Cement-Handed Yarborough Attracting
Big-Name Supporters To Kickboxing Empire Title Card
July 30 At Hard Rock In Las Vegas
July 30, 2011
Hard Rock Hotel & Casino
Las Vegas, Nevada
Las Vegas resident Shawn Yarborough expects he will have one of the toughest cheering sections ever
assembled when he steps through the ropes to face Belarusian warrior Pavel Turuk in one of the main bouts
of the nationally and internationally televised world championship Kickboxing Empire card Saturday, July 30,
in The Joint at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas.
As head Muay Thai coach at the Throwdown Training Center in Las Vegas, Yarborough mentors the striking
skills of such high-profile MMA practitioners as Frank Mir, Forrest Griffin, Gilbert Yvel, Evan Dunham, Vitor
Belfort and Mike Whitehead, and expects most to be in attendance that night.
"I help them develop their power and skills," said Yarborough of his noteworthy students. "I evaluate their
upcoming opponents' styles and look for things to capitalize on. I'm a hands-on trainer. I don't stand off to
the side. I'm in the trenches with them. Because I'm also a fighter, I suit up and give them a realistic look at
what their opponent will be like by emulating what I see."
Originally from Norfolk, Va., the 36-year-old Yarborough, who has a record of 13-3-1 with 11 KOs, found his
way to combat sports almost accidentally. The former college football player says he was looking for a way
to speed recovery from a serious back injury.
"I never intended on being a Muay Thai fighter," said Yarborough. "I was just trying to rehab myself and find
something to do to stay in shape. But after two months of training, I had my first belt test and they were
like, 'Hey, you want to fight?' I had never even seen a Muay Thai fight before, but I thought it would be cool,
so I said, 'Yeah.' "
What followed has been a, thus-far, electrifying career, punctuated by winning the World Boxing Council
United States championship as well as the prestigious Kings Cup in Thailand.
Along the way, the cement-handed Yarborough also has scored a number of spectacular knockouts.
"I've been hitting hard since I was a little kid," said Yarborough. "We would put the gloves on in the
neighborhood and punch each other and I would always bust their noses and knock them silly. Plus, I
usually have a size advantage. I carry my weight well. I have a pretty big frame and I've always been just a
The 6-foot-1-inch Yarborough says he sees little difference between kickboxing and Muay Thai and will have
to make only minor adjustments in technique.
"Striking all-around is my thing," said Yarborough. "I still look at kickboxing as Muay Thai, even though I'm
not doing a lot of the clinching and I'm not throwing elbows like I normally do."
Of his opponent, Turuk, Yarborough expects a difficult test. "It'll be a hard fight. He's tough. He's got good
hands and he's very intense. I know he's going to bring it and I'm looking forward to it. I'm going to have to
slow him down and get it to him as best as I can."
Heading into a major fight with a cheering section that will include several of the martial arts world's biggest
names, Yarborough may not have envisioned his life turning out this way, but, pun intended, he certainly is
getting a kick out of it now.
"I love what I'm doing," said Yarborough. "I'm really enjoying it. I'm blessed to be able to get up in the
morning and look forward to the day."
The card starts at 7:30 p.m. (PST) July 30 with doors to The Joint at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino opening
Tickets-priced at $25, $35, $50, $75, $100 and $125-are available at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino box office
daily from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. and through Ticketmaster, either by calling 702-474-4000 or 800-745-3000 or
going online at ticketmaster.com.
Promoted by Martial Arts Association of Las Vegas, the eight-bout event also includes five current and f
ormer world kickboxing champions, headlined by Alain "The Panther" Ngalani of Hong Kong against Dzevad
"BH Machine" Poturak of Sarajevo, Bosnia, in a clash for the International Kickboxing Association super
Other Las Vegans on the card include Chidi "Chidi Bang Bang" Njokuani and female ambassador of women's
combat sports, Kim Couture.
For more information, visit www.Kickboxingempire.com.
- Photo courtesy of bigmediabuzz.com
Subject to change