This was a rematch against the same fighter I faced for my 100th fight in Thailand. I’d won that fight by KO in round 4 (ref stoppage) and was feeling pretty confident about this rematch. The circumstances around the event were a bit strange as the fight was set up through O. Meekhun gym, with whom I haven’t fought in a while, and my trainer Sangwean had told me he wasn’t coming to the fight because Jee Jaa and Mawin were going up to some far away fight the next day. That’s okay; unusual, but not atypical for gyms to be all over the place for fights. He had said that his wife, Tawan, would be coming with me to this fight as there was a side-bet, and the promoter would come drive us to the event because I had no idea where it was and it was near Songkran so there were no cars available for rent.
It all got weird. Sangwean told us to show up to the gym 30 minutes earlier than he’d told me before (calling me while I was in the shower, getting ready) and then we waited around for 2 hours before the promoter actually showed up to drive us. Not a huge deal; you’re either waiting around at home, waiting around at the gym, or waiting around at the venue. But then we got into the back of the promoter’s truck to drive the “60 km” that Sangwean had stated as the distance and Tawan didn’t come with us. It was just me and Kevin with the promoter, nobody from my gym to take care at all! And the drive was way more than 60 km, probably more like 100. Kevin and I exchanged silent glances back and forth as the wind in the bed of the truck is too much to really talk; we both felt that there was a lot of chaos surrounding this event and we just had to roll with it.
The promoter had brought a guy to corner for me, but he didn’t want anyone to know I had come with him (for gambling, I guess) so he kept a distance and we entered the venue separately. He’s not actually the promoter, but definitely had a position in the event. My fight was really late so there was a lot of waiting around. A buzz started around me as gamblers and trainers walked past to get a look at me. When it was time to wrap my hands I was doing it myself and a random guy jumped in to help. He must have been a trainer from another gym or something but he knew what he was doing. It was a damn fine wrap! Then some kids were grabbed to do my massage and it was pretty half-assed. My shoulders didn’t have a spot of oil on them, so Kevin kind of spot-treated the dry areas here and there.
My fight started out a bit slow, that being my fault. I kind of was trying things out instead of just going after Lookget, which I should have done to tire her out as I had in the last fight. But I think it was hitting her with a few good knees that got her tired last time, whereas I was unable to land knees this time. It was frustrating. She’s a good fighter and she’s strong, plus she knew what I was about this time around and was pretty successful in neutralizing me. I was trying to land these overhand rights that I’d been working on and a few were good but she started ducking rights and grabbing me around the waist. She wasn’t really scoring but she looked to be controlling me. Well, she was controlling me because I couldn’t quite figure out how to solve it. It was all pretty close until round 4 when she’d figured out how to just grab and clinch me low. She kept doing this in round 5 and started to pull away to the win. Then, to seal it, she did this totally illegal lift and throw in the end of round 5 – I was a good 3 feet in the air from her lift, then she hooked my leg and dumped me. It wasn’t called a foul and it was so late in the game I can understand that. And even if it might not have counted as a score, it still counts in the same way that a jury that’s told to “disregard” something that was said has still heard it; you can’t unsee the throw and it looked so dominant. So I lost and it sucked. I would have lost even without that throw, but it was just incredible.
Somewhere in the second round (I think) I’d come after her against the ropes and we knocked heads, which opened up my left eybrow. It was a tiny cut and didn’t bleed too much throughout the fight, but it was the third fight in a row that I had a cut, all in different places, and I don’t doubt that it deflated me a bit. Even though it was an accident and it didn’t physically affect anything in the fight.
I was really frustrated to lose this fight, not only because I’d beat Lookget before, but because I’d fought hard throughout and just got stuck in this inability to solve that low clinch. It’s good for me because the only way to keep sailing is to find the holes in the boat and patch them up, but it’s not fun to be taking on water. And this guy I didn’t really know had lost 10,000 Baht on the side bet, so he wasn’t happy, and he kept asking me if I was tired. So I guess I looked drained or not strong. And it took the fight I had scheduled two days later off the table, which was irritating, due to the stitches.
Very frustrating experience. But I do feel like I grew from it. Kevin felt this more than I did. For a few days afterward, while I was doing nothing at all, really, he’d look at me and just comment that he could tell I’d grown from that fight. I also didn’t take any time off afterward. I was so sick of taking a few days off for the stitches and feeling like I couldn’t get back to work – like trying to drive a car that keeps stalling, it’s just so annoying. So I just got back to the gym anyway and it felt better. I reckon I’ll fight Lookget again and I do believe I’ll crush her next time.