I had a very good night. I am waking a little sore on my shin, a slight belly ache and my elbow tweaking a bit but all in all I feel good. I had a good fight, I have gotten better and I can train tomorrow there is nothing more that I ask for.
I arrived at the stadium feeling very confident. I was going to perform to the best of my abilities and I was not concerned about winning although that’s the result I pictured in my head. I think it would be more fair to say that I did not needlessly fret over the possibility of losing.
I arrived and was sent to the doctor to get my heart rate checked. In my 7 fights in Thailand, this is the first fight that I have ever seen a doctor. My guess is he is here to check and see people aren’t using yabba (methamphetamine) before fights, something he could tell with a racing heart beat.
My opponent came to see who he was fighting and he was a very solid, athletic Thai who I guess was 10 pounds lighter and 2 inches shorter than me. He actually looked at me hesitatingly and I felt like I had already won the mental battle. He seemed scared.
I asked Bee if he knew who he was. Turns out that he was the younger brother of the guy whom I had beat in November at the Loi Kratong festival in Pai. Very weird. It also turned out that Bee had taught this guy when he was younger. He was 21 years old and had over 100 fights. My guess is that he had been doing Muay Thai for at least 10 years. Opposed to my 3 years and 7 fights. Nonetheless I was still not nervous since I thought he was scared of me. A few moments later he came back and started talking to Bee about something and I got the feeling that he did not want to fight me. He had asked Bee to switch himself with Charlie’s (My trainer who was also fighting on the card) opponent. I would Charlies opponent and he would fight Charlie. He said the fight would be better since the guy Charlie was fighting was not that good and the guy I was supposed to be fighting was more on Charlies level and so the matches were turn out more even. I didn’t believe it and thought he was scared of me but, I did not understand this, for one why did he want to fight Charlie who has fought at Lumpinee and on TV instead of me? Second, I was not comfortable fighting the guy who was supposed to fight my TRAINER, the guy who beats me up every day in training, I didn’t think it was fair. Regardless, I didn’t protest too much. What can I do right? Just bite the bullet and fight as hard as you can.
Later the guy came back, and said it would continue as planned and I would fight my original opponent. I felt better, and I assume his brother, who was also at the show told him he had to fight me since last time we fought I knocked him out in the second round. I am not sure about this, but that’s my guess.
Soon after I started getting wrapped and oiled and massaged. For those not familiar with the way Muay Thai is fought in Thailand. Instead of concentrating on a warm up a fighter gets massaged with a bottle of extremely hot Thai Oil (Bengay on steroids).
I was the last fight on the card. A special attraction because I was a foreigner. Charlie, despite being far more prestigious than me in his achievements was the fight before me.
Charlie stopped his guy in the second round with a lot of vicious elbows to the head of his much older and less experienced opponent. It was very apparent that this guy should not have been in the ring with Charlie. The guys from my gym were coming up to me and telling me that maybe the issue that came up earlier about switching fighters was a valid one.
Time for me to fight. I got in the ring, feeling very comfortable and did a basic Wai Kru. Everyone was staring at me and I have a feeling i was most definitely the favorite in this match, at least in the eyes of the mostly farang crowd, who quite honestly had no clue what they were watching.
The first round I had hoped to put this guy off guard. I was going to go light and move around him for the first 30 seconds and slowly start applying the pressure in the hopes that he would break because he was scared of me. What happened instead is that after 30 seconds he started doing spinning heel kick and cart wheel kick a la Saenchai Sor. Kingstar. He wasn’t doing these kicks but he was doing them very well. Regardless from what I felt in the first round and what most people tell me, the feeling was that the first round was somewhat even with my opponent doing some crazy acrobatic S*&T. Looks like it was going to be a good fight.
The second round I felt I had the upper hand and in hindsight I really should have come forward a bit more instead of being as careful as I was in the fear I would go all out, not knock the guy out and end up gassed with my hands at my knees ready to eat his shin. He threw some good kicks but nothing connected solid. I landed a lot of solid punches to his head but my boxing was not as sharp as it is in sparring. I also did not do well with following up with a good low kick. He saw my kicks coming (and most of my punches) very quickly and hitting this guy was very difficult.
The third round was similar and I got put on the ground a few times. Whenever I tried clinching with this guy he would tie me up and hug me in a sort of stalling type of move where I was not able to change position to throw a good knee.
Fourth round i must admit, the energy in the ring had definitely turned and this guy knew he was much better than I. Any fears in his were gone and he kept coming forward and giving me a hard left knee to the liver. Every time I got hit I would make a “hooh” sound of letting my breath out as to diminish the effect of the blow but I think the ref thought it was too much and stopped the fight. Although I cannot say had it gone the distance I would have won, in fact I highly doubt that. The third round was somewhat of a toss up but the 4th round was clearly his. Regardless it was a very early stoppage in every ones opinion and he did not even give me a standing 8 count. I should have protested but that’s not my style and I humbly left the ring.
Looking back at this fight, yes it sucks that I lost. I wish I had won and as I look back at the video I know there are some things I could have done to change the outcome for the fight. But to be honest, I am very happy with myself. I didn’t make any major mistakes, and I looked good in there against a much more seasoned opponent. I have a lot of room to improve and I am still at the beginning of my journey in this sport but it feels good, REALLY good to know that I can get in there with solid Thai fighters, guys who may have fought at Lumpinee a couple times and hang with them. To me it feels like getting in the ring on your first pro fight with someone who has fought in the UFC once before and hanging in there and sometimes giving him a run for his money. I know now that I have reached the next level in my training and in the competition I am capable of and will be facing now. It feels good, it feels really good. I know what I need to work on. Most of that is just more sparring and getting a good judge of distance and timing. Also, I can’t forget this fight number 8 and that although I am getting closer to how I perform when I spar I still have a while to go. My guess is maybe another year before my fighting catches up to my sparring.
Regardless here is the video, any questions or comments please feel free to let me know.
I just came back from breakfast with my trainers while this video was loading. They joked with me how I liked to have things difficult, referring to the fact that I took this fight instead of the other. They were happy with how I did because they said, at the stage i am at now, my best shot would have been to tire this guy out, as his technique at this point is beyond mine. So, as I have said before, I feel good despite the loss. In fact, had I scored a lucky punch in the first or second round I am not sure I would have the opportunity to evaluate myself and where I am at, as I can do now.