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June 6th 2016

Fighter Profile
Name – Yoka Dekeersschieter
Nickname – Yoka D
Weight – 125 pounds
Record – 13 wins 10 losses
Team – Revolution/Hyena Muay Thai / Tropical Park Boxing

Where are you from ?
Originally from Bruges, Belgium, but now living in Miami, FL.
How long have you been training ?
For about 4 years now ?

How did you get in to Muay Thai ?
A little bit by accident. I started taking fitness boxing classes and one of the instructors invited me to join his Muay Thai class. I’ve been hooked ever since.
Tell us about your nickname and how you got it ?
I don’t really have one. Everyone just calls me Yoka D. mainly because my last name is unpronounceable here in the US, lol.
What was the defining moment for you when you knew you wanted to become a fighter ?
I entered a small local tournament in Miami just to see what it was like to fight. I ended up fighting twice that day, winning the tournament, and receiving the fighter of the night award. I knew then that I wanted to fight again.
Were your family and friends supportive when you decided to enter the world of Muay Thai ?
My mom, who I am really close to, was definitely skeptical at first. She didn’t understand why I would want to “just beat someone up for fun”. Then once she came to watch some of my training sessions, she started seeing the mental and strategical aspects of the fighting game and the beauty of a technical fight, and she has been fully supportive ever since. My true friends were supportive from the get-go.

What is your current record ?
13-10 kickboxing, Muay Thai and boxing combined.

What is your favorite strike ?
Definitely the jab, simple but effective.

Who is your biggest inspiration ?
Kevin Ross.

What team do you train with ?
Unfortunately I do not have an “official team” at the moment, but I do train at Tropical Park boxing with a former teammate of mine. However, I have been very fortunate that the Revolution/Hyena Muay Thai team from Houston has kind of adopted me and is there for me to help me and corner me at every Muay Thai tournament that I attend.

What does being fighter mean to you ?
It means that you never give up and keep on pushing with everything you got, despite the situation, setbacks, difficulties… and that goes for life and the ring.

What weight do you fight at ?
Anywhere from 120 to 125lbs.

what do you think separates you from other fighters ?
My determination to keep fighting no matter what and my resilience.

If you could have one dream fight who would it be against ?
Whoever I would get to fight on a Lion Fight Promotions card.

Who has been your toughest fight to date ?
Elizabeth Edinger.

What is your mindset going in to a fight ?
I just want to be able to perform to the best of my ability and give everyone a fight that they can enjoy watching.

Who are you fighting next ?
I will be fighting in another tournament in June so I don’t know yet who I’ll be facing.
what holes or weaknesses do you see in their game that you can exploit ?
I won’t know until it’s go time

What promotion are you fighting for ?
The TBA Muay Thai Classic tournament in Des Moines, Iowa.

Date and time of your next fight ?
June 17-19.

What do you want to be remembered for at the end of your career ?
As a fighter who was exciting to watch and brought the fight every time.

Who has been most influential to you in your career ?
My first coach, Lloyd “Lucky” Walton. If it hadn’t been for him I would have never found this sport or started a Muay Thai fighting career.
Who do you feel has had the biggest impact on the sport ?
In the US, definitely Kevin Ross.
How would you describe your fighting style ?

What drives or motivates you ?
My love of the sport and the realization that life is unpredictable so do what you love while you are able and capable.

What is something people might not know about you ?
I’m a lawyer by day.

What do you think you would be doing if you hadn’t become a fighter ?
Who knows… ride bulls, jump out of planes… something challenging and crazy for sure.

What gets you hyped up for a fight do you have any pre fight rituals that get you ready to go to battle >
I prefer the calm before the storm or a good laugh to keep me from psyching myself out.

your backstage about to walk out your music hits what’s going through your head as you walk to the ring ?
Nothing… it’s GO time.
Who is your favourite fighter ?
Can’t name just one… Kevin Ross, Victor Saravia, Miriam Nakamoto, Saenchai.
When you’re not training what do you like to do with your free time ?
Anything really chill and relaxing… read, watch Netflix, sleep.

What has been your biggest accomplishment in the sport so far ?
Having more than 20 fights when all I wanted to do was just have one to see what it was like.

What do you think the biggest challenges are for women in Muay Thai ?
Getting exposure on the bigger fight promotions. A lot of times there is only one or even no female fights on the cards.

What advice can you give to young female fighters ?
To make sure to find a coach who will take them as serious as the guys they train
Where do you see women’s Muay Thai in the next 5-10 years ?
More dominant than it is now. I’m starting to see a lot more female fighters at the amateur tournaments which I am sure will carry over to the pro circuit in a few years.
Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years ?
It depends on what my body still allows in 5 years… I started this sport really late in life, but you know hopefully still fighting and enjoying myself.
What are your goals within the sport ?
I want to keep gaining experience at the amateur level and hopefully within 2 years or so travel to Thailand for 3 or 4 months of training before testing myself at the pro level.
Is there anyone you want to thank or give a shout out to ?
Absolutely!! My mom who always gives her unwavering support to everything that pops into that crazy head of mine; all my training partners and coaches in South Florida, past and present, who help make me a better fighter; and team Revolution/Hyena Muay Thai for being there for me and giving me hope again when I needed it the most.