Seventy Fourth Fight – Nongpin Phettonpeung

April 5, 2014 – Loi Kroh Ring – 52 kg This fight was scheduled as I was walking out the door of my last fight on April 2nd, along...

April 5, 2014 – Loi Kroh Ring – 52 kg

This fight was scheduled as I was walking out the door of my last fight on April 2nd, along with my next fight on April 9th, barring any injuries.  I like “bulk” scheduling.  But that meant I had very little time for training.  Normally for a Saturday fight my last day of training would be Thursday, which is the day after the fight prior and would usually be mostly a rest day with maybe some afternoon shadowboxing or something.  Because my last fight was a round 2 KO I figured I could just get back into it and trained Thursday afternoon (full, regular training) as well as Friday.

I was surprisingly sore in my shoulders and neck, even though the fight was short.  But mostly the succession of my most recent string of fights has resulted in much less training than I’m used to and, quite frankly, rest days hurt more than active days.  So, weirdly, I felt worse going into this fight than I might have if I’d even just trained that same morning.  Who knows.

The name on the card wasn’t familiar to me except for the gym name.  I’ve fought against Phettonpeung gym a few times before and their fighters are not usually super technical (though some are very skilled) but they’re all very tough.  I knew I would be facing a difficulty.  Just before the fight the promoter came up to me and told me to fight “sabai, sabai,” which indicates that the opponent either has another fight lined up very soon (like, the next night) or something equally unimportant to me.  Just like when training partners are all, “let’s just go light,” I know from experience that any time the promoter relays a message to me to fight “sabai, sabai” or to not elbow that it means the opponent’s team is playing a game and she’s definitely going to elbow and come at me hard.  It’s never, ever been any other way.  So I generally ignore the requests – especially when the opponent is bigger than I am.  There’s absolutely no reason why I should ever go easy on someone who outweighs me.  That’s just silly.

Through a series of KO’s I just barely got Vaseline on my face and my gloves put on before it was time to get in the ring, so I had no warmup before this fight.  That’s been the case for the last few – just bad timing – but it felt especially rushed tonight.  There were no Thai boys to corner for me, as Neung and Off had fights the next night and were on “house arrest” sort of – although I can guarantee they weren’t sleeping – so Den and Daeng were in charge of my preparation.  They do everything very efficiently and I actually like it when they get me ready – it’s different from the disinterest and boredom of chores by the Thai boys – but it also means I can’t really tell them when to start my wraps.  I’m older than the Thai boys, so I can tell them to get going, but with the trainers all being my seniors on multiple levels,  I can just strongly suggest.

But we got into the ring on time and without a big hassle.  I performed my Ram Muay a little differently than usual, adding a little slash at the very end at my opponent in her corner.  A week or so ago I watched a Thai epic called Khun Paen in which one of the main characters is executed at the end by having her head cut off by order of the King.  The whole stalking thing is part hunter, part executioner and since I’d actually seen where these movements come from, I added the machete swipe.  It was enjoyable.

I’ve been working on my jab-cross and that’s what I started round 1 off with.  It worked pretty well, just in terms of pressuring my opponent and causing her to move.  I was too flat-footed though and couldn’t close the distance as well as I needed to.  Even within the first round I started jumping across the distance instead of stepping in with punches, as I’d initiated in the round.  Bummer – have to work on that because it was effective and then I just lost it.  I felt very tired in this fight, very slow and the more we clinched, because I wasn’t clinching well, was draining me more than it should have.  I kept just accepting grabbing around her waist without fighting for a more dominant position, turning or throwing cleaner, more powerful knees.  She pretty big, having perhaps 4 or 5 kg on me, so my lack of technique in the clinch really hurt. I dug my own pit here.

Incidentally, it appears that the time-keeper failed to adjust the time of each round and these rounds were 3 minutes each (women fight 2 minute rounds).  That could account somewhat for feeling more tired than usual from the fight, but not really – first off, I train 4.5 minute rounds, so 3 still shouldn’t be a problem; and secondly a longer fight should be to my advantage because generally my cardio and fitness are much better than those of my opponents.  I was just stressed and tired, I guess.  But very cool that I got to fight a 3X5 fight, even by accident!

I was very disappointed in myself after this fight, mainly because I could feel myself failing in the fight and just couldn’t break out of it.  I knew I had to go but didn’t have the energy, which really means I didn’t have the head for it.  It’s mental, even if if feels physical.  So that sucked.  If I’d adjusted my clinch it would have been a better fight.  But that means I get to work on it in training.  As pitiful as it is to watch myself in this fight and see myself just keeping on with something that isn’t working, that’s an important lesson and one which I can fix for later fights.  Even for the fight tomorrow.  Afterwards all my coaches gave me the “she was too big” and “it’s because you fought already only three days ago” excuses, but I didn’t want them.  I don’t believe them.  I do believe both of those things had an effect on this fight in creating the particular set of obstacles I was up against, but I don’t believe for one instant that either of them determined the outcome – that was me.  And I can do better, so I will.

post- fight Video Update

The Whole Fight
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A 100 lb. (46 kg) female Muay Thai fighter. Originally I trained under Kumron Vaitayanon (Master K) and Kaensak sor. Ploenjit in New Jersey. I then moved to Thailand to train and fight full time in April of 2012, devoting myself to fighting 100 Thai fights, as well as blogging full time. Having surpassed 100, and then 200, becoming the westerner with the most fights in Thailand, in history, my new goal is to fight an impossible 471 times, the historical record for the greatest number of documented professional fights (see western boxer Len Wickwar, circa 1940), and along the way to continue documenting the Muay Thai of Thailand in the Muay Thai Library project: see patreon.com/sylviemuay

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