For this bout, I was scheduled to face my original opponent from my previous fight, who’d pulled out the day before the event due to supposed ‘period pains’. However, as luck would have it, the day before this fight, I’d been told that she had once again dropped out, this time with no explanation. As I’d been in the exact same position not long before, I didn’t spare it much thought. No matter who I went up against, I was still going to fight the way I had trained.
If you’ve read my post on my previous fight, you’ll know that on the first occasion, my opponent was replaced by the same girl I’d fought in my second fight. Here, history seemed to repeat itself, as when I arrived at the stadium I found I was facing Nong New Sitkrupaew, who I had fought for my very first fight. Surely there must have been other girls in Bangkok for me to fight? I suppose at a day’s notice, this was the best they could do.
Nong New is a really sweet girl. She greeted me with a friendly smile, and it was actually pleasant to see her again. One of the girls she was with, however, seemed to hold a bit of a grudge. She may have been her sister, friend or training partner. Whichever one, she didn’t like me one bit. While Nong New was preparing for the fight, she lingered around me making an effort to shoot me resentful looks at every opportunity, and even hung around to glare at me while I got my hands wrapped. Amused by her attitude, I just smiled back at her each time she appeared. The first time Nong New and I fought, I won on points. Perhaps this girl was looking for some kind of revenge, or perhaps she was just trying to create some weird competitive atmosphere for fun.
This would mean that my first four fights were only against two different opponents. After I’d gotten over the original disbelief of the situation, I saw it as an opportunity to see how both of us had improved since we first met around ten months prior. Our first meeting had been a pretty sloppy one on my part. With it being my first time in the ring, all technique seemed to go out of the window. I remembered that she hadn’t given me much trouble on that occasion, but kept in mind that she was probably thinking the same thing about me. It had been almost a year since then, and in that time she’d probably had many more fights, whereas I’d only had two, since I’d taken a break to go back to the UK for a while. We’d probably both become totally different fighters in that time, which made it pretty exciting to be accidentally re-matching her.
As I prepared to go in, this was the most confident I’d ever felt before a fight up until this point. We were one of the final bouts, and didn’t fight until around 11pm. After the main bouts had finished, which meant that the stadium had cleared out quite a bit by the time it was our turn. This boosted my confidence a little further, as I’ve always been nervous in front of a crowd, and knowing there would be fewer eyes watching me somehow made it easier.
Just before the fight, one of the guys from the stadium came in with some incredibly old, worn and quite frankly, hideous, protective gear. These included a Madonna-esque boob-guard, which seemed totally unnecessary given my A-cup chest size, and a female groin guard that resembled a huge, triangular piece of cardboard with a string attached to it.
He instructed me to put them on, which I immediately declined. He then informed me that if I didn’t wear them, I couldn’t fight, so I reluctantly put them on, cringing at the thought of the hundreds of times they’d been worn before. I was thankful that there was no mirror in the changing room, because I could tell that I looked absolutely ridiculous. The boob-guard simply sat on top of my sports bra with nothing to fill it, and what made it even worse is that I only had a tank top, which made it totally visible! The groin guard felt akin to a pair of cardboard Bridget Jones underwear, soaked with the sweat of countless girls before me, which left an unavoidably blatant bulge under my shorts. I reluctantly accepted my fate, and decided to get in and out of the ring as soon as possible. Ajarn Saming just laughed at my discomfort and joked that I should be happy that my boobs looked bigger. I told myself that if I had to get in the ring looking ridiculous, I’d have to at least fight with style.
During the first round, I was more aggressive than usual, perhaps because I saw no reason to fear her. From how I remembered her, I thought if I just overwhelmed her, she’d back down soon enough.
After my last fight, I wanted to work on moving forward, instead of throwing and then backing out without following up. I rushed towards her and tried to get her in the clinch, but she kept lifting up her leg to block me from kneeing.
Between the first and second round, my trainers told me to calm down, repeatedly saying ‘jai yen yen’, as they didn’t want me to tire myself out too soon, but I was determined to finish the fight as soon as possible. I knew I could beat her and I didn’t see the point in wasting any time doing so. Besides, I didn’t want to be seen in that hideous gear for a second longer than I needed to! I nodded, but knew I didn’t want to slow down.
At the start of the second round, her face had totally changed. It seemed clear that her trainers had shouted at her to be more aggressive, and she’d come out fighting. She put on her fight face and threw a few head kicks at me. After I continued to fight through them (partly because I ignored them, but mostly because I was too slow/stupid to block them), she quickly retreated. If those head kicks were all she had for me, I had nothing to lose. So, quite comically, I charged at her with my right hand in the air, as if to say ‘get ready, because I’m going to punch you’. The funny thing is, with your elbow that far away from your body, it’s impossible to even throw a decent right hand.
On two occasions, I had her backed into the corner by knees. The first time, the referee pulled us away from the ropes. The second time, however, it was clear that she wasn’t going to fight back anymore. He stopped the fight, and I won by second round TKO.
After the fight, Nong New was still as sweet as before. She came straight to my changing room to give me a hug and take a few pictures, which I thought was a great show of spirit.
There were no hard feelings over the fight on our part, but unfortunately her friend didn’t feel the same way. Shortly before I left the stadium, on my way out of the door, she deliberately walked into my path and shoulder-barged me. Nong New and her friend quickly came over to apologise, to make sure I knew it had nothing to do with her, which was nice of her. The other girl’s actions were incredibly immature, but forgivable, since those girls were much younger than me.
As Thais start fighting at such a young age, it’s difficult to find opponents who are within my age range without having way more fights than me. Some might argue that it seems unfair to fight someone considerably younger, but since their early starts make them more experienced, they actually have the advantage in most cases.
This fight was a good opportunity to see how far I’d progressed since I first started, which I was really pleased to see. Although my technique was still laughably sloppy, it takes time, and it takes fights, to get it where it needs to be, and I’d seen a clear improvement this time. For my debut fight, I’d lasted three rounds with this girl and only taken the fight on points. This time, it hadn’t even lasted two rounds. In my eyes, that was an achievement to be proud of.
See below for a gallery of images from the fight.