Nov 16, 2012 – Just before leaving the gym the truck stopped at the end of the driveway and idled for a while as the Thai kids packed the back with equipment. After a couple minutes I heard Pom’s distinctive laugh, which can very well be described as a cackle, and I got very excited – I LOVE when Pom comes to the fights and sits in her white plastic chair like a matriarch, the trainers and kids buzzing around her and showing her so much love. And she’s funny.
When we first got to the stadium it felt busier than usual. There was a line of westerners outside the gate, a line purchasing tickets and Den told us to wait a minute before going in, which is unusual. So we stood there for a bit and I grabbed a flier off the table. I was looking for the fight card to see what the line up was, but instead it was an advertisement that they pass out all around the night market and a picture of me was right in the center of it. The promoter had been at the camp earlier in the week and photographed me then – nice that they don’t just use the same one over and over again.
When we finally got through the gate there were two giant posters on the left, full color versions of the fliers they hand out but standing maybe 9 feet tall. I was on both of them, which was kinda cool, even though I didn’t really notice that I was there until after the fight.
Wung told me to sit down right away to wrap my hands since I was the second fight of the night. I pulled the tape molds out of my bag, one that he’d made and one that Big had made a couple weeks later (that’s what happens when two people wrap your hands at once). He fitted them both over my knuckles, then shook the one Big had made at me and asked, “what’s wrong with this one?” I answered that Big had made it and he shook his head, but decided not to say anything. Daeng sat down next to Wung and I got to play the game of head-pong in which I look back and forth between each hand to know whether to open or close the fist as each person wraps, tapes and slams my knuckles.
The fight was slow. This girl, named Kendo, which is pretty cool, was a little bigger than I am but it was clear within the first minute of the first round that her power was not going to be enough to back me up. I took my time kind of trying stuff out but kept getting the “wall of China” in the clinch. Den and Wung told me between rounds to just pull back and knee her, which I thought about in the corner and then just totally didn’t think of when it was actually happening. I did attempt some of the elbows that Wung called for in the clinch, but didn’t get any of them off with power. In time.
My kicks are getting faster and I’m able to actually blast some out without my opponent seeing it coming and moving. Unfortunately I’m aiming too high for a good point (hitting the gloves) and too low/far away for a head kick. I’ll adjust that too. Ultimately there were a lot of things I wanted to try in this fight, especially since this girl wasn’t scoring on me. Den was pleased with me between rounds, telling me I was doing good and just keep going but that all he wanted was for me to pull back and knee in the clinch – which I still didn’t get to do.
In the third round she came out harder than before. I started getting her head down in the clinch and gave it a few knees, which freaked her out more than really hurt her. Her face had some bruises around the eyes, which I reckon must have been from some hooks landing. She was fading in heart and when I landed a good knee as the ref was breaking us he asked if she wanted to continue and she didn’t. So that was that.
It’s not my favorite fight, but I did do some good things and definitely identified what I need to work on for the next one. It’s a continuous process of small adjustments. Afterward, when I’d changed clothes and come back to watch some other fighters from the gym, a guy from the gym told me he’d tried to bet on my fight but the bookies weren’t taking his bet until the fight started and then within the first round I was favored 4:1, which was not a bet he wanted to take. He said they’d given me the 4:1 favor because I was “too strong in the clinch.” So that’s pretty sweet. I’m set to be fighting again, possibly a girl from this same gym, in two weeks on the 29th in Chiang Rai, my first travel fight with the gym.
The Whole Fight
Where It Was
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