January 5, 2016 – Thepprasit Stadium, Pattaya
I’d expected to be rematching Rungnapa Por. Muangpet again, but two days before this fight Pi Nu said (with some disappointment in his voice) that she hadn’t been training and that I’d be fighting someone else instead. I call bullshit on that story. You must know prior to two days before a fight whether or not your fighter has been training. But it didn’t matter to me. They had this other opponent in mind but she was 55 kg, Pi Nu said. This was kind of amazing though, because for a very long time Pi Nu wouldn’t even let me fight women at more than 47-48 kg, my walk-around weight. Part of that is that there’s inconsistency in how gyms give the weights of their fighters. Some give the walk-around weight; that’s what I do. If someone asks me how much I weigh, I give them the number that’s on the scale most often. But some gyms offer the cut-weight weight, so that would be like Pi Nu telling promoters that I weigh 45-46 kg, even if there’s no weight cut for the fight. This means that when you give the walk-around weight you might get fighters who cut to that weight, which is often the case with my opponents. The women I fight could cut down to 48 kg, but when I’m actually fighting them they’re 50+ kg. All that is to say that even at 55 kg, Pi Nu had to double check that this opponent didn’t cut to 55 kg.
I even had some doubt if she was that big. This would be the biggest opponent Pi Nu had ever matched me against and, indeed, in the higher end of opponents I’ve ever faced – the biggest being 60 kg up in Chiang Mai. But I was proud of this step because it means that my trainer finally sees that A) I can fight bigger opponents, and B) he believes that I’ll be okay, regardless of outcome. That’s a big deal. It’s like your dad never letting you use the car and then suddenly he tells you to take a 3 day roadtrip.
Additionally, my friend Ying Ross had come down from Bangkok to watch my fight. Ying and I have been friends for about 6 years and we met through Muay Thai. She’s a famous cinematographer in Thailand (she makes amazing horror movies, my favorite of which is called “Dorm,” in English) and she’s been filming me since before my first ever trip to Thailand in 2010. She’s watched my entire progression, although in snapshots and we haven’t seen each other in over a year, so I was a bit nervous (and excited) t0 have her there and seeing where I’m at now. Ying has this amazing ability to disappear, though. She snuck onto a train with us once and slinked back out moments before the wheels started turning; she’s crawled up on the ring to film in the corner and pushed her way to the front without anybody noticing. She’s a photographic ninja! So, I wasn’t super aware of her during the fight itself but was incredibly happy to be seeing her in the time surrounding it.
The Fight Video with Audio Commentary
Once inside the ring, I was certain my opponent really was 55 kg. She was huge (compared to me; 55 kg isn’t by itself “huge,” but it’s 122 lbs compared to 105 lbs) and seemingly towered over me. But in the fight that turned out to be grand because I could cut off her length by standing in my own range. She didn’t strike with a great deal of power, so I was content to stay inside and block or eat a couple strikes to close in for the clinch. And she didn’t know what to do with my clinch. I could turn her and trip her, my knees tired her out and then she just wanted to back away. Admittedly, I felt a bit after this fight like it hadn’t been fair, but looking at the video and seeing our size difference, I think I can give myself more credit for having earned the advantages I had in that fight. My particular skill-set is one I’ve invested a great deal of time, pain, energy and tears in… it’s an advantage in spite of my size, rather than having to do with my size. So I don’t apologize for it and it’s likely what gave Pi Nu the confidence to book me a fight against someone so much bigger in the first place.
Tom Brown of Muaythaiaction.com also shot the fight, below are some of his photos (double click any photo for a larger size):
I had a fight booked shortly after this so I was happy to come out without any injuries. I generally don’t get injured in fights but having sore shins or a twisted shoulder is something that, while it doesn’t stop me from fighting, certainly is preferred to not be bothered by in the next fight. And going against someone who has nearly 20 lbs on you, a single good kick can give you an aching arm, leg or rib for days. But none of that for me, which was great.
Post Fight Video Update
After the fight a very sweet woman from Ireland named Shannon came over to get a photo with me. She was training at Sityodtong Gym and unfortunately my next fight made it so that we didn’t get a chance to train together this time around, but she says she’ll be back. I’m too nervous to go talk to people I already know, so I’m always impressed and grateful that people who know me through my website are bold enough to come say hello to me and/or grab a photo. It means a lot to me!
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