoff for Muay Thai fight

SCOTT FISHER, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 2:49 AM ET

CALGARY - Josh Palmer wasn’t sure he wanted to even be in the tournament.

The payoff just wasn’t there.

“You only get $500 for the first win and $1,000 for the second one,” Palmer said of the Muay Thai Journey Fight Series promoted by local legendary fighter Trevor Smandych.

“That’s a lot of working out, training and dieting.

“But because Trevor was involved, I decided to do it.”

Good decision.

He might not have earned the big bucks for his first two wins, but he’s in line to battle for the biggest purse in the sport’s North American history.

Palmer, out of Halifax, will take on Toronto’s Matt Embree in Saturday’s final (7 p.m., Century Casino).

The winner takes home $10,000 and the World Muay Thai Council (WMC) North American title.

“This fight means the most to me,” Palmer said when asked if this is the biggest bout of his career. “Just because of the money and the title.

“Trevor is one of the best promoters around because he understands the fight game, and he treats guys very fair.”

The 33-year-old took out a pair of Americans on the way to the final and was scheduled for a September bout in Ireland before his opponent pulled out with an injury.

“I just kept training, so I’m right where I want to be for the weigh-in,” Palmer said.

“I feel good. I want to be able to fight hard for five rounds.”

(Nasty) Nate Smandych will take on American Mark (Diamond Heart) DeLuca as part of the pro undercard. Calgarians Billy Kim and Jessica Gladstone will also be fighting.

Palmer feels his experience will prove to be the difference against his younger opponent.

“(Embree) has some experience, but not against the same calibre of fighters I’ve fought,” he said.

“I’ve fought guys 10-20 pounds heavier than me. And (Embree) is going up in weight.

“Whoever stands in front of me is going to have a hard day.”

Embree said he’ll need to use his head in the tournament finale.

“He has some physical advantages,” Embree said. “So I’ll have to use my mind.

“I’ll see how the fight goes.

“I don’t really like to plan things out beforehand.”

Embree, 22, said he fell in love with the sport more than five years ago.

“I’ve always liked fighting and martial arts,” he said. “With Muay Thai, I liked the beauty behind the technique.”

Calgarians Lindsay Rae, Trent House, Michael Smallwood and Chris McMillan are also on the amateur undercard.


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