By Sandy Hackenmueller
With a full card of strong fights, there were many ecstatic winners at the Season Opener for Friday Night Fights Muay Thai on January 23rd. But the biggest winner of all walked away with a trophy he didn’t know was headed his way…this was 2014 World Kickboxing Association’s “Promoter of the Year” recipient, Justin Blair.
Blair was presented with the award on Friday night by WKA US President Brian Crenshaw. Crenshaw said that Blair deserved the honor because his shows are the most consistent of WKA’s events. “He always puts on very well-matched bouts,” said Crenshaw. “He stays away from the politics and just focuses on delivering evenly matched fights.”
Crenshaw has been a part of the industry with Blair from early on. “I have worked with Justin from his first event,” he said. “I have had fighters on the show, judged the show and after taking over the WKA, I’ve sanctioned all of his shows.
“One of the best things that Blair does is he consistently brings in fighters from other states and countries to challenge the local fighters,” Crenshaw said. “Many of the fighters from FNFMT have gone on to have celebrated fight careers.”
However, Blair does not keep the credit to himself. Shortly after receiving the award, Blair announced publicly on social media, “I’m honored to share this award with Eddie Marini, Sara Raynor, Lance Burns, and everyone who shows up on game day to produce the original #fridaynightfights!”
Crenshaw also believes in the merit of team. “Blair’s staff is top notch,” he said, “They are very professional, and they get all of their requirements in on time.”
Burns, FNFMT’s Director of Media, accepted the acknowledgement. “What was great was that the first thing Blair wrote was that he shared the award with us. He always shares the credit because it’s not just one person. This is just one of many things that make him a good promoter.”
The success of the promotion is also reflected in the fans, noted Crenshaw. “FNF always has consistent, well-educated, “about the sport” fans,” he said. “The energy is always high. The love of the sport and the support is very high.”
“It is the love of the sport that keeps this show running at its very best,” said Burns. “I am honored to work with Blair and be a part of this great promotion.”