Julian Nguyen is experienced in working with a multitude of numbers, equations and formulas, but now there’s only one digit that truly matters.
It’s #1 … as in getting the first win of his professional career.
After a highly successful run in the amateur ranks, the former accountant is ready to step on the pro ladder and he’ll do that at Lion Fight 36. Nguyen’s debut – coming against fellow rookie pro Trevor Ragin – will be part of the main card that takes place on Friday, April 28th at Foxwoods Resort Casino in Mashantucket, Connecticut.
Nguyen made his final amateur appearance at Lion Fight 35. One more later, he’ll back inside the ring at whole new level of competition. Now more headgear, elbow pads and shin guards. It’s all for real now with fame and fortune at stake.
“The timing just felt right,” he said of his decision. “We achieved a lot of things we set out to do – two-time WKA world champion, WKA national champion, IKF east coast champion among a few those accomplishments.
“We traveled around the U.S. and the world to the biggest tournaments seeking out the top Open and Class ‘A’ amateur fighters, gaining experience, challenging and testing ourselves against many multiple-time amateur champions on the cusp of going pro as well as facing international professionals competing as amateurs in the world tournaments overseas in Thailand and Spain.”
For the 32-year-old, the elite-level amateur events and now the heightened competition in Lion Fight’s world-class pro ranks are a long way from the days of sitting behind a computer and working as an accountant. It’s been quite a journey and this pro road brings a whole new road to travel down.
“When I first began training and fighting Muay Thai a few years ago, I was working a full-time 9-5 job,” he recalled. “I loved training and competing so much, I would wake up extra early in the morning just to get some roadwork or strength and conditioning done before going to work and then train Muay Thai all night after I got out from work.
“After a few years training like that and a few fights later, I knew if I really wanted to take things to the next level, I needed to change things up and spend more time with my coach and training partners. I received an opportunity to train full-time and took the leap to quit my job to follow my goals and dreams of fighting and becoming a professional world champion.”
The first phase of that plan takes shape at Lion Fight 36. It will also mark the first opportunity for the vast majority of the promotion’s fans to see Nguyen ply his trade. His bout is scheduled to launch the AXS TV Fights main card which will put the Worcester, Massachusetts, product in such a spotlight.
It’s a spectacular opportunity to make an immediate and lasting first impression.
“I like to think of myself as a technical fighter, but I am pretty well rounded,” Nguyen said of his style.
“Strength and advantages are my heart, technique and mental game – my ability to adjust and outsmart my opponent depending on his fighting style – which is what I really love about Muay Thai. It’s a physical, quick-thinking chess match.
“I have worked hard and appreciate every opportunity I’ve been given fighting on the prelims at many of the Lion Fight cards at Foxwoods Resort Casino. I am just feeling really excited – very happy and grateful to now be a part of the main card and put on a great show for everyone watching.”
Being a part of the prelims has afforded Nguyen the opportunity to sit back and watch the main cards as well as be in the same locker room as some of the very best strikers in the world. He listed two of the best-known Lion Fight stars as his idols – former super middle champion Cosmo Alexandre as well as current two-division kingpin ‘Smokin’ Jo Nattawut.
“Cosmo is someone I always admired since I first began training,” said Nguyen. “Amazingly enough, one of Cosmo’s personal friends and very talented training partners (Ibere Reis) happened to move to the same city I live now many years ago, and has been my Muay Thai coach since
“I became a huge fan of Jo Nattawut’s after first watching him and Cosmo fight at Lion Fight 17. His style, timing and technique is amazing to witness live. He’s got a very strong mindset and he’s an inspiring champion.”
If all goes Nguyen’s way, he could find himself recognized alongside the likes of Alexandre, Nattawut and all the other Lion Fight champions.
“To fight for and win the Lion Fight world championship title would be a dream come true,” he said. “I’m always focused on one fight at a time with no opponent in mind. I just focus on training and what I need to do for each fight and leave the rest in God’s hands.”
The Lion Fight 35 card is topped by a showdown for the lightweight world title as reigning champion Sergio Wielzen puts his belt on the line against legendary Thai competitor Lerdsila.
Tickets for Lion Fight 36 are available at https://www.foxwoods.com/Lion-Fight-36/ and at all Foxwoods Resort Casino Box Offices.
The Lion Fight 36 main card will air live on AXS TV Fights with a start time of 9 p.m. ET / 6 p.m. PT. with commentary from renowned duo “The Voice” Michael Schiavello and UFC Hall of Famer Pat Miletich plus ring reporting from veteran MMA journalist Ron Kruck.