West Leeds known as LS9 ain't pretty.
Dominated by rows of Victorian council houses, enclaves of 1950's council houses and an estate of 1970's council houses, you can see the theme is 'Council'.
This won't mean much to you if you did not grow up in one or near one, but what characterises these places is that among the decent hard working families trying to make their way in life,. there is a significant scattering of low-lifes and dysfunctional human beings making a nuisance of themselves and sometimes presenting a violent threat.
If you don't want to be the victim then arming yourself with some skills is not a bad idea.
Growing up with the constant threat that someone was going to fill you in and steal your trainers or your new jacket produces a kind of low level traumatic stress that can sharpen the instincts and produce a pugnacious spirit that is invaluable to the fighter.
Much of Britain is this.
LS9 is like this and it has been the epicentre of UK Muaythai for over 20 years with one gym in particular producing some of our finest world champions.
Bad Company gym, where training with malicious intent is the buzz phrase under owner and head trainer Richard Smith.
Liam Harrison is one of those champions from Bad Company.. and for the last 17 years he has been ranked as the UK number 1 in the lighter weight divsions.
21 years of fighting, starting at the age of 14 where his first fight was with a grown man, has produced 87 wins, 48 by knockout.
115 fights in total with 24 losses, but if you know Muay Thai then these losses by no means diminish Liams achievements, they do in fact represent the stats of a fighter who keeps going back in the ring to face the next opponent...where victory is by no means assured.
Liams style is aggressive to say the least. His savage left hook, the lightening speed at which he throws and moves has much to do with his success.
Thais like to fight slow for the first couple of rounds, to let the betting settle in and allow the fighters to feel each other out...but Liam often brings the fight instantly and if you google the MOHAMMED BIN MAHMOUD fight in January 2020 on One Championship, you will see the counter left hook take the soul from the Malaysian and then the nails for the coffin hammered in with an elbow.
The violence turned on in an instant when the opponent thinks there is going to be a predictable rhythm that he can dictate...
This 'execution' is not untypical but certainly not standard and you can see Liams heart and endurance tested for plenty of 5 round wars against the worlds great fighters...such as Saenchai.
This endurance is what we find most impressive.
Could you grind it out for 21 years?
Could you still be fighting the worlds very best fighters at the age of 35 and still be a world champion?
The answer is almost certainly 'no' and that is why this guy is a legend.
The purpose of this blog is not to write endlessly about each fight. It would take you an hour to read it and it would just be words on a screen or on your phone.
The purpose of this blog is to get you to consider and appreciate some of the athletes that we have in the UK and how they represent the fighting spirit of such a tiny island.
If you look him up on youtube, you will see most of his fights and some good interviews.
If you search for liamharrisontraining, you will find world class video tutorials on technique and training.
If you search for his 'Kickin' it' podcast you will find hilarious insights into his world and the world of Muay thai.
He is as good on a podcast mike as he is in the ring and with his cousin, Andy Howson (also a multiple time World champion) as his long standing and influential team mate and training partner, there is a winning team, in the ring and out of the ring.
DeathBlo is proud to call them countrymen.
Great article, thanks! Liam is truly a legend, that left hook, the elbows, the horrific kicks. Hopefully he will win the title in his next fight. His comeback from 2 knockdowns is one of the best fights I’ve ever seen. A great person to learn from.
As a 40yr man who only recently discovered Muay Thai in the last year, I’ve found Liam and absolute awesome human being. I’ve known of him for a while regarding his fights and was always blown away by his ferocious speed & power. But since lockdown I’ve also discovered a huge amount of content that he puts out in the form of free YouTube tutorials & his utterly hilarious yet informative podcast, all of which have helped me get through these tough months. This interest in him and subsequently the world of muay thai led me to deathblo, a brand that instantly caught my interest & imagination with a truly original & authentic vibe i hadn’t seen with any other muay thai apparel company, needless to say after my initial purchase of a hat & mask I’ll be parting ways with more cash soon.