After my last fight I asked Den if I could fight again right away. I didn’t have any physical injuries and wanted to redeem (for myself) my performance from that fight, which was frustrating. This is 9 days after my 24th fight, at Loi Kroh stadium against Taemthong Sitthonplee.
A lot of what I worked on for this fight, given the short turn around, was just changing my energy in the ring. I drive myself crazy with hesitations and both Master K and Andy have characterized it as me being “too polite.” It’s a nice word for it, if not a completely accurate one. But not knowing this opponent, not having fought her before and being at a stadium I have fought less frequently in, I told myself that I should just flow – try stuff. I haven’t watched the fight yet, but based on how it felt within the full fight I did make a little progress in that regard, although not nearly as much as I would have liked.
The actual stoppage of the fight was very strange. I felt early in the fight that this opponent had no power to offer, so I was able to walk through many of her defenses and, despite wanting to have tried more combinations on the outside, ended up in the clinch because my knees hurt her very early on. She had no energy and I could feel each knee I landed draining her more. Between rounds two and three she goes to the ground in the corner and grabs her head – I don’t know what happened there. We both slip on the very slick corners of the mat and in the third round right before the stoppage I get her with a left hook and a knee, then we move over closer to the camera and I hit her with two body shots and some more knees and the ref stops it. In the fight it was very confusing and I didn’t know it was over. We watched that part of the video numerous times, trying to figure it out, until we finally noticed that right after I give her the two body digs the referee’s face makes a startled expression and he comes in to stop it. I don’t know what he saw, but that kind of expression isn’t something you fake so it must have been something. In Thailand you will find fights stopped when the ref sees a lack of the will to fight, have to assume that this was that kind of stoppage.
The fight just prior to my bout was a championship title fight between two Thai women at my same weight. The challenger fought like every Thai woman I’ve fought here, backing up and countering, so it was interesting to see that it’s not just against me and not a response (necessarily) to my methods. The defending champion was this very cool and cocky woman who fought very unlike the women I’ve fought and actually quite a bit more like I do – more skillfully than I, but in similar style and method. It was wonderful to see how she solved the other woman’s tactics (she basically blew her out of that fight) and also encouraging to see that neither fight was beyond my scope of opponents. I could fight either woman tomorrow.
In what was probably not odd at all, but was a little surprising to me, the promoter of the other stadium where I fight was walking around the venue and I got to say hello to him a few times. He gave me a thumbs up before my fight and told me, in English, to win. Afterward he patted me on the back and I told him, in Thai, that I’d see him next Friday, which made him smile and clap. I wonder if promoters from these two stadiums (which are mere blocks away from each other) scout fighters, go for the betting, or just check out what’s happening at each other’s venues.
Just prior to getting in the ring we got stalled standing a little way away from the corner as the defending champion had her belt refastened around her waist. (We asked Den and he said it’s the belt of the Loi Kroh Stadium.) As I stood there three (3!) individuals approached me to take my picture. All three were Thai and the one woman had me do several different poses, one with my elbow coming forward for example, while making me turn here or there to get better light. I was surprised that they wanted pictures before I even fought – how do they know if I’m any good? What are the pictures for? But I obliged and happily escaped into the ring when Off lifted the ropes for me. Andy looked for a moment at the group of Thais peering into their cameras to check the photos they’d just taken and smiled at me, “You’re getting good at this,” he said.
The Whole Fight