Alright, better get this over with while it’s still fresh…
The most significant things about this fight were:
1) It was my first full-contact muay thai fight (mod thai to be exact - no elbows or knees to the head).
2) It was my first full official fight event in almost two years (twenty months).
It’s a complicated one. I feel I learned and experienced A LOT, but the main thing is that I’ve watched the video back a lot of times now and I reckon I did actually fight the better fight. I was more composed, did more damage and looked better overall. Many people who were there have been telling me they felt I was robbed but it’s all fine - that’s just the way it goes. Never leave it in the hands of the judges.
So, the full story.
I woke up around 9.30am and spent all day watching the Masato fightography documentary from Shunsuke (it’s absolutely amazing - three & half hours long, you can download it from here for free) and some other fight stuff. I wasn’t hungry but I made myself have a banana/cacao/avocado smoothy in the morning and beans on toast in the afternoon. My stomach had been bothering me for the two days beforehand so I didn’t want to eat anything heavy. I made a brown rice salad to bring with me because I was 25th on a card of 29 fights (!!). The show kicked off at 6pm so that meant I wouldn’t be on until close to midnight…crazy. I wanted to get there early because two others from our gym were fighting - Abel with a boxing match at No.6 on the card and Alex with Muay Thai at No.18. I’d been to the venue the day before after the weigh-in as I wanted to take a look since it helps me with visualisation. I expected a budget amateur type event but it was the same set-up as a full promotion - nightclub venue, sound system, lights, seated tables etc. All good, a fun introduction to fighting at that kind of set-up.
Abel fought and lost against a much stronger opponent. To be honest he choked a bit…he wasn’t letting his punches go and was too hesitant. The other guy was a good boxer. Abel didn’t look too bad though.
I chewed gum and ate my food, tried to stay relaxed and focused, watched the fights. There were some decent ones, four MMA matches that were better than I expected. The worst thing was just the overall long wait, it was rough. With this fight overall I had so much anticipation and the stomach virus I’ve had the last three or four weeks meant that I kept getting nausea at random times which felt akin to nerves and confused me. In the end this didn’t prove to be a problem as I remained composed and calm throughout the fight but it’s no good wasting energy on worrying about shit like that.
Alex fought well and after getting knocked about a bit in the first round he came back strong and did well with knees in the clinch to bring it to a draw. Good performance.
One thing which I improved this time was my warm-up and making sure to do that the right way so I felt good when I entered the ring. One of our team Chris is a physio so he massaged Thai linament in after I’d warmed up, stretched and shadow boxed a bit, which helped a lot. Did pads with Pedg and felt good - quick, composed, ready.
Right before I was on a fuckin fight broke out in the audience…FOR FUCK SAKE. It’s not the classiest of crowds that attend amateur MMA, boxing and kickboxing fights but last night was a new high water mark: someone from the crowd started a fight with a fighter leaving the ring! Fucking mental! I didn’t go to look because I was focussed on my own business in the warm-up area but jaaaysus. THEN, they mixed the order up so right when I was about to walk out another fight was called and I’d to wait for that to finish.
The good thing is that neither of these elements bothered me at all, I stayed totally calm and when my name was called I walked out (to horrible techno), entered the ring, moved around it and felt out the surface with some simple shadow combos.
The ref explains the rules to Pedg & I: no elbows, have to work in the clinch or he’ll break it up, no knees to the head. Calls my opponent and I to the centre. I stare him down, he looks away - good stuff. He doesn’t look that big for 77kg.
The bell goes and I start strong with a double jab/cross to the head. It staggers him and I go for a feint jab/cross to the body combo. He grabs me for the clinch and tries to knee and I sweep him hard. I hit him with another right and he tries to clinch up so I hit him two hard body shots, left-right, and then trade knees with him in the clinch, dominating him with spins and beating him with two for every one he throws. I hit him with a right push kick before another double jab / cross. He clinches up and again I control him with strong knees. I hit him with a decent roundhouse to the side and we scrap back and forth a bit, more shots to the body and the head from the clinch and he doesn’t have any answer. He keeps trying to come in but he can’t land anything.
The bell goes.
In the corner Pedg tells me to breathe and relax. They keep me standing and as soon as I let out a big breath of air and refill my lungs my vision starts to go shaky and I get this “woah, fuck…oooof” feeling like fuck, where am I? even though I was fully with it and focused on the job at hand. It didn’t freak me out or anything but in retrospect I guess this is what it feels like when you adrenaline dump? After this my arms felt like they were made of lead and my breathing just got heavier and heavier.
I open the second round with a good bend kick to the head which he only just blocks. Follow it with a light set-up kick to the leg and a series of jabs & crosses to drive him into the corner. He tries to clinch up and I hit him with a lot of shots to the body and head. We move around and circle each other and by now I’m really feeling the lack of energy. My corner is yelling at me to step in and set him up with jabs for the cross, which I do, twice. I don’t move out of his range quick enough though and this time when we clinch he’s able to control it and land more knees on me than I do on him. He catches a roundhouse from me and tries to swing a hook in but I get my leg out of his hold and evade it easily. I knock him into the corner again with a cross and he manages to get out with his hands held really high to guard, which is when I should have been landing body shots or leg kicks. Instead I let him come forward and get a bit of momentum. He lands a cross, clinches and pushes me into the corner, then hits me with an overhand right. I spin him and hit him with another jab/cross combo. Get him back in the corner and again should have hit him with leg kicks instead of peppering him with weak jabs and crosses - a wasted opportunity. By this stage I’m exhausted and can’t gather much energy. I should have danced around a bit more, picked my moments for tricky shots. We trade back and forth with weak punches and kicks and the round ends.
This time my corner sits me down and Pedg tells me I need to pick it up to be sure of the win and can easily KO him - his guard is weak and I just need to step in and let my cross go. I’m listening but basically just trying to get as much air as possible into my lungs.
He opens with a weak left body kick and I return two. He catches the second and tries to sweep me but I keep my balance and free my leg. We clinch and I hit him with some good knees. He returns them, it’s about even. He tries to clinch again and I hit him with hooks and uppercuts. I back him up and step in to land a hard clean kick on his right side. He tries to counter with a left kick and I evade. He tries to clinch again and I hit him a couple of times. Then he’s just standing there covering up and I should have attacked his body and legs again but I’ve got almost nothing left and simply pepper his guard with jab/cross combos. I hit him with a push kick to the thigh and it’s a low blow, he gets a minute to recover and then the final 30 seconds of the fight are called. It goes back and forth; he attempts a left kick and I catch it and try to drop him but he escapes somehow and I end up on the ground - not a good look near the end of a fight. He clinches again and I get him in the corner and knee him a few times and it ends. Afterwards I feel fucking destroyed.
The ref calls us to the centre. Split points decision. I’m sure they’re gonna give to me…nah. Goes to him.
The weird thing here was is that it usually takes me 5-10 minutes to recover after a fight or super intense sparring. 30 minutes after this I was still breathing heavy and feeling fucked and since then I’ve had a heavy chesty cough. I’ve been sick the last few weeks with cold/flu symptoms and a weird stomach virus but I just was refusing to admit it to myself (despite taking various measures to treat it) so it never spilled over into full illness…I think it just came on then, which probably also contributed to me gassing early. Mine was one of only two fights that were 3 x 2 minutes, most being 1.5 minutes, and some of them only two rounds. This was the longest fight I’ve had so far - those extra thirty seconds at the end of each round feel loooooooong.
What’s significant here is that it brings me to a zero sum point. I’ve had four competitive fights now: an amateur kickboxing win, an interclub kickboxing win, an interclub muay thai loss (semi-contact) and an amateur muay thai loss. 2-2. What my coach is always saying is that none of this really counts, win or loss - amateur is just training. What I’m doing now is learning, and the amount I’m learning in each fight is massive. It’s all practice for pro level. What really counts for me is that Pedg felt I did well and was much more composed. I don’t feel at all embarrassed or ashamed, as I did my best and fought well. In my heart I feel I won even if the official decision doesn’t reflect it.
P.S. - I reckon the real reason I lost is cos I kept my shirt on and didn’t show my abs while the other dude got his tits out. There’s a lesson there. That and cos I forgot to eat a spoon of honey 20 minutes before the fight like I meant to (Jon Jones taught me that!).