Thursday, March 15, 2007

Mattoon kickboxer in second MMA bout Friday

By Nathaniel West

MATTOON —- Number-one ranked Muay Thai kickboxer Jeremy Harminson is again trading the ring for a cage.

Harminson, of rural Mattoon, will compete in his second professional mixed martial arts bout on Friday as part of the Real Fight League’s “Unfinished Business II” at the Gateway Convention Center in Collinsville.

The U.S. national champion holds the International Kickboxing Federation’s top spot among middleweight Muay Thai kickboxers, who fight standing up with punches, kicks, knees and elbows.

By unanimous decision, Harminson won his debut mixed martial arts contest — in which combatants utilize ground fighting and stand-up techniques — in November against Marcos Olivera.

Harminson said he is converting to MMA for a variety of reasons.

“I don’t have to travel abroad,” he said. “It’s just more popular (than kickboxing), and it pays more.”

On Friday, Harminson will take on Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu specialist Munir Harcha (2-2-0 in MMA) in the 147- to 155-pound weight division.

The specific time for Harminson’s fight has yet to be announced. To purchase tickets on-line, visit, and enter the word “Harminson” in the “promotional code” box.

On-line tickets can be picked up at the will-call window the night of the fight in Collinsville near St. Louis.

Harminson has been honing his MMA abilities — especially his submission ground fighting skills — for about one year.

He has trained at Eastern Illinois University in Charleston and at the Weight Station gym in Mattoon. His trainers include MMA fighters Derrick Noble, Mike French and Clay French, along with amateur Muay Thai champion Dirk Anderson.

Harminson said he is looking forward to his second MMA showdown.

“It’s exciting,” he said. “This MMA stuff, it’s the unknown for me.”


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