Thunderkick’s Igor Lyaschenko Wins the FCF 155 lb Muay Thai Title!

On Saturday August 25th, Thunderkick’s Igor Lyaschenko (7 - 3, 3 TKO) won the 155 lb Muay Thai Title belt at the new Stony Creek Hotel in Broken Arrow, OK. He fought Austin Mayle (5 - 0) from Junction City, KS at FCF 55. Austin is a top fighter, holding his own Muay Thai tournament champion belts.

Q: How did you win the fight?

Igor: It was a TKO in the 4th round. We clinched, and I hit him with an elbow. He went down and didn’t get back up.

Q: Is this your first belt?

Igor: Yes, this was my first title fight.

Q: What did it feel like?

Igor: It was a lot of pressure up until I entered the ring. Then all of a sudden it was peaceful. I focused on fighting like I train at the gym, and I knew I trained harder than he did. My goal is to do the same thing in the ring as I do in the gym. So I focused on remembering everything that I trained.

Q: What did it feel like when you won?

Igor: It was something new to me. It was a title fight, the first title fight for the promotion, big crowd, cameras, photos. Gerald Harris came and interviewed me in the ring. I told him I was thankful for the crowd, for the fight, for my gym. He asked if I was going to go pro, but I told him I wanted more experience first. I told the crowd, “I have the belt. Anyone who wants to fight me for it, I’m open!”

Q: How long have you been training?

Igor: Altogether, 6 years. Back in Ukraine, my Dad was into martial arts himself, and trained me. He had a close friend who had a gym. He was a world kickboxing champion. I trained there for a year before moving to Oklahoma, where I found Thomas. (Thomas “Thunderkick” Longacre is the owner of Thunderkick Tulsa)

Q: How did you get to the United States?

Igor: A friend of ours had everything arranged to go to Victory High School. She had everything set up, the host family, tuition, everything. Then she had some visa problems, and was very disappointed. She asked my friend Daniel and I if we wanted to go instead. I asked Daniel if he wanted to go to the United States. He said yes, and so my friend and I went! We weren’t planning it at all. I went the first year, but didn’t like it, so I went back home. But I found Thomas’ gym and liked training there. That summer back at home in Ukraine, I was convinced to come back, and someone paid for my tuition. My second year at Victory, I really liked it! After graduating high school, I went to VBI (Victory Bible Institute) and got a Diploma in Ministry.

Q: What do you like about Thunderkick?

Igor: I really like it because to me, it’s a family that I haven’t had because my family is in the Ukraine. It’s not just a gym family, but Thomas took me into his family. They have me over for Thanksgiving, and take me on his family’s vacations and everything. Thomas treats people on a personal level. It’s more than just a gym that teaches people how to fight, he also teaches you how to go through life’s difficulties. He teaches more than just technique, he gives advice that helps you in the gym and in life.

Q: How did you meet Thomas?

Igor: When I came to the United States, I was just playing American football. After 2 months of football, I wanted to go back to MMA. I went to a few gyms before I found Thomas. I went to my first practice and I really liked the gym and the sparring. That’s when I decided to make it my gym.

Q: What are your future plans?

Igor: At this point, I’m just trying to fight as often as I can to get the experience that I need to see if I’m fit enough for this game and to go pro. Once I go pro, I’ll see how it goes!

Q: Do you only do kickboxing?

Igor: I’m open to any kind of fight that will come my way. Boxing, kickboxing, MMA, Muay Thai.

Q: Did you fight in Ukraine?

Igor: I fought like 4 times in Ukraine. They were all kickboxing. I didn’t start MMA until I came to the United States. I also fought in Strelka, like the one on youtube. I got beat pretty bad in that one! I was very little, short and small compared to this big dude. He was a Muay Thai fighter and beat the crap out of me.

Q: What hobbies do you have outside of the gym?

Igor: My main one is making pottery. I’ve been doing it since high school. I make custom mugs, plates, vases, things like that. I like to say, “I’m constantly going from throwing pots to throwing punches!” Pioneer Woman, the TV show and magazine, has sold hundreds of my pieces of artwork through her store.

Q: What advice do you have for someone who wants to try to train to fight, but isn’t sure about doing it?

Igor: One of the main things I would say is, confidence. Not just confidence to defend yourself, it’s almost like a spiritual confidence. I feel like after sparring, I feel like I can take on anything. Not just fighting, but any life obstacle that might get in my way. Not just fighting confidence, but life confidence.

Ben Greenwood