Filipino-American professional Muay Thai fighter and instructor Chris Romulo of New York competed for the North American Muay Thai Fighter of the Year Award by the Muay Thai Preservation Project and Muay Thai Authority.

Although he didn’t win the coveted award, Romulo said he is honored just the same to be included in the roster of Muay Thai’s most respected fighters in North America.

Kevin Ross and Miriam Nakamoto shared the honors announced on Christmas Day.

Also nominated were Ky Hollenbeck, Joe Schilling, Joseph Valtellini and Gabriel Varga.

Each was nominated based on overall fight record for the year, win to loss ratio, caliber of opponents, consistency of performances, representation of traditional Muay Thai, and accomplishments throughout the year, according to the Muay Thai Preservation Project.

Romulo currently holds a professional fight record of 8-1-0 7 KOs (amateur record 18-3-1).

He is a certified personal trainer teaching Wall Street clients and CEO’s of the finance industry to kick, punch, knee and elbow for fitness, as well as coaching amateur competitors.

The Project said it is only a matter of time before he is recognized on both U.S. coasts.

“With a highlight reel of KO’s and a recent win over tough veteran Sean Hinds for the WKA title, this versatile fighter brings an art form to the ring like it was his canvas,” the Project described Romulo in his nomination.

Romulo, of Rockaway Beach, N.Y., has won several titles, including the U.S. National Championship, North American Championship and the Bronze Medal in Bangkok, Thailand at the Muay Thai World Cup.

The Southeast martial art continues to gain a huge following in the United States, Hollywood included.

The sport is referred to as “The Art of the Eight Limbs,” as hands, shins, elbows and knees are all used extensively by the fighter.

A father of a 10-year-old boy, Romulo was first in his family to be born in the U.S.

His father, Carlito Romulo of Manila, is a black belter in tae kwon do.

His mother, Lucita Fernandez Romulo, is a native of Tagudin, Ilocos Sur.

“My dad got me into martial arts when I was about eight years old,” Romulo would fondly recall.

“One day, he brought me to the dojo and I’ve been hooked ever since.”

“It was an ex-fighter from Thailand who guided me in my first training in 1996,” he remembered.

“Since then, I’ve been to Thailand to train and realize my dream to travel the world as a professional Muay Thai boxer, and soon mixed martial artist.”

“Muay Thai is huge in Europe, in Asia, and it’s also getting big in the Philippines,” Romulo said.

“Hopefully, someday, the sport reaches the popularity of boxing.”

In December 2009, Romulo officially opened his CROM Martial Training (CMT) facility in Rockaway Beach, where he personally teaches muay thai and boxing to children, teens and adults.

He said the sport has become his “passion and lifestyle.”

CMT is primarily a Muay Thai boxing curriculum but also incorporates the most effective techniques from Western boxing, freestyle wrestling, jujitsu, yoga and the most up-to-date philosophies of functional training in order to develop the most highly skilled and conditioned martial artists possible.

“With CMT, the individual can and will reach whatever martial art or fitness goals they have set for themselves, while having fun in a challenging yet safe learning environment,” Romulo said. (Visit

“I’ve learned a lot through my martial arts training and it’s helped me with who I am today — focused, persistent, easygoing but most of all flexible,” Romulo shared.

“And if you want something badly enough, you have to go out and get it.”

Proud of his heritage, Romulo’s signature entrance to ring always includes the Filipino flag wrapped around him like a cape.

“I also do the traditional Muay Thai dance in the ring before I fight,” he said.

“I have always been a martial artist and I find Muay Thai more appealing because you use more of your body and mind,” he pointed out.

“It’s like chess where you have to think a little more.”

“Boxing is a bigger sport, I know, but I grew up watching Bruce Lee,” he added.

“I admire his philosophy of learning a little bit of everything and incorporating or developing them into your own style of martial arts. And since I also train in judo, tae kwon do, boxing and wrestling, I get to use them all in Muay Thai.”