Fight 13

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All year I had been wanting to fight on a Sinbi Fight Night.  The first time I was supposed to fight on one, my opponent pulled out and every other time a fight night was on, I had a fight somewhere around that time already, or had fought too recently to be put in the ring again.  A lot of the fighters who have been here a while (and even some of the ones who were only here a short while) actually don’t like the idea of fighting on one of these cards.

It always appealed to me because it was a fight, in my own gym, with ALL of our trainers and almost all of our peers.  Everyone who watches you grind it out day to day, would be there to watch your hard work in action and would cheer you on!  I found the prospect to be something fun and exciting – and I was right!  It was such a fun and incredible night.  I was even more comfortable being in my own gym, surrounded by my friends.  I was excited to be fighting!

This fight was a interesting one, based on two initial facts alone.

Firstly.  I was not supposed to fight on this card – Monica Brenes, a girl I fought a few fights back was supposed to fight.  Unfortunately she had injured herself and Sing asked me to step up… 4 days before the fight night!  I was so excited for the opportunity and had been back at training for a little while anyway, so I figured, let’s see what I’m made of!

Secondly.  When I found out who my opponent was, I was rushed with a mix of emotions.  Our boss Sing had taken me for a drive to Chalong recently to meet a girl named Jasmine from Australia.  He wanted us to fight on the Sinbi Fight Night that had taken place a few weeks prior, but unfortunately her trainers were not eager for her to fight me.  Despite the fact that Jasmine (Jazzy) had more fights than me and we were the exact same weight, they didn’t think it was a good match.  We wanted to fight each other but it never happened.

Fight prep was naturally a bit frantic.  Initially, I didn’t know who my opponent was going to be and my trainer was a little bit beside himself with the short notice. He kept asking me if I was ok to fight.  “Sure?  Sure??”  To top things off, not only had I been asked to replace Monica, I had also been scheduled to fight 4 days later at Bangla Stadium!!!

The one thing I am so grateful for, is how much my trainer Nai, looks after me.  He said to me, on the spot, if you don’t feel good for either of these fights, you tell me, and I will talk to Sing.

I will admit, I was a little bit stressed out when I found out I was facing Jazzy.  I knew she would be tough and as much as I wanted to fight her, I also would have liked my fight training to be longer than 4 days.  Nevertheless, it was a good test for me mentally, to remind myself that I am actually fit and strong and how much I have devoted my life to training and fighting this year – this was totally achievable.

I knew a bit about Jazzy before the fight, so it was good to be mentally prepared.  I knew she would fight hard from round 1 and I was ready for that.  I knew she liked to box and fortunately I had been working on counters to boxing in the weeks prior, so all around, I felt as ready as I could be.

The Wai Kru was certainly interesting.  Jazzy decided to go in the opposite direction to me meaning we clashed at the first corner.  She sped up to beat me to it in order for me to wait.  I just looked around, smiled at my friends and waited.  We crossed paths again and she was refusing to move off the ropes and so I calmly moved to the side and let her through.  It’s interesting the things people do to try to get inside your head.  None of this bothered me – but it certainly got the crowd going!!!

Round 1 commences and Jazzy comes out strong with kicks and punches.  I’m finally checking kicks AND it’s not hurting my shins.  (A big win for me.)  I get a nice elbow in which makes her break away from me for a moment and I continue to push forward.  She continues to throw high volumes of punches, but nothing is really breaking my guard or affecting me.  I get in a nice 1, 2 which makes her eyes bat and I continue to press forward.  Nai is in my corner screaming “CHA CHA!!!” (Slowly slowly) and you can actually see in the video, him turning around and walking away for a moment.

A quick random power outage and a frantic clinch and round 1 is over.

This round was definitely one of my most active round 1’s – although it’s exactly how we fight in Australia so I am comfortable going at this pace (despite making my trainer PANIC!)  I felt comfortable with my fitness to go 5 rounds at this pace.

Round 2 begins and I am looking for more calculated strikes.  More body kicks, more counters (particularly off teeps) and more elbow strikes.

I notice quickly that I am stronger in the clinch, her head is easy to pull down, so I am looking for this more as well.  It was interesting that Jazzy was trying to punch her way out of the clinch which made room for me to throw in some nice elbows.

Round 3 starts and I know I am looking to clinch.  Get her head down, control the clinch and land knees.  The biggest problem with my clinch in my fights is that I am throwing a high volume of knees, instead of waiting and throwing stronger knees.  Unfortunately, until this week, I was not really sure as to the scoring of this.  If someone is frantically throwing knees I have a bad tendency to throw back frantically.  I’ve now been told that I’m better to wait and to throw a single knee with power – even in terms of scoring (not to future self).

Jazzy continues to try to punch her way out of the clinch which feels really bizzare to me as it’s not something I’ve experienced, but I’m remaining calm and doing what I know to do, pull her head down and knee. I start getting in some strong side knees into the rib cage and I can hear her breathing change.  As the referee pulls us apart, we continue to have a war like exchange of both striking and clinching.

As we move into round 4, Jazzy is trying to throw lots of boxing combinations which aren’t landing, and I am using to get into the clinch with.  The frantic pace is still not bothering me and I am feeling surprisingly fresh despite the crazy round 3 we had.

I continue to keep this round in the clinch and manage to get Jazzy down on an 8 count with a few knees to the solar plexus (my favourite – the ydak sai!).  For some reason, this round seems shorter than it should be, but the fight continues on.

As we broached round 5, my corners instructions were clear.  One more round of clinching then stop and control.  I just said “you tell me when and I will do it”.

I push Jazzy straight into a corner and begin throwing relentless knees.  Her head is down and she is not protecting herself properly.  The referee splits us up and the corner tells me to stop fighting and to control the fight until the end.  This is just basically me blocking and teeping and not doing anything silly, like getting knocked out.

My teeps and blocks were strong as we waited out the round and my corner and I felt happy with the win.

You can’t hear it so well in the video, but the sound that echoed through the gym when my hand was raised was unbelievable. It was so nice having so many friends there to support me and cheer me on.

What I really loved about this fight was the respect shown to each other.  Sure, we do things to pysch each other out, but once the gloves were off, she was so graceful about the fight which was really refreshing.  I saw Jazzy 5 days later when my trainer was fighting and she approached me, asking me if I was ok, and thanking me for the fight.  She told me how much fun she had and how she thought it was a really good fight.  It’s so nice to see that type of sportsmanship.  It’s not always the case.

A big shout out to Jazzy.  At the ripe old age of 17, she is out here living her dream, fighting and loving life.  She is gracious, even in defeat and I am really grateful for that.

I’m really happy with this fight.  I still, always, have so much to work on and lots to take away from this fight, but it was definitely my fight of the year.

As always, a enormous thank you to my sponsors – Kombat CafePure Energy, Patong Pro Nutrition, Mayhem Muscle Wear, Elite Combat NutritionAbsolute MMA, DHF Woden and Manage My Media.  You guys continue to show me the love, support me in my goals, and you are all helping me reach them.

Professional record – 11W-2L-0D

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