Biography & Muay Thai Career
Born on April 3, 1963 in Northern England to Barbadian parents, Phil was an athletically gifted child that gravitated early to soccer. He was a very promising player preparing for a professional career until a leg injury forced him to seek other active ways to rehabilitate itself. At the age of 17, he began using Muay Thai to strengthen his injury and found the art addictive. He began his training with Sandy Holt and then moved on to Grand Master Sken, who is largely credited with bringing Muay Thai to the UK. Through dedication and hard work, he quickly rose through the ranks, becoming the European and British Welterweight Champion. Phil’s record to date is 32-3-0, with 15 fights by way of knock out. Though currently retired, he has held and never lost his 3 title belts: European Light Welterweight Champion, Double British Champion, and British All Styles Super Light Welterweight Champion. Phil has successfully defended both his European Light Welterweight and his British Super Light Welterweight Titles twice.
After drawing so much attention to his abilities in Muay Thai circles around the world he decided to try Boxing. He attained some success on the British Professional Boxing Circuit while still actively competing in Muay Thai. With a record of 14-3-0 in boxing, He quickly climbed to the ranking of number 11 in the UK. Phil spent three years as a professional boxer but ultimately realized that Muay Thai was his life’s ambition and deserved his full attention. Phil has fought professionally in the UK, Italy, Hong Kong, Sweden, Switzerland among other countries. His dedication to his craft has also taken him to the camps of Thailand where he lived and trained alongside professional Thai fighters.
While succeeding as a fighter, Phil also developed his teaching skills under the tutelage of Grand Master Sken. Eventually he earned the title of Kru (which means ‘teacher” in Thai), and received Grand Master Sken’s blessing to open his first gym called Bury Thai Boxing in the UK. Years later while vacationing in New York City, Phil sought a place to train in. Since there were no Muay Thai gyms in New York City, Phil made his way to Gleason’s Boxing Gym in Brooklyn. While training there, curious people began asking him what martial art he was practicing and where they could learn it. This set the ball in motion, and after returning to New York several more times ( with Grand Master Sken’s blessing); he opened a gym in New York in 1995. It was called Lug Sit Narong or “Student of Sitnarong” Thai Boxing Gym which in 2003 evolved into what is now known as the Wat (the Thai word for Temple). After devoting over 30 years to teaching others the art of Muay Thai, he was recognized as an ambassador of the art by Grand Master Sirisuite Chai and elevated to the title of Ajarn (meaning Master in Thai) in 2015 with the blessing of his teacher Grand Master Sken giving him a rare distinction of descending from two highly regarded Muay Thai lineages.
Ajarn Phil is a traditional Muay Thai artist who combines Ali’s footwork with strategic fakes to create one of the most exciting and effective forms of Muay Thai today. He is an active trainer who doesn’t ask his fighters to perform a task that he can’t do. His exposure to Asian, European and American Muay Thai has built his reputation as a fighter and teacher unsurpassed with a career spanning close to 40 years. He maintains a philosophy of respect, patience, and humility is the key to helping his students achieve their goals.. He has worked with and developed many Muay Thai & MMA athletes including Georges St. Pierre, Jon Jones, Frankie Edgar, Rashad Evans, Zach Makovsky, Sara Mcmann, Rafael Natal, Justin Gadje & Jorge Masvidal.