According to a May 12 report from Lion Fight, Kevin "The Soul Assassin" Ross (26-9) is a throwback to the glory days of '90s Muay Thai, back when athletes would come to fight rather than engage in glorified sparring sessions. Ross, who trains out of the Combat Sports Academy in Dublin, Calif., is known to get after it from the opening bell and throw caution to the wind until the bitter end.
A top 20-ranked kickboxer by the WBC for Muay Thai in the Super-Lightweight Division, Ross takes what some would say is a crazy approach to fighting. He doesn't care about wins and losses, only about putting on quality performances that leave fans wanting more. After more than a decade on the international Muay Thai scene, not many have been able to deal with Ross' high-energy fighting style. In other words, you can't stop crazy, you can only hope to contain it.
Ross, 33, is set to fight unbeaten New Yorker Chris Mauceri (6-0, 2 knockouts) on May 23 at Lion Fight 15 at the Foxwoods Resort Casino in Mashantucket, Conn., and he plans to put on a show for the fans on hand. "I'm sure he will have a great crowd there but at the same time I know that I have a ton of East Coast fans," Ross said in an exclusive interview with Long Island Fight Sports Examiner Eric Holden. "I think most people will be cheering on the fight itself rather than booing one guy or the other.
"Which is a great aspect of Muay Thai, you rarely get the boo's, people appreciate the fight even if they are a fan of your opponent. I think fans always know what to expect out of me, a great fight and a show regardless of the outcome. As in all my fights I'm going to leave everything I have in there no matter what. Fans can expect that from me on this and every fight I ever have. They always get their moneys worth, I make sure of that!"
For many Lion Fight 15 attendees, it will be the first time they have ever witnessed a live Muay Thai event. Lion Fight has never taken a show to the East Coast, so Ross is pleased to have the opportunity to give new fans a chance to see what the sport is all about.
"Lion Fight has definitely paved the way for Muay Thai in North America," Ross explained. "There have been a lot of great promotions over the years but Lions Fight is really the first one to do everything right and to do it consistently. I think the biggest thing for them was building it from the ground up. Not over reaching and slowly and steadily building their audience as well as the fighters. What they have always been great at is their match making. Whether that be the amateurs or the high level pros they always know how to put on great fights.
"Too many other promotions only care about bringing in 'names' but names don't make great fights, great fights make great fights regardless. And we need to reach not just the die hard Muay Thai crowd but even more so the people that have no idea what Muay Thai is. So if you bring a person to one of these shows that has never seen it before it had better be memorable or they won't come back and they sure as hell won't tell their friends about it.
"The new fans are who we need to reach and they don't know Buakaw from Roy Jones so what does it matter if it's a big name or not, it's all about the fight. As for it being as popular as the UFC who knows, I doubt it, I mean will the UFC ever be as popular as Boxing? Maybe. What I care about more than anything is seeing it grow but seeing it grow and keep it's tradition. The last thing I would want is for it to be huge one day but only be a shell of what Muay Thai really is."
Besides Ross vs. Mauceri, Lion Fight 15 also features former Lion Fight champ Tiffany Van Soest, and a clash pitting Cosmo Alexandre against Mark Holst. Lion Fight 15 goes down May 23, live on AXS TV.