That 6’10” corner man Ronny Turiaf
by rick olivares
Perhaps one of the most surprising corner men in fight history since pro wrestler Rey Mysterio sat in the corner of Oscar dela Hoya during the Golden Boy’s fight with Manny Pacquiao, 6’10” Ronny Turiaf cut an imposing figure behind one-time WBO/IBA boxing champion, Ana Julaton in her Mixed Martial Arts debut at ONE FC: Rise to Heroes last Friday night at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Julaton defeated Egyptian Aya Saeid Saber by TKO (due to strikes) at the 4:01 mark the third round of the flyweight bout. After the referee called a stop to the fight, Turiaf raced onto the cage to lift Julaton in celebration.
“It’s an amazing win,” softly said Turiaf following Julaton’s victory. “I am glad to have witnessed it personally. It’s a boost for Ana’s career and no doubt will lead to bigger things. I am happy for her.”
Turiaf currently for the Minnesota Timberwolves that finished 40-42 for the 2013-14 season missing the playoffs. The Frenchman normed 2.1 points and 5.6 rebounds in 31 outings for Timberwolves, his seventh team in eight NBA seasons since graduating from Gonzaga University with a degree in sports management (and a minor in communications). He has a championship ring from his stint with the Miami Heat during the 2011-12 season.
“He (Turiaf) is good friend,” cooed Julaton of Turiaf while giving him an appreciative look during the post-fight press conference. “He’s got my back.”
“Now that it’s the off-season for us (the Timberwolves), I wanted to do some off-season workouts and working out with Ana in preparation for this fight helps because you need to be superbly fit and conditioned to be in a MMA fight,” added Turiaf about his standing behind Julaton.
Turiaf was heard offering words of encouragement to Julaton during the fight especially when Saber tried to force the Fil-Am boxer-turned MMA fighter to tap out following a chokehold. Julaton slipped free and began to whale away at Saber to take control of the match.
“She’s an amazing person,” Turiaf concluded about Julaton. “Definitely an inspiration and hopefully for many more people. Be proud!”
When I asked if he’d do corner work again for Julaton or maybe even Filipino phenom Manny Pacquiao, Turiaf’s eyes lit up. “Now that would be something.”