2011-05-06 / Sports

Romulo Ready and Able To Face Biggest Test

By Elio Velez

Chris Romulo has trained hard in the last few weeks for the biggest fight of his Mixed Martial Arts career. But the Rockaway resident is not about to let the pressure of participating in the “Battle in the Desert II” card in Las Vegas on May 14 overwhelm him.

“It’s the first fight that I will have out of New York City. I’m not going to worry what my opponent will do. I’m not letting any pressure get to me.”

He has tasted professional success in the last few years. One of Romulo’s honors was capturing the World Kick-boxing Association Professional North East Champion in May of 2010 at the Lexington Armory in Manhattan.

The success he has had in the ring has fueled his passion to pass on what he has learned to everyone in the community. Romulo opened up the CROM Martial Training gym last year, which is open year round to children and adults on Beach 92 Street and Rockaway Beach Boulevard.

Romulo will compete in the undercard of one of the biggest Muay Thai competitions in the West Coast. But the fight he will have against Shawn Yarborough at the Star of the Desert Arena at Buffalo Bill’s Casino. will be a different type of battle on many fronts.

In competitions held in the West Coast, the rules of Muay Thai differ than those used in the East Coast according to Romulo. One example the fight in Vegas will allow is for fighters to use their elbows to land blows to the head. Romulo has prepared for the different rules changes and it hasn’t changed his approach to fighting Yarborough. He knows a few fighters who have competed against Yarborough. The bout is scheduled for 5 rounds, with each round lasting three minutes.

“I know his fighting style. He’s aggressive, but I got to take him to the later rounds and get him tired,” Romulo said. “I got be a little smarter and hit him early on.”

Even before he goes to Las Vegas, Romulo has heard talk that East Coast fighters wouldn’t be able to handle the pressure of winning in what has been deemed foreign territory.

“There was talk that East Coast don’t fight real Muay Thai and we’re amateurs at best. It’s mini level version of Biggie (Smalls) against Tupac (Shakur),” Romulo said.

That banter fuels Romulo to represent the high standard of fighters from the East Coast. And it strengthens his resolve to use his confidence to make a name for himself on May 14.

“It’s a step up anytime you go into someone else’s hometown,” Romulo said. “I just got to fight him and go out there hard to win.”

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