I had the rare treat of going to watch a night of live fights, just as a spectator. The night was co-promoted by Petchrungruang and the card was peppered with my teammates from both gyms, including Phetjee Jaa. She’d be facing an opponent I’ve faced twice (1-1), Lookget. Lookget is strong and scrappy, and Jee Jaa would be giving away significant weight in their match.
When their bout was announced over the speakers I saddled up to the ring and took a seat with my forearms resting on the canvas, perfect vantage point of the center of the ring and across to Jee Jaa’s corner. Unfortunately, this kind of meant I was sitting in Lookget’s corner – kind of – and I’m not entirely sure how that comes off to my gymmates and associates. Did it seem like I was in my opponent’s corner? It did mean, however, that Lookget’s posse was nearby and the old lady behind me asked me a million questions about how strong Jee Jaa is, whether she trains with girls or boys, etc. When the fight started and Granny started “oi! oi-ing” every strike Lookget landed, I got wise to who she was. A bit awkward, but I just countered every time she yelled with a celebration of every shot Jee Jaa landed (which were better anyway) and we were still civil in our chats between rounds.
For those that don’t follow me, Phetjee Jaa has been my training partner for almost a year now, she’s a 13 year old phenom, and someone I consider the best pound for pound female Muay Thai fighter in the world. I’ve written about her many times.
One is never sure of the truth of details but Sangwean said that Lookget weighed in at 43 kg for this fight, which seems incredibly low as she appears to be around 48 kg walk around. That would give her 4 kg over Jee Jaa, on paper at least, and a lot more at fight time, although in the ring their size difference didn’t look very prounounced. Jee Jaa is tall and getting taller, but she’s very slender – well, svelte and strong. Lookget is short and stocky, but with very solid legs and broad shoulders.
The first two rounds looked like it was going to be a tough fight for Jee Jaa. Lookget won the last fight that she and I had together by low-clinching me in later rounds and then even taking me down, pretty much full-tackle. She put Jee Jaa down a couple times in the first two rounds and it looked like the strength disparity was going to be a huge obstacle. Lookget is fond of tripping with a hooked heel, a definite foul (see a still from the fight), something she effectively did against me as well:
But Jee Jaa is crazy strong and she was able to start neutralizing Lookget’s clinch, even though Jee Jaa was still having a bit of trouble scoring after neutralizing. But Jee Jaa’s kicks were scoring and having been taken down, which she hates, she was really putting her all into them. They’re whippy and can have a sting to them.
It’s hard to say how much of the challenge of rounds 1 and 2 were overcome by Jee Jaa because she tends to kind of play herself down in those rounds in every fight, in order to manipulate the gamblers. I wasn’t paying attention to the gamblers, as I was filming, so I don’t know how many were actually betting on the fight. It definitely wasn’t loud and most of the yelling was coming from either Jee Jaa or Lookget’s corners. So, I don’t know for sure whether Jee Jaa was laying back or not, or even if there was much money on the fight. She did get much stronger and solve a lot in rounds 3 and 4, and somewhere near the end of round 4 Lookget dropped her hands and gave a little shake-out to her shoulders, showing a bit of fatigue or something. Jee Jaa launched an attack and backed her into the ropes with a string of attacks, finishing with one high kick to the cheek, which was partially blocked, and then a second kick that landed with her foot on Lookget’s shoulder. The ref waived the fight off and Lookget did not protest at all. She looked tired, perhaps a bit ashamed, but accepting of the move. Hearing the next day that she had dropped to 43 maybe explains a lot. Just too much of a weight drop.
At the time I was pretty surprised by the stoppage. It didn’t seem wrong, per se, just very early. Lookget definitely had more in her at that point, but referees here in Thailand are very keen and will catch fighters before they fall, stop fights before a KO, waive off an assault when one fighter isn’t fighting back, etc. I couldn’t directly see Lookget’s face as she wasn’t facing me, but the referee saw something at that moment and called it off. Maybe she winced, both Sangwean and Pi Nu said it was called from her wincing. Maybe the fatigue was very evident on her face. But there was no argument from either the fighter herself or her corner, so whatever they saw, they saw.
you can see Sangwean (Phetjee Jaa’s trainer and father) is pretty much surprised by the stoppage (above)
In any case, a good display of Phetjee Jaa’s skills against a larger, physically very strong opponent who can neutralize the clinch, someone I myself had both beat and lost to. She is definitely growing up fast! World, be ready.