When I started training mornings at Petchrungruang Gym in Pattaya to supplement and complement my afternoons with Sakmongkol at WKO, I had the opportunity to talk with Filippo Cinti. Filippo has been training and fighting in Thailand for a long time and now that he has retired from fighting he helps as a trainer at Petchrungruang and suggests fighters from his gym for Yokkao promotions. Kru Nu (formerly fought under the name “Witnuchai Petchrungruang” วิษณุชัย เพชรรุ่งเรือง) was attempting to book a fight for me with some of his young Thai boys at a local stadium and the card was already full, so he contacted Filippo to come talk to me about maybe being on the upcoming Yokkao card on February 19th, Yokkao 7 here in Pattaya.
Of course I know Yokkao and the prospect of fighting on their card is a great opportunity and, indeed, one I wouldn’t likely be faced with if I hadn’t come down from Chiang Mai to Pattaya for some focused training. Silvia La Notte, an Italian fighter who has been on my radar since I started five years ago, is the only female fighter I know to be on Yokkao productions so I actually assumed I might be fighting her. We’re the same size and my founding teacher Master K loves her style of constant movement, which I believe she gets from her background in Savate. When Filippo got back to me the next day that it looked good and I’d be on the Yokkao 7 card he told me it would be against the same Thai fighter who Silvia had faced and lost on decision to last November, Lommanee Sor Hirun who is WMF Champion at 48 kg. That’s very exciting! You can see highlights of her last Yokkao 5 fight with Silvia here:
Yokkao fights are only three rounds and favor working throughout all the rounds. While I like high-pace I haven’t fought a three round fight since my amateur days back in the US two years ago. Happily, the rounds are three minutes long whereas my five round fights here are two minutes (women’s fights are 5×2, men are 5×3). My cardio is good so a longer round feels like it’s to my advantage. I know my opponent is very skilled and has experience to have honed herself, so I’m excited to have my work cut out for me to get ready to face her in a little under three weeks now.
Yokkao tweeted my fight announcement with a picture from her fight against Silvia La Notte:
— Yokkao Boxing (@yokkaoboxing) January 29, 2014
I’ll be continuing with my training in the afternoons with Sakmongkol at WKO Pattaya and in the mornings with Petchrungruang Gym just up the highway. I’ll be at Petchrungruang for late afternoons as well for clinch. The two styles and modes of training complement each other beautifully and Petchrungruang has a lot of young Thai boys with whom I can get some clinch practice and sparring.
I’ve written and spoken about how the no-big-deal attitude and approach to fighting that’s available in Thailand really suiting me and is absolutely my preference and, indeed, one of the reasons for moving to Thailand to be a full-time fighter. That said, because big production fights are an exception and not the rule it is exciting and enjoyable to have the opportunity to take part in shows like Yokkao and be on a card with such big names as Saenchai. I feel grateful for the opportunity to have such a good opponent and to have the amazing training that I’m experiencing here in Pattaya to prepare me for the challenge.