Hailing from Manipur, India, “The Warrior Princess” Surbala Laishram, 21, is a former Kickboxing World Champion. She is training out of KOI Combat Academy under the tutelage of the gym’s founder and head coach Vishal Seigell.
A Bengaluru Open MMA Championship gold medalist, Laishram represented India in the International Mixed Martial Arts Federation-World Mixed Martial Arts Association World Amateur MMA Championships, which took place at the Khalifa Sport City Stadium in Isa Town, Bahrain from November 11-16, 2019 as part of Brave International Combat Week
One of the major success stories in Indian MMA is that of the Bengaluru based KOI Combat Academy and its brilliant founder and head coach Mr. Vishal Seigell. From coaching the likes of Kantharaj Agasa and Roshan Mainam Luwang to selflessly starting a training program in which he provides accommodation, food and everything else from his own pocket for talented young MMA fighters who cannot afford it, Seigell has been an inspiration.Surbala is still a new name in the sport and with an amateur record of 5-2 has a long and bright future ahead. However, even in her young career, she has already faced and conquered a lot of adversity such as a career-threatening injury.
We had a chance to chat with her in a previous interview.“My background is in Taekwondo. In 2010 I did Taekwondo training with Coach Saikhom Jacky Chan for 3 months and then took a gap for 4 years because my parents wanted me to concentrate on studies. In 2014 I restarted martial arts with WAKO Kickboxing under Coach Umakanta Sarungbam of kickboxing association of Manipur (KAM). He motivated and supported me a lot. I competed in multiple state-level Kickboxing Championship and I was an 11time national gold medalist in Kickboxing and I competed four times in International Championship I won one bronze medal, 2 gold medals and won World K-1 Title Belt in strawweight division in 2018 in Kickboxing in four different international competitions.”
“In 2017-18, I started getting interested in MMA as it is the fastest-growing sport. I joined KMMAC which was started by DA Frank Nandeibam. While training there I competed in two MMA fights I lost my 2nd fight because I had a non-existent ground game. This really motivated me to learn grappling. After some discussion with my parents, I joined KOI Combat Academy Under Coach Vishal Seigell and DA Roshan Mainam Luwang in January 2019. We went through a grueling week-long selection process. There were some pro-MMA fighters who were not selected in the team as they could not complete the selection trial. I now train with some of the best fighters such as Tribhuvan Ishar, Dinesh Naorem, etc.”
Surbala then finally discussed how she wants her career to pan out, “My coach always says that you need to take baby steps. First you learn how to crawl, then you learn how to walk, and only then you learn how to run. I am gradually improving at everything, from my ground game to striking. I too aim to one day fight in top promotions like ONE Championship, Bellator or UFC and want to become a world champion in MMA.”
We wish Surbala Laishram all the best for her future endeavours