Richard Corminal does not view himself as someone who possesses any superhuman qualities. The 35-year-old is quick to say: “I am just a normal person who loves fighting,” but on Saturday night, 11 March, he has an opportunity to do something truly exceptional.
The Malaysia-based Filipino lightweight will make his promotional debut at ONE: WARRIOR KINGDOM, and attempt to spoil Shannon Wiratchai’s home bout in front of thousands of fans at the Impact Arena in Bangkok, Thailand.
Holding a 4-1 record with every win coming by way of TKO, Corminal has made a statement in each of his victories. For the knockout artist called “Notorious,” talking with his hands in the cage is something that comes naturally. He has been doing it since he was a child.
“When I was a kid, I played with my friends a lot,” he says. “We used to box. My grandmother got me gloves, so I boxed with my friends.”
Raised by a single mother in Manila, Philippines, Corminal was like many of his fellow countrymen when the boxing bug struck the nation. He was glued to the television set and witnessed famed pugilist Manny Pacquiao put opponents to sleep in several weight classes.
Outside of boxing, Corminal played varsity basketball before taking up computer science studies in college. When his major failed to provide an adequate income, he took a job at a Manila restaurant. But he would soon hit another stumbling block when that gig also failed to pay the bills.
When reality hit like a left hook to the jaw, he was faced with another difficult choice. He decided to move to Malaysia and continue working in the restaurant industry, but while he was now making better money, the higher wages also came with a higher cost.
“It got tough. I decided to come to Malaysia to work and support my family,” he said. “It was difficult. I am alone here. I had to work every day. I missed my family, but I survived.”
With his free time, Corminal trained at Muayfit PJ. He long had been a fan of mixed martial arts ever since watching the sport in the early 2000s. The soon-to-be “Notorious” lightweight initially started due to his interest in Muay Thai, but he stayed longer than expected, and soon learned the various disciplines of MMA.
In October 2012, Corminal turned professional, and what a debut it was. The kid who grew up watching Manny Pacquiao stepped into the cage, and within two rounds, dismantled his first opponent. Admittedly, he felt a few butterflies.
“The first time I walked to the cage, I was very nervous,” he recalls. “Once I got inside the cage, I told myself: ‘This is it, you can do it or not.’ When I heard the cage lock up, the nerves were gone. I made contact with the guy and that was it.”
In the years following his debut, Corminal’s life has made a 180-degree turn. He is still away from his native Manila and supporting his family, which includes a young daughter, whom he sees just once a year. He is no longer, however, working at the restaurant.
Nowadays, he is a Muay Thai instructor at the gym, allowing him to stay connected to his blossoming professional fighting career. And, of course, he is still knocking people out. In fact, he impressively knocked out three of his next four opponents.
“I want to finish my fights standing,” the lightweight states. “Sometimes when I have an opponent on the ground, I can beat them up. But I prefer to finish a fight standing.”
Corminal has another opportunity to do just that at ONE: WARRIOR KINGDOM when he squares off against Thai MMA pioneer Shannon “OneShin” Wiratchai in his promotional debut. For his coming out show, he has doubled up on his preparations, training in the morning and the afternoon every day. He will need it, because the hometown hero is a formidable rival.
Wiratchai, a product of Bangkok Fight Lab, holds a respectable 6-1 record and is currently on a four-fight win streak. Most famously, in his last bout at ONE: UNBREAKABLE WARRIORS, Wiratchai was in an exhilarating back-and-forth throw-down with Peter Davis, which he ended via TKO in the second round.
Talk to Corminal for any length of time and you will find a relatively soft-spoken man absent of bold predictions. His knockout prowess is deceivingly masked by how he talks about his abilities. The match with Wiratchai is no different.
“I have watched his fights,” the Filipino says. “He is good. Tough. I am just going to do my thing. Whether I win or lose, I just love this sport.”