July 22, 2016 – Grand Thai Boxing Stadium, Hua Hin – full fight video
I had a big fight scheduled for August 12th, the Queen’s Birthday, against Loma Lookboonmee. I really wanted to get a fight in before that, as it seemed like adding a (for me) long period without a fight to all the other elements that made that fight difficult for me was just one thing too many. So, booking this fight down in Hua Hin was a bit of a scramble, but it was also the first time that I’ve had to find my own opponent when talking to a promoter. Usually I just ask the promoter to book me and fight whoever they put in front of me. In this case, we were communicating with Nick (who owns Cong Carter Gym in Hua Hin and promoted this show), who wanted me on the card, but I had to find my own opponent. That’s kind of cool, actually, and not at all unusual for how gym owners probably get their own fighters on shows. I know that Por. Muangpet likes me because he can grab me as the opponent for two of his fighters at pretty much any time, using this same method of “BYOO” (bring your own opponent).
Because the Queen’s Birthday was coming up, most of the opponents my size I could think of were already booked and didn’t want to fight so close to that other show. I asked Takaden, who I fought for the King’s Birthday a few years ago in Hua Hin, and while she couldn’t fight she did say that a teammate of hers didn’t have a program. Bam, set it up. That’s how we got set up with Nong Naen.
I really like her. When we arrived at the stadium she had her mat set up right next to ours, so I got to watch her a little bit before our fight. She was full of confidence and carries herself with a kind of swagger I really like. For my own part, I got to be cornered by “the man himself,” Andy Thomson. Andy co-owned Lanna Muay Thai up in Chiang Mai with his wife Pom for over 20 years. They broke up during my first year of moving here and Andy has recently moved down to Hua Hin (with half his pack of dogs) to train folks out of Cong Carter Gym, so I got to have him in my corner for the first time in probably 3 years. Andy is a legend and a mentor to hundreds of western Nak Muay who have moved through Lanna Muay Thai. It was great to have him there, to be such a different fighter than the last time he saw me.
Andy, Jaidee and Me after the fight
There was a very cool female fighter shortly before my bout, who I really loved watching in the ring. She was big, out of shape, but fighting a much bigger western woman who was having her first fight. It was a banger, very fun to watch. Later that night the Thai woman friended me on Facebook and asked if I remembered her, saying we’d fought three times. Nope. After hearing when she thought we’d fought I realized she thought I was Sylvie Charbonneau, the Canadian woman who inspired me to move to Lanna and try to get 50 fights. Sylvie and I look very similar, we’re the same size, both very muscled, and we both would have been seen with Andy. A very easy mistake, for sure. But even once she was set straight that I wasn’t the same Sylvie (even the same name!), it was fun to keep chatting with her about her fights with the other Sylvie.
My fight against Nong Naen was brilliant. She was very aggressive, one of the more aggressive fighters I’ve faced in my 100+ fights here in Thailand. And she wasn’t fucking around with her elbows, bringing them out pretty much straight away. I didn’t feel like I was in trouble for the most part, but it’s not easy when someone who outweighs you wants to hurt you and has the skill and power to do it. I was proud of myself for using the Dracula Guard that Daeng at Lanna Muay Thai had recently worked with me on, which is perfect against punchers and the long front arm protects from elbows. At this stadium they don’t let the clinch go a lot, they break it quickly even if you’re working in it, so my best chance was my knees. By the fourth round she was making me chase her and doing a great job, really. But I was able to land a really good knee into her liver/ribs that dropped her and that was it.
When we’d set up this fight and were talking with Nick, we’d completely misunderstood an element about the fight money. The reason that’s important is that I’d relayed this misunderstanding on to my opponent, since I was the one translating the conversation into Thai for her, and as a result she thought (as I’d thought) that the winner was going to get a substantial bonus. I’m glad to have won myself, but I’m extra relieved she didn’t win and then discover that she was not being paid what I’d mistakenly told her she was going to get paid for a win (I’d not misunderstood the base purse, which was correct for what the losing fighter would receive). And it meant she fought with the idea that she was going to get a lot of money for a win, which is good motivation, I reckon. Again, glad that misunderstanding fell on me and not her. I have no idea why I misunderstood the way I did, when I look back on the communications with Nick it’s all quite clear; I have “peanut eyes,” as they say in Thai.
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