November 9, 2016 – Loi Kroh Stadium, Chiang Mai – above, full fight video with commentary
I have a good relationship with the Pettonpung Gym in Mae Rim, I’m a fan of their fighters and when I’m in Chiang Mai I try to swing by the gym to do some clinching with their rising star, Phetleelaa, who is also a knee fighter. In the times I’ve visited, I’ve never directly interacted or met Kwangtong, so when I was told that I was fighting her I had no idea what to expect, but given that it’s an all-female gym in Chiang Mai, I’m going to be facing those fighters now and again (and have on numerous occasions in the past).
I’d fought the night before at a different stadium, Thapae, so I was a little bit sore in the muscles but nothing hurt. I do think I was more tired than I realized and kind of zombied in the fight a bit, maybe partly to do with Kwangtong being so much bigger than I am. When you fight bigger opponents you have to be patient, because something that doesn’t work in round 1 might start working in round 3 or 4 if you keep at it. They’re just harder to move, but they’ll eventually move. But being patient and being slow are different things. I was being slow and as a result I kind of got stuck in clinch positions that weren’t doing anything for me. The referee let the clinch go a lot, probably because of our size difference, so I was able to kind of struggle my way into better positions, but I wasn’t doing nearly any of the things that would have made this fight better – or gotten me a KO: bouncing in the clinch, pulling backwards, going for more knees than just the lazy side-swipes when I’m too close. I was too close most of the time, I needed to create space.
Ultimately I think I won every round in this fight and it was never at risk for me, but I sucked in the fifth round. When I’m ahead and have the opportunity to “dance off” like this, I shouldn’t look like I’m pouting and running. You should look powerful, spritely, and like “come and get me” with your hands up or a cocky drop here and there, but not an exhausted pedaling away. I took note to fix that, which starts right when you realize it, not when you fight again. Needing to work on my performance energy is a constant project.
I tried to go say hello to the Pettonpung gym afterward but they’d already left because they had a fighter on a different card at a nearby stadium, so they had to rush over there. I love that. They’re a very “fighters are workers” kind of gym and those young women get a lot of experience. I came back to my mat and the promoter immediately came and asked if I could fight again next week. I don’t live in Chiang Mai, so I have to have at least 2 fights to make the trip feasible. Back when I did live in Chiang Mai this promoter booked me every 2-3 days for a week one time. I thought that was a big deal because it was new to me, now it’s kind of the norm of how I fight, haha. So he ended up offering me two fights on two consecutive nights and raised my purse a little bit so that I could agree to come back. My relationship with this promoter was a little strained when I was living in Chiang Mai, because I was less experienced and not yet in a place to be the director of my own fight schedule. So when he kept feeding me to really big opponents, I felt like he was taking advantage of me and didn’t have my interests in mind at all. Just because I can fight much bigger opponents doesn’t mean that it’s good for me to do so, often. But I’ve developed both in my skills and in my place as a fighter in the nearly 3 years since I’ve been in Pattaya, and now that promoter’s interests and my interests align really nicely. Back then my trainer would book me at Loi Kroh and I’d worry if the opponent was going to be big; now I book myself there and just ask the promoter, “how big?” It’s a nice development.
We accidentally left my mongkol at the stadium, but we realized it when we weren’t too far away. I was pretty panicked, actually, because we’d lost a mongkol at that stadium before (and never got it back), I was very stressed. The mongkol I have now is incredibly meaningful to me, it was custom-made by a team at Pi Boi’s shop out of a skirt that my mother wore when I was kid. Losing it would be a crushing disappointment. So we hurried back and arrived just as all the bars were closing; the mongkol was still on the wall where we’d forgotten it, but I also used the opportunity to get the promoter’s phone number (we’ve been communicating on FB), which I think further secures the relationship in a good way. This is how this goes.
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