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Devin Radianu feature: ‘Mini Mike Tyson’ making waves in Thailand



Devin Radianu Muay Thai Frontkick Viracci Sports Management

On Saturday, Swedish power puncher Devin Radianu will be making his Rajadamnern World Series debut in Bangkok. It’s one of the most prestigious shows in Thailand’s very first Muay Thai stadium, and Radianu will be taking on an experienced Thai opponent in Ruayjing.

The 137 lbs matchup is the second fight on the card, which will be broadcasted live worldwide on the popular sports streaming platform DAZN.


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Speaking to Frontkick ahead of the bout, the 25-year-old from Halmstad explains what made him move to Thailand to pursue professional Muay Thai after starting out as an amateur MMA fighter in Sweden.

“When I first came here, I tried to absorb the culture and just started to look at myself as a Muay Thai fighter. I train with champions everyday now. We work incredibly hard and take this really seriously,” Devin Radianu says.

Devin Radianu: Pro Muay Thai experience will be my ‘edge’ in MMA

Around 2019, Devin Radianu started to make a name for himself as one of Sweden’s promising amateur MMA prospects. But when most expected him to go professional, he would instead disappear from active competition for a while before eventually coming back to the ring a couple of years later.

While he did turn pro, he ended up doing so in another sport: Muay Thai.

“Back in 2019, I started training with Samuel Bark,” Radianu explains. “He was coming into MMA with a Muay Thai background, and I ended up showing him some grappling and stuff I knew on the ground while he would teach me stand up striking. At that time, I was originally planing to go to Allstars Training Center in Stockholm to pursue MMA on a higher level, but Samuel thought that I needed an edge before turning pro in mixed martial arts. So he recommended me to come here to Sangtiennoi Gym Muay Thai & Boxing in Thailand, where he used to live and train under Sangtiennoi Sor Rungroj for several years. The idea is to get a bunch of experience in Muay Thai before turning pro in MMA after about two to three years,” he continues.


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Basically, Radianu decided to walk in the footsteps of his good friend Bark, a former WBC International Muay Thai champion known as “Sammon Decker” who’s now 9-2 in MMA and widely considered one of the best featherweight standouts in Europe at the moment.

“He’s like a lighter version of Mike Tyson,” Samuel Bark says when asked to describe Devin Radianu.


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Solid RWS performances could lead to ONE Championship

Before making it to Thailand, Devin Radianu injured his knee and had to focus on rehab for about two years. During that time, he saved up so that he could go right away when the injury had healed.

“I had trained Muay Thai for like two months before coming here and I didn’t have any fighting experience outside MMA. But I just said fuck it, let’s do this,” Radianu says as he’s looking back. “I didn’t want to go the IFMA route like everyone is doing in Sweden. They focus a lot on the national championship and the IFMA tournaments where you fight with head gear and padding, and I don’t really care about that. I think that’s why the Swedish Muay Thai community don’t like me too much, because they focus so much on all that kind of stuff that I simply skipped. I just showed up here in Thailand and turned pro right away. If I’m going to fight professionally in MMA, I might as well go all in here first where they are trying to hurt me with elbows and knees. Then I will be ready for mixed martial arts.”

Even though Radianu lacked experience in Muay Thai, he ended up being quite good at it. In fact, he’s now gone 5-1 in his first six fights with four knockouts, one decision win and just a single loss by points.

“I performed better than expected. I’m learning a lot, doing good in my fights and improving everyday. So now, my coach is pretty excited about my future.”

His first bout was against a 40 lbs heavier opponent in a temple far away from the city pulse. He would then step in the ring at a Muay Thai Super Champ card, with viewership numbers in the two to three million range on television, where he defeated an opponent with over 70 fights on his record.

Back-to-back knockouts has now landed him a spot in RWS and according to Radianu, a few of more solid performances in that promotion could then lead him to ONE Championship.

“My mindset coming here to Thailand was simply that it wouldn’t matter if I lost all my fights as long as I gain experience,” he remembers. “I will by 0-0 anyway once I eventually switch over to MMA again. But as I got here, I performed better than expected. I’m learning a lot, doing good in my fights and improving everyday. So now, my coach is pretty excited about my future. He said that if I manage to perform well in three fights here in Rajadamnern World Series, I might get to fight in ONE Championship. So they are putting a lot of pressure on me now. Maybe I can fight here in RWS, then ONE and really focus on Muay Thai for a couple of years before moving to MMA. I’m not entirely sure how it all will play out so I’ll just go with the flow.”


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Devin Radianu: Boxing is key against local Muay Thai fighters

With newfound success in Muay Thai, Devin Radianu admits to have fallen in love with the sport and explains how his coach Sangtiennoi Sor Rungroj’s championship background in both boxing and Muay Thai gives him an advantage over many Thai fighters.

“Thai fighters are great with kicks, knees and elbows but as long as I have good defense for that I can disarm them, close the distance and land my power shots. A lot of Thai fighters don’t have that good boxing, but my coach is a former champion in both boxing and Muay Thai so he teaches us how to box properly. We train eight hours a day.”

Radianu continues:

“I really like Muay Thai now. Before I was more of a grappler when I was fighting in MMA. But I was always doing some boxing on the side. Now, I’ve found I way to utilize my boxing in Muay Thai. Samuel Bark told me that I can’t play their game here. They are very technical with their kicks, knees and elbows and they want to lure you in, they’ve been doing this their whole lives. So the way to win against the Muay Thai fighters in Thailand is to box with them, walk forward and go for the knockout. Samuel taught me that from the beginning so I’m very grateful to him. He showed me a good strong style going for the finish. I don’t want to be the most technical fighter, I’ll just come forward and try to knock you out.”

His boxing-heavy Muay Thai style could be even more successful should he reach ONE Championship, considering the small gloves used by the promotion.

“My coach believes that I can fight in ONE, but I need more experience first. The small gloves suits us well. The end goal is MMA, but of course money talks. If I could make a lot of money in ONE, I’d maybe consider sticking around a bit longer in Muay Thai and pursuing that.”

Viracci Sports Management makes life in Thailand possible

Devin Radianu is one of the fighters signed to Frontkick owner Andres Viracca through Viracci Sports Management, known to provide its fighters with financial support and sponsorships on top of the services normally offered by fight management companies.

For an up-and-comer like Radianu, that kind of support from his manager makes all the difference.

“The fight purses are small, I have to pay my coaches and I also pay rent as I live here so I don’t really make money at this point,” Radianu explains. “So I’m incredibly grateful that Andres want to support my career. I would’ve had to go back home already if it wasn’t for him. Now, I’ll stay for a few more months. It wouldn’t be possible to live here without the support of Viracci Sports Management.”

Regarding fight purses, he adds that tomorrow’s RWS fight against Ruayjing will pay him more than his previous bouts on smaller shows.

“RWS pays about twice as much as what I’ve been paid before. So with that money, I can basically pay for my rent this month. Now, I’m coming for the win tomorrow and then I want to keep fighting as often as possible. That’s what Samuel told me before, that if I want to be good I need to stay active. I’m so grateful for him and everything he’s showed me since we started training together.”

The RWS prelim fights kicks off 12.45 p.m. GMT (13.45 Swedish time, 8.45 p.m. in Thailand) on Saturday, live on DAZN as well as Facebook and YouTube. Devin Radianu vs. Ruayjing is the second fight on the card.


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Read more: Feature: Samuel Bark reveals ‘dark moment’ leading up to big win

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Read more: The 30 Best Muay Thai Fighters In Scandinavia Right Now

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