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Chris Oth | Knuckle Junkies

The King of New York

By Patrick Christie | Columnist for Knuckle Junkies

For one night in September 2012, Joe "The War Chief" Cox was the (Lil') King of New York, wracking up three victories in one night and winning Friday Night Fights' 8-Man Tournament at the Broad Street Ballroom in New York City. Cox, now the owner of an 18-7 record, put on an impressive display of control, power, and devastation as he dispatched three of the top 132 pounders in the country in FNF's fourth tournament in as many years.

In his opening match, drawn randomly at the beginning of the event in front of an absolutely electric crowd, Joe met Coby Moberly, out of Witchita, Kansas. Moberly brought an impressive 16-4 record to the ring and scored early with a well-placed body kick that caught Cox on the ribs but from that point on it was Joe who controlled the tempo of the match putting Moberly on the canvas four times in two rounds. Joe's body punches and kicks proved too much for the now-professional Moberly and the referee wisely stopped the fight in the 3rd round when Cody took his fourth knee, awarding Joe a (T)KO. Cox advanced to the semifinals.

In the semis Joe faced Daniel McDonald, a tall, muscular fighter from the west coast. McDonald, while the larger of the two athletes, was far less experienced than Cox bringing an amateur record of 6-2 to this match. Joe brought the action to Daniel from the opening bell dropping him early with a right hand. As the round raged on Joe connected on his powerful punches and kicks scoring a first round (T)KO of McDonald, literally at the last second of Round 1, as the referee waved off the match when McDonald was sent to the canvas for the 3rd time. The War Chief advanced to the finals.

In the final match of the tournament, Cox faced Canada's Benson Virtucio (17-7). Virtucio, fighting out of Krudar Muay Thai in Toronto, is no stranger to Joe. For the last 2 years the two have met in the finals of the annual TBA-SA Muay Thai Classic, with Virtucio besting Cox in both matches. To say this tournament final was personal would be an understatement and Joe quickly, and violently, brought the action to Benson. Benom, as his coaches and teammates call him, was on the receiving end of Cox's accurate striking for 3 rounds, landing many excellent salvos of his own. Benson won the first round but the second and third were all Cox, including a cut to the brow area of Virtucio's left eye. These two warriors battled back and forth all three rounds, never letting up on their relentless attack of the other, but in the end it was Cox's hand that was raised in victory.

Three victories, two TKO's, one silver cup. You can call Joe's performance many things a hard night's work, the best Joe we've ever seen, or perhaps the gutsiest display of Joe's amateur career but what you can't call it is unimpressive. This is one of the premier events for this weight class anywhere in the country, hosted by the longest-running Muay Thai promotion around. This no-head-gear-no-shin-pad tourney pits top fighters from across the US and Canada against each other for one night of incredible action. To be chosen for this event is an honor, to win it is a huge accomplishment. Our hats go off to you, Joe Cox on September 28th you were the Lil' King of New York!

I'd like to congratulate another St. Louis fighter who made a BIG statement in September Josh "The Gremlin" Sampo. Sampo faced the most experienced fighter of his professional MMA career when he took on UFC and WEC veteran Antonio Banuelos (20-9) in Houston, TX on September 14th. Banuelos, known for his strong striking abilities and a student of Chuck Liddell and John Hackleman of the famed Pit gym, has faced some of the toughest names in MMA including Miguel Torres, Scott Jorgensen, and Bibiano Fernandez. This flyweight (125lbs) fight went all 15-minutes and stayed on the feet almost the entire time with Sampo getting the better of the exchanges the entire match. Sampo, (unfortunately) considered more of a wrestler than a striker, battered Banuelos with his solid leg kicks and punches, landing a Superman punch that put Antonio on the mat and later a punch that opened a cut over his left eye. By all accounts the underdog, Sampo put on the fight of his ten fight (8-2) professional career beating Banuelos in front of packed house at the Arena Theater. To anyone questioning whether Josh is a striker or a wrestler I'd say watch this fight you'll see that he's BOTH.

Patrick is the Muay Thai trainer for The Art of Eight Muay Thai, the Muay Thai program of Vaghi Martial Arts and St. Charles Mixed Martial Arts. You can contact Patrick at Please visit and

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