April 13, 2016 – Songkran Day, Bangkok – full fight video above, full video with commentary below
This was one of those morning weigh in, fight at night kinds of events. The park where it was hosted was completely different from the early morning weigh in and the late evening fight; in the morning it was empty and pale, at night it was packed and balmy and full of lights and neon boats floating by on the water.
Getting back to the venue after resting through the day was a bit of a nightmare, not only because we’d been kicked out of our rented room (we’d confirmed several times it was okay to have Jaidee with us, slept most of the day, then suddenly someone decided it wasn’t okay to have Jaidee and we had to leave; got a refund though), which was stressful, but about halfway back to the venue I started getting text messages from my opponent’s trainer, telling me to hurry up because it was bumper-to-bumper traffic around the venue. Oh right… it’s Songkran, and the streets are absolutely packed.
Unfortunately, we weren’t allowed to bring Jaidee into this park, so Kevin had to sit with him in the car with the air-con running so it would be cool enough for him for stretches, and then try to coordinate coming over to the ring to see my fight and then go back to Jaidee. Not convenient. But, this meant that I was alone as I waited for the show to start, which is highly unusual for me. And I mean really alone; I didn’t have a corner yet, either. But there was a Thai woman there who was also fighting on the card and we’ve fought each other before (her name in Thai means Grasshopper), so she started chatting with me and then a few of the other Thai fighters did as well, so I felt welcomed. When Teresa Wintermyr arrived with her corner I asked if she knew anyone who could help me in the corner and she just pointed to the man with her. That was so nice of her, and of him. They were up from Phuket for the show and Teresa was fighting for a title, and I’d never met her in person before, but they extended themselves to me. We’d spoken online and we get along, but it was great to meet her face-to-face. I look up to Teresa as a fighter and a woman who has lived in Thailand for nearly a decade, making a name for herself among Thai fight fans. And her trainer, Dtor, was awesome. He totally gave me space to do my own thing but was very deliberate and caring in the things that he did for me.
This event was an all-female card with some of the very top names in Thailand on the roster. Part of the event was televised, but not my fight. There were a few younger fighters on before me, as a kind of “undercard to the undercard” and I chatted with the father of one of those fighters. He was very proud of himself that I knew who his daughter was – Supergirl. I knew because she’s the sister of an opponent Emma was supposed to fight – Wondergirl – and I had very nearly asked him to corner for me, but ultimately am very happy I didn’t, as things worked out great as they went. Incidentally and awesomely, Emma and her boyfriend Tu showed up just in time for my fight and came to cheer and help in my corner, which was great. I like having Emma around in my corner anytime and always. And Tu’s advice was a good reminder to stay close. I’ve fought Rungnapa four times now, including this one, and I’d lost our last fight so I was ready to correct that – she’s a very solid WMC ranked fighter. Her trainer, Kru Lek, is actually quite friendly with me and he’s who booked me on this card, as well as who did our introductions as we entered the ring. I think he likes me because I fight a lot, which is an ethic he imposes on his three female fighters, but also because I’m a westerner who is the right size to face two of his fighters – getting a westerner on a card can include a “finder’s fee” which is why I sometimes have upward of 5 people offering me the same fight, but also if he can get me on the card then he can get his own fighters on as my opponent; it’s win/win.
The Full Fight Video with Audio Commentary
It was cool fighting at a bigger event like this, not so much because of the production and lights, screens, sounds, etc., but because there were some really awesome fights that night with so many top female fighters, and it felt very open outside. These neon-light-studded boats drifted by on the water that was just next to the ring (maybe 15 feet between the ledge to the river and the skirt of the ring) and the cables of the bridge in the distance were all lit up with orange. I didn’t see any of that when I was actually in the ring, but it’s the things that surround an event that stay with you. They breathe a kind of character into the memory of the fight.
Rungnapa and I started out the first round with similar game plans. We both thought to teep and she had a bit of an advantage in reach, but my advantage is always inside. So I collapsed the distance and got some points with clinch turns and knees. It was nice having Dtor in my corner because Teresa is a clinch fighter, too. So he was familiar with my style and just reminded me to attack more when we were tied up. I was taking outside position a bit too much and that put me on an uphill climb with scoring, but I was still able to move her and ultimately had a lead. I think it was a very close fight, but I was sure I’d won by the end of it. I liked our referee, who was this kind of butch woman who had a very measured approach to refereeing and I thought she was awesome. I noted her tendencies in the other fights she reffed throughout the night and I felt she had a great feel for letting each fight develop and interceding only to breakup stalemates.
My Post-Fight Video Update
It was also really fun to watch some of the fights with Emma as the night closed out. We often text each other when we’re watching the same fights on TV, but sitting side-by-side and watching the fights, including one with an opponent we’d both fought, was a rare treat. I also got to watch Teresa’s fight from her corner. I didn’t really help, other than putting her contact back in her eye (holy smokes! I’ve never even put a contact in my own eyeball!) but she wore my mongkol for her Ram Muay, which meant a lot to me, and even though she was disappointed in herself for that fight, I was in awe of being able to see her fight live and right from her corner. Female fighters mean a lot to other female fighters, just in their being. So this all-female card was kind of a concentrated dose of fucking awesome. This was to be my first fight of 3 fights in 4 days.