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‘Semtex’ explodes at Tiger

‘Semtex’ explodes at Tiger

PHUKET: One of the world’s top MMA fighters, Paul ‘Semtex’ Daley, was in Phuket recently preparing for his upcoming fight –and return to the Strikeforce promotion – against Kazuo Misaki on March 3.

Friday 20 January 2012, 10:57AM

Paul ‘Semtex’ Daley in action during last week’s training session.

Paul ‘Semtex’ Daley in action during last week’s training session.

Training at Tiger Muay Thai and MMA in Chalong, he took time out from his training schedule to run a session with some aspiring fighters at the gym last Thursday (January 12).

“I’m known for my striking and punching ability. I could show you timing and technique, but you’re in Thailand – you’re in the best place in the world to learn that stuff,” he told the crowd of around 50, before running them through a series of basic drills.

As a powerful fighter who prefers standing toe to toe with his opponents rather than wrestling, Daley focused on striking technique with the students, and was critical of MMA fighters who constantly take to the ground.
“As a fan of the sport, and as a fighter, [wrestling] is boring.”

But a boring fighter Daley is certainly not. Of his 42 career fights, he has won 29, a staggering 22 of which were by KO thanks largely to his powerful left hook.

“I feel I’m so fortunate to be in a sport that I love to do. It’s like a dream,” he said.

Inspired by his father, who was a martial arts fan, Daley was first introduced to Karate at the age of seven. He has since developed into one of the top fighters in the world of MMA.

“The original draw to it was the mystique of martial arts,” he says.

“[Muay Thai is] extremely important to my style. Being in Thailand and being in this gym is amazing. I feel so at peace here.”

Primarily based in the UK, Daley is currently Cage Rage UK and World Welterweight Champion, FX3 World Welterweight Champion, King of The Ring Muay Thai World Champion, and considered by many commentators to be pound for pound the best British MMA fighter.


This was Daley’s third visit to Thailand, but his first time to Phuket, having trained in Bangkok on the previous two occasions.

“The contrast to Bangkok is so different. There is the rural aspect, which makes it a much more relaxing place to train... and there are so many things to do which helps keep your mind clear when you’re not training.
Ironically enough, Daley’s upcoming opponent, Kazuo Misaki, was also training at the Tiger Muay Thai and MMA Training Camp just two months ago. But Daley dismissed any advantage that might be given to him by the trainers who have already worked on his opponent’s technique.

“Not really. Nothing that puts me ahead. I like that, because I know that if my opponent comes here in the future, these guys will show respect and not give away my training techniques.”

Wiktor Swensson, an assistant MMA instructor at the gym, said: “This is huge for us. Daley is the best striker in the world at the moment so it’s great to have him here.

“He’s one of the biggest hitters out there. Everyone talks about his striking.”

Daley says he has taken a lot out of being in Phuket, and says he is confident of coming out on top in his next fight. “The guy’s big [but] if I win this fight, I get another shot at the title. I’m feeling confident. This [camp] is helping me even more.”

Daley stayed at Tiger for 10 days, returning home early this week, but says he expects to return after his next fight. More information on Daley can be found at

–Dane Halpin

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