Monday, November 9, 2015

Nick Chasteen talks upcoming Lion Fight 26 bout against Turan Hasanov

Nick Chasteen returns to the Lion Fight ring at Lion Fight 26 against Turan Hasanov in the night's co-main event. Chasteen is one of the United States' top up and coming fighters. He has been dubbed the "Golden Boy" and we recently had the chance to talk to Chasteen about his upcoming fight against Hasanov. 

He has been training in Thailand for this fight, and it is very clear that he breathes, eats, and sleeps Muay Thai. He is clearly a student of the game, who looks to grow and develop. Enjoy.

MTA: You have a fight at Lion Fight 26 coming up against Turan Hanasov. How familiar are you with Turan?

Nick Chasteen: I'm very familiar with Turan. I've kept an eye on him and have watched the East Coast game since day 1, they have a lot of sleepers out there that don't get alot of exposure but I know who to look for and what to look for . He's been off and on for a while and takes fights at multiple weights, which I can understand cause you gotta hustle out here to get fights in the Muay Thai game. He's not the first match up we had for this co-main event. I've had 3 different opponents, not sure what happened. If they were injured, got sick or just solely pulled out. Let’s just say 2 of the match ups would of made for one hell of a match up.

MTA: For this fight you have been out training in Thailand, how has training been over there?

Nick Chasteen: Training has been heavy, hard and exhausting like it should be. I landed here at night and got right to bed, woke up at 6 am and got my training in. No time for jet lag it's go time. I had to make them know I'm ready to work and to be pushed, no candy ass foreigner pad work just straight to business, everything heavy as possible. Having Thai’s my size here is the best part too. The turnover rate for foreigners is not to high here but you do get them. But "Pee A" the gym boss knows the game and can see when someone is really ready to work and soak up everything they have been showing. It is duper detailed small stuff that I'm grasping from my pad holder which makes a world of difference. 

MTA: What gym are you training at over there and how did you choose that are your gym to train at?

Nick Chasteen: I chose Sitmonchai of course because the rugged style of bangers they have had come out of this camp. Pornsanae, Mr. Knock, Thepnimit, and Yodkhunpon all really heavy handed guys and just rough and tough. I put myself with guys like this cause I need to be beat up and pushed like that and if I ever run into that style I'm prepared for it. If your into Muay Thai and haven't heard of Sitmonchai you need to go home and do some homework before you step back into the gym.

MTA: "No candy ass foreigner pad work", probably the best quote I have heard all year. I have seen some of your pad work while you have been out there. You have always seemed like you have had that fire in your eye but for some reason you seemed more determined than ever. Is there any reason for what seems like extra motivation?

Nick Chasteen: I'm just more determined to perform in the ring as an athlete. And if I wanna be a champion down the road I have to PERFORM on stage, not just in the gym and in sparring but when the eyes are actually on me.

MTA: You are pretty lengthy for your weight class. How important is that in a fight, being able to have the height and reach advantage?

Nick Chasteen: Having the height and reach is a wonderful thing if you use it and use it correctly. I stopped using my reach when I hit the pros for some reason. Uneducated people want to see people bang away and just see a brawl so I've tried to stay in the pocket a little more so I'm not doing what comes natural to me and that's dance around people and move. If I'm gonna be in the pocket and stand there and not move than I need to train like that and I don’t. When I spar I move freely and don't put boundaries on my movement but at the end of the day it's not traditional Thai Boxing anymore. I stopped using my teeps which in the beginning was my best asset and people couldn't get past it. I just need to realize the assets I have and work them over and over and use them. I crouch when I fight and we are really breaking that here at Sitmonchai gym. I'm giving up an easy 4 inches when I hunch over.

MTA: You have been dubbed the "Golden Boy" do you think being a young fighter that has eyes on him like you do adds extra pressure and if so is that pressure good and motivating for you?

Nick Chasteen: It does add pressure for sure, I use to think it doesn't but it does, people count on you to look a certain way or perform 100% every time. You’re only as good as your last fight. Everyone wants to see crazy spectacular knockouts and they hack on just good basic strong Muay Thai. The one thing that motivates me in there is just to not be average. I like being pushed and breaking boundaries in what I do. 

MTA: Not a lot of people focus on Muay Thai outside of their general vicinity but you said you have kept up to date with the east coast scene. It is safe to assume you are a fan of the sport, and not just a competitor. Do you like to spend time when you aren't preparing yourself watching fights and who are some of your favorites?

Nick Chasteen: I focus on Muay Thai 100% day in and day out. You have to keep up to date on big fighters and see if gyms around the world are decreasing or getting better and if they are constructing champions and keeping an eye on up and comers is crucial cause you might have to fight one of these guys so you wanna know the little mistakes they make and where they are strong at. If you’re not doing your homework in college you’re not going to succeed it's the same for this sport if you ain't doing your homework it's gonna be a little tougher for you in the end. Some of my favorite Thai Boxers are Superlek, Sumluk, Pornsanae, Namkuban, Jongsanan, Sakmongkol, The Diamond Ramon Dekkers hands down, and my all time fave Samart Payakaroon. He was just so clean made it look so easy and was a WBC Boxing Champion. He was smooth.

MTA: You definitely seem like you treat Muay Thai more like a science, you are very analytical. Has this been something you have recently started doing or have you been like that since day 1?

Nick Chasteen: I've always broken things down like that with this art, every little thing has to be picked apart and every little detail has to be analyzed. I think I overdo it though and at the end of the day you just need to go out there and fight and let your heart, mind, and spirit take over. But yeah I feel like I have always done that and not sure if it helps or not , it's just what I have always done.

MTA: Is going to train in Thailand something you might start doing before all your fights?

Nick Chasteen: I planned this trip I while but I had to keep putting it off, my girlfriend was having fights and I wanted to be there to motivate her and push her and be in her corner. Life happens ya know so I took care of some things before I left, I had bought my plane ticket in advance and planned on being here for about 6 months than about a week before I left Lion Fight told me about this fight so automatically I took it. I've fought once this year and 2 times a year is just not enough to stay clean and crisp .but the gym I fight out of gets it done for me back in AZ which is Best Muay Thai with my trainer Bob Karmel. He wanted me to come out here to experience the birthplace of the sport and to just train with these heavy-duty Thai’s. It just makes you tougher and stronger and nothing less. Especially when you gotta play catch up with most these guys who have been doing it their whole lives, but I will be back and forth from Thailand to the states to soak up fights out here when I'm not fighting state side.

MTA: Muay Thai is clearly a huge part of your life, but when you step away from it what are some of the ways you unwind or clear your mind?

Nick Chasteen: I really never step away from Muay Thai. When I'm done fighting or in fight camp I may take 3 to 4 days off but I'm right back in the gym helping or doing privates, The little time I take a mental break I would have to say is me just getting in time with my family, my Pitbull, and work on my cars that are also my babies.

MTA: In the internet age everyone has an opinion on you. How difficult is it to deal with stuff that people say even though you don't know them and are likely a better fighter than they can dream? Does it get you mad, make you push harder?

Nick Chasteen: This Internet social media craze is pure and plane garbage. I know it's needed these days to build a fan base and have your name out there, but everyone runs there moth until you see them in the crowd or backstage at fights than they wanna shake your hand and be fake. Everyone has a comment about something or someone or something that happened in a particular fight. I brush it off cause I know my worth and my capabilities, every fight is different and people love to talk and post without doing any homework and research.

MTA: A lot of Muay Thai fighters in the states end up making a move to MMA as there are more opportunities. Is that something in your future?

Nick Chasteen: A lot are making a move to MMA for the wrong reason and that's to make money, not because they are passionate for that sport so they never ever do quite well. I have always grappled or done some type of cross training since I started doing Muay Thai specifically 8 years ago. It's just been off and on. I tried to make the move as an amateur but had 3 fighters pull out for a King of the Cage show and I said to hell with it and took a Muay Thai fight that was within my grasp. Just keep your eyes and ears open about that one cause you never know what's next for The Golden Boy, but first and foremost my first priority is Lion Fight and Muay Thai.

MTA: What can fans expect to see from you Nov 20 when you step in the ring for Lion Fight 26?

Nick Chasteen: Fans need to keep an eye out for me just being explosive and keeping pressure on Turan but also feeling free enough to move. I do better when I just plainly want to hurt somebody and dislike somebody, not saying I dislike Turan. I have respect for any man who steps into the ring, I just have to turn on a switch in my head that says hey this one person is trying to take everything from me that I've ever earned and built in my lifetime. I won't let that happen again out in the east coast. He's going to come in head first with his heavy looping punches and I'm gonna counter like I always do, but add 1 more of everything. One more knee, one more kick, I’m gonna out work him, hit him harder and look more relaxed doing it. He's gonna rush me, but I know every little thing he wants to throw. He hasn't developed anything new. It's not a boxing match, this is Muay Thai and if your kicking game, knee and elbow game ain't up to par with your hands then it’s gonna be a rough night for anybody. I spar heavy with guys at 180 lbs so I'm sorry someone at 142 doesn't possess the hand power to put me down. Catching a kick to the face is different but I don't see that coming from him either.

MTA: Any words for your supporters?

Nick Chasteen: To people who keep an eye on what I do, thank you for the love and support just the little Facebook likes and etc. Keep my name in the game. I'm out here to perform my best for the people and fans. I'm not here to brag about East Coast vs. West Coast Muay Thai, I'm here to just build Muay Thai in our country and make it stronger and stronger and we should all look at it the same too. We need to be able to compete wherever we go around the world. 1 love, 1 sport ...Muay Thai.
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