Following a difficult 2015 marked by cancelled bouts and a technical knockout, Muay Thai fighter Charles Bisset bounced back; he trained harder and harder, and returned to the ring last month better than ever.
Bisset, who first put on the MMA gloves at Trail’s Pride Gym with Glen Kalesniko and Russell Brent, got back in the ring Feb. 16 and won his 21st fight with a knockout of MMA fighter Iggy “El Toro” Zambrano at Cali 13 at the Hollywood Park Casino in Los Angeles.
“I won second round TKO, caught him with an elbow, and picked him apart in the first round too, but it was a really good fight,” said Bisset.
In March of last year the Retallick native fought for the WBC Muay Thai Cruiser Weight title against Jacob Poss, but was cut in the forehead at the beginning of the first round and would go on to lose by TKO.
“It was a really good fight, and I felt I was ahead but I got cut the first 30 seconds of the fight, and due to the cut it was stopped in the third round, and I wasn’t able to continue” said Bisset. “It was a really good fight though.”
Bisset then had three consecutive fights where his opponents pulled out, the last one just minutes before the bell. While it was a frustrating year, Bisset caught the attention of seasoned trainer Chris Riley of Legends MMA Gym, who also fought and trained in Thailand for six years. In addition, former professional pugilist and WBC Heavy Weight title contender, Jeremy Williams, also helps Bisset with his boxing.
“I did like Dynamics (Gym), but moving to Legends with Chris and also training with boxing with Jeremy was the best thing I could have done for myself.
“He (Riley) teaches classes and stuff still but he stopped training fighters, he came out of retirement to train me,” said Bisset. “They’re amazing, they work with me, they put the time in, and I’ve improved so much.”
Bisset went into the match with Zambrano at 200 pounds, a higher weight class than normal, but the extra pounds proved beneficial against the heavier fighter.
“I felt much stronger,” he said. “I didn’t feel nearly as tired, like sometimes getting to 190 is tough.”
Working with Riley and Williams paid off, as Bisset put his boxing skills to the test in the first round against Zambrano.
“Right from the start, my jab was popping, popping his head back constantly.”
Bisset keyed on the low cutting kicks, then punished Zambrano with a series of body blows. Late in the first round, Bisset caught “El Toro” with a push kick that almost ended the night.
“He was in there to win, he was throwing bombs at me, but he really couldn’t catch me,” said Bisset. “He came in one time and I threw a push kick and caught him right in the face.”
Bisset went to the offence and followed with knees to the body, punishing jabs, and landed a wicked elbow between the eyes that cut Zambrano, but still the native Californian would not go down.
“He was coming at me and I timed a beautiful up-elbow right between the eyes, and split him open really bad. It was a horrible cut right away.”
Zambrano came out even harder in the second round, but Bisset maintained his composure and waited, working the jab, and low kicks. Finally the stream of blood from Zambrano’s forehead would not abate and the doctors called the fight giving Bisset the second round TKO.
The 30-year-old former Pride Gym fighter hopes to land a couple more fights this spring and summer and possibly another title shot. Bisset also works as a Muay Thai trainer and as an actor in Hollywood.
Pride Gym has produced over 20 champions and numerous world-class fighters, including Bisset who has won the National Muay Thai Canadian title, the North American Muay Thai cruiser weight championship, and the World Kickboxing Association’s cruiser weight title.