The results are in for the Awakening Female Muay Thai Community Voted Awards and it is pretty awesome to have won the 2014 “Journalist of the Year”.
For those who don’t know me or are maybe finding my page now because of this award, I’ve been a full time female fighter here in Thailand since April of 2012, and I’ve been blogging on female Muay Thai, Muay Thai culture in Thailand, and my own personal path as I’ve set to reach 100 fights in Thailand, something I’m now very close to achieving. I’ve also worked diligently in documenting all my fights and much of my training on YouTube. Writing for me has been both something that I find very difficult – it’s hard to devote the appropriate time needed to continually put out meaningful and thoughtful content while training and fighting full-time – and also something that’s been a great blessing for me. Writing my experiences and on topics about Muay Thai or Thai culture that fascinate me (often about gender) allows me to reflect on it all, to not just let it slip by me as something that was fleetingly interesting at one point in my life. I write it in order to document and share it, hoping for some discussion; and even the nomination, let alone the votes, for this award let me know that other people find it interesting and meaningful also. That’s a great award in itself. It is hard to believe that I’ve blogged over 140 posts in 2014, but it is well worth it! Below are the voting results:
- Sylvie von Duuglas-Ittu
- Rosy Hayward – who runs the Female Muay Thai on Facebook Group (winner: Media Resource of the Year)
- Lindsey Newhall – a freelance writer who among many things writes articles for Fightland
- Natasha Sky – blogging out of Sinbi Muay Thai
- Bailey Palmer – who I know through Twitter – Pound For Pound Pictures on Facebook (and YouTube)
- Emma Thomas – writing Under the Ropes out of Master Toddy’s Gym in Bangkok
- Melissa Ray – writing Muay Thai on the Brain with connection to Eminent Air Gym in Bangkok
- Stacey Miller – writing Navigating Stuff Stuff and on Twitter
- Frances Watthanaya – who runs the Giatbundit Gym Facebook Page a freelance advocate for the Isaan region on MBSB
- Robert Kelly
Awakening Fighters is a site and team of passionate people that is changing the face of female fighters. Not only are they breaking down the barriers that keep fans from discovering other fighters by putting endless hours into creating a female fighter profile database, but they are also aggressively pursuing new ways in championing female fighters in the world, recently attempting to create an all-female championship fight card in England. Rew Mitchell has been spearheading the whole thing with downright dedication, and these awards are just another step to bringing a much more universal awareness to, and home for, female fighters in the world. And nothing maybe says that more than that the French fighter who dominated the voting this year, Anissa Meksen. I had hardly heard of Anissa, despite feeling attached to the female fighting world. It just shows how all of us get pulled into the boxes of what we are doing and need others to help bridge gaps and make connections between all of us. As female fighters we are removed from each other. I mean, Anissa Meksen has over 80 fights, only two losses, and just knocked out who I (and many) consider the best female fighter in the world (other than Phetjee Jaa) and last year’s Awakening Fighter of the Year, Iman Barlow; and I only find most of this information about Anissa out after a little research about her. Awakening Fighters is what brought her to my real attention. This kind of social media helps to close the rift of awareness and knowledge that has kept female fighting from growing.
Be sure to check out the full results page and look at all the names of place finishers. Below are vote categories and where I “placed” in the voting; a big thanks to those who have supported me and lifted me up.
Fighter of the Year
Ranked World No. 1 by the FIS ( International Savate Federation ) 2007 to 2013
- National Level French Boxing: 11 national titles
- Champion of France 2002-2003-2005-2006-2007-2008-2009-2010-2011-2012-2013
- French International Boxing Level: 5 world titles
- 2008 World Champion Technical
- World Champion Elite 2009
- European Championship Elite 2010
- Champion 2010 Academia
- 2011 Elite World Champion
- European Champion Elite 2012
- Elite World Champion 2013
- International Muay Thai
- S1 World Champion 2013
- European champion in 2014 WBC
- 2014 world champion WPMF
French Savate fighter Anissa Meksen not only crowned her 2014 year with a knock out of the probable favorite Iman Barlow to win Enfusion Reality show “Victory of the Vixen”, she was also a forward-thinking user of social media and crowdfunding, raising almost $6,000 through Sportbooster. This is worth mentioning for a few reasons, the first of which being that I’ve received a lot of criticism (and more support) for my own crowdfunding; but more important is that this kind of social networking is the future of the sport. Fighters need the support and community of their fans and the success of Anissa’s crowdfunding campaign and subsequent popular vote awards is not coincidental. It is direct power: fans and supporters making things happen, and for female fighters especially it is liberating to not rely on promoters who have (and prioritize) their own interests. Sadly, due to the nature of media and female Muay Thai. I really haven’t seen her fight (there are a few fights on YouTube), but it is difficult when female fighters and their fights exist only in isolated pockets of their fans. A site like Rew Mitchell’s Awakening Fighters is bold and vitally attempts to bring all these isolated fighters and their fans under one roof. For me, it was really unthinkable that I would be even mentioned in a list of “Fighter of the Year” on a global scale so much as two years ago. I’m grateful for my ardent supporters who put my name out there and those who voted for me. It was a great year for me and certainly for these women:
- Anissa Meksen
- Iman Barlow
- Janice MacAulay
- Jorina Baars
- Sylvie von Duuglas-Ittu
- Caley Reece
- Kelsey Andries
- Gentiane Lupi
- Natasha Sky
- Lauren ‘The Hatchet’ Huxley
Inspirational Fighter of the Year
If you want to know what an Inspirational Fighter is to me, read fighter Mae-Lin Leow’s The Grind: Someone is Watching post. As fighters we have a responsibility to put ourselves out there, to let others, especially other women and girls, see us, and to risk the criticism that invariably comes from doing so. Inspirational fighters are those who take this risk, not only by putting themselves in the ring (and the endless training), but putting themselves in positions where they can be seen, where they can inspire.
Fight of the Year
My fight with Saya Ito on the Queen’s Cup of this year (which came in 6th in voting) was monumental for me, and I’ll be forever grateful to Emma Thomas of Under the Ropes and Master Toddy for arranging this fight. This fight changed my career. It changed my life. Those who follow me know that it followed a very bad loss just 4 days before, and lead to me turning to mental training in a serious manner. I was an inconsistent fighter before this fight and going against someone hailed as a Japanese “Muay Thai Genius” who had beat some of the best Thai fighters at my weight in the previous year (Muangsingjiew and Pizza) in championship fights. It meant a stepping up to meet the challenge in many ways; from this win forward I’ve been 18-1-1. Not only did I discover the power of mental training for me, I also finally realized just how effective my clinch fighting can be, and have focused all of my efforts to that fight style since.
(above) Lawrence Kenshin’s video breakdown of how I won that fight
I looked for video of the rest of these fights, only a few of which I’ve seen this year, and could find no postable copies. If fans can’t watch our amazing female fighters, they can’t become fans. The sport is too young to have great fights locked away behind paywalls, or simply unavailable because they’re not being posted anywhere public. It is at a point of early growth. It needs sunlight.
- Jorina Baars vs Cris Cyborg
- Anissa Meksen vs Funda Diken
- Caley Reece vs Tiffany van Soest
- Janice MacAulay vs Tiffany Cass
- Vicky Church v Lauren ‘The Hatchet’ Huxley
- Sylvie von Duuglas-Ittu vs Saya Ito – you can see that fight here
- Iman Barlow vs Iman Ghablou
- Iman Barlow vs Lorena Klijn
- Candice Hardwick v Kelly Bourke
- Denise Kielholtz vs Ilona Wijmans
Thank you again to Rew Mitchell and team, and to everyone who voted in these community awards. Every vote helped bring female fighters just a bit more into the awareness of others.