This was a fight (above) I really wanted to see. It happened in July of 2014 and was a little under the radar. I had been hoping that Little Tiger would fight in the Queen’s Cup and that I might have had a chance to fight her (I ended up fighting Saya Ito instead – a match that pretty much changed the course of my fighting). I discovered that only a few weeks before the Queen’s Cup she fought Faa Chiang Rai here in Pattaya where I live. This shows you how closeted female Muay Thai is. I follow the top women in my weight class pretty closely, and I didn’t even know that Little Tiger – the reigning WPMF pinweight champion (Sept 15, 2013) and WMC champion (Feb 3, 2014) – and someone I’d really like to fight – was fighting down the street from me at Pattaya Boxing World, against a Thai fighter I had already fought 3 times when I was in Chiang Mai (I drew to Faa, then lost , then beat her) about a year and a half ago. If there was any fight I would geek out and pay to see, it was probably be this one, and I live 5 minutes away… yet only found out about the fight after it was over.
This fight was for a WBC International Belt at 102 lbs. WBC International belts seem to be like WPMF “interim” World Championship belts, a title fight between high level opponents, but where the World Championship title itself is not being vied for.
We just stumbled on the fight somehow a few days ago, it isn’t easily searchable because the title is in Japanese, so we put up a copy with an English title. Faa Chiang Rai is a very cool fighter, and probably the most “clever” fighter I’ve faced. She’s small, and very deceptive and evasive, including how deceptively tough she is. It was only when I solved her very deft defenses and learned how to put my clinch on her that I finally secured a definitive victory. Interestingly enough, the draw between us was the backdrop for the small documentary that was made about me when I was chasing 50 fights:
I loved watching Faa in this fight against Little Tiger. It was surreal catching all her mannerisms, she has a very expressive style. I don’t want to be unkind to Little Tiger, because it doesn’t feel good for people to say that you should have lost a fight you actually won. If you won, you did what you needed to do to win. But I will say that Faa Chiang Rai thought she had won this fight and was shocked when the decision was read. I can definitely see why she feels this way, by Thai scoring. You can see it in how she fought the 5th round. It wasn’t even close in her mind. If you look at the scoring rounds (3-4 + 5) you may see that Faa has a case. Low kicks do not score (generally) in Muay Thai, and a large portion of Little Tiger’s attacks are below the waist. Also, the ends of rounds are more important than the beginning of rounds in Thai scoring, and Faa Chiang Rai seemed to really control the ends of the scoring rounds. Points for balance and composure also probably go into Faa Chiang Rai’s column as well, and when a fighter is chasing as hard as Little Tiger is in the 5th round, unless definitive blows are landed, and in a pretty big way, that kind of round usually means that the retreating fighter has the fight in the bag and is just defending his/her lead. The fight instead went to Little Tiger (49-48, 49-48, 48-48). Perhaps the judges were not Thai, but instead were International WBC judges (despite the fight being in Thailand). I at least would have put this fight in Faa Chiang Rai’s favor, despite Little Tiger looking very good. It was a close fight, and Faa’s countering, retreating style is hard to strike with and attack.
I very much have been wanting to fight Little Tiger for a while now, as I consider her the best female fighter in my weight class in the world, as far as I can tell (other candidates might be Loma, Yodying (not the one I fought, but one I hope to fight), Soisci, Mellor, fighters I have very little recent video of). She’s fighting at very high level and fights with power, balance and speed. We are also the same age (31), only a few months apart, and I think it would be a great challenge and match. I’ve been fascinated with her since I learned that she had beaten “Pizza” (Pissar Sor.Thipjaroen) for the WPMF and WMC titles in September of 2013 – Pizza was maybe the best female Thai fighter in Thailand at 100 lb, though she has retired from Muay Thai to focus on boxing. After she beat Pizza very quickly won the WMC title back one month later (the fight below), also a hard fight to find and a truly fantastic performance by Pizza. I’ve looked for video of their first fight and it just is not to be found:
Little Tiger (Japan) vs Pissar Sor.Thipjaroen (Thai) – WMC World Title – 2013