June 25, 2016 – Chiang Rai – full video above
This was the first of 3 fights in 4 days up in the North. I had no idea who my opponent was and when we got to the venue I saw a pair of young women who could be my opponent. One looked quite big and the other was a tall Tom. For whatever reason I assumed it was the Tom out of the two, but I didn’t pay a lot of mind to either of them. I found the promoter who had booked me for the fight and he walked me over to a group of young men who were wrapping and oiling up, like a whole team that had a number of fighters on the card. He told them to take care of me and I sat down to wait for my turn. One of their fighters who was up early was this little (very small) 10-year-old boy with about 100 fights already. He had tattoos and was super tough. His fight was awesome and I got a photo with him afterwards, but when he helped me in my corner he was the most outspoken little man I’ve ever met. He’s great.
It turned out to be the bigger young woman of the two who was my opponent. She got into the ring and her thighs looked incredibly strong. Maybe due to having the three fights in a row, I felt very relaxed and confident about the fight. When you have fights back-to-back you think of them as a cluster, rather than putting too much pressure on any one of them. This was the first fight we had ever live-streamed and it was very exciting to talk into the camera after the fight and know I was reaching out to people who had just watched the fight right there with me. Including my mentor Sifu McInnes, who I immediately sent a message to in the vein of “Sifu, Sifuuuuu! I landed my hands!” He’s been working with me on my left hook and getting power in an overhand right without breaking my hand (which I’ve done once) and feeling the power in those hooks coming online in this fight was incredible. He wrote back that he’d watched it live and my heart exploded. Live streaming is where it’s at.
My opponent was strong, she kicked hard and came at me harder when I gave her trouble. But she was getting overwhelmed by my counters and clinching. I caught her kicks and threw her down a few times, including one time taking the ref down with her. I also turned her and as she fell I followed with an attack into the corner of the ring, which was at the time the most Karuhat-like move I’d ever done. I want to be Karuhat, so that felt pretty damn good.
Afterward I saw a bunch of people from gyms that know me from my days of fighting out of Lanna Muay Thai, so I exchanged numbers with a few of them for future fight opportunities. I didn’t speak Thai very well when I last saw them, nor do I think they would have approached me personally if I were there with my gym, so it’s a sign of my development as a fighter – and what kind of fighter I am – that I make connections like this now.