An Ode to the Gunslinger
10-Time World Champion John Wayne Parr
The ‘Generational Athlete’ is a term used to describe individuals whose very name elicits a collective head shake from the general public that personifies the disbelief in what the athlete of discussion has accomplished in his or her chosen field.
With an upbringing in the sport that is shrouded in a level of mysticism and adventure most Hollywood screenwriters couldn’t dream of coupled with the achievement of being a ten time world champion, it is downright impossible to bestow the title of the greatest Westerner Nak Muay to anyone but John Wayne Parr.
Despite being a revered champion in a discipline that has yet to achieve the same level of recognition as MMA or boxing in most countries outside of Thailand, Wayne has never let the adoration from his followers encroach upon his humility nor his willingness to help others achieve success in their own right.
He has owned and operated Boonchu Gym for over 15 years now, aided former Welterweight champion of the world, Georges St. Pierre prepare for title defenses and most recently released his captivating documentary, ‘Blessed by Venom’, for free.
While many skeptics may look at Wayne as the type of individual who was bestowed with great success at a very young or before he was mature enough to properly manage his accomplishments it would be easy to pigeon-hole the man as someone who would eventually lose his footing in the world at some point or another and relegate his legacy to a second tier due to drugs, altercations outside of the ring or anything else champion fighters have been known to get involved with throughout the history of combat sports.
The man remains an honorable ambassador to the sport as a manager of his own promotion (Caged Muay Thai), a coach that has produced nearly a dozen world and national champions, and an individual who goes out of his way to respond to all messages sent to him that commend his work or to ask for an interview.
Aside from the late great Ramon Dekkers, a sports historian would be unable to find anyone outside of Muay Thai’s homeland that has been able to conquer the sport in the same fashion that Wayne has done since his inception into the ring back in 1992.
And now, 23 years, a failed attempt at retirement and 121 fights later, John Wayne Parr will be fighting on US soil for the first time in 11 years to complete a trilogy of fights with Brazilian superstar Cosmo Alexandre. With each man holding a win over the other, this rubber match will be the final chapter written in a rivalry that has lasted over seven years; with Wayne walking away the victor in their first fight in early 2008 and Alexandre winning the second encounter later that year.
But that’s not all Wayne has in store for himself for the remainder of 2015– on December 5th Wayne will follow up his bout in Lion Fight with a fight against seasoned pro veteran and Lethwei champion, Cyrus Washington in Wayne’s very own promotion, C.M.T. Or, Caged Muay Thai-– a twist on the conventional kickboxing fight by hosting full Muay Thai rules fights in an octagon with fighters being equipped with five ounce MMA gloves instead of the usual eight ounce boxing gloves. If there was anyone to add a new dimension of excitement and brutality to the sport of Muay thai– it’d be Wayne.
At 39 years old it is easy to see how continuing his career could prove to be difficult seeing as the latest generation of fighters are getting younger and younger with each passing year. And while Wayne has always been able to overcome adversity in the form of varying rule-sets (he has fought 11 times under the K-1 banner and has 13 professional boxing bouts)
The youthful vitality that brings with it a heat-treated drive to dethrone veterans such as Wayne may one day prove to be too much of a discrepancy for the hall of famer to conquer. But for now, Wayne’s ability to wage war with A-class international competition seems entirely unwavering– an aspect of Wayne’s career that separates him from the herd in terms of both his passion for Muay Thai and his willingness to walk the plank towards whatever bull he may face in the ring time and time again.