Alex Gong

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Alex Gong
Black and white portrait of Alexander James Gong. In this picture, which is limited to his head and one shoulder, Gong is captured slightly smiling with a closed mouth. Gong is wearing a white t-shirt.
BornAlex James Gong
(1970-10-14)October 14, 1970
Boston, Massachusetts, United States
DiedAugust 1, 2003(2003-08-01) (aged 32)
San Francisco, California, United States
Other namesF-14
NationalityUnited States United States
Height5 ft 11 in (1.80 m)
Weight155 lb (70 kg; 11.1 st)
DivisionSuper Welterweight
Light Middleweight
StyleMuay Thai
Fighting out ofSan Francisco, California, United States
TeamFairtex Gym
Kickboxing record
Total29
Wins27
By knockout13
Losses2
Draws0

Alexander James Gong[1] (October 14, 1970 – August 1, 2003) was an American Muay Thai kickboxer.

Early life[edit]

Gong was born and raised in Boston.[2] When he was 8, Alex Gong's parents went through an acrimonious divorce; during a dispute over custody, his father, James Gong, took the boy to India and Tibet, leaving him in the care of Children's Village, a boarding school in Dharamsala. Alex did not see his mother for nearly three years; when he was 11, he turned up at the United States embassy in Kathmandu, Nepal. At the time, he could not find his mother, Nita, because she had returned to using her maiden name (Tomaszewski) and was living in New Hampshire.[3][4]

Gong stated in 2001 his interest in martial arts started when he was 5, crediting "those old Bruce Lee films".[2] He did not speak much about his years in Dharamsala except to remark that he fought a lot as a kid.[3] Gong dropped out of high school, but later enrolled at San Francisco State University and earned a business degree.[3][5]: 154  In 1989, Gong met Chuck Norris at the Fresno Yosemite International Airport, where Gong was working at a ticket counter.[4] Gong took up Muay Thai in 1993. Prior to that, Gong had trained in tai chi chuan, aikido, taekwondo, karate, and judo.[6]: 45 

Career[edit]

Gong was a world champion of ISKA World Muay Thai, Junior middleweight class. He won his world title in 1999. He defended his title on August 5, 2000. Gong also held a 2-0-0 record in K-1 including wins over Melvin Murray[6][7] and Duane Ludwig.[8]

Gong was featured as a fighter in an episode of Walker, Texas Ranger entitled "Legends", alongside notable fighters Joe Lewis, Bill Wallace, Howard Jackson, Don Wilson, Olando Rivera, Jean-Claude Leuyer, and Danny Steele.[6][4]

In addition to his fighting career, in 1996 Gong opened a branch of the Fairtex Gym at 444 Clementina in San Francisco to instruct students in Muay Thai after the Fairtex in Chandler, Arizona at which he had initially trained went bankrupt, hiring Bunkerd Fairtex as the head trainer.[9] When he first came to the Bay Area, he had trained in makeshift facilities.[2] Later, in 2000, he added a second location in Daly City. The Fairtex that Gong operated in San Francisco had been recognized by the World Muay Thai Council as the top training facility in the United States.[10] That gym regularly held amateur sparring matches as "Saturday night smokers", which Gong called "civilized war ... for the extra-adrenaline junkie."[11]

Titles[edit]

  • US Amateur Light Middleweight Champion (1995)[6]
  • North American Super Welterweight Champion (1996)[6]
  • Inter-Continental Super Welterweight Champion (1997)[6]
  • North American Light Middleweight Champion (1998)[6]
  • World Light Middleweight Champion (1999)[6]

Kickboxing record[edit]

Kickboxing record
27 win (13 KO's), 2 losses
Date Result Opponent Event Location Method Round Time Notes
May 5, 2001 Win United States Duane Ludwig K-1 World Grand Prix 2001 Preliminary USA Las Vegas, Nevada, USA Decision (split) 5 3:00 For ISKA Muay Thai Light Middleweight World Championship.
August 5, 2000 Win Canada Melvin Murray K-1 USA Championships 2000 Las Vegas, Nevada, USA TKO 3 2:44 For ISKA Muay Thai Light Middleweight World Championship.
October 10, 1998 Win United States Travis Doerge Strikeforce San Jose, California, USA KO 1 1:05 For ISKA Muay Thai Super Welterweight World Championship.
Legend:   Win   Loss   Draw/No contest

Death[edit]

On August 1, 2003, a hit and run driver crashed into Gong's parked car at approximately 4:30 PM outside the Fairtex Gym that Gong operated. Gong pursued the car on foot. After Gong caught up to the vehicle, which was stopped in traffic at Fifth and Harrison, he confronted the driver.[10] According to a woman who was a passenger in the car, the driver told Gong "I can't stop, I'm wanted by the police, I can't stop and deal with this, I'm sorry, but I gotta go" to which Gong responded by smashing the car's window and turn signal.[12] Witnesses say the driver shot Gong at point blank range and fled in his vehicle, turning right on Harrison. Brian Lam, then working as an instructor at Fairtex, had followed Gong to the scene and provided CPR alongside a motorcycle police officer, but Gong was pronounced dead at the scene. The license plate of the car driven by the hit-and-run driver was publicized following Gong's death.[10]

The vehicle was found abandoned in Millbrae later that night; police determined the car had been stolen in July, and was carrying a license plate stolen from another vehicle.[13][14] The gym was closed after the shooting, but regulars and neighbors posted tributes.[15] On August 4, 2003, after police received an unspecified tip, a man named a "person of interest" in the shooting was confronted at a hotel in South San Francisco. Following a lengthy standoff with police, the man died by suicide.[16] No one was ever charged in Gong's death.[17]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "NSAC report of K-1 USA Championships 2000" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on March 3, 2014.
  2. ^ a b c Lieser, Ethen (October 19, 2001). "Alex Gong — The Ultimate Kickboxer and Businessman". AsianWeek. Archived from the original on February 9, 2002.
  3. ^ a b c Nevius, C.W. (August 5, 2003). "Slain kickboxer led an amazing life / From 'orphan' in India to world champion". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 16 November 2021.
  4. ^ a b c Howard, Arnold (May 2001). "Chuck Norris Takes On The World!". Black Belt. Vol. 39, no. 5. Black Belt Communications Inc. pp. 66–53. ISSN 0277-3066. Retrieved 17 December 2021.
  5. ^ Quadros, Stephen (January 2004). "2003 Hall of Fame Honorary Award: Alex Gong". Black Belt. Vol. 42, no. 1. Black Belt Communications Inc. pp. 145–154. ISSN 0277-3066. Retrieved 16 December 2021.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h Fogan, Sara; Young, Robert W. (June 2001). "Alex Gong and Muay Thai". Black Belt. Vol. 39, no. 6. Black Belt Communications Inc. pp. 44–49. ISSN 0277-3066. Retrieved 16 November 2021.
  7. ^ Quadros, Stephen (December 2000). "K-1 USA Championship 2000". Black Belt. Vol. 38, no. 12. Black Belt Communications Inc. pp. 50–53. ISSN 0277-3066. Retrieved 16 November 2021.
  8. ^ Quadros, Stephen (August 2001). "K-1 USA North American Regional Championship". Black Belt. Vol. 39, no. 8. Black Belt Communications Inc. pp. 70–74. ISSN 0277-3066. Retrieved 16 November 2021.
  9. ^ Batuman, Elif (January 8, 2006). "Cool Heart". The New Yorker. Retrieved 20 December 2021.
  10. ^ a b c Van Derken, Jaxon; Cabanatuan, Michael (August 2, 2003). "Fender-bender hit-run turns fatal in S.F. / Kickbox champ chases down driver, winds up shot to death". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 17 December 2021.
  11. ^ Zoellner, Tom (July 22, 2000). "CIVILIZED WAR / 'Smokers' at South of Market warehouse showcase Muay Thai boxing, which combines Eastern and Western traditions with brutal combat". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 17 December 2021.
  12. ^ Stannard, Matthew B.; Schevitz, Tanya (August 5, 2003). "Jeep hit-run probe ends in death / Police say suspect in kickbox champ's slaying killed himself". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 16 December 2021.
  13. ^ "Car involved in S.F. shooting possibly found". San Francisco Chronicle. Bay City News Service. August 2, 2003. Retrieved 16 December 2021.
  14. ^ Fogan, Sara (November 2003). "Kickboxing Champion murdered in San Francisco". Black Belt. Vol. 41, no. 11. Black Belt Communications Inc. p. 20. ISSN 0277-3066. Retrieved 16 November 2021.
  15. ^ Lee, Henry K.; Egelko, Bob (August 3, 2003). "Killer dumps hit-run Jeep in Millbrae / Cherokee involved in kickboxer's killing was stolen in July". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 17 December 2021.
  16. ^ Shevitz, Tanya; Stannard, Matthew B. (August 4, 2003). "Man wanted for questioning in kickboxer's death kills himself". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 16 December 2021.
  17. ^ Fossum, Steve (August 1, 2003). "Champion Kickboxer Dies In Deadly Shooting". International Kickboxing Federation. Retrieved 20 December 2021.

External links[edit]