February 20, 2017 – Loi Kroh Stadium, Chiang Mai
full fight above – This was my third time facing Thanonchanok in as many months, which for me was a great signal of my growth. I had fought her twice before but many years ago. The first meeting, I had no business being in the ring with her at all. She was a world champion, I was just learning the ropes of being a fighter in Thailand really. The second time was so close I could have won with a single big move in the last round… she’s great testing grounds for me. She’s bigger (I reckon she walks around – and therefore fights me – at about 53 or 54 kg. I’m walking around and fighting at 47 kg) but she’s not always using her size against me, as her style is Femeu and showy, rather than pure power and aggressive. There’s a saying that “styles make fights,” and our styles make for good, close fights because we are opposites from each other. It’s always a question whether I can impose my clinch game on her despite her greater size, or if she can maintain her poise and “steal” the ends of rounds with her excellent sense of fight narrative.
At this fight I felt pretty good going into it. I’d actually beaten her in November, then rematched in December but had very bad food poisoning and that was a terribly hard fight – but because I’d been weakened during that fight, it was conceivable that the loss was redeemable by feeling much better in this fight. I’d fought against Yodying Sor. Sumalee two nights before at Thapae Stadium and knocked her out in round 3 – she’s an opponent I used to fight often in my first 2 years at Lanna Muay Thai in Chiang Mai – so I was coming off of a dominant performance and had witnessed significant changes in my fighting, which also had me feeling good.
Paul Banasiak “Muay Thai Athlete” was at my fight two nights before and at this one too. I’d met Paul in person a year before at the Khongsittha training camp that is run by the “Muay Thai Guy,” Sean Fagan, and it was cool to have him at my fights. He’s funny and had a curiosity toward how fighting in different areas of Thailand works, so he was talking to my husband while they both filmed my fight. This was at Loi Kroh Stadium, which is one of the 4 permanent stadia in Chiang Mai. Having so many is what makes Chiang Mai the best place in the world for female fighters, as there are so many fight opportunities (all stadia allow women, as of this writing, so there are fights every night of the week) and that has invited lots of opponents as well. Loi Kroh is the more “seedy” stadium of the group, as it’s on a road that’s all bars and clubs, and the ring itself is surrounded by little beer bars that attract tourists. But you can get good fights at rings like this and it’s these locations where Thai fighters all gain experience. Paul remarked to my husband that it was odd to be facing a world champion in a “place like this,” but that’s Thailand for you. A World Champion might be fighting right after a “show” fight.
Become a patron supporter and you can watch the entire fight with my commentary (below), learn how I saw the fight, the things I was trying to accomplish and the subtle things that help you take victory in Thailand. This is a fight that has very subtle lessons in Muay Thai scoring in Thailand, and Thanonchanok is a brilliant fighter who makes maximum use of Thai narrative. There is a lot to learn from in this fight. If you already are a patron head on over and take a look:
Post Fight Video Update
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