September 10, 2016 – Thapae Stadium, Chiang Mai – full fight video above – here is a Facebook version if the YouTube does not play in your country
Nong Fern is tall. I’d never fought her before, but I’ve fought a woman from her same sport college in Isaan and she looks a bit like Nong Ying, so I felt like I’d seen her before even though I hadn’t. She’s much stronger up top than her build lets on and she moves and then knees in a really nice way.
The tape on my glove came off the glove itself and was basically a bracelet around my wrist, which is what they’re dealing with in the corner at the start of the second round. Her kicks are fast and long, but for this fight it was in my intuition to kick right back after quite a few of them. That’s a key point for me because I don’t really kick; none of them were super strong, but the instinct was there, which is great.
You can hear Bas in my corner, who is probably 10 years old by now. He’s my old trainer Den’s nephew and has taken to training and fighting for Lanna. He was kind of a punk-ass kid when I was there, but he’s settled into a groove now and I really like him. I like his little voice telling me to knee. It’s good advice, the kind I’m highly likely to follow. In the earlier rounds Nong Fern did a really nice job of lowering her weight and pushing on my hips in the clinch to land her own knees and turn. But as the fight went on and she got more tired, my control up top became more of a problem. In the start of round 4 I got my elbows (finally) onto her collarbones in the clinch and was able to start dragging her backwards. You’re screwed if you try to control from the hips from that position, in her case, so I started getting straighter knees and that was what closed the deal.
This was the first fight in a really long while that I had both Pi Pook and Pi Eh cheering for me. Pi Pook owns the breakfast cafe where Kevin and I ate breakfast almost every day for 2 years, when we didn’t have a kitchen in our apartment. She makes the best omelettes in all of Thailand – I’ve been around and sampled a lot of them, Pook’s are the best. Pi Eh several years ago bought me breakfast at the cafe after I’d lost a fight once, I’d never met her before that and she wasn’t even there, she just told Pook that breakfast was on her. She knew me from my Facebook page. It was so nice, such a supportive gesture. Then she started coming to my fights and she and Pook kind of became Muay Thai fans. Pook brought her then 14-year-old daughter to try Muay Thai at Lanna and Pi Eh trained a little herself. It was glorious. So having them in my corner for this fight after years of being in different places was really meaningful to me. In the photo below we misunderstood Kevin’s instruction for “one more with a flash” to be “one more with a laugh,” and got a little maniacal about it.