Local Fighter Wins Big In Ring And Community
Local Rockaway resident and professional Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) fighter Chris Romulo was awarded the title of World Kickboxing Association Professional North East Champion after defeating opponent, Sean Hinds, on May 14, at the Lexington Armory in New York City.
The fight was part of the “Friday Night Fight” series which consistently pits the best New York City fighters up against one another. This particular fight was highly anticipated because of the fighters involved. Chris Romulo and Sean Hinds have fought and dominated both in international and national bouts. It was the first meeting between the two fighters in a battle that would headline the night of fights.
“Everything leading up to the fight was big, there was a great amount of anticipation because of the buildup,” said Romulo.
Romulo entered the match as the underdog, but was able to stay on the defensive and supply strong counter attacks to Hinds. It was in the last round that Romulo felt he finally had the advantage.
“It was a back and forth fight throughout, but in the last round I was able to impose my will and ended up earning the victory,” he said.
Standing in the ring as the North East Champion was a far cry from where Romulo started his career.
“I started training in Tae Kwon Doe when I was eight years old basically following in my father’s footsteps as he was a black belt,” he said.
Romulo trained with an ex-fighter from Thailand and it gave him an idea of what he wanted to do in life.
“My coach was an ex-fighter and he inspired me to want to do this professionally. I realized it was a way of life I was interested in,” he said.
Romulo remembers the first time he stepped into the ring and it’s something he will never forget.
“It was easily the scariest thing I’ve ever done in my life, but the adrenaline rush I felt pushed me through it,” he said.
He continued training until he reached 15 years old and stopped because he wanted to be a kid. The training took up most of his time and Romulo wanted a normal life. At about 21 however, an event occurred that caused him to vault right back into the world of MMA.
“I got beat up very bad during a street fight when I was 21 and it made me want to get involved again to make sure it would never happen again,” he said.
Romulo’s MMA training intensified when he decided that being a professional was what he wanted to do. His typical training regimen includes working with a strength and conditioning coach two times a week, a skills coach to work on Muay Tai, boxing and wrestling at least five to six times a week along with basic calisthenics such as push-ups and running.
Romulo recently opened up a school at 108-13 Rockaway Beach Boulevard in order to train children and adults in MMA.
“My goal in building this school is to give kids an opportunity to build confidence and being able to overcome adversity,” he said. “Training to become mentally and physically strong is a good thing to have when growing up.”
Romulo is also involved in an anti-bullying campaign. He was bullied as a kid and supporting the cause was a no-brainer. His CROM Martial Training building is hosting an event on June 5 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. to stomp out bullying. Phillip Nover, of the Ultimate Fighter 8 and UFC 109; Dave Branch, UFC middleweight; Romulo; and the Rocky Marciano family will be in attendance. Romulo feels that everybody can achieve his or her dreams, but you have to overcome obstacles along the way.
“Persistence is the key. No matter what you face, you have to keep going,” he said. “The road is tough and filled with obstacles, but you have to be persistent and work your way through it.”