“The Beast” is back.
Reon “The Beast” Wong made a successful ring return Sunday with a TKO victory over Ricky Gamble at the inaugural Immortal Champions event at London’s Clapham Grand. The win ended a months-long layoff for the up-and-coming light heavyweight.
“Immortal Champions’ show was a great promotion,” Wong said from his hometown of London.
“It was a pleasure to represent SN Combat Academy. The atmosphere was amazing and the support beyond overwhelming.”
“I have a lot of respect for Ricky Gamble. He stepped in as a replacement on short notice and came to fight.”
“Master Sam (coach Master Sam Nankani) gave me the game plan, and although I feel I got a bit excited at moments, we stuck to it and regained focus, allowing us to get the win.”
Before the Gamble victory, the fighter was stuck in an unlucky string of cancellations. Wong was supposed to fight in May at the legendary York Hall, but two different opponents withdrew. Another scheduled fight collapsed when the entire card was cancelled.
“It can be very frustrating when people pull out of fights or shows get cancelled, especially when it’s so close to the time,” said Wong.
“Not just for myself, but for those that come to support. Family, friends, our team and so on. On the flip side, I am aware that things happen beyond our control at times and it’s part of the game. We just keep pushing and move to the next.”
“The next” in this case is a 6 December bout in Istanbul, Turkey. Wong faces Turkish prospect Ahmet Kilic, a well-regarded young fighter with only a single professional loss.
“That’s correct, in just under two weeks we go to Turkey to take on a tough challenge,” said Wong.
“I’m not familiar with Ahmet, but what I know he is a tough opponent and comes for war!”
With only 3 amateur fights before turning pro, and less than 3 years training, Wong is almost always the less experienced fighter in the ring.
Each fight is another chapter in the unlikely story of a fighter who tried martial arts for the first time at age 28, fell in love, and hasn’t looked back.
“I’m learning on the job so it’s all great experience,” he said.
“And I’m living my dream, so I’m always grateful to be in the ring showcasing the SN style. Especially internationally.”
When he’s not training and fighting, one of Wong’s other interests is modeling.
Like his fighting career, it’s not something he planned. A routine work visit turned into another career of sorts for the likable Wong.
“Well, it’s quite funny as I was on a call out for work (property maintenance), and walked into the building to sort out a power cut which had surprisingly sorted itself out,” Wong explained.
“Everyone was working on their computers etc, so clearly there was no longer a problem. As we were leaving, I was asked if I’d mind some photos being taken.”
“Before I knew it -I’d landed a modeling contract with MiLK Model Management. I’m a firm believer that positivity brings positivity, we attract what we put out.”
“I never set out to be a model, however it’s something different for me and I enjoy new ventures and tests. It’s good to embrace opportunity.”
Wong embraced a big challenge earlier this year. He ventured to Riga and faced top Latvian fighter Raimonds Aukstikalnis at a KOK Fight Series event in February.
Wong started the fight well before Aukstikalnis took control, scoring an eight-count en route to a unanimous decision victory.
“Latvia was amazing,” he recalled. “They were so welcoming and accommodating.”
“Aukstikalnis is a very good fighter. He was tough and we learnt a lot from that fight. In fact, it was one of my favorite fights to date.”
Grateful for the opportunities he’s received, the devoted family man wanted to give thanks to his family and also his martial arts family for all the support they’ve shown.
“Id like to say thank you to Hafiz and everyone at the Immortal Champions promotion for having us on the show. A big thank you to yourself for taking time out for the interview, again it’s really appreciated.”
“Special thank you to my wife, my uncle, my team mates & Master Sam Nankani- they support and believe in me so much.”
“Collectively, they play a major role in my life and journey. I am truly humbled & grateful to have them with me. I give thanks for such great people in life.”
Photos Courtesy of Immortal Champions