A Lotus Blooms in Madison Square Garden

“I feel like shocking the world tonight.”

His opponent was an experienced fighter with 17 fights and 3 titles under his belt. He had only 3 fights. This was the fight of his life.


times square

Times Square (Photo: Beatrice Fiedorowicz)

I love muay thai.

I live in a city that has skyscrapers, workaholics, Carnegie Hall, millionaires, and models… and yes, I’m crazy about a sport that is imported from Thailand. How can a woman who helps bedridden, physically and mentally disabled orphans in Ukraine be drawn to such a violent sport?

Simple.  It’s the classic story about beating the odds and never giving up.

When my friend Wayne Barrett, a muay thai fighter, was going to have his monumental fight at Madison Square Garden for Glory 12, I was determined to be there. I even booked my trip to visit orphans in Ukraine around his fight.  Wayne and his coaches also wanted Maya’s Hope to be part of it.


Wayne walk out (Photo: Anthony Geather)

On November 23, 2013, Wayne Barrett walked out onto the stage at Madison Square Garden and wore his walk-out shirt with the Maya’s Hope lotus.  Kanye West may have been playing the Garden that night, but there was one superstar… and it was Wayne.

 ” On paper it’s definitely a mismatch, but he is a big strong athletic kid so I am training really hard for this fight and I’m very focused. I plan on taking care of business.” – Joe Schilling


Photo Credit: Maya Rowencak

One of the reasons why I  adore Wayne is his humility. Self-motivated and dedicated, this “kid” has all the characteristics of a champion. But a champion in any field. Despite any negative press, New York had faith in Wayne. With an Empire state of mind, Wayne was determined to win.  Even Evander Holyfield and Money Mayweather came to witness this rising superstar.


“Go Ahead and Hit Me” Pose (Photo Credit: Glory World Series)

With a “go ahead and hit me” pose, Joe taunted Wayne, which angered the audience, while Wayne kept his calm and focus.  In the second round, Joe went down twice. This was Wayne’s fight.

Until Wayne fell.

Wayne’s entire body slammed down against the mat. The back of his head on the ground.

The audience was shocked.

Wayne had taken a brutal knee from Joe directly to the face. When Wayne hit the floor, it seemed like a knock out.   But before the referee could count to 5, Wayne gracefully got up on one knee until he stood up on both legs.

Until the final bell, Wayne fought like a beast. With faith, determination and blood gushing from his face, he wasn’t going to give up on his dream “to inspire others.”

Finally the judges’ decision: Unanimous Decision.

Wayne Barrett!!!!!

(Watch highlights here.) More photos here.

Thanks to his win against Joe Schilling, at 27-years-old Wayne is now ranked 3rd in the world by Glory Series International.


Kru Bea, Wayne, Kru Rob Photo: Anthony Geathers

Wayne’s fight for Glory is no different than the fight of our kids in Ukraine or the Philippines.  Some are fighting against poverty, some are fighting against loneliness, some are fighting just to live each and every day. They all share one thing in common – they have the courage to never give up.

As Wayne intended, he shocked the world.  He shocked us with his determination, physical endurance, and exceptional sportsmanship.  His hard work and unshakeable faith, dreams can come true.

If you want to read my interview with Wayne, you can click HERE.



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Kru Bea and Kru Rob (Photo: Maya Rowencak)

Thank you to Wayne Barrett for winning Glory 12 and for proudly wearing the Maya’s Hope logo at Madison Square Garden.


Special thanks to Kru Beatrice Fiedorowicz and Kru Rob Rogan.  Kru Rob is Filipino and wanted to give back to helping children, especially Filipino kids. Kru Bea is Polish and used to pass through Zaporozhia where we help Ukrainian orphans at Kalinovka.  Kru Rob and Kru Bea are exceptional trainers and coaches who believe in the potential of their students and give unconditional love and support to all of their fighters.

Contributed by Maya Rowencak.


If you want to meet our little fighters/superstars, you can read more about Jonel and Margarita!


Jonel Vs. Pneumonia


Margarita’s Fight to Live

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