Written by John Wolcott
Photos by Eric Jukelevics
Inside the belly of a brick building in Lodi, NJ, Ognjen Topić [Og-neyan Tow-pidge] prepares himself for another day of training. He slides his wrapped hands into a pair of 16-ounce boxing gloves and begins to warm up in front of a tall mirror peppered with sweat. Punches. Kicks. Knees. Elbows. His techniques are sharp and crisp. His eyes are focused.
For the 27-year-old professional muaythai fighter, he has only one goal. To be the best.
“Ognjen’s drive to be the best is what sets him apart from his peers,” said Liam Tarrant, Topić’s training partner for the last 8 years. “He knew he was a champion before anyone else did.”
For the past 9 years Topić has been training and fighting out of North Jersey Muay Thai u...